Pairs

It has long been my desire to own a matched pair of shotguns (yea even unto consecutive serial numbers), and this little missive from Mr. Free Market pretty much encapsulates my feelings on the matter:

The problem is that this kind of thing is, as the Brit expression goes, beastly expensive, as evidenced by this offering (click to embiggen):

Now, while the list price ($13,500) for this delectable twosome from Arrieta is perilously close to nosebleed level for my Readers, it should be realized that <$7,000 per gun is not a bad price for a handmade (albeit secondhand) shotgun — in fact, it’s almost too  cheap.  Compare and contrast with this pair of the abovementioned William Evans’s own guns, at $16,000 (also secondhand):

…or even those of another Spanish gunmaker, Aguirre y Aranzabal at $26,000 (new):

Ummm where was I before I was so rudely interrupted by an attack of massive drooling?

Nope, it’s gone.  I’ll have to go in another direction.

Look, I know that one may question the perceived value of a matched pair of shotguns:  yes, it’s a Good Thing that if one is going to shoot them serially (e.g. on a high bird shoot somewhere in, say, Dorset) that the guns should feel the same when one brings them to shoulder, and the triggers should be identical.  But say, for the sake of argument, if one were to find two shotguns from the same manufacturer of identical chambering, such as these two L.C. Smith 20-ga beauties costing all together just over $4,100 :

…one has to query the value of the “paired” guns versus a couple thereof, assuming the condition is moot.  Of course, the latter are not going to look identical (as the pics above show), and of course there’s that serial number mismatch — but (comparing the two L.C. Smith guns to the Arrieta pair) is the pairing really worth an extra ten grand? And we will not even speak of the cost of a pair of matched Purdeys

Your thoughts in Comments.


Afterthought:  as it’s Saturday, I thought I’d just offer the several websites featuring this kind of gun, for your browsing pleasure:  William EvansSteve BarnettWilliam PurdeyJohn RigbyHolland & HollandM.W. Reynolds and of course Collectors.

Enjoy, or else feel free to curse me.

News Roundup

…of all the stupid shit out there that isn’t worth a post of its own.

1) NRO advancing space technology, developing tactics to defend satellitesthat would be the first time that  National Review Online has done anything worth a damn.  [/snark]

2) Emma Thompson foresees us eating our petsto quote Truman Capote:  “Actors are stupid.”

3) Brennt Paris?quick, spot the picture where one of the protesters has borrowed a disguise from a 2020 Democrat presidential candidate.  (Spoiler follows)

4) Student jailed for saying what the rest of us thinkand yet, Muslims can say that Israel (and by definition, all Israelis) should be obliterated, without penalty.

5) Employers hate usbut they’ll take our money as customers, of course.

6) Charlize Theron can’t actsee #2 above.

7) Britain sees positive side of gun controlhere, here, here and especially hereand that’s just over the past 12 hours. (Hint:  one of those isn’t really a shootworthy thing, but it should be.)

8) Show yer bum for charity — oh, why not?

9) America’s love affair with guns is only getting strongertake that, Beto you has-been loser.

10) Headline of the yearwho would have thought that this was illegal in Britain?


Bonus points if you can identify the source of #3’s headline.

Murkin Food

After the post about my love for British foods a couple days ago, I received a few snarky emails which can be summarized by:  “Okay, Immigrant Guy:  tell us what American  foods you like, then.”

There are many, many  foods that have captured my fancy since The Great Wetback Episode Of 1986.  In fact, so much have they grown on me that when I’m Over There for a while, I actually say, “Good grief — all this Brit / Euro food is fine, but I could really do with a plate / bowl / truckload of ___ right now!”

In no specific order these are my favorites (and with thanks to the locals who introduced them to me):

Honey Nut Cheerios.  I needed something  to take over from the (American-style) over-sweetened Frosted Flakes as my favorite cold breakfast cereal, and Honey Nuts did the trick.  When the Son&Heir was still a weeny and I used to give him a baggie of the stuff to eat in his car seat on the back seat, I’d pour myself a baggie as well.  (Thanks, Maryann.)

