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March 12, 2008

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You Always Hurt the Gun You Love

In 1977, I was in a hunting camp in Montana where one of the attendees was a fellow who did nothing but shade-tree gunsmith the whole time he was there. Never hunted; just diddled with the rifle of anyone who wanted his rifle diddled with. Someone gave him a rifle to have the barrel free-floated and he hogged out enough wood to start a good-sized fire. To many people, guns are like cars before cars were operated by 18 computers; the urge to tinker is irresistible.

Sometimes it works. A crummy trigger can't be abided. A barrel that bears on one side of the channel has to be re-bedded. A thin, hard recoil pad should be replaced with something that does not give you hematomas. But aside from that, most tinkering is futile and a waste of money.

Competitive shotgunners seem to tinker more than anyone else. Trap guns with adjustable combs and recoil pads are particularly susceptible. Dropped a bird at handicap? Why, just to crank that comb up a tad and all will be well. I've been to sporting clays shoots where you couldn't hear for the racket created by electric choke-tube wrenches. Back in the 70s there was a very famous trapshooter who was known to wedge his shotgun barrel under the bumper of his care and bend the barrel just a tad to make it shoot a smidgen higher.

Hey, it's a hobby and it's mostly for fun, so why not meddle? Just don't think it's going to help.

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Comments

John R

I think one must know his/her mechanical limits and abilities. I had a broken firing pin on an old Stevens 20 gauge single shot shotgun. I removed the old firing pin and made one by chucking a 20 penny nail into a variable speed drill and slowly turning it on a fine grit bench grinder. I finished it off with varying grits of wet/dry sandpaper until it was polished. It looked just like the original and worked until the replacement I ordered arrived. I knew it (the nail pin) was a softer steel and wouldn't last, but my poor man's lathe worked pretty well.
The most intricate thing I ever disassembled was the trigger assemby for my Remington 742 Woodsmaster. It was really dirty (I had gotten it 2nd hand) and needed a thorough cleaning. Well, I took it completely apart and cleaned and lasid out all the parts on a cloth. When it came time to re-assemble I must admit the pucker factor was running a bit high. I did break a swaet with the safety and safety spring, but finally got it right and everything back together. I still have the rifle and it works very well. I don't think I would attempt that again, but you never know. It's fun to tinker as long as you aren't OC about it and stay within your limits.

Jim in Mo.

John R.,
As a boy 45 yr ago I had the exact Stevens you did and didn't have problems with the pin but the spring was weak. I was good at spotting rabbits sitting and sometimes It'd go off sometimes not. Slowly eject shell and put in new one and it'd then fire.
I'm not blameing the gun though because as a young dumb kid I thought it was proper to release tension on spring by dry firing before putting it up. I eventually traded it off and got my first SxS.

Peter

I shot a freezer once...cause I forgot I put a shell in the 16 ga. shotgn. I was 12 then (quite a few years ago now) and had just completed hunters saftey. lol although it wasn't funny at the time. And still not in someways.

Peter

I got a friend who did the same thing with an '06 Remington pump. But He shot through his family's roof ..instead of a freezer

Peter

totally of the subject but does anyone here own or ever shot a the new Winchester Wildcat .22 just curious as to what some people think of it.

Dr. Ralph

A friend of mine shot a hole in the front bumper of his truck with one of those Marlin lever action .44's in deer camp once. He was letting the hammer down and it slipped or so he said... at least it was pointed down. They just don't make bumpers like they used to, but it was a Ford so no one was offended.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

