Faith, Family, Friends and Firearms

Category: Shooting Sports

I Played With Matches

Another from the archives…

Yep, when I was a kid I wasn’t “Smokey’s Friend” – I played with matches. Never did we burn down a forest nor even a house or anything we shouldn’t. But we played with matches. And gun powder, fireworks, power tools, firearms, airguns, slingshots, bicycles, machetes, axes, lead based paint – etc.

And yet, we grew up. All our appendages were intact (in spite of that one incident where we re-enacted a knife fight from a Louis L’Amour novel and someone got their fingers cut) and our hearing wasn’t too badly damaged (I’m only deaf in one ear but can still sometimes hear out of the other – don’t tell my wife) and the only damage to our eye sight was genetic. We rode bicycles without helmets. We played soccer without pads. We played volleyball in the street. We paddled canoes without lifejackets. We climbed trees and chopped them down. OK – THEY climbed the tree and I chopped it down). Skinnydipping, fishing, bee hunting, wasp nest capturing, campfire building, lead smelting, gun building – all these and more were part of our lives. And we lived and grew up and became reasonably stable, sane, productive citizens.

We can kill our own dinner, as well as skin it and cook it. We can change a tire – or an engine. We can wire a house, run the plumbing, dig a well, build a wall. We can plant a garden, cook a meal, change a diaper, discipline a child, educate a child, train a dog, butcher a goat. We can find an egg, set a hen, castrate livestock, build a fence, change the oil, lube a bike, repair an innertube, load a cartridge. And all these things we learned as kids.

We also learned to say “Yes, ma’am.” “Yes, sir.” and call adults “Mr.” or “Mrs.” or “Uncle” or “Aunt”. We played “Kick the can” and “Hide and Seek” and “Red Rover, Red Rover” and “Barrage” (our own variation of “dodge ball”) Chores were done. School work also. God’s word was memorized and passed on to younger kids.

We sharpened knives. Killed, skinned and roasted birds (over the campfire). We chased bats, caught, cleaned and ate piranhas. Swam with piranhas. Played with snakes and tarantulas. Slingshot, knife and a sack of smooth pebbles were our daily companions. We wrestled. We fought. We stood up for each other. We competed with each other.

We lived free – safe in the guidelines set by our parents. No, it wasn’t a matter of “Don’t do this. Don’t do that.” It was a matter of “Remember who’s son you are.” and the knowledge that we should never cause harm to another nor another’s property. We were taught honor, love for God and respect for our fellow man. We were taught right from wrong. We were taught to think.

And I feel sorry for today’s children. Raised with a long list of “safety” equipment and “things not to do” because “someone might get hurt”. The scars on my body give testimony to “Stupid should hurt” and also to “bodies heal”. Our modern society tries to shield us from life. Why? I believe it’s because they believe that this life is all there is. They don’t believe in One Who is greater than us and One Who is preparing a place for those who love Him and obey His commandments. And thus they are bound by fear, tied down with chains of terror – terror of losing that which we all must lose someday. Our bodies WILL die. Life WILL kill you – sooner or later – it’s inevitable. HOW you live your life says a lot about who you are. Are you living life suffocated by fear? Or do you live life in the knowledge that if we seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness that He will provide for us and protect us along the way?

Love of God and His ways gives us freedom. Fear not those or that which can kill only your body. Fear Him Who has power over physical death and Who will either welcome us to a beautiful new home or Who will send us away from His Presence forever. That fear is healthy. It’s just like that admonishment of old – “Remember who’s son you are.” That sentence alone was enough to keep me on the right path, not from a morbid fear of some punishment but rather the fear of letting down my father.

Who’s child are you? Don’t forget. And it’s OK to play with matches – but use your head and play carefully.

Life Will Kill You

Below is something I posted years ago, and it popped up in my “Memories” on farcebook. I post it here as a reminder – life is dangerous, you won’t get out alive. How you live and learning to live to the fullest is the important thing.

