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March 21, 2008

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On Dear Days Gone By

In 1969 the sublimely talented, infinitely wise, yet somehow tragically misunderstood Jack O'Connor wrote a very good book of reminiscences called Horse and Buggy West. It was about his boyhood in Arizona in the early 20th century. If I may be permitted, I would like to do a little of that here.

I grew up near the New Jersey shore, not far from Asbury Park, which produced Bruce Springsteen*. In the 1950s, as you strolled down the boardwalk, you could hear a distinctive crack…clang….crack…clang, and you knew you were near the shooting gallery.

Shooting galleries have just about passed from the American scene, but for a kid who was crazy about guns, they were heaven on earth. You gave the degenerate behind the counter 25 cents and he would slide ten greasy .22 Shorts into a tube-magazine pump gun. Then you popped away at knockdown steel targets that just sat there, or paraded by on a conveyor belt, and if you hit with all ten shots, you got a cheesy prize.

For kids like me who were not allowed to have guns, it was the only chance we got to handle a real firearm aside from summer-camp programs, and it was pure magic. Now these places are no more. A shooting gallery is a place where junkies gather, or it is a video game. No more wonderful smell of gunpowder; no more slick slide actions chained to the counter top. Liability problems, you know. And it might give youngsters hostile feelings toward steel silhouettes of ducks.

*Bruce Springsteen has always baffled me. At the time this narrative took place, a popular male singer was a good-looking guy who could actually sing and whose lyrics you could actually understand. Perry Como qualified. Vic Damone and Eddie Fisher made the cut, as did Tony Bennett. Mr. Springsteen seems like a decent enough person, but he qualifies on none of the three counts.


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retired way car rider

Bubba, I agree with you on Willie Nelson and his blues music--some of the best--as is Austin City Limits.I'm a 1933 model, but still walk 4 miles a day, lift my old weights 3 days a week, besides the chores around the home place. One thing about my style of old county--not country & western-- you can understand the words and dance to the music. I spent 4 yrs, going to school on the east coast, but, still like my western music--of course I was there before the new stuff started.

WA Mtnhunter

Rocky Mountain Hunter

Contact Anchor Outfitting in Melville, MT if you want a quality hunt with some good folks. Chuck and Pam Rein (pronounced Ryan) have a good outfit and reasonable, too. Hunt is on their ranch and NFS land in the Crazy Mountains north of Big Timber. They do have a website. Just Google Anchor Outfitting.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

Del in KS; I live a little futher east about 200 miles. Near Winston Salem, Little town of Pilot Mtn ( Andy Griffins MT Pilot) I read about the big w-tails in KS. Are they tru articles or just god reading? With all the Corn grown ther, I be you got many W tails.Franklin is moe Mountains than wher I live, however I live only 25 miles south of the Blue Ridge Park Way. We have some good W-tails here, but not like you have. Would love to hunt th W-tails in KS sometime. I love those long shots, Here in teh foothills of teh Mtns, is mostly wooded, a filed with 5 or so acres is a hugre field, and the fields got trees all arounf them. One shot is all you gt, so beter make it good. Where in KS do you live,was thru there in 98 on a Cross Country trip. Fields as far as can see. Muxch birds adn w-tails I bet

Rocky Mtn Hunter

WA hunter , thanks will contact them and see what they offer. Thanks for the information. Always good to learn or good hunting areas, plus I enjoy new hunting area and new people.What is their specality of Game. How near is this place to Missoula, MT. I already sent my aplication for Montana for certain units, if draw, will have to hunt there this year,but this outfit you mentione, may have a good arrangement for next year. Time slipping by,will not be long till pratice time. Will be gld when my New MArlin XL7 arrives, nevr hunted with a 270, so gonna see if O'onner was true or not. Love my 25-06 and 30-06 But found out,none of the new firearms have teh quality of even 10-15yrs ago,.I continue to use my 742 here in 30-06,has killd many deer and Elk.Many hunters hate a Auto,but you must keep them clean and Scrubbed down with gun scruber.Soray the acition evry few shots, and keep chamber clean and not jam up.Had only l was my fault, failed to use teh brass britle brush to scrub it clean. Never a jam from loading from the det. mag. But carry a spare,and if one fouls up,drops the other in. Many hate the box,but I like,only complaint I have with the Xl7, but I wanteda Syn stocked haul about for 4 wheeler/pickup. Got to many nicks on beautiful Walnut. I yet love bveautiful Walnut, but dfferent hunts require differen stocks.Thanks again, will keep you informed of my contact with Anchor.The Old Gun Slinger down South in N.C. near Va. line.

