Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #70...

Speaking of John Moses Browning, did you know he also did bolt-action rifles? That part of his oeuvre managed to remain below my radar for some reason. I mean, I guess I was aware that he had done some, at least in some dark recess of my memory, but if you'd pop-quizzed me, I couldn't have named one to save my life.

The previous weekend I got to fire the Winchester 1903 autoloader (a T.C. Johnson design) that had belonged to the Data Viking's granddad. This past Sunday I got to run a few rounds through the single-shot bolt-action JMB-designed Winchester 1904 that Shootin' Buddy's grandpa bought back in 1921 at the ripe old age of 10.

That's right, back in 1921 a ten-year-old child could walk into a Terre Haute hardware store and reach up and slide his hoarded egg money across the counter and get his very own .22 rifle. I am given to understand that a pistol would have required a note from his parents by way of a background check, however.

You remember all the mass shootings they were having back then, right?


og said...

Partner's dad got a Stevens Crackshot via mail, simply by saving the ends of those 22 ammo boxes and combining a stack of them with stamps for postage. In a different world, certainly.

Anonymous said...

Winchester M1904, barrel is marked ".22 Shorts, Longs, and Extra Longs".

That is my maternal grandfather's first rifle. I cannot remember the amount he paid. However, what always struck me as odd is that you could buy rounds as singles. A penny for 2 .22 shorts is what I remember him telling me.

That rifle has been used to kill a forest of squirrels, rabbits, and one porcupine and a badger. After 90 years it still shoots like it has eyes. The thing was overengineered beyond belief.

The "note from your parents" passage is a reference to an old Indiana statute wherein one had to be 16 to buy a pistol. However, many sellers would ignore the age requirement if you brought a note OR they knew you.

My father purchased his first pistol at 14 with a note from his father. He took his money, the note to the sporting good store downtown Bloomington. The counterman looked at the note and said "Oh, I know your father" and sold him the pistol (Great Western single action). Imagine that today!

Shootin' Buddy

KM said...

Oh the horror! No fingerprints, NICS or permits?

What about the children!

Alan J. said...

Geez, I really miss those days. I wonder where it was that we took the wrong fork, and should have gone down the road less traveled.

Scott J said...

I read that Weapons Man article yesterday after seeing the link at WRSA.

Thought about tipping you off to it but figured you had seen it already and would take my tip like one to check your shotgun hulls with a magnet :)

Plus I find myself liking my 1911s so much lately I worry I'm going to become one of those people. You know the ones who celebrate JMB day with a cake and everything.

Gerry N. said...

When I was but a wee sprog of some 9 summers my Sainted Father helped me fill out an order blank from the Sears and Roebuck Catalog, then go to the Post Office to buy a Postal Money order for $19.95 and $0,85 postage for a total of $20.80, which I had cut lawns and scrounged pop and beer bottles for to send to Sears in Chicago for a Savage M19 Single Shot .22 Pistol. I had it for many years until it evaporated during a move. If I ever find out who stole it, I'll shoot him twice with it, once in the chest and once right between his worthless headlamps

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I wonder where it was that we took the wrong fork

In my opinion, the election of 1912.

But then I hate Wilson more than any other president, including the bad Roosevelt in the wheelchair.

Canthros said...

I've been told that the Haute was a rough-and-tumble sort of place, back in the day. It always seemed relatively sedate when I was there, but I was told that railworkers were a major contributor to such shenanigans, and there's just not as many of those around, these days. (Heck, the place doesn't even smell as bad, now.)

tailwind said...

Many of those old .22s didn't even have serial numbers.

Paul said...

Well, the biggest change since 64 and now is people. Lots and lots of them. And they seem to like the promise the democrats keep peddling.

I was 9 in 64 and just as happy as could be.

mikee said...

1964: 4.9 murders per 100k in US

2012: 4.7 murders per 100k in US

We aren't all that bad off these days regarding murders, and we weren't all that slow about murdering people back then.

BobG said...

I bought my 1903A3 back in 1968 (I was sixteen) for $46 in a gun store, and paid for it myself. No problems with guns back then.

roland. said...

I've been to the JMB museum and still had no idea he did a bolt gun.
Shootin' Buddy's story kinda resonates. My late grandfather's Remington 512 was the first gun I shot. It came home with me last Sunday.

Tpa Gunslinger said...

Nice pic. Simple yet elegant. Yum.

Jim Dunmyer said...

Scott J said:

Plus I find myself liking my 1911s so much lately I worry I'm going to become one of those people. You know the ones who celebrate JMB day with a cake and everything.

