Gratuitous Gun Pic: Ithaca Flues (20ga)

Here’s a lovely old beauty at Collectors:

A little background:  Ithaca’s “Flues” shotguns were based on that eponymous patented action, and were so popular that they ended up driving Remington our of the double-barrel shotgun business.  Some believe that the single-barrel variant shotguns were the best-selling ones of all time.

For me, the only speed-bump on this particular gun is the semi-pistol grip (rather than the straight “English” stock that I prefer).  That said, I’d get this one in a heartbeat.  Know why?  Here’s its description, from Collectors:

The barrels have 98% blue with just a bit of surface pitting, on the underside, probably from holding them there. Bores are excellent. The receiver has about 60% faded case colors with some light staining and speckling. Stock is very good with most of the varnish and some light marks. A good looking example you wouldn’t be afraid to shoot.

And the kicker:  its serial number places its manufacture (I think) in the mid-50s — when I was born — and the above description could be an answer to the question:  “If Kim was a gun, what would he be like?”

Old-fashioned, well-used, a little battered, but still trustworthy, and deadly.

Quod erat demonstratum.

“Second-Tier” Revolvers

They’re not the “flagship” models that jump immediately to mind when one talks of proud handgun manufacturers like Colt or Smith & Wesson.

Say “Colt revolver”, for instance, and the word that jumps immediately to mind is “Python”:

…and a lovely thing it is, too. [pause to wipe drool from chin]

But what if you can’t afford the $5 grand price tag for an original (79-80s era) Colt revolver?  Step forward its predecessor, the Trooper:

Now I have to tell y’all, I love love love this gun.  Sure, it doesn’t have the heavy barrel underlug of the Python, and maybe its trigger isn’t quite as good — maybe — but I have to say that it’s a sexy beast all by itself.  Point is, though, that as pictured, the Trooper is an astounding $1,500 cheaper than the Python, and while still expensive — it’s a minty Colt, FFS, what did you expect? — it’s not exactly a huge stepdown in quality either.

It must be said that Smiths are miles cheaper than most Colt revolvers, so there’s not much difference between the models, cost-wise.  But sticking with .357 Mag models with ~6″ barrels, the S&W Model 686 is a peach of a revolver:

…and I know that many of you have one (!) and swear by it.  I would, too, and did (before the Tragic Canoe Accident On The Brazos River).

But spare a moment for the venerable Model 60:

Honestly, I prefer the latter even if its J-frame is not as stout as that of the L-frame 686 (heck, my bedside gun is a K-frame Model 65, and I don’t feel bad about it).  And yes I know, the 60 is a five-shooter and not a six/seven-shooter like the 686.  A cursory perusal of gun articles over the years is replete with titles like “Model 60 — the only revolver you’ll ever need?”, so there’s that.

Frankly, I think the Model 60 is a more stylish gun — its slender barrel with a semi-underlug / ejector shroud is (that word again) sexy, and the one in the above pic has me drooling again.  WANT.

Branch line:  Some of you Smith fanatics adherents are going to compare the Python to the blued Mod 586:

…but no;  the Python’s trigger is not only better, but in a different class, sorry.  Not that I hate the 586, oh perish the thought, but… no.

Okay, all this talk of guns (and the pictures that accompany them) means that I have to go to the range, now.  Talk amongst yourselves…

Gratuitous Gun Pic: Winchester 1886 (.45-70 Govt)

I really need someone to explain to me just what it is about this old warhorse that makes my trigger finger twitch and my overburdened credit card start whimpering:

I mean yes, I know that this particular one is beautiful beyond words, and in a post-Lotto-win era would already be mine, all mine.  But still… I’m not nor ever will be a cowboy, and the chances of my doing any deep-woods black bear hunting are slim to non-existent.  And I already have a .30-30 Winchester lever rifle.

But I still want this one, oh how I want it.

Somebody help me.

Unpleasant Truths

It really pains me to write this post, but here we are.

For whatever reason, the response to this year’s BoomerShoot Rifle thing has been quite underwhelming:  so far, I have received just under $1,500 in ticket sales — money which, as any fule kno, has to cover the cost of the rifle and scope, as well as at least some of my travel expenses to get up to Idaho in May for a proper long-range field test.  (I had also hoped to raise enough to sponsor at least in part some of Joe Huffman’s expenses — notably for the BoomerShoot Dinner, always a fine event — but that seems to be impossible now [sorry, Joe].)

So, unless I get a serious influx of ticket sales over the next couple of weeks, I will have to lower my sights considerably, so to speak, and buy instead a budget setup (or just a rifle) and forego BoomerShoot altogether.

Please understand:  I am absolutely not chiding anyone about this, nor is this some kind of guilt trip exercise.  But the facts are the facts, and they are all as stated above.  So here’s where we stand.

  • Right now, I’m going to forego BoomerShoot 2023 altogether, unless circumstances change drastically.  It’s okay;  I love the shooting and the chance to hang out with a bunch of Readers, but it is a long trip from Texas — without any dawdling, it’s three days up, three days down.  The gun is more important, and I can sight it in down here in Texas at my sooper-seekrit outdoor range.
  • I had already decided to go with a rifle chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, as last year’s rifle was in .308, I got a lot of support from ticketholders for the Creed, and the prices of a Creed rifle and a .308 rifle are about the same.
  • Nobody was interested in a plain hunting-style rifle (“because I’ve got that covered”);  everyone wanted a bench-style rifle.
  • I’m insistent on getting a quality rifle first and foremost, so I’m looking at the Ruger American Hunter, at about $875 (including shipping and processing):

I’d love to get another Howa like last year’s, but they run over a grand, so there’d be little money left over for a decent scope (more on that below).

Anyway, this leaves me with the scope.

  • I’d really prefer to get an illuminated reticle because in low light conditions, it’s a game-changer
  • at least 18x magnification, which I consider to be the minimum at ranges exceeding 400 yards
  • first focal plane (FFP) scopes have to be ruled out because of price, so it’s SFP, I’m afraid.

Here’s the best option, I think, based on my own experience:  the Meopta Optika6 3-18×50 BDC-3, which costs about $800:

Doing the simple math, the two come to $1,675 (still less than the $1,500 on hand, but I’m hopeful).

So here we are, at the Last Chance Saloon.  If you’re still interested, checks and Zelle are your choices.

I’ll hold the call open until the end of the month;  then I’ll have to get busy with whatever funds are available.