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Saturday, September 12, 2009

HOM: Rimfire Romance II

When Mom remarried a few years later, one of the things her new husband brought to the farm with him was an old bolt-action single-shot .22, a model 68 Winchester, the peep-sighted and less-common variant of the popular model 67. It occupied the spot most farm guns did in those days, just inside the kitchen closet, handy for use. Dad was like many of the farmers then: a gun was a tool, like a hammer or saw, to be treated with respect and used carefully when needed. The "ammo du jour" of most of the farms was the little .22 short, usually of the Winchester / Western persuasion, though for shooting gophers (Columbian Ground Squirrels) they often opted for the hollow-point version. My step-dad gave up on .22 shorts after the night he wounded a skunk that was raiding the chicken pen. The one cartridge he could find didn't do the job and he ended up killing it with a shovel. After a tomato juice bath and the ceremony of permanently burying his favorite slippers he headed into town to stock up on Long Rifle ammo. For the rest of the summer both he and the yard reminded us of the episode whenever the humidity was high. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)