Welcome, loyal readers, to the time frame arbitrarily known as the year 2011 A.D. If anyone ever figures out when the universe was actually made and time began, then we can talk about what year it actually is versus what year some long dead pope says it is or what the calendar chiseled in stone of a long gone society indicates it should be.
But, I digress...and I'm not even hung over.
I am cranky due to being sleep deprived though. Saturday night, The Queen and I traveled into the frozen wastelands north of Castle Erickson known as Frisco to visit some long time friends whom we had not been able to visit with much in recent times due to The Queen's health and their recent addition of a bundle of joy. We had a lovely dinner with them, drank some wine, and had a good conversation. For the most part. That lasted until 4:00 AM. On top of that, The Queen had a hard time getting to sleep which means we were up for another hour or two trying to get her to relax and nod off. I think my head finally hit the pillow sometime around 6:00 AM only to be repeatedly nudged and poked by The Queen for committing the unpardonable sin of snoring. My body clock woke me up at 8:57 AM, and I haven't seen the back side of my eyelids since. Fortunately, we had planned ahead that we would be spending the night at their house. Unfortunately, we didn't count on being awake the whole time.
To add insult to injury, we had a full day planned today. I had planned to meet Number 1 Follower and friends at the gun show in Ft. Worth with a trip to the range to follow. The Queen's aunt (her father's brother's wife) was in town and had indicated she would be stopping by at a time to be determined. After dragging tail back and arriving home at about noon, The Queen puttered about the castle for a few minutes making calls to her brother and her nephews regarding the anticipated arrival of the aunt before trying to go back to sleep. I, however, plodded off like a zombie to pick up the youngest nephew and head off to the gun show. This was his first gun show at the ripe old age of 15.
The nephew was a last minute, but welcome, addition to the plan. For some reason, he had been left at his brother's condo in Arlington last night after attending a going away party for a friend from church. Since his older brother and brother's roommate were going to be gone for work and other tasks, the younger nephew would have been left alone in a condo with no food (which I didn't find out until after we had walked around the gun show for three hours) and very little to do. Rather than see the boy bored out of his skull, The Queen asked him if he wanted to go with me to the show. The boy (I need to figure out a good nickname for him. He's got several...none of which I can print) gave a thumbs up, and I departed the castle to pick him up on the way to Fort Worth for the gun show.
On the way, he and I chatted about proper gun show etiquette: 1) Be polite, 2) Watch out for your surroundings/people around you (I watched one guy snag his leather jacket on an $1800 rifle and almost put it on the floor...only the quick reaction of someone else nearby saved it from hitting the ground), 3) Ask permission before handling weapons, 4) If you break/bleed on it, you bought it. He's a good, if goofy, kid. So, I wasn't worried about his behavior. I was just trying to give him some idea of what to expect.
There was one thing that I thought was kind of serendipitous. The boy indicated that he has an interest in World War II German Lugers, and he asked if there might be some at the show to see. I advised him that there was usually at least one dealer present who specialied in WWII weapons and might have a Luger or two for his drooling pleasure. It turns out that said dealer had the table right inside the front door of the show and had at least a dozen Lugers on display. I thought that was cool.
I tried to check on him from time to time without pestering him to make sure he was enjoying himself. I needn't have worried. The boy is smitten with weapons much like his uncle. I did ask him if he had added any guns to his wish list to which he replied in the affirmative. One in particular he liked was the Smith & Wesson .500 revolver. He also got to fondle and drool over his ultimate dream gun: The Thompson Submachine Gun (semi auto version, of course, since you don't see many full auto guns at these shows).
My intent for the day was not to purchase but to peruse and narrow my 1911 choice down from three to one. Unfortunately, I didn't see either of my top two contenders at the show. The closest I got was the Para GI Expert which is the next step down from the GI Expert ESP I'm considering. I only saw one STI pistol out of the entire show, and it was a 2011 VIP which didn't give me a good basis for an apples to apples comparison. Oh, well. There's another show coming up in two weeks.
