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Discussion Starter #1
this is one that i dreamed up after a gunshow purchase followed by a few brews by the fire. its kind of long, but i hope you guys can appreciate it.



Stories

Matt handled the gun carefully, admiring its slim lines and stubby 18-inch barrel, marked across the top “Remington Union Metallic Cartridge Company Model 14-R”. The gun was on consignment at the local hardware store that Matt frequented. “How do you open this thing?” Matt asked. “Push that little button on the bolt and it’ll release the slide.” Wilson the clerk instructed him. Matt did as he was told and worked the slender forearm back and forward, listening to its slick metal-on-metal shucking sound. This was totally different than other guns Matt had handled. Lever actions always seemed awkward to him and the double-barreled shotguns of the day were much too large for him to feel comfortable with. But this gun, with its straight-grip stock and light weight, fit him perfectly. Bringing the little carbine to his shoulder, he found that the sights were aligned close to the barrel. Working the action a few more times before handing it back, he asked, “So what’s she want for it?” He asked this question as if he had money to spare. “Well, she’ll take what she can get” Wilson replied “But we figured around $30 would be fair for both sides”. Matt did some quick math and realized it might as well have been thirty thousand dollars. His mother had insisted he keep some of the money he earned, but he knew there was only $6.75 in the old coffee can in his closet. Now that he was 15, he had wanted to get a job in the mine, but his mother forbid it. His mother worked 12-hour shifts in the sewing factory down in the valley and he did whatever he could to scrape together a few dollars. In the summer he bailed hay in the broiling sun for a dollar a day. He loaded freshly sawn lumber onto freight cars when one of the regular mill laborers quit or was layed up sick. Other times he helped out around the Highway Star garage for a few cents here and there. Mostly “his” money was used for buying shot shells and punkin balls for the old 16-gauge single shot his father had left him. This gun, with it’s taped up stock and rusty barrel, was the extent of his arsenal. It was his rabbit and squirrel gun in October and his deer gun in November and December. The old gun had accounted for a lot of small game but no deer yet for Matt.
Matt browsed and exchanged hunting chitchat for a while longer and then left the store. He made his way up to the company store and purchased the items his mother needed. On the way home he kept thinking about the little carbine. He began to imagine hunting scenarios involving him and the 35. In one a big buck, creeping slowly through the forest, fell to a shot from Matt’s trusty little pumpgun. He imagined all the men from the garage and hardware store gathered around and admiring it with him. Later, at home, he described the little gun with great detail to his mother.
The late summer gradually changed into early fall and Matt began to look forward to hunting. Due to a flurry of available work, his soup can account had grown to over $8. One day, while walking along the blacktop coming into town, kicking the odd can or rock, he spied something tangled up in the weeds at the roadside. At first he thought it was a piece of newspaper, but something looked different. He looked closer and his heart leapt into his throat as he realized he was looking at a piece of paper currency. He reached down, grabbed the bill, unfolded it, and was staring into the faded face of Andrew Jackson. Twenty dollars! He couldn’t believe it. His mind raced, what would he do with all this money? First he would treat himself to a sandwich at the Dairy Dell and then maybe buy a new set of wool hunting gloves to replace the threadbare ones he wore now. Maybe he could even purchase the little pumpgun. So many things this money could buy him. Suddenly an incredible feeling of guilt came over him. All the rewards he was thinking of involved him and not his mother. Realizing the error of his thinking, he turned and quickly made his way back to his house. “Mom, look what I found” he called out as he burst through the door. His mother was sitting at the kitchen table folding clothes and quickly took the bill and examined it, looking for any signs that it was a fake. “Well it looks real enough,” she said. “It just looks like it’s been out in the weather a while. What are you going to do with it?” she asked. “Well” Matt replied, “I thought that maybe we could go eat at the Dairy Dell and you could put the rest in the bank.” “Isn’t there a gun or something you want” his mother asked. “Ya, but its $30 and this is only twenty and I only have about $8 and I thought maybe we should save this and ... ” Matt trailed off, looking at his shoes. His mother thought about their situation. Her wages at the sewing mill made enough to cover their room and board, barely. Although not rich by any means, they were getting by. This $20 could mean a few more rainy days could be covered. But remembering how Matt had described the gun, and how he worked at any labor he could find, willingly giving any money he had to his mother, made her mind up for her. “Let’s go down to the hardware and see what we can do.” she said. Matt almost tripped over his own shoes in his hurry to get out the door.