It would appear, most gun hunters/hunters think they experts in gun-smithing. I learned the hard way. I clean, oil, rub, wipe,etc. but if adjustments, repairs needed I go to my gun-smith.I got a Custom Mauser now, that shoots to high, has the orig sights that the custom builder installed. For my style of shooting, the rear sight is too highmor the front is to low. Informed the smith and he suggested i put up a target at 25 yds , shot 3 times, cool dwn and repeat. Once I do this, bring him the targetand gun and he will take care of it. The front sight slids in from the muzzle end into a l/4" solid rib from the action to the muzzle. The front sight is a blade with a brass dot facing the shooter. He will need to determine from my targets the amount he needs to build( weld metal to it) I got too much invested in this gun to now be able to hit the barn door. Gun was built in Italy and a beaut, with dble set triggers set at 12 oz's. I figure the beautiful wood is worth as much as I paid for the gun, but that's my opinion. Gun is not for sale, it's my show and tell beaut in 30-06 my caliber.No names on the gun, just initials and #'s don;t mean a thing to me, wish had the mfger engraved someplace. But suppose the #;s and initials mean something in Germany. O well, need to hunt more and buy less. If stopped this buying, could hunt more. If Airlines continue to increase and gaseoline goes to 5 bucks a gallon, will be fewer old guys like me hunting the Rocky Mountains. I understand the applicstions for NR hunters way down, and good possibility all will draw, as states need our $$$.Hunting a guided hunt for 7 days in the Rocky Mtns is now a dream for many good guys who would love to go, but cannot afford the cost. At my age of 73, this will likely be my last trip out, unless prices decrease and CD's go sky-ward. Would like to hunt once more in Wy for Mulies and Lopes, but this year will be Montana and Colorado for Elk and Deer, ( maybe a Wolf) if see one. Ok,supper ready,so better get off. Shoot-um-straight and often, guys, as no guarrantee of tomorrow.Much rather set home and think of the trips.hunts/people I;ve met, rather than sit there and moan about not going at all. Never seen a Wells-Fargo truck at a Cemetary yet. No need for me to worry about that,as whats left after this hunt would not buy the gas for the truck. hst again soon. Any you guys seen the XL7 yet.?Mime was to arrive yesterday, but sales person fiddled around and never got my order processed in time for UPS>Not going to B---h as these guns in great demand and I don;t want to PO_ED him. I wanted one before Remington investors started cutting corners to make more millions as they are investors only.Look at the new 715 and 770 Rem has now, plus the shotty ADL built for Wal-mart only now ( as the Rep for Rem told me a month ago.. Looks as if made from Japan beer cans. Chat later, hopefully after supper. Gone, the Old Gunslinger from down south. If by chance you own a ADL better hang on to it, as teh prices will surely increase. All i can see from Rem now is the BDL and CDL, rest is crap. glad I bought my remingtons long ago, befor they sold out. Sure hope MArlin/ H&H/NEF did not screw up for us hunters. Savage is now coming forward by leaps and bounds, the new l4 series in Walnut, looks like the older BDL of Remingtons and much cheaper..by sevral hundred dollars. Savage has always made a great shooting gun, just looked cheap, but was not. I hope they do well, as few USA Co's left now.

WA Mtnhunter

Dr Ralph

LMAO

My brother shot a hole in the floor board of my 1954 Chevy with a Win 94 .30-30 once. Wasn't funny then. A little Bondo and a new floor mat fixed it right up!

Of course we never told anybody back then!

Shaky

Got a call from forest service, about 34yr. ago. Asked if I could give a ride to a close friend, who was stranded about 70mi. back in the boonies, truck broke down. I said yes, did he need me to bring anything to fix his truck. The ranger said "no, it's Sunday". Didn't make any sence to me, but I said I'll be there asop,and hung up. When I got to the assigned point to pick him up, I asked what happened, and he told me he put his '06 in the truck, and it went off. I knew exactly what he did, because he always hauled his rifle muzzle down on the transmission hump. You can't believe the dammage that 180gr. Rem bronze point did to his poor pick-up. Thing is, I always insisted he open his bolt when we were hunting together, and it always irritated him. It took a week to get his rig home, because he was hunting private tree farm land, and they closed it through the week, so we towed it in the next Sat. Totally destroyed his transmission. HAUL ALL HUNTING RIFLES UNLOADED!!!

Clay Cooper

Shaky
When I remove the round any round from a bolt gun or unload it completely, I make a visual inspection of the chamber as I push the bolt forward and over the rounds that I’m holding down in the magazine making totally sure that no round in fed into the chamber. As the bolt stops due to coming in contact with the trigger mechanism, I take my middle right finger to pull the trigger to release the firing pin as I rotate the bolt closed and on some rifle the bolt handle will stop and you release the trigger and it goes the remainder of the way down closed on an empty chamber and two things result in doing this. First you just lowered the firing pin on a empty chamber that you visually and physically and knowingly know it is void of a round. Second you can visually look at a distance the position of the firing pin being down knowing you unloaded it. In Alaska I ran into a Caribou Hunter that I thought he practices it. He was caring a 03-A3 30-06 like the one I have. But this guy knowingly knew he had a live round in the chamber and lowered the firing pin down. He said this is the safest way to carry a loaded rifle. He said instead of pushing the safety off, you just pulled the firing pin back. I asked him can I see it. I walked about 15 feet away pointed the rifle in a safe direction and demonstrated to him what will happen if he had an accident falling? I took my Buck knife and gave it a sharp rap, BBBOOOMMM! You should have seen the expression on that guys face!

