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Bidenflation just killed a national publication gem

“Soaring prices of paper, shipping, ink, and printing have put us into the red, and we can no longer function,” reads the personal note I received on a fabulous custom Double Gun Journal card from DGJ proprietors Daniel and Joanna.

What a message: Disastrous loss, beautifully wrapped and delivered on a silver platter.

My first encounter with the DGJ was spring 1991, in Rockville, Maryland, on a Tower Records bookstore shelf, along with Grey’s Sporting Journal and other fancier field sports publications. But the DGJ was different than any other publication I had ever seen, and, therefore, every quarter thereafter I purchased the latest edition and learned about reloading for black powder firearms long believed to be “obsolete” or “dangerous!” or un-sexy enough to compete with modern mass produced plastic and stainless steel firearms lacking a soul, a heart, or even personal appeal.

Distinguished gun and outdoor writers like Ross Seyfried and Sherman Bell introduced modern shooters, antique gun enthusiasts, and financially or historically oriented gun collectors to actually making those beautiful historic firearms shoot once again. Seyfried and Bell, in particular, removed the mystique and veil from antique rifles, double rifles, and double barreled shotguns with Damascus or twist barrels.

It turns out that the beautifully hand crafted double barreled black powder rifles and shotguns of the 1800s, and the early nitro express rifles of the 1900-1930 period, did not just look good. They also shot with incredible precision.

Since the late 1990s I have been an annual subscriber to the DGJ, eagerly awaiting each quarterly installment. In 2017, 2018, and 2022 I published a number of technical articles about Charles Lancaster double rifles. Of particular focus has been the development of Lancaster’s most valuable trademark technology, their singular oval bore rifling. For those with any curiosity, the Lancaster oval bore rifling looks like a smooth shotgun barrel. But if you squint your eyes and look hard enough, you will eventually discern an egg-shaped bore that rotates on a central axis. Lancaster’s proprietary oval bore rifling was long ago, and remains today, one of the great mysteries of sporting arms ballistics, because it absolutely defies physics. And yet, it works incredibly well.

An 1888 Charles Lancaster black powder double rifle that I shoot regularly is capable of placing paper patched bullets from BOTH its barrels into a 1.5″ hole at 100 yards. Now THAT is the very definition of firearm accuracy.

Charles Lancaster oval bore double rifles were The Thing for wealthy sportsmen around the world from the 1850s into the 1920s. That I eventually became the probable “expert” on Charles Lancaster oval bore rifles is due to a simple mistake, or a weird act of Godly intervention, or Fate. Because when now deceased Maine forester extraordinaire Tim Scott asked me to buy his Charles Lancaster .450 BPE double rifle, I bit. And then Ross Seyfried walked me through the steps of making it shoot safely. After that I was hooked, and the rest is history (see also lancasterovalbore.com).

And so here we are, saying goodbye to one of the last, if not THE last artisanal publication in America. A family owned business for decades, a byword and watchword and often the final word on antique firearms technology and reloading, the DGJ is irreplaceable. And yet it too is now fallen victim to Joe Biden’s hyperinflation. Everything is so expensive now, so much more expensive than it was just a year ago.

I recognize that Biden’s purposefully destructive economic policies are aimed at re-setting America into a more communist China-type place. While most Americans oppose this needless, illegal, forced, and destructive change, I think the loss of the DGJ is like the proverbial canary in a coal mine: Its early demise warns of us of coming dangers that can be fatal to us, too.

If you are interested in contacting the DGJ to acquire back issues, binders, beautiful note cards and artwork, etc., they can be reached at 231-536-7439 in central Michigan.

Maybe some day younger Americans will encounter these treasures, and discover an appreciation for fine firearms

My final article in the Double Gun Journal, thanks to Joe Biden’s purposefully destructive economic policies

 

Rusty ducks and ammo

My friend called me and asked if I wanted to hunt ducks on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Same general location that my son killed his first deer; a vicinity I have fished for many years. Several other guys would be along, all but one I already knew and liked. Sounded like a fine plan, and I signed up to share a hotel room with my friend and his son.

As the days went by my pile of preparatory hunting gear got bigger. Neoprene waders and boots, check. Huge and super warm waterfowling jacket with super old school camo pattern I bought at LL Bean decades ago, check. Shotgun in waterproof case, check. Wool long johns, wool shirts, scarves, bison wool hat, gloves and glove liners, warm boots, check check check.