I did, finally, get an up close and personal touch and squeeze with another pistol I've been interested in for a few weeks now: the Ruger SR40. Once upon a time, I owned a Glock 23 (.40 S&W). Glocks are good combat pistols. Unfortunately, I was never really satisfied with my particular Glock. Part of my disaffection for the Glock is it's overall aesthetic. Another part is the frame and grip angle was never really a good fit for my hand. Bottom line, the Glock just wasn't the right gun for me. Don't get me wrong, if the stuffing ever does hit the fan, I wouldn't hesitate to trust my life with another Glock. It just wouldn't be my first choice. The Ruger is getting good reviews in print and in the forums. I really like the feel and look of it. It fits my hand and points very naturally. I'm really happy with my Ruger 22/45, and I really like the fact that Ruger is American made. I'd like to see if I can find a local range that has one for rental; or, in the alternative, find a friendly shooter that has one who is willing to let me give theirs a test run. If I'm happy with it, I may just have to squeeze one into the budget (they're not that expensive) and use it to get into some local competition shooting.
I've posted my gunnie wish list here on a couple of other occassions. I've tweaked it here and there just a little since, but its more or less the same basic list. Recognizing that I don't have the luxury of abundant wealth or tons of free time to indulge my desire to turn money into smoke and noise, I've come to the conclusion that I need to focus in on my "must have" guns and gun related items.
First and foremost above all else is the 1911 .45. I've wanted one for 30 years. It's 2011, the 100TH Anniversary of the United States Military's acceptance of Saint JMB's Authorized Version, and I can't think of a better time to fulfill my life long desire for one of Saint JMB's finest. It's a proven, time honored design. There is no shortage of parts for it. The majority parts from any one manufacturer are interchangeable with those of another. You can go from a bone stock Rock Island Armory mil spec GI version starting at just under $500 all the way up to a full on, "speed is only a question of how much money you want to spend", race ready, tack driving custom from any one of a dozen top name companies. I can't afford a tricked out custom or even a mid range production 1911, but I am going to bring home a good "entry" level 1911 before my birthday in March.
The next item on my must have list is an AR-15. This may take a little more time than the 1911. At the very least, I plan on getting a stripped lower receiver before the end of the year so that I can get started building an AR suited to my tastes. Or several ARs given the fact that you can go from a medium to long range varmint sniping platform to a CQB capable carbine in seconds by swapping uppers. Also, I've been rethinking the whole "end of the world as we know it"/zombie outbreak three gun scenario. The AR platform may be a better choice than the Ruger 10/22. Supposedly, you can quickly convert a 5.56mm AR to shoot .22lr by swapping magazines and the bolt and bolt carrier group. That gives you the option to run milsurp 5.56mm, civilian .223 or .22lr (when you can't find anything else) in a package that can be used at any distance from up close and personal out to about 500 yards. It also comes with a handy, threaded barrel which accepts sound suppressors as easily as it accepts flash suppressors and compensators. I'm liking this idea more and more. Besides, a .223 in the nose will ruin anyone's day.
The last of the must haves is the .308/7.62 x 51mm rifle. The .308 round will take down anything in North America with extreme prejudice. At least, anything I'm likely to run into. It will serve as a combination introduction to long range shooting gun, hunting rifle and "just 'cause I want it". This is another "which would you prefer?" contestant. For the longest time, I've invisioned this rifle being a Remington 700 bolt action. Lots of good pluses, very few minuses. Lately, however, I've been toying with the idea of an AR-10 semi-auto rifle in this slot. I'm thinking the bolt action is the better choice for a long range gun especially when the mid range is covered with the AR-15, but there is something to be said for quicker follow up shots without having to manipulate a bolt. Decisions, decisions.
As I told The Queen the other night, I could be satisfied if I were to be restricted to those three must have guns for the rest of my life. If I can afford to indulge any of the other weapons on my midlife crisis list, that's just a bonus.
It's late my friends, and I am tired. I am off to bed to dream of cold steel. Be safe. Have fun. Let me hear from you.