When I started working on the Western Field shotgun, I already had two other “projects” laying around the house. This particular firearm was entirely covered in fuzzy rust and the bolt was fused shut from corrosion. The stock was moldy and needed some care too. The plastic trigger guard on this old guy was warped straight from screw to screw! There was a good inch of space between the top of the trigger guard and the bottom of the stock and the screws were torqued tightly in the wood. Continue reading
When people tell me “guns scare me”, I say “That’s a good start.” Then I tell them what they should really be scared of: criminals, politicians, lawyers, etc., but that is an entirely different topic. What I would like you to think about is safety. Continue reading
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