Ammo. Right…hmmm…shotgun shells for the shotgun. What about the steel shot we have had to use since the 1990s ban on lead shot for waterfowling? Although I knew I had some already, I needed to get a good supply of that shot in twelve gauge, because ducks in general and sea ducks in particular are fast as hell and easy to miss. For every duck a hunter brings to hand, he might fire four or five shells. She might fire three or two, by the way.

So on an unrelated trip to that area several weeks ago, I checked Cabela’s in Hamburg, PA. I found a guy on his knees studying eight boxes of shotshells, and describing his find to someone on the other end of his cell phone. And I mean eight boxes total out of what had been a shelving system five feet high and forty feet long once filled with thousands of shotshells, and now containing a grand total of eight boxes of 25 shells each. And four were in 20 gauge, useless to sea duck hunters, who need the maximum power and shot load of a 12-gauge magnum.

So that left four boxes of 12-gauge #3 steel shot, which is OK for regular fresh water ducks but of limited use on sea ducks, which are bigger and tougher. And the guy kneeling down studying them was running his hand over the boxes, and describing them to some unseen prospective buyer chum.

“Tell your friend on the phone that if you don’t buy that 12-gauge right now, I am buying it,” said I to the guy studying the ammo.

“Buy it! Buy it!” came the cry on the other side of the cell phone.

And so I departed Cabela’s with only a flashlight and no steel shot. What the hell people are doing hoarding steel shot is beyond my ability to guess or even imagine. No civil wars will be won with steel shot. No home invaders repelled with steel shot. I don’t believe there are so many waterfowlers that every daggone shell produced is being used as we sit and read this.

And so it went at the other outdoor stores I visited, including mass retailer Bass Pro, where ammunition is usually sold by the truck load. Nothing, nicht, zero. Which then drove me past the retail approach and back into my ancient stashes of hunting ammunition. And indeed, I discovered a wide assortment of waterfowling ammunition accidentally stored in all kinds of odd and dubious places, like wader pockets, inside boots, PFDs, and in crumbling boxes moldering away in musty corners. But at the end of my search, I discovered in total about two boxes worth of steel shot, ranging from 2-3/4″ to 3-inch magnums to half a box of 3.5″ super magnums. Some of the shells needed help, though, before they could be fired in a gun.

And so a Dremel with heavy grit sandpaper was employed to remove heavy rust, and then a small wire brush at high RPMs to give a decent polish. Yeah, I was that desperate, but the work paid off. I was happy to have what I had.

I am pleased to report that the rusty old ammo garnered a healthy haul of ducks, which could be dubbed the rusty ducks.

 

A ring necked duck, an uncommon visitor to the Chesapeake Bay’s southern waters

Rusty old ammo, and happy to have it

Turning rusty old ammo into dubious but functional ammo that worked and got ducks

Sunrise off of Tilghman Island. What life is all about

 

Israel’s Independence Day, Holocaust Remembrance Day, So Where are We Today?

Israel Independence Day and Holocaust Remembrance Day are here.

Obviously these two milestones are related in the sense that out of the ashes of the European genocide against Europe’s Jewish minority (not to be confused with the similar and nearly simultaneous Muslim Arab ethnic cleansing of the Jewish minority once living in the Middle East, now presently applied to Christians there) arose the modern state of Israel on the soil of the ancient state of Israel.

Here in America most Jewish communities spend a full 24-hour period on Holocaust Remembrance Day reading the names of Nazi victims. By reading their names, they are in some small but meaningful way not forgotten. And by remembering them as people, larger society is supposed to remember what happened so that people, and government, do the necessary things so genocide does not happen again.

This is all sound logic to me, although it is questionable whether it works, or not.

Why am I sounding a bit skeptical here? Because the evidence isn’t supportive that this approach works, in the sense that it does not inspire humans around the globe to treat one another better, much less treat Jews any better. The evidence in front of us demonstrates that Holocaust Remembrance Day, with all its universalist activities, primarily appeals to Jews, their friends, and liberal-minded news reporters. Meanwhile, plenty of genocide is going on ever since, namely in Rwanda, Bosnia, Kurdistan, and now once again in the Middle East, where Muslim Arabs are sadistically rampaging among the religious and ethnic minorities among them.

And Israel has been under sustained and increasing attempted genocide from the day it was founded in 1948. Every libel, slander, lie and contrivance has been drummed up to delegitimize Israel and to justify the ceaseless murders of unarmed Jews within and outside Israel. Boycotts, divestment from Israeli companies, and sanctions against Israeli academic institutions and the government of Israel are proof that Israel, and Jews, receive an incredibly harsh and unjustified treatment from a world that really ought to know better.

