I am pleased to say that I recently became a proud American gun owner, and specifically, the owner of a Winchester 94, aka .30-30, or, if you speak the local dialect, “da turdy-turdy.” I love this gun – it’s lightweight but amazingly steady when you bring it to your shoulder, and boast only a light recoil (the power with which a gun recoils into your shoulder after you fire it). I am also utterly and completely in love with the lever action – it’s so smooth and quick, and once you work it, the hammer automatically falls back into the cocked position, allowing you to shoot again almost immediately if you miss the first time around (or, in my case, the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth, and the sixth time around – true story). For that reason, I like to call it “a poor man’s semi-automatic.”
Like with men, I didn’t know right away that this particular model would be my one true love. When I got into guns and deer hunting this past fall, the first rifle I hunted with was a borrowed AK-47, aka Kalashnikov, since all the guys thought that the combination of its light recoil and my cultural background would make it a perfect weapon for me (as, in the words of one of Jacob’s cousin’s, “it was made for a child-soldier”). But, somehow, the Kalashnikov and I were not really made for each other, as I found the carbine to be heavy, bulky, and shaped all wrong (though the semi-automatic feature was sure nice). This happens in relationships sometimes, you know? Better learn it early and get out fast.
The .30-30 was my second rifle, and I soon knew that the .30-30 and I had a special connection – it molded perfectly into my body, and I found that the lever action was second only to chocolate ice-cream, if you know what I mean. It is here that I am kinda almost proud to point out that this particular Marlin I’ve hunted with had the disadvantage of missing rear sights, where the metal prongs that used to support the now-missing sights had been bent upwards to serve as pseudo-sights, propped up by a small chunk of wood wedged underneath. But the good news is, the deer lungs occupy a rather large area, and, with a bit of practice and luck, it shot me a deer anyway.
Anyhow, I had to give this Marlin back to the owner now, and I wasn’t going to face the prospect of another deer season without a rifle of my own. After some looking around to assess the options within my budget, I headed to Wiebke’s, a gun store in La Crosse, Wisconsin – our closest city. Now this Webke is a wonderful place – although the store is by no means large, it almost looked like every inch of the wall space was covered with firearms, and because guns are a real fetish of mine, I felt like I was in an enchanted forest. An enchanted firearm forest, that is. It was hard to stay focused in that place unless you were the kind of person whom guns leave completely cold, in which case you probably wouldn’t be there in the first place. In which case I am not sure we can be friends.
Despite my initial “the kid in a candy store” moment, I was there to look at a specific rifle as I had called them the week before looking for a used .30-30 and lo – they just happened to take one in that very day. It looked good, the price was right, and as my husband is already a .30-30 owner, it wasn’t a very hard sell. Yes, that’s right – my husband and I love to hunt deer with the same model of firearm – if that doesn’t testify to the fact that we are well matched, I don’t know what does. Oh, and this gun had sights! Ah, the sweet lap of luxury.
The real fun began, however, when they had me fill out a lengthy form stating that I was not a felon or a communist and then used the information to call someone mysterious to check whether this was indeed the case. When I inquired who is it he was talking to, I got a smile and the following response: “Whom I just called now was, basically, Santa Clause. To find out if you were naughty or nice.” Turns out, the FBI. I love gun shops.
Note: I might add pictures to this post at a later time, but since guns never just lie around and instead are locked securely away and out of reach, and since the kids are always around, there really hasn’t been a good time to shoot them. Pun intended.