When someone describes a person as being inventive, creative, prolific and a genius, certain historic men come to mind. Michelangelo, da Vinci, Newton, Mozart, Escher, Edison are all names of people that have the above qualities. Many of you will have already thought of these historic men based upon these attributes. I must add another man’s name to this list, John Moses Browning. Some folks that have never shot a gun or live in a cave may not know this name, but if you had just said Browning, even the uninitiated would recognize the name as much as Winchester, Colt, or Smith and Wesson. John Browning was not just an inventor or Gunsmith; he was an innovator and a genius.
This has been the year of “Topper” shotguns for me. Fairly recently I’ve restored, or brought back to life, four variations of the Topper shotgun. Harrington & Richardson owns the license for this wonderfully simple single shot, pivot barrel shotgun which was first built in 1893. Many companies have built this model shotgun, with slight variations. The 20 gauge shotgun I just finished working on was manufactured by Riverside Arms Co., and was a “hardware store shotgun” produced in Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts.
Riverside Arms was bought by Stevens Arms sometime before World War I. At some point, Savage bought Stevens, so there is a connection to a long line of manufacturing prowess behind this shotgun. This shotgun has a top lever rather than a side lever release to break the action open. I think the top lever is much classier. Continue reading
The Springfield .30-06 is my favorite rifle cartridge. Yes, there are plenty of cartridges that are bigger and faster. Many of those bigger and badder cartridges will tear up your shoulder pretty quick too. When I was a kid, compliments didn’t come around too often. One of my fondest memories was when my Dad told me what a good job I did reloading a big pile of aught sixes! The .30-06 was the caliber of my Dad’s deer rifle (Springfield 1903A3) and that is what we primarily loaded for. To this day I get a satisfying thrill out of churning out a custom batch of cartridges. Continue reading
I am a very patriotic person, sometimes to a fault. I wish everything and everyone I love was made or born in America, however that’s not the case. The good thing is, Canada is almost American. They are our good neighbors to the North and for the most part we all like the same stuff, it’s just cheaper down South. I’m sort of joking, but not really! Para Ordnance used to be a Canadian company, but they came to their senses and are now called Para- USA! Continue reading
One of my childhood vacation spots was Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. My Parents met one another in Virginia when they were in college after WWII had ended. My Dad went to V.P.I. and my Mom was going to William and Mary College (right next to Colonial Williamsburg). Virginia is my birthplace and I enjoy visiting there. It was easy to find my Dad and I in Colonial Williamsburg, just go to the Gunsmith’s Shop! Why would you go anywhere else, you might miss something cool happening at the forge! Continue reading
When the name of your company becomes a household word, you know you have done something significant. Sturm, Ruger & Co. is a good example of this, at least in my home. The history of the company really speaks about what can be achieved in America with a little bit of cash and a whole lot of work and innovation. You can measure success in terms of money, but when you consider the accomplishments of Ruger, you must also think about the actual products, the designs, engineering, and the business prowess it takes to actually manufacture hugely popular firearms on such a large scale. Continue reading
There is a lot to love about firearms. I appreciate the design and the look of certain guns, just like I have an appreciation for old muscle cars. I like to work on cars and I like to work on guns as well. It is relaxing for me and it takes my mind off worrying about bills, and being mad at the Government so much of the time. Though I make my living in the firearms industry these days, it wasn’t always my “job”. When I was a kid, my Dad and I enjoyed bluing guns, replacing broken parts, reloading ammunition and cleaning the firearms after a day at the range or shooting rats at the dump. I still love doing all of those things and much more. Continue reading
I recently had the pleasure to spend the holiday season meeting some new friends and accumulating some great stories! My tale today is that of the Ruger Bearcat! Christmas Day was spent eating and talking. During the course of the day, I was invited to see a very beautiful home just over the mountain—the house belongs to a very gracious and talented woman. She and her husband, who was a Master Craftsman, spent years putting their talents and love into their beautiful home. I would imagine that most of the folks reading this article have an appreciation for craftsmanship, woodwork, skills with tools and a paint brush, as well as attention to detail! The house was gorgeous and the artistic touches put into the house were truly impressive! Continue reading