Making things even worse, and totally odd to me and to most people I know, is the overwhelmingly liberal mindset American Jews maintain. Their liberal political views, on a policy-by-policy basis, are completely contrary to the Torah (the Bible) to which their ancestors swore loyalty and which created Western Civilization.

Abortion-on-demand and as a form of birth control, faith in big government, rejection of religion’s role in good government, gun control, you name it, every single one of the politically correct issues that liberal Jews believe in are at odds with their own founding document, the Bible.

One would logically conclude that a group of people who had recently undergone such incredibly painful and devastating attacks, round-ups, shot on sight, murder in the street, painful medical experiments, gassing, bodies burnt to hide the atrocity, and so on, you would think that the survivors and heirs would adopt a more self-preserving view. That is the conclusion that their friends have arrived at and said is needed many times, and asked why Jews don’t, for many years.

You know, why do most Jews vote for people and policies that are against their own interests? Like for Obama, or against gun rights?

That American Jews are overwhelmingly supportive of intense gun regulation is without question. Public surveys show it. Even more to the point are the lists of leaders on gun regulation; nearly all of them are Jews – Past and present US Senators Feinstein, Schumer, Metzenbaum, Lautenberg, Boxer – joined by an endless list of Jewish members of Congress, and not to mention the actual leaders of gun regulation, Josh Sugarmann, Shira Goodman, to name but a few, and not to mention the Jewish donors to anti-gun rights groups, like Bloomberg and Hechinger, to name but a few.

More locally, two years ago I sat in on a meeting between my then-newly elected state senator Democrat Rob Teplitz and a group of citizens gathered at a local Harrisburg synagogue. As the morning Boy Scout function there was the drawing attraction, and not everyone there was Jewish, there was one group of men who had just completed their prayers and who had then gathered to join in the following meeting with Senator Teplitz. Either the first or second question of the event came from a man in that group, who asked Senator Teplitz when he was going to become an ardent and active advocate for serious gun regulation. Heads nodded in agreement around the table, and Teplitz responded that he would be neither “too pro gun nor too anti gun.”

Further confusing many Americans is how vociferously anti-Israel so many American Jews have become. Whether by strongly supporting an obviously anti-Israel Obama or by actively participating in anti-Israel actions and activities, lots of American Jews clearly are at war with the one nation designed to protect them should the very things they are remembering now begin to happen once again.

Why would a tiny group of people, who have experienced such awful tragedies and injustices over and over again, seek to both disarm themselves and their fellow citizens in favor of big government, which has never anywhere been a friend to Jews or liberty, and also disarm and undermine the one country capable of protecting Jews should the you-know-what hit the fan?

Folks, I know you are moved by recalling victims and inured to maintaining victimhood. It is practically the Jewish identity to the point where “Holocaust worship” has been decried by the more religiously observant Jews; you know, the Bible believers.

If you really want to remember the European Holocaust and say “Never Again!” in a way that means something, then be able to defend yourself. Get a 12-gauge pump shotgun, learn to use it with buckshot and store it safely, and support a strong Israel capable of easily defending itself against all attackers. That’s it.

Otherwise, you just make people ask “Do Jews today really remember what happened, and do they really understand how important Israel is to them?”

In other words, people just must ask “are Jews really so smart?”

Downton Abbey’s “field sports” Part II

Guess I shot from the hip, shot first and asked questions later, didn’t identify my target too well, or another euphemism you may enjoy applying to the lack of foresight I brought to yesterday’s analysis of Downton Abbey’s field sports.

Yes, I could have sneaked a peak ahead of the coming scenes, like many other avid watchers of PBS’s hit show do, but because I lack the time and the inclination to sneak anything, I just sat down in my easy chair and watched the show unfold last night without advance knowledge of its content.

My Sunday afternoon essay about the mediocre depiction of the field sports of Downton Abbey was written beforehand.

So, yes, there was a shooting scene last night, or more accurately, some scenes of wing shooting at driven partridge from bona fide shooting butts, using authentic guns and nice clothes, woven in and out of the story about the Scottish castle party.

But once again, there was more focus on the clothes on the people holding the guns than on the Purdeys, Rigbys, and other Best-quality side-by-side shotguns being used to down the birds.