Bubba

Clay

The VERY first Hunter Safety course I ever attended, THAT is exactly what they taught as the "preferred" method. Rather than rely on a safety, you simply raised and lowered the bolt handle to be "shot" ready!
I'm sorry, I rely on a mechanical safety and my own "human" intelligence to be "muzzle" aware at all times! Between the two, I've never had an accident in nearly sixty years!

Bubba

Clay Cooper

Bubba
Never had a accident in sixty year? Good for you! What about those other hunters that where carried their guns loaded on their ATV and in other transport vehicles trying to get the better edge on a faster shot Sir? Have you seen what a 22 Mag Ruger Revolver does to the top of a foot when struck by the but of the hunter’s rifle? I have and to top it off, we had to transport him to Benson Az. Can somebody explain why, when I was Hunting on horseback, I had the time to tie the hoarse up, pull the rifle out of the scabbard, cycle the bolt and shoot and still have time! GAME OVER! Have a blessed day!!

It’s not a question of if?
It’s a question of when!

Dr. Ralph

When the stock on my 40 year old Rem 700 cracked I put the action in the replacement myself, thinking nothing of it. First time in the woods I cycled a round into the chamber and BANG! Worked fine in the house at 70 but when I took it out around freezing every time I cycled the bolt it would automatically fire... last gunsmithing I will ever do!

Bubba

Clay

I ain't perfect dude! It works for me. I have never accidentally discharged a firearm but once, but it had absolutely nothing to do with a mechanical safety! It was MY OWN STUPID FAULT!
I learned, I always watch my muzzle. My daughter, the fed law enforcement guru, calls it "muzzle integrity"!
Now, before you get all het up, I carry my rifle "empty" on my 4 wheeler. Once I'm safely ensconced in my blind with everything set up do I load and "safety" my rifle! It is then unloaded BEFORE exiting my blind! I don't have to "tie" my horse, just lock the left brake, cycle the bolt, and I'm ready.

Bubba

John R

I usually hike into the woods. I don't have an ATV plus I enjoy the hike. I carry my rifle loaded, and slung on my shoulder military style. If I have to cross an obstacle, I will empty the chamber and lower the rifle over it and lay it on the ground (if dry) muzzle away from me. I then cross the obstacle myself, retrieve and reload my weapon.
When I'm up in my treestand, the safety stays on until I'm ready to shoot. It's funny, that I've never spooked a deer clicking off my safety. I have had a few bucks I decided not to shoot and sat up in my treestand clicking the safety on and off as loud as I could. You know those bucksr acted like they didn't hear a thing. But scrape a foot on the tree or treestand and they are gone. It never ceases to amaze me was does and does not scare a deer.

John R

Gad, sorry about the misspellings above. My clumsy fingers.

Shaky

My big bore training in practical shooting was done by a sarcastic old, retired drill sarge, and at times, I would get so angry at him I'd simply walk off and let him mutter to himself. He called me some of the most insulting names you can imagine. He demanded that I reload my rifle while mounted, that I unload when hauling in a vehicle or on horseback, that I clean all firearms immediatly after returning home from a hunt even though I'd only fired a few shots, that I always weighed the powder when reloading ammo, never wipe the lense of my scope with my shirt tail, take some sort of rest when possible because I might cripple some ground squirrel or something,etc,etc,etc, til I would get sick of hearing him blather. Today, even though I know I won't need a second shot, because the game is already on the ground, I discover that I have reloaded and my sight is on the animal, and I'm ready to shoot again. I never dismount my rifle to cycle the bolt when shooting at game. It's as natural to me as breathing. As natural as holding the top round in the magazine down while closing my bolt on the EMPTY chamber and letting the firing pin down. I always have time to opperate the bolt after dismounting from a horse for a shot, or getting out of the vehicle. But I never have had time to haul a hunting partner to the hospital after I have caused injury to him by my carelessness. This is a free country, and you may do things the way you want, and never have an accident, but if you, or anyone else, hunts with me, you will follow my own safety rules.
And yes I have lost a couple of hunting partners because of my demands and I say good riddance, I still haven't been shot by a partner. By the way, that old crab of a sarge died in 1984, and I still miss him, he was the best teacher I can immagine, and if I can accomplish half as much with my grand sons as he did with me, I will be satisfied that I have turned out a couple of riflemen to be proud of.
Oh yes, it was 48yrs. ago that he began to heckle me, and evrything he taught me has been of great value to me. I've never come close to having a shooting accident.

