The Girls Trap A Ghost
By Roy Huntington
Amos looked at the .38 Super he was working on. It had been vexing him, but he thought he might be onto why it was acting up for Jake Hughs, a good customer.
“Doesn’t always feed,” Jake said, frustrated. “Some ammo works fine, some jams-up, like a stove-pipe but with a loaded round sometimes. Or it just dives into the feed ramp and gets stuck there. Damnedest thing. Factory ammo, reloads, I just never know.”
As he put the .38 Super on his bench, Amos thought he heard the front door rattle just a bit. His constant companions, Aussie Shepherds Scout and Amelie were heading that way to greet whoever was coming in. Looking into the shop, Amos expected to see a customer but instead the pooches were staring outside through the glass. Scout’s ears were sharp, and Amelie stood at attention staring hard outside. That’s odd, thought Amos. What was up?
Amos opened the door, peering out. The small strip mall just had a few cars in it, and Amos’ shop was at one end so he rarely had pedestrian traffic unless they meant to come in. Looking around, there wasn’t a sign of anyone in the dusky, overcast light. Closing the door and throwing the latch, Amos looked down.
“Girls, whaddya’ say we wrap it up for the day. Maybe it was a ghost, eh? I’m hungry and I’ll bet you are too.” The girls bounded toward the back door, short tails wagging furiously.
The next morning Amos took a hardened scraper he’d made and slightly widened the opening of the breech face of the .38 Super, fixing things. The “custom” gun Jake had bought had a 9mm slide, and the width of the breech face was about five thousandths too narrow for many Super rims. This allowed some brass to fit as the round chambered, but certain ones couldn’t. It was sort of squeezing the semi-rimmed Super case, causing no-end of strange jams.
Amos was reaching for the phone to call Jake with the good news when the girls dashed toward the front door, barking and sniffing. Amos peered out — nobody was around. He stepped outside, allowing the girls out. They immediately scooted along the wall, sniffing the ground around the door and toward the end of the building. Amos followed, looking around the corner toward the alley — but nobody was there either. This was getting strange. Ghosts indeed.
And it happened just the same the next day.
Late on that Friday, a day or two later, Amos saw the girls snap their heads up and he hurried to the front door, throwing it open, determined to “find the ghost.” He looked right, then left and just barely caught the back of a shoe disappearing around the corner. The girls dashed past him, rounding the corner in a flash, Amos calling to them. When Amos got to the corner he saw a young man in his early 20s standing with his back against the brick wall while Scout and Amelie sat in front of him looking up, tails going.
“They won’t hurt you son,” said Amos. “Was that you at my door just now?”
“Um, uh … yes sir. Sorry to cause any trouble. I just need to go home now.”
Amos noticed the boy had a zippered handgun case in his hand.
“What’s in the case? Did you need a gun fixed? I’d be happy to see it if you like,” offered Amos.
“Oh, um … uh … well, I’m not sure. It was my grandfather’s gun, and, well … uh … I think I was going to sell it. He died.”
“Well, come on in and let’s chat.”
Amos walked the young man inside and offered his hand.
“I’m Josh Watkins, my Grandpa was Luke Watkins,” the shy fellow said as he shook hands.
“Oh my, I know Luke. He used to come in pretty regularly. He was a Korean war vet. I’m sorry to hear he passed, he was a great guy. I remember him talking about his grandson, that must be you, but never his son. Is your dad around?”
“No sir, my dad passed away when I was a kid. But I’m not a shooter and, well, I just don’t know what to do. Grandma gave me the gun a few days ago saying Grandpa wanted me to have it. I just don’t know what to do now, so I thought I’d sell it and use the money for school.” He unzipped the case and Amos saw the nice old Colt 1911A1 he had done a bit of work on for Luke.
“Well, Josh, that’s a fine old gun, and since it was your Grandfather’s and he carried it in Korea, it’d be ashamed to see it get sold, if you ask me. If you’re interested in learning, I’d be pleased to show you how to take care of it, teach you some safety rules and show you how to shoot it.”
“This has been really hard for me,” the boy said. “I actually came by a few times but never had the guts to come inside — I always ran. I just didn’t know what to do.”
Amos looked at the girls. “Well ladies, it seems we found our ghost here!” Tails wagged some more. He laughed as he explained it all to Luke.