In 1924, $150,000-then-equivalent Purdey shotguns do not get left with the menial help in the kitchen. They are fussed and obsessed over by their owners, kept locked in their rooms, cased with abundant hand-made accoutrements, labeled beautifully by their makers, and often proudly handed down from generation to generation and worn with traditional hunting clothes.

Scottish castles are loaded with arms and armor, and we barely got a peak at the edged weapons welcoming guests through the front door.

The wagons taking the hunters to the field were right, and a nice touch.  I have ridden in such wagons on traditional hunts, and they are today an unnecessary throwback.  But back then, they were a necessity through muck and muddy moors.

Shooting driven partridge from the butts was mostly done right, with gun loaders ducking to avoid being seen by the birds, and we did see some people bunched up waving white flags, but a real drive could have been filmed for full authenticity.  Actual dead birds could have fallen.  Smoke could have emitted from the barrels.  Etc etc.

Depicting the shooting sports in so briefly and so shallow a manner is the equivalent of dressing Lady Mary in a perfect 1920s top with modern hip-hugger blue jeans below. It is just wrong.  Don’t do that!

A lot of non sequiturs occurred last night that really deprive the Downton Abbey audience of a full appreciation of the English field sport lifestyle, which actually reached its pinnacle in the 1920s (when cheap skilled labor was matched with newly superior steel and modern technology to create firearms that even today still command huge sums of money, not to mention the introduction and propagation of Asian pheasants to the English countryside), the time we are watching in the show.

I am sorry to criticize you, Julian Fellowes, because Downton Abbey is otherwise a great show, everything we want it to be. 

Last night was disappointing, because the rich details of noble Scottish and English hunting rites should have been indulged.  As a student of English history, you are missing a great, even important opportunity here to dig into a meaty subject which your audience will surely enjoy, even if it involves G-U-N-S. 

Maybe in January 2016 we will get a more thorough treatment of a subject that may be missing from Mr. Fellowes’ life today, but which was a nearly daily ritual for the actual residents of Downton Abbey and their peers in the 1920s.

Shoot straight, Downton Abbey!

Downton Abbey is my favorite TV show of all time.

Every in-season Sunday night at 9:00 we eagerly gather round the big screen, home made spiced popcorn by the bucketful for each family member, and we drink in the beautifully done details and attention to form and grace we might otherwise mock, but which suddenly doesn’t look so quaint nowadays.

Everything Downton Abbey is done just right: The clothes, the rooms, the landscapes, the attitudes, the horses’ braided manes and cropped tails, the food, the historic cars, the cobblestone walks, the Upstairs Downstairs separate lives of the nobles and their low-born helpers constantly saying “Yes, m’Lord,” and deferentially bowing.

That awesome acting!

For an award-winning PBS Masterpiece Theater show that has so carefully threaded the yarn of social commentary through the needle of the dramatically changing times of the early Nineteen-Hundreds and Twenties, it is bizarrely deficient on one count: The depiction or even the meaningful presence of field sports at Downton.

Field sports, like pick-up, informal, cross-country steeplechase horse races, formal horse-back fox hunts, weekly and near-daily hunts for driven pheasant, partridge, rabbits, stag, and red deer that for hundreds of years  made up the lives of real-life Downton Abbey residents and their peers until the 1970s, but still lingering on in remote places.

Not to mention salmon fishing with spey rods and picnic baskets filled with bottles of phenomenal Scotch!

Field sports were core to the luxurious but physically challenging lifestyle of the English landed gentry and nobility (and also to their Welsh, Scottish and Irish counterparts), and generated significant economic, technological, and cultural evolutions across the planet.

Downton Abbey’s second season delivered on the natural expectation among educated viewers that accurate depictions of field sports would be part of the rural landscapes designed around them.  And then, in one evening, Downtown Abbey did it right, to the hilt, as we expected.  As we had a right to expect.

Indeed, upon his visit to Shrimpie’s Scottish family castle, properly stocked with historic arms and armor, the most pedestrian Matthew (now dead) successfully stalked Highland stag, using period-correct clothing, ponies, and best-quality rifles, complete with attentive Ghillies nattily attired in the Hebrides’ best men’s skirts.  And he enjoyed it.  A lot.  How true that would have been.  How accurate it was to portray Matthew that way.

How normal that experience was, in real life, at the time Downton Abbey is set in, not only among the Scottish castle dwellers, but among the Downton Abbey residents, as well.

