They say that the first step toward freeing oneself from addiction is admitting you have a problem. I do formally announce such today in this venue. By way of explanation, I offer the following anecdote:
Collectors are drawn to firearms for a wide variety of reasons. Just like some might favor blondes while others are inexplicably partial to brunettes or redheads, gun nerds typically have a favorite genre. Mine is classic military weapons.
Little gets my blood pumping faster than some cool vintage martial firearm. The weirder and more obscure, the better. The only way to improve on that is for the gun in question to manifest some cool story as well. As such, I am ever on the prowl.
The best of the lot might sport the actual stigmata of combat. Military weapons used by troops in action carry an almost holy ambience. At some point, some young man clutched such a trinket amidst the most intense of human experiences. The fear, anger and exhilaration associated with combat are unparalleled in the human experience. The weapons used in such action carry just a little bit of that secret sauce back with them to more peaceful spaces.
The rifle in question was a GunBroker find. For those of you who might not have had the pleasure, GunBroker.com is a 24/7 coast-to-coast gun show. If you cannot find it on GunBroker, you really don’t need it.
GunBroker itself has a fascinating history. Just before the turn of the millennium, eBay decided to do some virtue signaling and prohibited the sale of firearms on their website. In response, Steven Urvan started GunBroker, a dedicated auction site catering to firearm enthusiasts. GunBroker has never sold a gun; They just connect legal sellers and buyers across the country and around the world. Their business model turned out to be fairly sound.
Today, GunBroker.com has six million registered users and averages seven million visitors per month. They list about a million guns and gun-related items at any given time. They used to have a dedicated iPhone app before Apple kicked them off the App Store. Now, you have to access GunBroker on your phone via web browser.
With literally billions in cumulative sales, GunBroker.com is the third-largest auction site on the internet, right after eBay and eBay Motors. It’s counted among the top 400 most popular websites ever. In retrospect, perhaps eBay and Apple just don’t like money.
A Certifiable Piece of Junk
Anyway, the gun in question was a nice British No. 4 Lee-Enfield. The No. 4 was a World War II vintage evolutionary development of the previous Short Magazine Lee Enfield (SMLE). British Tommies affectionately referred to the SMLE as the Smelly. Both guns remained in production throughout WWII. At a glance, you can differentiate between the two rifles by the muzzle. That of the Smelly is flat, while the No. 4 muzzle sports a stubby bit of barrel.
The No. 4 was a bit cheaper and faster to make and saw service with Commonwealth troops in all theaters of war. This particular example had a nice action and a well-preserved finish. It had also been blown up.
At some point in its military service, this particular rifle had been subjected to the kinetic effects of some kind of fragmenting weapon. The wooden forearm was shattered, and the barrel cocked off at a jaunty angle. There were deep gouges in the steel. The action still worked fine, but firing this weapon would have transformed the rifle into a bomb. The old vintage gun was a certifiable piece of junk, yet I absolutely had to have it.
In my defense, there aren’t a whole lot of idiots like me wandering the world. Therefore, I got the derelict old gun cheap. It transferred in painlessly via my C&R FFL and now resides comfortably in the corner of my man space. I pawed over the shattered implement of destruction, mentally cataloged its many battle scars, and let my mind wander as to the specifics of their origin. The seller had found the gun in an estate sale and had no idea of its story. I had to fill in the details myself. Fortunately, I have a vivid imagination.
It’s quite possibly the most worthless gun thing that I own. While I could theoretically re-barrel the rifle and source a fresh stock, that would be stupid. That onerous chore would require some special tools and special talent. The restoration project would cost far more than a comparable original rifle in good shape might be. It would also further ruin this already ruined rifle. The intrinsic value of this beat-up old gun stems from its many mechanical warts.
If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m still glad I threw a couple of hundred bucks away on this battered old combat veteran rifle. It has absolutely no practical utility, but it looks cool in a quirky sort of way. As my sunset years approach, I might just aspire to something similar myself.
A record share of voters in NBC News’ latest poll say that they or someone in their household owns a gun.
More than half of American voters — 52% — say they or someone in their household owns a gun, per the latest NBC News national poll.
That’s the highest share of voters who say that they or someone in their household owns a gun in the history of the NBC News poll, on a question dating back to 1999.
In 2019, 46% of Americans said that they or someone in their household owned a gun, per an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. And in February 2013, that share was 42%.
“In the last ten years, we’ve grown [10 points] in gun ownership. That’s a very stunning number,” said Micah Roberts of Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm that co-conducted the poll with members of the Democratic polling firm Hart Research.
“By and large, things don’t change that dramatically that quickly when it comes to something as fundamental as whether you own a gun,” Roberts added.
Gun ownership does fall along partisan lines, as it has for years, the poll finds.
This month, 66% of Republican voters surveyed say that they or someone in their household owns a gun, while just 45% of independents and 41% of Democrats say the same.
In 2004, a March NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found that 57% of Republicans said that they or someone in their household owned a gun, while just 41% of independents and 33% of Democrats said the same.
White voters tend to own guns at higher rates than Black or Latino voters, but gun ownership rates among Black voters have jumped in recent years.
In August 2019, 53% of white voters said that they or someone in their household owned a gun, and 24% of Black voters said the same.
This month, 56% of white voters report that they or someone in their household owns a gun and 41% of Black voters say the same, – a 17-point increase among that group in just four years.
The NBC News poll also measures voters’ attitudes about gun rights.
Almost half — 48% — say they’re more concerned that the government will not do enough to regulate access to firearms, versus 47% who believe the government will go too far in restricting gun rights.
That one-point difference is consistent with past results on this question over the past decade.
The NBC News poll was conducted Nov. 10-14 and surveyed 1,000 registered voters — 833 by cellphone — and it has an overall margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.
And honestly it’s bloody cool
These were giant concrete vessels deployed by the US solely for the purpose of making and supplying ice cream to US troops throughout the Pacific Theatre of war, able to create over 5 litres of ice cream every minute.
Just to put that into perspective, this is just the Pacific Theatre that we’re talking about. The US fought a two front war, and chose to primarily focus on the European Theatre of War. Thus the vast majority of resources and assets were sent to that front with the Pacific Theatre getting the(relatively) short end of the stick.
And despite all of that, despite the fact that the Pacific was considered the “less critical” part of the US war effort, despite the fact that they were producing huge quantities of ships and aircraft for the naval battles against the Japanese, they still had more than enough resources to create, run and supply a massive vessel for the sole purpose of feeding ice cream to their soldiers.
And honestly, it’s kind of scary when you think about it.
I like this Old Boys style! Grumpy