Like last Easter, Coal Creek Armory will be closed today so that employees can spend the day with their families, and I can take a busman's holiday.
I'll be making my rounds of the gun show down at Chilhowee Park, looking for an old Mauser of a type I don't already own or a decrepit old prewar Smith I can afford. Failing that, I'll buy one of the Yugo M59/66 SKS rifles we have at work and get some Trijicons installed on my Colt Delta Elite. Gotta do something for Buy A Gun day!
Actually, what I'd really like to find is the closest thing I have to a Holy Grail Gun (as Xavier calls it): A Greek M1903 Mannlicher-Schoenauer. Funny Mannlicher-Schoenauer story:
Tam: "Coal Creek Armory, may I help you?"
Customer: "Is this Tamara? Somebody told me to ask you about this old military rifle I have."
T: "Sure! Go 'head."
C: "Well, it looks a lot like a Mauser in the bolt, but it has a rotary magazine, and it says 'Breda' on the left side of the receiver."
T: "Does it have a cross in a shield on the receiver ring?"
T: "That's an M1903 Greek Mannlicher-Schoenauer..."
C: "But Mannlicher-Schoenauers are Austrian."
T: "Yes, I know; they were designed in Austria-Hungary, but they were used by the Greeks. That's a Greek crest on the receiver ring of your rifle. The 'Breda' marking indicates that it's an Italian-made contract rifle..."
C: "It doesn't say 'Beretta', it says 'Breda'!"
T: "Right, sir, which is an arsenal in Italy... "
[Insert more tedious back-n-forths where he disputes everything I say, leading me to wonder why he called and asked for me by name in the first place.]
T: "Look, why don't you bring it by the shop so I can look at it." (...and show you in print that I'm not just making this up.)
He brought it in and, with Ian V. Hogg backing me up, I showed him I wasn't kidding. He seemed surprised. If he didn't think I knew what I was talking about, why even ask me?
Anyhow, his was the nicest example of the breed I'd seen in years. I'd sure like to stumble across one like that today...