Saturday, February 11, 2006

An unexpected gun encounter--the good kind

Today we celebrated my dad's 65th birthday, and at one point during the party, his wife (technically my step-mother, although since I never actually lived in the same house as her, it doesn't seem right to refer to her that way), anyway, she told me, "Hey, I have something I thought you'd like to see." She handed me a lightly-framed revolver which seemed to have excessive fluting on the cylinder. A couple of people got to witness my stream-of-consciousness observations (I lost my usual self-reserve and began thinking out loud).

A nine-shot .22 revolver. Is it a Harrington & Richardson? No, a High Standard. I didn't know High Standard made this kind of gun. It doesn't have a loading gate. Okay, I got it figured out (cylinder swings open). Double action. (Held gun to sunlight coming through window). Barrel's kind of dirty. A little rust on the cylinder & hammer. If I clean it up can I shoot it?

"Sure, you can shoot it anytime you want."

She went on the tell me that the gun was about 40 years old. Next weekend I plan on cleaning the old gun up and putting some rounds through it.

Another nice thing is that my dad has inadvertently built a very nice pistol range. Since the drought has completely dried up his small stock tank, he has dug it out and shored up the banks and the dam. It is now about 22 yards across a flat bottom with sloping sides almost all the way around about 8 feet high. So until it starts raining again I'll have a nice place to do some pistol plinking.

I've already done some cursory internet research on the gun and learned a little, like it has an aluminum frame. I'll see if I can dig up some better information before I talk about it again. In the meantime, here is a picture of this model revolver that I Googled up from the Kim Du Toit archives. The one I held today doesn't look as nice as this one. It has lost a lot of finish from the sides of the end of the barrel, apparently from being repeatedly drawn from its holster over the years. That's what the wear looks like to me, anyway.