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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

HOM: Misfired: Bob, Don, The Hobo, & The Bean Can

Don owned a High Standard derringer, a little two-barreled pocket pistol in .22lr. It was designed to be fired double action: two long pulls of the trigger would fire the two barrels in sequence. The pistol had a weak spot. The part that sequenced the firing was made of plastic and sometimes failed to work. Don took advantage of the facilities at the shop where he was working and duplicated the plastic piece in metal. He showed his workmanship to Bob, his gunsmith father, who unloaded the pistol and tried the action, then disassembled it for a closer look at the new part and comparison to the old part. He proceeded to polish up the piece so it functioned even better and gave a smoother trigger pull. When he was satisfied with the derringer, Bob put it aside and puttered at other things. A few minutes later he left the shop, so Don reloaded the pistol and put it back into the custom case he had made for it. I guess Bob did a little more thinking about the part, because when he came back out to the shop, he took the derringer out of the case and tested the trigger pull again. Yeah, he forgot to check to see if it was loaded. He forgot the corollary to the Cardinal Rule: All guns are always loaded! Bob had a neat little pencil holder on his workbench that a friend had made and given to him, a figurine of a hobo mounted on a stand along with a metal can that used to hold beans. The errant bullet hit the bean can dead center and pieces of pens and pencils & chips of wood and plastic erupted all over the place. Bob's face was pretty white after that scare, but when Don looked up and commented about someone forgetting how to handle a gun safely, it turned red. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)