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David Hines [userpic]

Gun-geekery: new toys!

April 30th, 2006 (01:13 am)

In recent years, some circles of gun geeks have decided that Tax Day should be a happier occasion. Which led to its being renamed Buy A Gun Day. (I kind of like Buy A New Gun Day, for the appropriate acronym, but that leaves out the possibility of antique weaponry, and who wants to do that?)

I was out of the country on Buy A Gun Day this year. So I made up for it by buying one new gun before, and one after.

That's my excuse, anyway.

Some gun nuts name their weapons. I haven't, for a long time, but you know what? I come from a family that names its *cars.* When I was a kid, we were a Volkswagen family. I was shuttled around in a monster of unknown model, "the White Beast," and a garish pop-top camper, "Minnie Maude Orange Crate." My first car was a Toyota named Cyrano; my second was a Ford Ranger named Chewbacca.

My current car doesn't have a name. Neither does my mom's. So I've decided to start naming my weapons, the better to resurrect a family tradition of naming stuff.

So my new toys are Mr. Sam and Gene.

This is Gene.

Gene is a Henry AR-7. He's named for Gene Stoner, who designed the original AR-7 for the US Air Force back in 1959. Stoner also designed the M-16; that's what he's most famous for. Anyway, the AR-7 is an interesting little gimmick. You can unscrew the barrel, remove the action, and store them in the rifle's own stock, along with an extra magazine. Put the cap back on the end of the stock, and you've got a gun that's its own case. Which is waterproof. And floats. They're reasonably accurate, considering, and fun to shoot. Eight-shot magazine, semi-automatic.

Here's me with Mr. Sam:

Cheerful smile.

Again, you see the "new toy" grin at work. Mr. Sam is a Marlin Model 336, in .30-30. He's a six-shot lever-action rifle.

Why "Mr. Sam?" Well, while I got Gene at my usual gun store, I bought Mr. Sam at Wal-Mart. The word is that Wal-Mart is going to discontinue firearms sales at a large number of its stores. I suspect they're just going to save money on record-keeping by keeping gun sales confined to profitable regions (like, oh, FLORIDA), but in the event they decide to get out of firearms altogether I'd like to be able to say that once upon a time I bought a gun at Wal-Mart. The name "Mr. Sam" is in honor of Sam Walton, the corporation's founder.

Interesting note: when you buy a gun at Wal-Mart, a manager checks over the paperwork and then escorts you out and hands you the (boxed) gun at the exit. I've heard some other gun nuts complain that this policy is insulting. It didn't bother me, but I did find it kind of silly -- I've got a concealed weapons permit, so it's perfectly fine for me to carry a loaded pistol into the store, but not to carry a boxed, unloaded rifle out! The manager and I chuckled about the way of the world some. According to the manager, this policy was the result of an ATF administrative ruling. That'd be a pretty impressive indicator of Wal-Mart's ubiquity in the marketplace: when the ATF makes rulings just for you, you know you're special.