21 May 2007

My Inheritance

I'm leaving NC tomorrow to return to Alaska. NC is a fine state, has a lot of good things going for it, and it was good to see family after several years, but I am aching to return home.

Sadly, though, I never got a chance to get in some range time. I suppose if gas were cheaper, I would have had a little more freedom to borrow my parents' vehicles (they don't make a lot of frivolous trips, especially since both are retired now) to visit the closest range to Ocean Isle (in Seaport, about 20 minutes away), or the one or two in Wilmington, or the one in Statesville (closest to where my folks live in Lenoir).

Honestly, I was rather amazed at how expensive gas is down here. Please note the Whiskey Tango Foxtrot expression on my face--both at the price of gas, and the fact that my folks decided to fuel up at a station that puts money in Hugo Chavez's pocket.

Seriously, gas is about 40 cents cheaper in Fairbanks than what I found here in NC...or in TN when I went to visit my Grandmother Wilson out in east TN.

The cheapest I saw (and it fluctuated a few cents every day) was about $2.95 for the low-grade unleaded.

Oh, well--at least the family got to see my hardware.

Speaking of which, Dad pulled out his collection of firearms--weapons that we've had in the house since we've lived in South Carolina. Just, he never took us shooting. Kind of a shame, really.

At any rate, the prize among the collection (as I see it) is the Colt 1911 my Great-Grandfather Friend carried with him when he served in WWI:

This is a 1911, NOT a 1911A1. Here is the engraving on the other side of the slide:

Now, I have handled this gun before. As a kid, I came across it in a foyer closet while bored and rummaging through the house. I thought it was cool, but was a little scared handling it. Didn't know what all I'd have to do to make it fire (Single Action, with the squeeze safety built into the frame), but I handled it with care.

And, it has served as a personal lesson to me just how accessible a gun can be in the house if you don't take measures to secure it.

Anyway, some 22 years later, and a firearms owner myself, I had a look at the pistol. It is old, and has obviously been neglected somewhat (even though Dad oils his guns regularly)--there was some rust inside the slide, it looked like, and, personally, I don't think I would put any Cor-Bon through the barrel, but otherwise, it's in very good condition.

One thing, though--and this comes from the larger handguns I personally have owned--the 1911 is skinny! My USP is probably one and a half times wider than this handgun (even the 9mm would have been bigger), and the Desert Eagle simply dwarfs it.

Sidenote for a little family history here--my Great-Grandfather Friend was born to German immigrants (original name was Frehn, anglicized to Friend over at Ellis Island). He was part of the German community he lived in over in Chicago, and spoke German fluently.

When WWI came about, he fought for his country--the U.S. of A. In light of our current war on terror, I wonder if he had to put up with any of the suspicion that muslims wearing our uniforms are going through given this war against jihadists we're now in.

Anyway, if there is anything I want willed to me, this pistol is one of them.

The other two things I'd want willed to me are the two rifles on the right:

One is a Springfield 1903A3, the other a M1 Carbine. If I remember what my Dad said right, my Granddad Hatfield bought both the Springfield and the carbine and modified them for sporting purposes. What sort of modifications needed to be made, I don't know. Both feature bayonet lugs, and the carbine can take a banana magazine.

These features kind of make me laugh at the Clinton's gesture to make the U.S. a kinder, gentled nation (that's no typo--I used that term deliberately) back in 1994.

That 03A3 is simply beautiful. Don't know how usable it still is as a sporting firearm (I have a friend that hunts with an old Mauser in .30-06), but it is most certainly a conversation piece.

1 comment:

BobG said...

Some nice guns, especially the old 45.
By the way, during WWI a lot of people of German descent were subjected to problems; a lot of windows were broken in businesses just because a person happened to have a German last name, even if they had been here for generations.