Matt was boiling with excitement as he led his mother into the store. This time the owner, Galen Kohl, was at the counter, weighing out nails for a customer. Several men were gathered around the table off to the side and greeted him. Matt’s heart leapt as he spied the little carbine still standing in a row with some lever action Winchesters. Finishing up the nail transaction, Mr. Kohl asked, “What can I do for you Matthew?” “I have $28,” Matt replied, spilling the money out on the glass counter. “Is that enough for that Remington?” The shopkeeper pulled the gun out of the rack and peering over his glasses at the little white tag hanging on the trigger guard said “Well Matty, Mrs. Kepple was asking $30 for this. And with her husband off work like he is, they need every penny they can get.” Matt had a hard time hiding his disappointment and it showed. “I think we can come up with that Mr. Kohl” Matt’s mother answered, pulling two neatly folded $1 bills out of her purse. Matt was suddenly elated, but at the same time uncertain if he should accept this. “But mom, should we? He asked plaintively. “Christmas came early this year Matthew” she replied smiling. The other men, sensing the excitement of a new gun purchase, gathered around the counter. They passed the little pumpgun around, each admiring it. One of the older men commented “This things too short for anything. Maybe good for ‘coon huntin’, that’s about it.” Some of the men murmured agreement that the 18” barrel could affect the power of the otherwise potent 35 Remington cartridge. “Let me look at that before you wrap it up” Tom Obarsky requested. “Where you been hiding this little sweetheart Galen? I didn’t even notice it back there.” Working the action a few times and sighting down the barrel, Obarsky proclaimed “$30 huh, well I’ll give her $31” Matt’s heart sank until he saw Obarsky looking at him with a sly grin and realized that the burly mechanic was joking. “Just kidding boy, don’t get all worked up.” Obarsky continued, “This one fits you better than it fits me. This is a fine gun for you Matty, but what you gonna shoot out of it? You’ll be needin’ some shells too won’t you?” Matt hadn’t thought of ammo until now. He had weeks until deer season, but didn’t have any side jobs lined up yet that would finance the purchase of ammo. “I don’t know yet, but I’ll figure something out” Matt replied confidently. “Give the boy a box of shells on my account Galen” Obarsky said. “I have a pile of junk behind the garage that needs sorted for the scrapper. Get it all ready this week Matty and we’ll call it even.”
Matt was on cloud nine as he walked up the hollow to his house carrying his new gun tightly wrapped in brown paper. Once in the house, he ripped the wrapping paper off of it, worked the action several times, and sighted out the window at imaginary targets. Grabbing the red and green box of ammunition and the gun, he headed up the hill behind his house to try it out. Several hundred yards above the house, mine waste was piled high in black, mountain-like stacks. Matt found an old tar bucket and set it up against one of the mounds. Pulling a shiny, blunt-nosed cartridge out of the box, he carefully inserted it into the magazine feed slot as Mr. Kohl had shown him. A quick pump of the action chambered the round. Matt was somewhat apprehensive about shooting the gun, as he had never fired a high-powered rifle before. His shooting had been limited to a few shotguns and 22’s but never anything like the 35 Remington. Nonetheless, he clicked off the safety and taking careful aim at the tar bucket, squeezed the trigger. The bucket, half full of old tar and dirt, erupted in a shower of debris and rocked over onto its side. Two more shots and he was satisfied that the gun was hitting exactly where he wanted it. Now to await deer season.