So then, inexplicably, we must wait another year and a half before we see even a brief hunting scene.  Sure there is a steeplechase, and Mary’s galloping sidesaddle was impeccable.  Exciting to watch, and viewers around the globe worried that she might fall; I did.  Jumping sidesaddle is a rare skill, which a gentlelady like Mary would have time to perfect.  Seeing it was, in fact, perfect to my eyes.

Well done!

But the hunting scene this season is awful.  It is shamefully bad, I am sad to say.

This time Tom, Mary, and one of her suitors take a walk on the Downton grounds with best-grade shotguns to hunt up some hares for the house pot.  Incredibly, Tom hesitatingly walks out into the middle of an open field, where no self-respecting rabbit has ever lived or been shot with a gun or caught by a hawk, points his gun up at shoulder level, and pulls the trigger.

At which point we are supposed to believe, what, that a Monty Python-style King Arthur quest-rabbit-on-a-string slowly sailed up into the air and delivered itself to the careful arc of Tom’s staged, static, single shot?

Come on, Downton Abbey!  This is not right. Not only is it not technically right, it’s not naturally right, but most important, it’s not socially right.

Just think of the potential social commentary available to the writers about a radical Irish Socialist private limo driver who then becomes the family’s land manager.

From being against estates, he is now the arm of the Lord of the estate.  From opposing monarchy, he literally gets in bed with it and his (now dead) wife Sybil bears him a child born to wealth and noble high status.

Putting the equivalent of a $150,000 best-quality shotgun in Tom’s hands, and a $5,000 wool suit on his handsome frame, while he hunts on the estate with pure-bred gentry at his side, surely we could have been treated to some scenes of rabbits dying in the place of King Edward, in Tom’s mind’s eye, or some other subtle but visual tension as we have seen elsewhere in Downton, such as where Tom feels physically drawn to the material comforts of the life he once intellectually opposed.

One can only guess why this dearth of hands-on hunting, riding, and fishing is an elephant standing in the castle’s drawing room.

Is it that Julian Fellowes is like so many of England’s effete cultural elite, openly disdaining even rudimentary firearms like single-shot rifles and double-barrel shotguns, and so including them only of the barest necessity in Downton Abbey?  And what a shame this is, because even for liberals there is rich mining to be had, a wealth of opposites, a world of contrasts in the universe of noble field sports.

Reality is not scary, Julian, nor is it objectionable.  Reality is reality, and if you are going to be historically accurate for our viewing pleasure, reality must be shown and said.  And as your loyal fan, I am telling you that you can put rose tinted lenses on anything at Downton, and we will eat it up, including rabbit hunting and driven pheasant shoots.

I hope you do it right next time, and include more accurate field sports portrayals.  To be prosaic, make sure you serve the other course with our otherwise fulfilling meal, please.  It should be roast duck or pheasant, with a scattering of chilled lead six-shot picked out from the rear molar with a pinky nail or toothpick like any Lord or Lady would have happily done in 1927.

 

For shotgun slug hunters, relief

If you hunt deer in a shotgun-only zone like southeast Pennsylvania, Long Island, or New Jersey, you know the common futility of shooting rifled slugs (Foster slugs) out of your smoothbore barrel.  Within 50 yards, odds are you’ll connect, but beyond the likelihood of bagging the deer drops like a stone.  Foster slugs are effective in close, but never real accurate. (My friend, attorney, and hunting partner George A. would like me to remind readers that he has shot many deer with his Remington 870 rifled barrel, and he can attest to its great accuracy with sabots)

After flinging about a lot of wasted lead slugs last month, most of which were within 60 or 70 yards at deer standing broadside, my frustration reached epic levels.  Instead of leaving my otherwise trusty Remington 870 wrapped around a tree in the woods like some tennis pros beat up on their racquets, I decided to join the growing crowd of shotgun hunters and buy a rifled barrel.

Rifled barrels are known for dramatically improving shotgun accuracy, and effectiveness.  Even a barrel that is nearly snap-on/ snap-off, like the Remington 870, is reported by many hunters to shoot remarkably accurately out to 100 yards.

So, scoring a brand new 12-gauge Remington rifled barrel (open sights, not the cantilevered scope ramp) for $170 was exciting, but was only step one in improving my score.  Next I had to determine which sabots (pronounced say-bo-z) would emit from that new barrel.

