Monday, June 07, 2021

Ah, the Hanyang 88...

I still remember buying mine...
"...a crude Chinese copy of the Steyr copy of the German original. The wood was pretty beat up and it was missing a bottom metal screw, the buttplate, and a stock fitting out by the nosecap. The exterior was surprisingly un-rusted with no real pits and a smooth brown patina, while the action was caked with a sludgelike mix of old WD-40 varnish and dust.

I asked him what he wanted for it, more out of curiosity than anything else, and he said something about how he'd wanted $100, but these guys were telling him it wasn't worth that, so he'd take $75. I thanked him for his time and walked on.

I stopped at a table run by some crufflers I knew and asked them if they'd seen the abomination. They had. They asked if I'd looked down the bore. "No, why?" I replied

"Because the last person to stick a bore brush down it pulled what was left of the rifling out in a cloud of orange dust," they laughed.

It turned out they'd offered him $35 or $40 for it, which it was probably worth in spare parts, and he'd left in something of a huff. I smiled at the story and continued my stroll.

A couple of hours later, I ran into him again, still dragging the gun-shaped tomato stake with him. "No luck?" I inquired, sympathetically.

"Nah," he said, dejectedly, "They all say it's worthless 'cept maybe for spare parts."

I need this thing like I need a hole in my head... but I am such a sucker for a poor, neglected military rifle.

I rummaged through my pocket... A twenty, a five, and four ones.

"Will you take $29 for it?" He would and did.