Thursday, August 24, 2006

A New Gun in the Family

Right now, Bill and I are feeling the stings of frustrated spending. In other words, money’s tight because we’ve spent it. I helped my nephew out on his visit and was the chief buyer of whale watches, tour trolley tickets, and meals. Then there was travel this summer—Las Vegas and Zion, a visit to Ohio. These things start eating into the wallet.

We were also got hit with a condo fee “special assessment” to help pay for flooding that occurred in May. It won’t last long, but ouch, just ouch.

We haven’t been buying guns as often as we did last summer, but sometimes the right one comes along and “damn the bankers, full speed ahead.” I had that experience recently and spent part of our disposable income reserve. I found what had been a holy grail, a World War II 1903A3 rifle. It spoke to me. It weaved a net around me and my checkbook. I had to buy it. And I did.

You see, it’s in excellent condition. Remington Arms built it in 1942 and it sports a dated 1943 Remington barrel that is clean and bright with strong rifling. We’ve been trying to find one for awhile that didn’t totally break the bank, was still authentic, complete, and not butchered by a garage ‘smith. I saw it in July and immediately put it on layaway and got it out of retail limbo two weekends ago.

I thought I’d do a “One From the Vault” about the gun after I fired it, did more research, and generally got to know our new firearm a little better. Thus, I didn’t blog about it the day I bought it. Time slips away and I thought I’d mention it now. In short, there’s a longer report about it in the Ten Ring’s future.

Remember the tight wallet problems I mentioned. Well, I faced yet another temptation when I picked up the 1903A3. I found another of my holy grail guns. Oh, what wretched circumstance put a “red nine” Broomhandle Mauser in my way?

If you’ve been reading Ten Ring for awhile you’ll know I really like Broomhandles and own two of them in different configurations. In World War I, Mauser took the 7.62mm pistol and rechambered it for the German military pistol cartridge, the 9mm parabellum. In order to reduce confusion as to what ammo to feed it, they engraved a number “9” on the wood grips and dribbled red paint into the deeply-etched lines.

They’re fairly hard to find and command decent prices if in good condition and if all numbers match on numbered parts. That is, certain guns needed to have a gunsmith hand-fit important parts. The parts were numbered to a gun so an armorer could ensure that each part ended up in the proper gun and reduce the amount of time fooling around with ill-fitting parts.

Well, given the state of my disposable income, I managed to avoid buying the “red nine” even though it was a struggle. You see, the number on the hammer didn’t match the rest of the gun. Yeah, that’s the ticket; I’m being a responsible collector and choosing wisely. Yeah that’s it, I’m being responsible, but why do I want to see if it’s still for sale?

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