Opening day of the 1927 deer season found Matt awake at 3AM. Not even the sound of frozen rain pelting the windows could dampen his enthusiasm. His hunting gear had been carefully arranged days in advance and after gulping a quick breakfast, he grabbed his new rifle and headed out the door. His outfit was a hodgepodge of hand-me-downs and old work clothes and soon the bitter chill of the wind bit through his clothing. Due to the frigid weather, he would be still-hunting today and had a route all planned out. Walking quickly, he followed the State road out of town. At the apex of a sharp curve he climbed the steep embankment. Huffing and puffing from the climb, he took a moment to catch his breath. Then, switching on his flashlight, he began the slow but steady climb up the ridge. Several places along the way he slipped and slid until he finally reached the bed of the old logging road that ringed the horseshoe shaped valley. Due to the remote, hard to reach location, he figured that he would have the steep hillside more or less to himself for a few hours at least. After getting oriented to his location on the logging road, he made his way to the first stand site. Finding the triple-trunk red oak in the dark proved to be a bit more challenging than he anticipated but finally he saw it looming in the darkness ahead. Setting the little carbine against the trunk, he awaited daylight.
Daylight came and went, and the wintry roar of the wind and the clattering of the treetops was Matt’s only accompaniment. He had been chilled to the bone before it was even light enough to shoot. Frozen rain stung his face and stuck to his wool jacket in little icy balls. An occasional shot echoed across the valley from the bottoms where most of the men from town hunted. By 8 o’clock he was shaking so badly he couldn’t stand it any longer and began to walk slowly out along the logging road. Here and there he would stop and study the steep slope on both sides of the trail. He occasionally came across an old deer print frozen into the mud and these gave him hope. By early afternoon Matt had worked his way around the valley until he was directly across from the creek bottom where all the action was. After not seeing a deer all day, and hearing the shooting taking place in the bottoms, he began to reconsider his choice of hunting spots. He decided he would cut down the mountain, cross into the bottoms and spend the rest of the afternoon there. His final spot before heading downhill was a large white oak that had lost most of its top in a past storm. The massive trunk rolling down hill had flattened everything in its path. The new growth that sprouted up had made a bramble patch on the east-facing slope. Matt lingered here for a bit, sheltered from the wind by the huge oak trunk. As his eyes swept the steep hillside he caught a quick glimpse of something that didn’t fully register before his eyes moved on. He wasn’t sure what he had glanced but he knew it was out of place. Slowly re-scanning the underbrush he finally saw what had triggered his hunter instinct. Several tips of an antler were sticking out from behind a large log lying in the brush. His heart began hammering as he realized he was looking at a bedded buck, and a large one at that, not more than 50 yards away! The buck was facing downhill into the wind, totally oblivious to Matt’s presence. Occasionally the deer would move his head from side to side, scanning the hillside. Matt was directly above the deer and could only glimpse his antlers and the tip of his nose as the big buck tested the wind. Any coldness Matt had felt previously was now completely gone. In its place was a severe case of buck fever. Matt’s mind raced as he tried to figure out how to get a shot at the deer. Even in his excited state he tried to keep his head about him as he weighed his options. He could charge down the hill and hope to get a shot as the deer got to its feet. Or he could wait him out, hoping the buck would eventually leave its bed on its own. He finally settled on trying to sneak up on the buck by crawling on his belly until he was positioned for a shot. Waiting until the buck’s nose disappeared again; he slowly sunk to his knees and then lay prone. Cradling the little Remington in his elbows like an infantryman, he began the slow crawl downhill. Part way down the hill was an old log slide that formed a ditch. It was into this ditch that he slowly crawled, trying to avoid snapping any fallen sticks that could give away his position. The wind whipping the trees back and forth helped mask the scraping sound he made crawling through the frozen leaves. His goal was a large black cherry tree about 30 yards to the right and slightly uphill of the bedded buck. From this tree he should be able to get a shot at the deer’s neck. When he reached the cherry tree, he slowly twisted his body and got the gun in position so that he was facing the log where the deer lay. A mound of dirt obstructed his view. Removing his hat, he raised his head slightly to peer over the mound. The first thing he noticed was that the spot in front of the log was empty! Where was