After moving to Missouri about three years ago, I sold off some of the “stock” in the gun safe to finance a tractor, among other things. Selling that first gun was hard — “But it’s an original RG .38, zinc frame, minty even!” Eventually, the dross found the light of day and guns I had completely forgotten I had went to eager new hands, courtesy of the sane gun laws of Missouri. I actually got into it, and found myself mulling over the remaining ones as the flock lightened, “Do I really need this Sharps rifle?” Then sanity stuck and I stopped before it was too late. But still, something hit me as I parted company with many of my old, iron friends and noticed their, um … er … eclectic nature.
“Am I a collector — or do I simply seem to acquire guns haphazardly as they catch my eye?”
I’m in the line of work near-deadly to someone who simply acquires. I’m lucky, in the sense I see a wide and often dramatic cross-section of very cool guns thud down onto my desk. But having said that, I’m also unlucky in that I see a wide and often dramatic cross-section of very cool guns thud down onto my desk. I keep a small fire-extinguisher near my checkbook to extinguish the flames after it heats up from near-constant use. Do I need a .32 Bersa with a 20-round snail drum magazine? I’d like to say, “Why no, of course not,” but nonetheless, am indeed the proud owner of one. Did I set out that particular day to search for a Bersa with a 20-round snail drum magazine? Nope. But did I bring one home? Yup. Ever been there?
There are times when I wish, honestly, fervently wish I could concentrate on a certain style, or kind, or caliber or era or whatever, to keep it all in check. But then again, I’ve seen that road too and you only have to look at our own Mike Venturino to see how he’s crossed over into the dark side of full-auto and military models. He’s now perfectly happy to argue about front sight variations in British Enfield rifles, pre-war versus post-war, all very single-minded about military guns. And here I am completely happy — dare I say giddy — about finding a “not very rusted” Marlin Model 60 .22 to use as a squirrel rifle in my E-Z-Go, around the ranch. “I could spray paint it black, Duke, and it’d look pretty good,” I tell him. All he says is, “You need to get you a good Enfield Jungle Carbine for that E-Z-Go contraption you have there.” All military, all the time. I can only wish for single-mindedness to strike me.
I recently walked out of Brandon’s Gunshop, here in Joplin, with a Marlin .357 lever action, a Remington Model 12 auto, an interesting 12 Ga. O/U, and, perhaps the highlight of the trip, a bluish-purple anodized .25 ACP Remington style derringer. How’s that for one day, eh? The remarkable thing is I had only stopped by to bring Brandon a few of the latest issues of Handgunner and had no intention — no intention, mind you — of buying anything.
I think Brandon understands the affliction. He sometimes calls me saying, “Hey Roy, I just got a .38 S&W break-top in, it doesn’t have any finish left and won’t lock up, it’s missing the grips and it might be missing a few parts too. Should I hold it for you?” The really scary thing is I usually say, “Oh gosh, thanks for thinking of me first, Brandon. I’ll be right down.” That odor you smell is my check book burning.
A really funny thing is sometimes, when I’m looking at, say, a bluish-purple anodized .25 ACP Remington Derringer clone, some other guy in the shop will come over and say, “Hey, what you got there? Wow, in .25 ACP? Who’d have thought they’d make that? That’s pretty cool. You gonna’ buy it? If not, let me see it, would you?” It seems I don’t suffer alone.
I just hope there’s no move to do a reality show about this affliction so many of us have. I think lots of other guys would say, “Hey, that looks like fun,” and then all the really cool bluish-purple guns at local gun stores and pawn shops would get snapped up.
I’d hate that. I’m an acquirer — and I don’t need any help or therapy, thank you very much.