Clay Cooper

Best thing I like about Super Bowl Weekend?
I got the woods all to myself!
In other words, all you Jerry Springer freaks are out of the woods!!!

Bunch of "ampheads"!

WA Mtnhunter


Anchor Outfitting hunts the Sweetgrass Creek near Melville, MT. About 40 or so miles north of I-90 between Billings and Bozeman. Maybe 300 miles from Missoula? Not the same neck of the woods.

WA Mtnhunter


Springsteen can't sing? I think old Dave shot that .458 one too many times.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

WA Hunter. Was close to your place in MT. I drove from Douglas, Wy to Missoula, MT last year, some beautiful country. Too bad, I;ve gotten old and little $$ to blow, if had enough, would try to see many of these small western towns,. I will give ANCHOR A cALL AND GET INFO. i SENT IN MY APPLICATIONS ALREADY TO MT.C0,WY and KY, hopefully will draw one or maybe two. I hunted 5 weeks last year in MT and 5 Weeks here at home. Near the end for some reason I realized hunting for Deer would ve over tomoRROW AND WOULD I bearound for next season. Well, so far I;m here and to satisfy my gun nut crazzinessI did buy 2 new guns this year. Sure hope I get the opportunity to use in teh Rockies. Did get a A. Uberti in 44-40????? just wanted a western gun like no others I hunt with has. Believe I did that. Now if the XL7 will get here so can mount the scope and 0 will be ready. Take care, thanks for the info.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

WA Mtnhunter: I take it you have hunted with Anchor? Was the hunt satisfactory? Can I bring my wife along as well. With my health problems, either she or my Son have to go with me when I go hunting. Some Hunting Camps do not allow a companion to come, just need to know that prior to calling. Also, at night I got to have hot running water for my health dressing wounds. Many nice camps around, but none I can use. I would like to try a few nights in a walled tent, but would requie a heating device to heat lots of water. That has been one of my problems with finding a hunt. Most of my Western hunts, I stay in a Motel as close to hunt area as possible. Hunted in Colorado once, that the nearest Motel was 65 miles away. Man was that tough, had to get up at 3 Am, leave Motel at 4 and drive on dirt(gravel) road for the 65 miles, wich took about l l/2 hrs. Same coming in at night, was near 9;30 most night, then supper. Slept about 3 hs a night. Afer 3 days, had to take a day off to rest, which turned out great, as the next day killed a 6 x 6 Bull at 7;05AM . Then 2 days later, was snowed in hunting Deer for 3 days, but was happy as had the Elk in the freezer and the Hide, Antles shipped home. But that was l5 yrs ago, now I can;t do such as that. The place I hunt is about l0 miles away from Motel to Ranch,.So can sleep till 4'30, eat breakfst and be in woods befor light.Sure hope this Winter Kill in Colorado has not extended to Missoula, MT.Talked with folks in C0 today, estimate of winter kill exceeds 50% for Deer and 35-40 on Elk. Not a good place to go this fall. Hope MT is better. Good luck, I applied to 4, one zilt already, now waiting on the other 3 areas along with my New Marlin gun.Shoot-um-straight and often. The old Gunslinger

Rocky Mtn Hunter

WA Hunter: Did get the Anchor Outfit; They sending literatue. If my old hunting areas in Western MT don;t produce a shootable Elk, may contact Anchor and see what they got for a few days after leaving Missoula. My Marlin XL7 in 270 arrived,. I'm well pleased with he appearence and the quality. The stock is the better fitting to metal than any Syn stocked gun I;ve seen. Bolt is Fluted adn slides smoothly. Have not oiled yet, as want to get the scope mounted and teh gun checked by my Gunsmith first.Stock has a cheek piece and straigh comb. Recoil pad appears to be a Limb-saver with MArlin written on it,,as does Remington.Just need to get the scope mounted (Nikon Monarch, Weaver bases, and B-Square rings), bore sighted and then fine tune at my range of 250 yds. Gonna zero for 200 yds as my other hunting guns are. But, as of now well pleased with the gun and is better quality than I expected. I read Wayne Van Zoll's article in Hunter and I take his word seriously. Now get the final check out and zeroed in and try on a Yote or two, then ready for the Wild West. Will let you know teh results when completed, but will be a few weeks till I get all this done. The Old Gunslinger

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