the buck? He began to panic as his eyes searched the hillside for it. Turning his head to the left, he saw a doe standing about 20 yards away staring directly at him with a startled look. He froze. “Where had she come from?” he wondered, suddenly seeing his hopes for a trophy disappearing. The doe turned quickly to her left and raising its tail, took several stiff-legged steps. Looking in the direction the doe was facing, Matt saw the rump of a large deer sticking out from behind a tree. “That’s got to be the buck” Matt said to himself and with one motion, raised the gun, clicked off the safety and aimed at the partially hidden deer. The seconds seemed like hours as he waited for the buck to step out from behind the tree. The doe was definitely unhappy with the situation, and with a snort she took several bounds down hill towards the other deer. With that, the buck came out from behind the tree and ran parallel to Matt at full blast. Throwing caution aside, Matt came to his knees and began firing. “Blam, shuck-shuck, Blam, shuck-shuck, Blam, shuck-shuck ”. The woods reverberated with the sound of Matt's shots. At the third shot the buck hunched and turned, running straight downhill. As Matt tried frantically to align the sites for a 4th shot, the big buck went head over heels and piled up against a log and lay there kicking. Matt was numb. He could not believe it. It had all happened so fast. The smell of gunpowder was still fresh in the air and there below him laid a trophy buck, and he had killed it! Matt hurried down the slope and got to the deer’s side as it kicked its last. He stood there for a moment, not believing his luck. Then he composed himself and laying the gun aside, he grabbed the horns. “Seven, eight, nine points” he counted breathlessly. The rack was wide and thick and a nut-brown color with scars and nicks from past battles. Matt sat there for a long while, admiring the deer, reliving the action over and over in his head. After a while he realized that the daylight was getting short, and his part of the mountain was already bathed in shadow. Never having field-dressed a deer before, he made the best of it. Finishing up, he tied his drag rope around the buck’s neck and hefting his trusty deer gun, began the drag down the mountain. Due to the steepness, all Matt had to do was more or less guide the big buck down and around obstacles. Near the bottom he met two men he knew from town that were also heading down the mountain and they helped him get his deer home.
Later, standing under the front porch light admiring his buck with a group of neighbors, Matt felt like a returning war hero. He retold the story over and over, embellishing here and there as is the tradition. The 20-yard crawl stretched into 100 yards by the final telling. He passed the little gun around for all to admire. Several men offered to buy it from him on the spot. That night, as he cleaned the little carbine, he imagined future hunts, filled with action, and the many deer that would fall to his trusty little pumpgun.
“How much you want for this?” the middle-aged man inquired as he handled the little carbine. “Four hundred firm” the dealer replied. He had been hoping to get more, but the gunshow sales had been slow, and no one seemed to be interested in the stubby little 35. "Too old fashioned" he guessed. Everyone wanted the newest Short Mag or Super Short Mags and synthetic stocks. “Sold” replied the man, digging for his wallet. Later, at home the buyer handled his new gun, marveling at its compactness and graceful lines. “I wonder what stories this little sweetheart could tell?” the man pondered aloud as he sighted down the barrel at an imaginary buck.
 

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very well told Pumpgun!! love the detail. i often sit and look at some of my older guns and wonder the same thing, boy if they could only talk! i recently acquired a Winchester model 54 30-06 that is in pretty good shape but definatley bears the battle scars of years of P.A. hunting, i wish i knew a little of its history!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thanks for the kind words guys. as my screen name suggests, i am rather fond of the old remington slide action guns. this story is a combination of fact and fiction. some of this hunting story was pulled from experiences in my own past and i am the guy at the end.

when i look over some of these old pumps in my collection and see the nicks and scratches, and knowing that these guns were all made between the 'teens and the early 40's, i wish i knew all the stories they could tell. and the beauty of these guns is that they are still as useful now as they were 80 or more years ago. i get deer almost every year with some of these old timers. i'll post some pics in this thread in the next week or so showing some of these old timers off.
 

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Thank you very much for the great reading pumpgun.
Often I find myself handling a rifle or a pistol at
a gunshow or a gunshop and wondering: If this thing
could talk.
 
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