Unintended Gunplay


Use anything you can to aid in searching for parts.

Gunplay is never advised! Worst case scenario, it can easily end with fatal results. In best-case instances, it leads to the embarrassment and/or annoyance of the owner. Either way, gunplay isn’t good! But what if it’s the gun initiating the amusing antics?

No matter how seriously I take gun handling, my guns sometimes get that mischievous glint in their eye and start playing one of their favorite games. It usually happens while cleaning my dirty shooters.

Like pups at bath time, they start their frolicsome antics. All I can think is, “oh no, not again …” And it can be very frustrating when they start their shenanigans.

Working in a clean, uncluttered area helps keep small parts
from escaping. Old egg cartons for smaller parts help in
reassembly while magnetic dishes and rubber mats with
anti-roll spaces help keep things corralled.

Hide & Seek

The most popular game my guns enjoy playing is hide-and-seek. Hide-and-seek players are hard to find, but my guns are professionals. And to make matters worse, my guns are arrogant. They like teasing me by exposing most of themselves, then taking sadistic pleasure in hiding their smaller disassembled parts. This delays complete assembly of the freshly scrubbed, oiled and wiped down nomenclature. It’s maddening at times!

The funny thing is, no matter how much I disapprove of gunplay, it happens more frequently. If you think you have your guns under control … good for you! But don’t be surprised if, one day, your guns decide to get frisky. I’ve found cleaning them in well-lit rooms discourages play, as does having a large, clean work area.

Don’t Be Screwed

Containers corralling smaller parts like screws and springs discourage playfulness. Here are a few examples of marathon mayhem I’ve partaken in during “gunplay” games … unintentionally, of course! My guns ambushed me as I took the bait. And I wasn’t even in a playful mood.

Don’t overlook the obvious when searching for escaped parts.

Oh, Christmas Tree

It was my first Christmas with my lovely bride — 35 short years ago. Like most of us, I started the habit of buying my gift for her, in the name of saving her the trouble. It’s continued to this day and I’m good at it, sometimes buying my gifts months before Christmas. