Sunday, April 16, 2006

Busman's Holiday.

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:

*Ring!* *Ring!*

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?"

C: "Yes."

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...


Anonymous said...

You are my hero! Why are there are no single women like you near where I live?

phlegmfatale said...

Contrarian folk like that are why firearms had to be invented, frankly. Well, them and venison jerky.

Gewehr98 said...

Ian V. Hogg.

One of my favorite sources for setting the record straight when folks just don't believe you. I even have him taped on several Tales of the Gun History Channel episodes.

RIP, Ian.

Anonymous said...

My 1893 M-91! Where has it been? What has it seen?

Les Jones said...

Ian's dead? Damn. I've read and re-read Illustration Encyclopedia of Firearms a dozen times since I was a kid.

Les Jones said...

Er, that should be "Illustrated." Stupid flu.

Anonymous said...

This Seems to transend all support fields as well. One minute the caller is saying " I don't know anything about these things!" to "No I don't think your right about that!" after you have explained something to them. It makes me want to bang my head against the wall sometimes. I always try to bow to those with more knowledge in a field than me. If I have any doubts I keep them to myself and look it up later.