The thoughts below were provoked by an accident in farming country. A well meaning friend responded to news of the accident in a “I’d NEVER let MY kid do that” way. He was raised in San Francisco, far from rural America. And has absorbed much of the overprotection culture inherent in that bed of socialistic “We’ll save you from life” society.

Life will kill you. That is something that a farmer tends to know as they are surrounded by raw reality. It is common for folks raised in the city to not understand the realities of life on the farm. Me? I’ve seen both. Give me a farm kid any day over a coddled, over protected, sheltered from life city kid.

Although we were raised in a small town and not on the farm, we had the run of the woods. We carried machetes and knives and guns and fishing line and hooks and slingshots and other ways to get ourselves into (and out) of trouble. We got stung, cut, bit, banged up and bruised – and learned that stupid hurts. We also learned that life is full of opportunities and risks – which essentially are the same thing. We saw life begin. We saw life end. We were not sheltered from the realities of life and I believe we are better for it.

The city has its own risks. They tend to mangle kids in different ways – often worse than getting run over by a tractor. After all, there are things worse than living free and dying young. Daily we deal with folks who have been harmed by well meaning parents who set them in front of a TV and let the idiot tube “educate” them. And yet folks still do the same thing – letting strangers program and teach their kids things which will harm them over the long haul. Instant gratification, borrow to the hilt, fast food nutrition and 30 minute (counting commercials) dramas in which everything gets wrapped up nice and neat in time for the next bit of fluff to air are the order of the day. At no time are they taught that one must plan for the long term, putting in daily effort so that the harvest will be sufficient to see them through the rest of the year.

Living on a farm one learns responsibility and sometimes one learns the hard way that mistakes are costly. The number of people injured by machinery or livestock is amazing. Folks in the city often don’t realize the amount of blood, sweat and tears that go into raising that Porterhouse steak or Idaho potato or Cesar salad.

I don’t mean this as a flame at you, my friend – not by a long shot. I do intend it as bit of parenting advice. Don’t let your kids grow up so sheltered from risk that they never learn to really live.

The moment that stands out in my mind most of all was the time just “the guys” went to the river. A swift, piranha filled Amazon basin river running over jagged rocks. The “old men” stayed in camp mostly while us kids ran up and down the river, shooting game, catching fish, doing somersaults off of cliffs into the water below, floating tubes down the rapids and generally putting ourselves at risk of life and limb. No mom’s around to scream “Be CAREFUL!” – just the freedom to run and explore and enjoy the sheer exhilaration of being in the beautiful outdoors. A few short years later a couple of young men were lost down stream from there in the Tocantins river – their canoe overturned and they didn’t make it to shore. It could have been us.

Life will kill you. It’s a matter of time. How we live life determines who we are and what we become, in this world and the next. On the farm you learn to get up, dust yourself off and get back on that horse. May the Lord grant peace to the family who’s suffering sparked this little essay. as they deal with the results of this accident. My prayer is that the costs of medical treatment will not drive them to bankruptcy. Most family farmers can not afford medical insurance. I know the community is behind them as well. Because that’s how it is in farming country. Folks know their neighbors and often share the burdens brought on by life. Thank God for farmers and their families who are unfortunately a rapidly shrinking part of our society.

Diana Model 25

There is not much information on the internet about the Diana Model 25 air rifle. It is a youth model, low powered and the originals were made prior to and perhaps during the initial years of World War II. I’m documenting the attempted resurrection of one of these rifles. Perhaps this information will be of use to someone out there.

The rifle came to me with a bent barrel. It’s not the typical upward bend resulting from the barrel being allowed to snap close under the power of the main spring. It is bent heavily to the right, to the point where the owner tells me that a pellet would get stuck in the barrel.

Barrel against the wall, showing decided bend to the right.
Other side of the barrel against the wall, showing the bend.