After extensive research (which now means reading both drivel and gold on the Internet blogs, forums, product web pages, etc.), I selected the reloading components at www.slugsrus.com.  These are the folks who invented, patented, and until recently marketed the Lightfield slug, as well as the Hastings slugs of yore.  Their proprietary wad and lead mushroom head slug (“hammerhead”) result in astonishing accuracy with 490-grain lead slugs.  Not just claims of accuracy, but demonstrated accuracy in all kinds of circumstances.

That kind of freight, moving at 1600 feet per second, is a whopper, the Hammer of Thor, a ton of bricks, a falling grand piano, and every other appellation you care to assign.  It is a stopper of enormous magnitude. Forget lil’ old deer; grizzly bears and other large dangerous game will have a tough time resisting the urge to lay down and go into the long sleep once they meet this slug.

So I spoke with Pam at www.slugsrus.com, at length, and ended up purchasing sufficient components to reload 40 shells at home.  Reloading is a lot, lot, lot cheaper than buying pre-made shells off the shelf. If you are like me, and you want to see for yourself that the new rifled barrel is indeed capable of incredible accuracy, then a good half or more of those handloaded slugs are going to go down range off the cabin porch.

If you are a shotgun shooter by necessity or choice, and you resent paying ludicrous prices for shotgun slugs, I strongly recommend that you contact www.slugsrus.com and see if they can help you both improve your gun’s effectiveness, and save you a lot of money.

Diary entry for a day in Central PA

With two business meetings up north and a pile of work to do even farther, the drive up the Susquehanna Valley the other day was enjoyable because so many of the trees still held color along the river banks and out on the islands. Yellows and oranges reflected in the water, and so did the blue sky. Quite peaceful and serene. Not a bad way to spend time driving. Especially when I consider how most Americans spend their time on the road — miserable gridlock, hideous urban concrete jungles, rude drivers. My driving is mostly a Zen experience. That is quintessential Central PA, after all.

Catawissa, PA, is not really on anyone’s destination planner, being snug between ragged coal country, fertile farm country, and pretty river bottom land, and well off the beaten path. To go to Catawissa, you really have to want to go, or have a real clear reason for going. The one horse there moved on long ago, and is now pulling some Amishman’s buggy across the river. Catawissa is daggone quiet in a countryside that is…well, really quiet.

But Catawissa is worth visiting for one simple reason: Ironmen Arms & Antiques is located there.

Jared and Tom have recently opened Ironmen Arms, what is and would have to be the nicest gun room in Pennsylvania (with apologies to Joel in Ligonier), filled with militaria, historic artifacts, and of course, fine firearms. The finest firearms, for the most discriminating collectors. Really high quality guns, like matching pairs (yes, pairs, not just one pair) of Parker shotguns, sequential pairs of high grade Parkers, and high grade LC Smiths, European double rifles, and on and on. For those of you bidding on the mint condition Remington 700 BDL in .223, I can tell you after holding it and inspecting it at length, it is every bit as perfect as it appears on line. If you are a serious collector, that gun is as good as it gets. The Remington BDL is becoming a collector’s item, oddly, because plastic stocks and stainless steel seem to be all the rage now, as soul-less and devoid of personality, art, and craftsmanship as those combinations are. I have no idea how someone hunts with these new guns, because I, myself, have deeply personal relationships with each of my firearms. To achieve that, they’ve got to look good as well as function properly. I’m not disgracing some wild animal by terminating it with anything but the highest combination of form and function. Aesthetics are necessary, because hunting isn’t just killing. It’s a statement about one’s values. Maybe I’m an “artiste.”

Or maybe it’s just a sign of my advancing age, or the arrival of The Age of China and All Things Plastic. I refuse to give in to sterile surgical steel and hard plastic, when I can hold the body of a beautiful tree in my hands. Apparently I am in good company with Jared and Tom, because they, too, like old wood and new steel, and old wood and old steel, too.

In this economic environment, entrepreneurs like Jared and Tom are brave. But they offer things that are not easy to get by any standard, and which are in high demand. And they are both nice men, interested in the fellow gun nerds of the world, and willing to share their bounty and knowledge with you.

So, if you find yourself traversing Pennsylvania on I-80, and you are passing by Bloomsburg, call ahead and set up an appointment with Ironmen Arms. Stop in and spend a half hour, or an hour, make some new friends, and buy an old Japanese sword, a rare bayonet, or a new rifle for that hunt of a lifetime. I know I will be back.

Ironmen Arms: 570 356-6126, jjvpo@verizon.net, 561 Numidia Drive, Catawissa, PA 17820. Their excellent website is at http://www.ironmenarms.com/