“Let’s do this,” said Amos. “I’ll keep the gun in the safe here and you stop by when you can and I’ll show you how to take it apart, clean it, and talk to you about gun safety and such. We can shoot it a bit in my small range. If you like it, we can go from there. Deal?”
Scratching the ears of the pooches, Luke looked up at Amos and grinned.
“You’d do that for me? Suddenly, I feel much better, Amos. I like the idea, lots. But I can’t pay you for your time, is all.”
“I don’t need to get paid, Luke, but I sometimes need a hand around here doing chores. Heavy lifting is hard for me these days. If you’d help me out with that, it’d be a real favor.”
“Deal,” said Luke, a broad grin spreading across his face. The girls also approved — this assured them of plenty of attention too!
Syntech Action Pistol
Federal’s new ammo is specifically made for competition and is the “official” ammo of the USPSA. Made with flat-nose bullets and loaded to meet power factor requirements, they also assure more reliable knock-down on steel targets. The “Total Synthetic Jacket” (TSJ) keeps things clean and is combined with clean-burning powder and lead-free primers, minimizing residue. The 9mm is a 150-gr. bullet, the .40 a 205 and the .45 ACP a 220. I fired some here and it ran just fine in a 9mm 1911, a .45 ACP 1911 and an XDm in .40. For more info: www.vistaoutdoor.com
Galloway Meets SIG
The guys at Galloway Precision (famous for custom work on small autos like S&W Bodyguards) teased us with a picture of this nifty install. They shoe-horned a Shield Compact RMSc red dot sight onto SIG’s new P365 compact auto. It’s the first one I’ve seen done and frankly, it looks like it belongs there. Galloway offers slide machining for lots of different models and plenty of other custom parts and work. They’re family owned and just plain swell people. If you have a P365 (or any other auto) give ’em a shout to get your own dot sight going! I’ve got their stainless guide rod and spring on my Ruger LCPII and it’s rock-solid. For more info: www.gallowayprecision.com
AKM Build Book
Friend Rob Reaser and his buddy Lou Patrick have finished an illustrated, genuine step-by-step guide to assembling the classic battle rifle, the AK/AKM. To quote from the release, it’s “… the first manual of its kind to document the complete AKM build process using professional gunsmithing methods and best machining practices. From disassembling a demilitarized AKM ‘kit’ rifle to the final finish and assembly, every step required for the AK enthusiast or commercial gunsmith to build a safe and functioning AKM semi-automatic rifle is covered with precise instructions and detailed photographs and illustrations.” These guys really know what they’re doing so if you’ve always wanted to give this a try, here’s the bible for it! Hey, there’s more to life than just handguns. Find it at Amazon.com in paperback or Kindle.
We’re Aiming to Help
Unbeknownst to most in the gun industry, Linda Powell, Director of Media Relations for O.F. Mossberg & Sons, is suffering from IGA Nephropathy, also known as Buerger’s disease, a condition causing kidney failure. Linda has lived with the disease for seven years. She’s fought this battle quietly, with only a few close friends and family being aware of her condition. It’s now time to take her story public as Linda has recently been referred for dialysis and needs a kidney transplant.
Because of Linda’s story and immediate need for help, we’ve decided to step up our influence through a new philanthropic arm, Aiming to Help.
When it comes to helping others, there are no lines. There is no such thing as shooter or non-shooter. We are caring people first, who happen to enjoy guns and shooting sports. Aiming To Help is the philanthropic arm of FMG Publications created to profile those who are in need of help, whether they are a member of our shooting sports community or not, because that’s what we “people” do. We help other people in need.
Aiming To Help strives to create a positive transformation between the gun and shooting sports community and the general pubic through collaboration and outreach. By bringing to the forefront the challenges many face, whether they’re a member of our close-knit circle or not, we’re not only offering a helping hand, we’re raising awareness gun industry enthusiasts are generous, committed and unbiased.
Aiming To Help endeavors to bring the shooting community together in the hopes that as large as the body of the shooting sports is, within that body, there are people who are able to offer insight and assistance, so no one faces their challenges alone.
Aiming To Help is telling Linda’s story in the hopes that someone can help. To get more details and help make a happy ending to Linda’s story, visit https://youtu.be/ka-SbnPnorY.
