It seems like forever since I last did a piece bordering on idolatry about Mauser rifles, so here we go.
This one’s a pre-WWII ’98 Sporter in 8x57mm, and can be had at Collector’s for an obscene amount of money. Why “obscene”? Allow me to explain.
When I arrived in the U.S. after the Great Wetback Episode Of ’86, I was of course gun-less, having had to leave them all back in the old Racist Republic.
It took me few months before I managed to get my first gun Over Here, and it was identical to the one above except that mine had a single trigger and was, as the saying goes, very well-used. It was also quite accurate (especially as this was thirty-odd years ago, back when I still had young eyes and could use iron sights).
The seller was a work colleague — a bit of a dick, actually — who was based in South Carolina, and when on a business trip there I went over to his house for dinner and to flirt with his very pretty wife, he took me into his workshop and showed this wondrous thing to me, whereupon I was overcome with gun lust and made him an offer. He counter-offered, and we settled on $150.
Now the problem came about getting the thing back to Chicago.
Because I was stupid and knew nothing, I simply popped the thing into my garment bag, and when I got to the airport, checked the bag and was asked to fold it in two, I replied that I couldn’t because there was a camera tripod inside which was already folded up to its fullest extent. The airline check-in clerk just shrugged, found me a large cardboard box and taped it shut before sending it on its way.
Those were the good old days. Imagine trying to do that now.
Of course, I only found out a few days later that to own a gun legally, I had to have an Illinois Firearm Owner ID (FOID). This I learned when I went to Ye Olde Gunne Shoppe to buy ammo. Oops. That’s me: Oblivious Kim, breaking a stupid law again.
Anyway, I held onto the rifle for years, eventually selling it only in a time of great financial duress — I believe it was the very last gun I sold, back then — and I have to tell you, I still feel the wrench.
By the way: the guy’s wife and I had a bit of a fling not long after, so I got him for a twofer: his rifle and his wife, both very enjoyable to play with.