i took my target rifle out of the safe tonight, intent on tinkering. i'm going out to the range this weekend, and wanted to make some adjustments to the scope mounts and the trigger stop. i had it taken down to component parts, cleaned and reassembled except for the final barrel insertion back into the stock. i realized i was humming.
i've been harassed for years about my whistling. i'm always whistling some tuneless soundtrack i hear playing in the background of my life's usual symphony of noise. but hum? not usually. it struck me that i was content, that i was doing something that brings me great peace and contentment. it seems weird that working on a gun would be peaceful, but it is. i don't have anything else going on to distract me while working on my firearms. they are the center of the universe for the time i've got them stripped down, parts soaking in solvent, considering what i'm going to tinker with next. it's not really a zen thing, as opposed to actually shooting them is, but more a centering and focusing of my manual skills and knowledge of mechanics. the world still exists, it just doesn't matter. when i'm shooting, there is nothing in the world but me, my firearm, and the target.
i've become something of an amateur gunsmith. i've done some machining, hand fitting, modifying, the sorts of things most active and dedicated shooters learn to do if they stay with the sport. i've rebuilt a loose and sloppy 1911A1 from a gun safe queen to a pistol range king. i've taken a spare receiver and trigger group, and built a tack driving target rifle around them. i have learned to reload ammo, not for the economy of the enterprise, but for the sheer joy of hand building the very best custom ammo for each weapon. i've developed loads that are capable of delivering off hand groups that are significantly better than any commercial stuff with the weapon in a machine rest. i'm a gun geek. i'm like the kid in an electronic store buying gizmos to bump his computer up just another notch.
i puzzled over this a little tonight. why guns? why not something a little more socially acceptable, like pewter soldiers or rebuilding cars, or tying flies for fishing. and i don't have a real solid answer other than because. because i grew up around guns. because i derive an almost euphoric pleasure from manufacturing the ammo to shoot through a gun that i've worked on to make it better than the manufacturer thought possible. because i feel a sense of accomplishment when i walk out to the 25 yard line, and can cover the 50 or so bullet impacts from my .357 with a silver dollar on those days when everything, including me, works just right. or finding the 100 yard target has one hole in it, caused by 10 bullets from my target rifle.
and i'm a closet zealot. well, that's bullshit. i'm openly pro-gun. why? first of all, i think that this country has succumbed to the hand wringing crowd that think all guns are evil, and should be melted for art projects. now why would that be? bad people with weapons have done bad things. ok. so put them in jail the first time they use a gun to commit a crime, and don't let them out. but guns are easy to obtain! sorry, but it would be a lot harder if everyone that owned a legal gun kept it in a safe when they weren't home.
and one other thing. here's where people always roll their eyes, and give each other THAT LOOK. oh god, he's going to use the defense of our country spiel again. yup, i am. i'm no gun crazed militia yahoo, living in a cabin in the backwoods, plotting the overthrow of the heathens running our great country. nope. i'm just someone that firmly believes that the founding fathers of this country knew a thing or two about despotic governments, and the likelihood of one occurring on these shores if the populace wasn't vigilant and prepared. that's why i like politics. keeps "them" squarely in my sites, and i know what it is they are trying to do. if i don't like what my government is doing, i stand up and tell them so. letters, public discussions, and voting are my tools. but my hole card is always my weapons. if the government becomes too onerous, or if the worst happens and we are invaded, i will, and am prepared to take the steps i feel are necessary to protect my family and my community. this isn’t wackjob musings, but well considered and thought out beliefs. one of my favorite sayings (thanks monty python) is that nobody expects the spanish inquisition. the jews, gypsys, homosexuals, jehovahs witnesses, and others certainly didn't expect the rise of the third reich, nor did they anticipate the repercussions of that horrific regime. and what was one of the very first things done upon the reich's ascendancy to power? gun control, and gun confiscation. just because things have been ok so far doesn't mean they couldn't take a radical shift. i was a boy scout, and have taken that motto to heart: "Be Prepared"
ok, done with my raving. guess the next sound i hear is the black helicopters swooping overhead as the swat team blows through my windows. ha