With each initiative, Aiming to Help will extend a helping hand offering the sphere of influence of FMG Publications and the power of the press. Please join us in making a difference. For more info: visit aimingtohelp.org
King of the Seven Serpents” is an understatement. If you love the Python, this book represents hours of enjoyment for you. Written by Gurney Brown (who knows all about this stuff) this is a comprehensive history of the model and a visually stunning showcase of each variation, model and special editions. You’ll see Pythons you never believed could exist — a .22 Magnum? — and learn historical facts which will change the way you think bout these guns. I promise you’ll read and re-read this book! It’s $65 and an instant family heirloom. Find it at www.bluebookofgunvalues.com, Ph: (800) 877-4867.
Remington R1 Limited Series
Ahot new “double stack” from Remington has lots of features and benefits. I like the adjustable sight, PVD finish, VZ G10 grips and stainless construction of the frame and slide. It’s also got all the goodies any “custom” 1911 has, along with 19+1 capacity in 9mm, 18+1 in .40 and 16+1 in .45. I’ve handled one — haven’t gotten to shoot one yet — and found it well-fitted, a great trigger and displaying the “feel” of a custom-fitted 1911. At $1,399 ($1,250 for the single stack version) this has the potential to be a screaming deal for a competitor, especially if you’re a regular at local club matches and such. We’ve got one on order to test. For more info: www.remington.com
SIG Electro-Optics BDX
This is going to make your brain hurt, in a good way. SIG’s “Ballistic Data Xchange (BDX) is a new line of blue-tooth enabled rangefinders and rifle scopes. Why’s that? Here’s the amazing part. Once the SIG rangefinder is paired with your rifle’s SIG scope, when you range a target, the data is sent to the scope via SIG’s Applied Ballistic Ultralight using Bluetooth. Then — get ready for this — the scope’s Digital Ballistic Reticle will illuminate with hold-over and windage. Hold the dot on the target and — bingo. It can even tell you whether your load has the velocity to assure an ethical stop if you hit the target at the range you’re shooting. Best of all? Price for a basic set-up (rangefinder and scope) is as low as $900 MSRP. For more info: www.sigsauer.com
Marc Morganti of Gemini Customs is famous for his elegant, thoughtful and high performing custom handgun work. I’m blessed with a J-Frame from him that we featured in our pages a few years ago. He’s been specializing in Ruger revolvers of late (but he does plenty of other revolver work too) and sent me this picture to get my attention — and it did! He had just finished five — count ’em, five — Ruger SRH Alaskans in .45 Colt/.454 Casull. The order came from a party of five hunters from Maine prepping for an Alaska Moose hunt. These guns will be toted as bear protection, which they need “up there!”
Mark told me, “I do a fair number of these, but this is the first multiple order placed from one hunting party. There’s a lotta horsepower in this picture!” — definitely qualifying as one of the great understatements of the year. Look for a feature on Marc’s custom Ruger work later in Handgunner. For more info: www.geminicustoms.com and check out the pretty pictures!
One Million Rounds
Cue Dr. Evil’s voice! While visiting friends Kristi and Jeff Hoffman of Black Hills ammo we took the grand tour of the place and I spotted these crates. I asked Jeff just how many 5.56 rounds I was looking at. He said, “Oh, if you just count the green crates, you’re looking at about a million.” Now you know what it looks like. To balance things out, here’s wife Suzi sitting on about 65,000 rounds of .45 Colt. I love a gal who smiles because she’s sitting on a stack of one of her favorite calibers! I think she was trying to figure out how many cases we could bring back on our motorcycles.
Happy Trails Foundation
We’ve always supported this great organization’s raffle, as they help abused children. This year’s Silver Screen Legend XXI theme is John Wayne, and what a package it is! Happy Trails has long been affiliated with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans and continues the American patriotic traditions they represented. Happy Trails is also the only children’s organization supporting shooting sports, 2nd Amendment rights and responsible gun ownership. Consequently, they are strongly supported by the outdoor industry, all to the benefit of the children.
This package has a Colt SAA in .45 Colt (with gold etching), complete with Wayne’s Red River D brand, special serial number and ivory grips. A Bianchi holster and belt in Wayne’s favorite style is included, courtesy of John Bianchi. It’s matched with a Winchester big loop Model 94 in .32-40 and other accessories. Help this great organization out please! Tickets are $10, or 11 for $100, available at Happy Trails, SSL XXI, 10755 Apple Valley Rd. Apple Valley, CA 92308, www.happytrails.org or Ph: (855) 788-4440.