Clay Cooper

Bubba, I knew you did that! Just pointing out some of the most stupidity that I have witnessed myself! I had both a hoarse and an ATV until I retired. Got the scare on the right shin where one kicked me one day and nailed me good! Surprised it didn’t break a bone, pure black from top of my knee to the bottom of my foot and swollen big as the upper part of my leg. Speaking of ATV's that reminds me I got to change the oil in my Suzuki 500 King Quad!

Clay Cooper

You know when you’re having a bad day is when you, forgot you leaned your brand new Beretta shotgun against the rear of the truck cab and while you drive off, the barrel falls between the cab and the bed bending the barrel! Might be good shooting around trees?

Del in KS

Over 30 yr ago I saw an accident at a small store near Altoona Fla. During deer season a family had been camping in Ocala National forrest and stopped at the store for sodas. The parents went in the store, heard a shot outside, and ran out to the car. Their 10 year old son (in back seat)had reached into the front to take a single shot 12 ga shotgun away from two small kids. When he pulled the barrel dragging the hammer across the seat it fired a load of 00 buckshot that blew about 50% of his head through the car roof. Five yr ago a man and his father- in-law were quail hunting near our family farm in Effingham KS. On a covey rise the man swung on a quail and fired. The whole load of sixes hit his father-in- law in the face killing him instantly.

Del in KS

ATV's are indeed a handy thing to have in AK. I don't have one anymore for 2 reasons. I can drive my Tundra to my stands and there are too many barbed wire fences in my happy hunting gounds.

Thanks Jim but it wasn't the scope it was the glasses that would fog even when I used anti-fog stuff. The DR gave me a free evaluation on my eyes. Said here is what we can do and it will cost $2,050. No more bi-focals.

Are any of you guys starting to get TURKEY fever like me? Yesterday I saw a small flock of birds inside the city limits. One of my new favorite spots seems to have many Toms with multiple beards. So far the 2 birds I've shot there had 5 and 3 beards respectively. Longest was 11.5 in.

WA Mtnhunter

There is a darn good reason that most states require firearms to be chamber unloaded while being transported! See above posts!

Many guides won't let clients chamber a round until ready to shoot.

I won't walk around with a round in the chamber, particularly in the dark. Nor will I let anyone with me do the same. Point your muzzle at me once and that's the last hunt you'll be on with me, period. Made a few mad over that one.

John R

I think generally that is good advice WA Mtnhunter. The question is what do you tell all those still hunters (not stand hunters), the ones that walk and stalk slowly and quietly through the woods. You know they are not walking around with an empty chamber. I'm with you on the pointing the muzzle at someone or myself for the matter.They can find someone else to hunt with.

Clay Cooper

John R

I'll second the motion!
We all take calculated risks, the question is? How much danger do you want in it. Yes, I’m one of those that slip thru the woods with a round in the chamber and safety on. But when I come to a place that is iffy? The barrel is pointed in a safe direction, the bolt comes open and the round comes out! I was walking down an old cat trail on level ground and stepped in a very shallow mud hole about a 4 foot wide covered with leaves. Instantly I was on my face and the gun was instantly directed away in a safe direction. Needed a change of clothes and I cleaned my gun and by the way, the chamber was empty! Not a question of if? It’s a question of when! The reason I removed the round from the chamber was I was spending more time looking outward rather than downward.

Rocky Mtn Hunter

I buy and trade a few guns, but learned long ago, if you don;t know what you are doing, better take to a expert. I use a lot of Birchwood Casey Gun scrubber and then Rem oil or Otters. I do clean, wipe etc. Now and then willsand and refinish a stock with Tru oil. But, when comes to take apart or adjust moving parts, I take to my gun-smith. He knows what the gun needs and fixes for me at a reasonable price. If you clean a gun with the Gun Scrubber, chances are, that will gt the crud out and moving parts will work fine, with a tad of oil.Have seen, bought many firearms that a shade tree gun-smith screwed up. If you don;t know what you doing, best leave it to a expert. If you got a plumbing problem, you don;t need a painter. Like my family Dr. if he don;t know what's my problem he sends me to a specalist, we gun owners need to do teh same.




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