Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Collecting and Taking Guns Apart

I haven’t mentioned my collecting activities as of late. I guess this is time to unveil my newest purchase.

A rifle, the Swiss Schmidt-Rubin 1896/11 bought at Collectors Firearms in Houston, Texas while I was on a trip for family business. I haven’t taken it apart yet for cleaning and it was missing a magazine, but the price was decent and it fills a gap in my collection. Besides, somehow or another I’d already acquired the proper bayonet for it. Now I have the gun that fits the bayonet. Pictures and commentary will follow.

My collection activities are slowing down lately. I’ve acquired most of the guns that fascinate me. That’s not to say there aren’t more out there. There are always more. It’s just that I’ve bought those guns I’ve wanted to own.

I may need to expand my horizons. For instance, I prefer handguns over rifles (most of the time) and semi-auto pistols over revolvers. The mechanism of a pistol is so much more interesting to me than that of a revolver. You see, I take all my guns apart, basically to the screws. There are a few sub-assemblies that have daunted me in the past. But, the Internet now has disassembly/reassembly instructions for almost every gun imaginable and I bull forward with my punches and screwdrivers. What can’t the Internet do?

Because I take my guns apart, I see how the fifty-odd parts (sometimes more, sometimes less) intermesh to operate that firearm. It must be something like the thrill a gearhead has when he (or she) takes an old and cranky engine apart, fixes it, and reassembles it into something that purrs like an overgrown kitten. Guns are my gearhead fix.

I have taken revolvers apart and I do get some of that thrill, but for me the semi-auto rocks. Some have cams machined into the barrels, others have a cam attached to a little ear (looking at you John Moses Browning’s 1911).

Some you take apart by pushing the slide back just so and then jiggering the barrel until a slot aligns with a groove. Others you have to hold together while you slowly separate the parts lest a spring launch itself into the air, bounce off your forehead, and roll under the heaviest piece of furniture you own.

There are even some that are a true jigsaw puzzle of intricately machined parts that lock into place without benefit of pins or screws. I love broomhandle Mausers and already own three of them—more please.

So, do I expand my horizons? That’s the question. That will mean more “Ones From the Vault” (and I have guns that aren't featured on the site). That will mean more money diverted from unnecessary items like food toward the truly necessary like guns. Decisions, decisions.