From the breech end of the barrel, you can see how crooked it is inside.
The breech seal is the old leather type, it appears to be in fairly good shape. We’ll have to hydrate it with silicone oil and see if it leaks when fired after reassembly.
Here are the major components of the rifle. The only thing left to disassemble would be to remove the sights and the piston seal. The sear will be left in the trigger assembly. There was quite a bit of precompression in the spring. The full length of the trigger block was under compression. The spring is 0.110 wire with 30 coils and 0.500 inside diameter. But it appears to be in great condition, no need to replace it at this point.
Left side of the receiver. This picture and the following ones detail the effects of long term neglect in a humid climate. There’s a lot of rust and someone took some coarse sand paper to it some time back. “Rode hard and put away wet” is the way some folks describe this condition.
One can barely make out “Made in Germany” on the left of the receiver.
A lot of corrosion, you can see the scratches from the coarse sand paper. Diana is there, but not easy to make out. The writing is more legible in the pic than it was in person.
It was difficult to remove the piston seal. The screw was held in place by a drift pin. It took nearly 40 inch pounds of force to get it loose – there appears to be a flat on the side of the screw threads that was either filed or merely deformed by the force of seating the pin. Don’t know if I’ll be able to find a replacement or if we’ll appeal to thread locker upon reinstalling. The piston seal is in excellent shape, now soaking in silicone oil to rehydrate and prepare it for reassembly.

A Few Days Later

The compression tube/receiver after being polished to remove most of the rust. There’s still some light pitting and discoloration from the years of neglect. I rubbed it down with some Brownell’s Oxphobluing (I THINK that’s what it’s called) and the resulting finish is splotchy (as expected) but not too horrid – much better than the rust and such.
You can see the “Made In Germany” stamp fairly clearly now.
The piston reassembled. The leather seal sat in silicone oil for a few days to rehydrate after years of being stored. It all went together smoothly.
One thing that “popped out at me” almost literally – the pin that locked the screw in place from the factory got cammed out a bit when I forced the screw loose. Of course, the piston would NOT slide into the tube that way. Used a tool to set the pin back against the screw, it should be good to go now.
The trigger after being sanded to remove the rust.
It blued up nicely.

After a bit of proper lubing of the spring and other parts, the rifle was reassembled. I’d had some doubts about the process, but over on the Gateway To Airguns forum Jon “eeler1” posted a link to a video about a similar rifle. This one is a Winchester 422, and looks like a dead ringer for the Model 25. It’s actually a Diana Model 22, but I don’t know what the differences are between the two models. I’d not checked out the NorthWest Airgun channel in a while. He’s got some other good stuff over there. Worth taking a look if you’re interested in airguns. Anyway, he did three videos on his grandson’s rifle – and that was a big help as when he reassembled he showed me how to do the trigger. I’d been over thinking it and was planning to make a slave pin for the trigger. That would NOT have worked. When I saw him put it together things clicked in my brain and sure enough, it’s not as hard as I thought it was. There was some kind of hangup, but eventually I got it together properly and voilá! The rifle shoots!

I took the first five shots from a free standing position. The light little rifle is easy to cock and shoulder and the trigger isn’t too horrible either. But the sights. Oh, brother! The sights are not very compatible with a tan background, low light and my aging eyes (that were never that good to start with). Still, it seemed like the rifle was shooting to the right still. The center hit on the “bullseye” was a called flier. Pellets are some old RWS pistol wadcutters.
So I ran another 10 shots for a total of 15 and sure enough, it was hitting to the right fairly consistently, and a bit low as well. So out came the precision sight adjuster (tack hammer and brass rod) and the front sight was moved right and the rear sight was moved left and at 7 meters (give or take) the following target resulted.
Five shots at around 7 meters. Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Considering that this rifle wouldn’t even let a pellet through the barrel, I’m pretty tickled with results so far.
Aim small, miss small. I broke out a small black bullseye printed target and proceeded to shoot from 10 meters. Not very good. Hmmm. Moved back to 7 meters and the point of impact raised a bit, but it’s still not a target rifle. Still, I’m tickled to have it shooting.
The Diana Model 25
And the other side.