Wow, you mean you don't? You're gonna have to, if you want to continue hanging around the best gunny sites!

Hawken Cougar said...

A great History Channel documentary:

The Guns of Browning -



Greg Tag said...

Even after GCA 1968.

Circa 1970 - 1974

Grew up in North Dallas; Preston Hollow to be exact.

My Scout troop was sponsored by the Methodist Church next to the elementary school. Every third Sunday my Scout troops rifle team had practice. My brother,12, and I 14, walked the two blocks to the church to catch a ride to the rifle range. Each of us with open carried Anchutz or Remington target rifles slung, bolt open, over our shoulders, along with range box, shooting mats, etc.

No one batted an eye. Passing a gardening lady or her husband mowing the lawn , the reaction would be a friendly wave and encouragement such as " have fun".

Ammo was purchased at the 7-11 at Hillcrest and Northwest Highway, for IIRC 75 cents a box for the good stuff, standard velocity. They wouldnt sell us "pistol ammo", but since it was for a rifle, no problem.

We never shot up the church, the school or the neighborhood. I doubt if we could have even conceived of such a thing.

Our pants didnt drag down around our butts either.

Where , when and why did this change?



Darrell said...

Hi Tam, you might enjoy this--TTAG has an article about a shooting guide writen by Bat Masterson, featuring the Savage Automatic! Pretty cool IMO:


A PDF copy of the guide is linked at the article above. It's a hoot!

Old NFO said...

Yep, things were VERY different then... I can remember .50 for 50 rounds of .22LR and I think a box of .22S was .35

Sendarius said...

Even here in Oz, things were different then.

I bought a rifle - a Ruger 10/22 - with 16th birthday money from my grandmother, and carried it openly through the main street of my home town.

We had firearms licensing even then, and I walked into the police station with the rifle in my arms, and ammunition in my pocket.

No-one so much as blinked.

Then, somehow, -mumble- years later it was too dangerous for me to own, and into the government band-saw it went.

Sure, they paid me for it, but I wanted the rifle not the money.

Mr Evilwrench said...

They paid you for it, and where did they get the money? You. They used your money to buy your own rifle from you, then to destroy it. Tell you what, you must be one dangerous hombre!

I always just presume that JMB made a better one of everything that existed at the time, and invented a good few things that didn't. Saves surprises.

Anonymous said...

My two cents? When I was raised I was raised to understand the results of my actions and that, in some instances, they could be dangerous to myself or others. You may not subscribe to corporal punishment however, I firmly believe, it was the numerous paddling sthat finally convinced me that my Mother was serious I shouldn't play with matches and lighters...to the longest time (reinforced with a wooden spoon to the behind) for me to figure out why she was so mad when she caught me with them. Many of todays kids seem to have been raised to believe they can "do no wrong..."

George Hedgepeth said...

This was about 1/2 hour from me, back in the good ol' days.

Sendarius said...

Mr Evilwrench:

Believe me, I KNOW that they used MY money when they forced me to sell my rifle to them.

My increased taxes that year - $800.
Others' contributions to my future gun purchases - $11,415.

It wasn't just that 10/22 that I was pissed about.

markm said...

Fuzzy Curmudgeon: "...more than any other president, including the bad Roosevelt in the wheelchair."

You are forgetting the role of the other Roosevelt, the one that thought "bully" was a positive term. Maybe it started even earlier with the Reform movement using federal power to attempt to correct state and local problems, McKinley's protectionist tariffs, antitrust laws, etc., but the nanny state started under TR with the founding of the FDA. TR also founded the FBI, and played a large part in creating the _need_ for a federal investigative agency.

Some people put the blame on the tall gawky country lawyer with the beard and stovepipe hat, but his wartime emergency measures were eventually rolled back. After TR, federal power was on a one-way ratchet. Wilson definitely worsened the slide towards a powerful unitary government, but he didn't start it. Taft, Harding, and Coolidge resisted further growth but couldn't quite stop it, let alone reverse anything. It's possible that they could have stopped it had Taft won in 1912 and been succeeded by Harding or another conservative, but you have to postulate a different voting population to get to that point...

Tam said...


"You are forgetting the role of the other Roosevelt, the one that thought "bully" was a positive term."

It was a positive term. When he said he thought the presidency gave a man a bully pulpit, he meant that as a position to speak from it was pretty sick. I mean, to be the head guy of your nation? That would just be bad, man.

Dean Carder said...

Sweet old Winchester! I ran across one that looks similar but is chambered in 9mm shot shell. The gent that owned it called it an orchard gun. Nothing compares to the mind of JMB.