Day by Day

Sunday, October 19, 2003


When everything is boiled down, I like to keep things simple. Especially with my firearms. The less parts that a gun has, the fewer parts that can break or malfunction. I'll take a revolver over a semi-auto any day, and I'll take a bolt action over a semi-auto as well.

I spent Thursday and Friday looking for my birthday gun. There were plenty that were newer, or in a bit better condition, but they were semi-autos. Nope. I've spent enough time tearing apart semi-autos or full autos (the latter when I was in the Army) that I know I don't want to deal with that hassle. When it comes to cleaning my guns, I joke that I have OCD. My girlfriend says it's not a joke. I'll spend half an hour with a pipe cleaner digging into some small crevice because everytime I stick the cleaner in, it comes out dirty. Drives me nuts. I'm not a clean-freak by any means, as anyone who's visited my house can tell you. But putting a gun away dirty? You might as well ask me to stop breathing, because it ain't happening. I'll be scraping away with a dental pick because I'm still pulling enough dirt out of the chamber to grow a garden. I can hear my old drill seargent's voice: "What the f**k is this, private? You planning on growing flowers in that damn thing?"

Which brings me back to one reason why I like a good bolt-action rifle. A bolt-action is beautiful in it's simplicity. I can take it apart in seconds flat. You have four main areas to clean: bore, chamber, bolt, and magazine. The magazine is a quick inspection and wipe-down. I'll take it apart a few times a year for a closer inspection and cleaning, but it's not my main focus. The bolt takes more time, because I refuse to break it down, so I spend a lot of time with pipe cleaners digging and pulling out carbon and crud. Once it's clean, it gets lubed and set aside. The bore gets two passes with the bore brush to break up the crud, and then lots of patches and solvent until they come out clean. The chamber takes more time, because there are more areas that catch and hold the carbon. Lots of pipe cleaners and patches, and of course, solvent. Once everything is clean, it gets lubed and re-assembled. Last I check out the stock and barrel surface, wipe it clean, and then rub it down with a silicone cloth to prevent corrosion.

All in all, it's about a half-hour to an hour, depending on how dirty the gun is. Most people see me cleaning and say "Geez man, get a grip!" I have a grip, people, and it's very nice and clean. I've heard people say "Well, a .22 shoots better when it's a little dirty." Yep, and they corrode very nicely that way too. I can show you the corrosion that can occur when you don't clean them properly. I expect to leave my guns in my will when I die at a ripe old age. The person who gets them will find them clean, workable, and ready to fire.

There are several aspects of a semi-auto that beat out a bolt action, of course, I haven't seen to many bolt-action rifles with high capacity magazines. And let's face it, if the fit hits the shan, a fifteen round clip and a fast rate of fire is preferable to "shoot, work the bolt, shoot, work the bolt", ect. I have a pump-action 12 guage for home defense and bird hunting. I plan on having several semi-autos in my armory when I can afford them. But in terms of shooting enjoyment, just give me a good old bolt action rifle. Simple as that.

I'll post a range report as soon as I can get my target on the scanner. Let me just say this for now: It's an older gun, with all the quirks that go with age, but it's still as accurate as the day it came off the line. Any problems the gun had was from the ammo, or Operator Headspace and Timing.

UPDATE: Here ya go, as promised. This was standing, unsupported, at 45 feet.

Not bad for an old guy with an old gun, eh? I guess all those years in the Army taught me something.

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