BBQ.  I grew up eating barbecued (“braaivleis”) meat in South Africa, but it wasn’t BBQ — those chunks of smoked meat dipped in sweet or tangy sauce.  Pulled pork, brisket, pork bellies, Elgin sausage, spare ribs, whatever:  put a plateful in front of me, and keep your hands away from my face.  (Thanks, Cassie.)

Nachos.  Melt some grated mixed cheeses over a pile of hamburger/chili, beef- or chicken-covered nacho chips, toss a few jalapeño pepper slices on top (approximately one slice per mouthful), and you can forget about any conversation till the plate’s done.  And if there’s a side of freshly-made guacamole and a frozen margherita… well, dayum.  (Thanks, Brenda.)

Potato skins. When I first read about these things on a menu, I burst out laughing, thinking that they were literally potato skins — i.e. peelings.  So for a laugh, I ordered them.  Yikes.  Hollowed-out baked potatoes filled with melted cheese and covered with crispy bacon bits.  Two plates of those and a few (okay, six) beers, and I was a goner.  (Thanks, Linda.)

Fajitas. Chunks of marinated chicken / skirt steak, slathered with pico de gallo, all sizzling on a hot iron plate.  I discovered this stuff during a side trip to San Antonio back in 1985, and as I recall, it was about the second or third meal I ordered when I arrived in Austin the following year.  Wrapped in a soft flour tortilla:  Mexican shwarmas.  (Thanks, Karen).

Clam chowder.  First tried this on my U.S. “scouting” trip in 1985, in Newport RI, and by “tried” I mean had a mouthful of someone else’s because the thought of clams… ugh.  Then… well, never mind that “cup” bullshit;  I ordered a whole bowl, and was hooked forever.  Now I only have it in New England because I’ve become a “chowdah” snob (although Earl’s in Plano’s Legacy West district does a decent bowl, too).  And never mind those silly little cracker things… how about served in a boule  loaf?  (Thanks again, Maryann.)

Lobster rolls.  I’d eaten Cape Rock lobster in South Africa, of course, but never on a bread roll with seafood sauce, spiced mayo or melted butter.  Yummy.  My only criticism is that New Englanders eat the lovely stuff on a lousy hot dog bun — are you kidding me, when Portuguese rolls are available everywhere?  Toast one of those… and you can make mine a footlong (as long as I can call my bank manager first).  (Thanks, Hope.)

Streaky bacon.  Or as Murkins call it, “bacon”.  I grew up eating back  bacon (Brit style, kinda like Canadian bacon) and not “belly” bacon (as found in the U.S.), and I like both:  the pork-y, savory back bacon and the crisp, fatty streaky bacon.  But Murkin bacon with just a hint of syrup… stop me before I eat again.  (Thanks, Laura.)

and finally:

Hostess Twinkies. To call this gooey confection a “snack” is to slander snack foods;  eating one of these is childish gluttony par excellence — and then you have to have the second  one in the so-called “snack pack”.  Good grief:  no wonder our kids are clinically obese, if this is what we put in their lunch boxes.  Not that I’m envious, or anything.  (And for those silly people who might say that Twinkies aren’t a meal:  clearly, you’ve never eaten a ten-pack in one sitting, as I did in NYFC in September 1982.)  And no thanks to anyone:  I discovered these bad boys all by myself.

I had to write this post immediately after a big breakfast, otherwise I’d have been in trouble.

Feel free to add your favorite Murkin foods, in Comments.

No More Nikon

..at least, when it comes to their scopes, that is.

I never used many Nikon scopes — from memory, I only ever owned two — and I don’t think they were ever a force in the scope business, so this doesn’t strike me as big news.  I suspect that Nikon weren’t making much money in that department, despite their price premium over other brands, and as their camera business is probably under strain because of the ubiquity of phone cameras, this seems to be purely a business decision.

That said, I would point Loyal Readers to the Nikon Black FX1000 model, which I have  used before, and which was excellent:  clear, rugged and easy to use in the field.  Consider these two:  4-16x50mm and 6-24x50mm (don’t necessarily buy right now… just monitor their prices in the near future and if they dip substantially, buy either of them without hesitation).