I went crazy and bought three new guns and traded for a fourth.
Many of the restrictions of the COVID panic are gone as the number of ‘cases’ keep dropping. That means the entities known as “Gun Shows” are operational again. So I have been to three shows – similar to ‘flea markets’ – two gun shows and one ‘militaria’ show. Gun shows are primarily firearms (new and collector) and immediately related items like ammunition, accessories (holsters, replacement grips, telescopic sights and such) and some military related items like books, pictures of soldiers and military activities since the Civil War and Matt Brady and surplus items. (The old style green woolen ‘Army blanket’ was warm, most storable and cheap; they’re all gone. Modern blankets are pretty good, but not as good in my opinion.) “Militaria” shows concentrate on military paraphernalia like training books, uniforms (of as many eras as can be found) rank insignia, decorations, and some military small arms of various eras. They are somewhat connected.
I attended the Grand Island spring gun show on the first weekend of February. I was looking for my typical World War One military rifles, sporting rifles of the era, .32 ACP handguns and one or two modern rifles that may or may not be there. (They weren’t.) I was looking.
I did find a vendor to sharpen my sort of boy scout knife. It isn’t a real Boy Scout knife, but it is of much the same design. Has blade for cutting or whittling; can, bottle openers and leather awl. Made of stainless steel and handy to have in one’s everyday wear pocket. One vendor had fifteen loose rounds of British governmental made and issued ammunition for the British .303 rifles. I bought them for my display; they were older and had cupronickel jackets – which are outdated.
Looked at all the tables of interest, said hello and chatted a bit with a number of old friends, both vendors and other lookers. Literally on the way out, I saw a rifle laying on a table and thought, “There’s a nice looking M1917 rifle.” Then I looked at the tag. It was not an M1917, it was a P14 British rifle. I didn’t have a P14 yet. I haven’t ever to my knowledge seen a real P14 in the wood and steel. (If you do not know the history of the P14 and the M1917 U. S. Rifle, look it up. Great story. They are brothers.) So I took it home. It’s been cold and gloomy, I haven’t shot it yet.
Weekend of the 12th and 13th March was the Militaria show. They had a lot of stuff, but what caught my eye was a 1893 Mauser known as the “Spanish Mauser” carbine. It was in good, original shape. No the nation of Spain was not involved in WW1. They were neutral. But the rifles of the era count in my collection; it is of WW1 era manufacture and type. I have it at home now. I haven’t shot it yet.
Last weekend (19th and 20th March) was the Hastings Gun Show promoted by the club of which I am a member. I had a good weekend. I found a used but well preserved ‘Zastava’ rifle in .22 long rifle. It is a bolt and has one – count ’em – one five round detachable magazine (I do not plan on taking the Rock of the Marne with it). I have just this morning (Tuesday after) shot it – local range has indoor .22 range – with the equipped iron sights. My old eyes demand I get a scope for it. That will probably be easier on both of us.
Also at the Hastings Show, I found and obtained a(nother) Colt 1903 Pocket Pistol in .32 ACP. Very clean, excellent barrel. I shot it this morning the same time and place I shot the Zastava rifle. The sights are horrible, a razor blade front sight to be lined up with a tiny half-moon notch in the rear sight fixture. At seven yards, six shots printed about 5/8 inch wide and about 1 5/8 high. With those sights it was easier to maintain windage than elevation.
So, as to the panic being over. There were people out and about. The gun shows were pretty well attended partially due to being cooped up for so long and not much else to do. Not to mention all that money they have been forced to save because there wasn’t anywhere to spend much. Mostly, I think they wanted to return to anything resembling normalcy.
I started writing this in late March or early April. Many of my expectations have come to fruition. And of course, it is much easier to prophesy after the fact. (I attempt to be honest.) Goods are returning to store shelves. Slower than one would want, to be sure, but returning.
Prices are up. Commonly blamed on ‘hoarding’ and with some justification, much of it comes from the severe lack of transportation to get goods to market. The firearms industry, clothiers and auto parts stores are all having problems getting deliveries to their retail outlets from suppliers.
Not to mention the nation installed a democrat as President. Massive government spending – especially handouts, no matter to whom or why – creates inflation.
But all is not bleak. As Steven King said in one of his stories, “The effective half-life of evil is always relatively short” (from The Stand). And as God says, “I am that I am!” Meaning, He has all the cards.