Jailbait for sure

The hoplophobes on duty at the book of face continue on their path of idiocy. Singling out those who disagree with their world view, they don’t even give an option to contest their arbitrary affirmation that their”community standards” have been violated. I’ve read their drivel and this image and the caption it contains does NOT violate their stated standards.  Their only true apparent “standards” are to harass God-fearing men of european descent. The only result of such persecution is disdain, ridicule and defiance. They can block me from their site, but their idiocy and hypocrisy are evident to all who care to think things through…

Waffenschmieden – Weapons Forge – Why “Gun Control” will never work

This video came up on my radar recently.  An image of a Colt Model P – also known as the Single Action Army, SAA, Peacemaker or M1873 – but labeled “1880 single action Revolver built from scratch (part 1)” caught my eye.  Upon skimming through the video I saw someone making the first parts of the well known “cowboy gun”.  A quick search in Google Translate gave the meaning of the channel’s name (hint – it’s in the title of this piece) and skimming through the series showed a functional sixgun coming out of bits and pieces of steel.  Everything – EVERYTHING – in the build was made from scratch.  Frame, barrel, action parts, springs, grips, screws – EVERYTHING.  At first I wasn’t sure, but the builder is a lady, a very talented lady.  And she’s not a “gunsmith”, just an enthusiastic firearms enthusiast who is also a talented metal working craftswoman. 

Calibers I’d love to try

In the post just prior to this one, I wrote up a list of calibers I’ve fired over the course of my life so far.  It’s a rather eclectic collection, containing from the mundane to some of the more esoteric calibers.  This is due to the variety of friends with unconventional tastes who by their generosity have allowed me to fire their guns and ammo.  This list is a bit different, it’s one that shows some of the gaping holes in my shooting experience, holes that I hope someday to fill. Note that these are just some that come to mind. When visiting friends and family and the chance comes up to “burn powder”, usually I’ll give just about anything a try – once.

A variety of calibers

Over the years it has been my pleasure to shoot just about anything that comes along, my motto being “Almost anything once” when it comes to the delightful sport of shooting.  Something sparked my memory and I put up a partial list of calibers I’ve fired over the years.  Well, that lead to more cogitation and so here’s a list of calibers I’ve fired at one time or another.  When comparing this list to “Cartridges Of The World” (ANY edition thereof) it’s a very  small and puny list.  But compared to the fact that most folks can’t name more than a half dozen calibers, it ain’t too shabby – especially considering that most of my life has been spent where the shooting sports are not exactly encouraged.  The generosity of friends and family during our brief times of sojourning up North has allowed me to rack up an interesting (to ME anyway)  list. It’s organized as follows – Calibers fired in pistols/handguns, Calibers fired in rifles, Shotgun gauges fired, Muzzle Loaders/cap and ball revolvers. If memory coughs up something more I’ll update the list. Note that the caliber designation does not necessarily indicate the type of firearm from which it was fired. A good example is the 50 BMG (Browning Machine Gun) which was actually fired from a Barrett semi-automatic rifle that belonged to a friend.

Are You A Hoplophobe Or A Rational Person?

The Merriam Webster dictionary defines a phobia as:

An exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of a particular object, class of objects, or situation.

In other words, a phobia goes beyond reason and causes a person to act according to the fear instead of pursuing a course guided by reason.  There are many ways one can gain mastery of one’s emotions and fears, but they all imply placing ourselves in the uncomfortable position of having to reason through a situation instead of allowing a knee jerk reaction to dominate our life.

In the case of hoplophobia, at the current time an irrational fear is being generated by the mass media and politicians in order to drive the public to take certain actions out of irrational fear instead of acting according to reason and wisdom.  But what is hoplophobia, you ask?  According to the late Jeff Cooper, originator of the term, hoplophobia is the irrational fear of weapons.  Right here is where some will stop reading, much like an arachnophobe might exit an area screaming in fear over seeing a spider’s web.  There’s not much reason in attempting to reason with someone who reacts so irrationally.  If you’re still reading then you show some degree of common sense and a willingness to consider facts instead of hype and fear mongering.

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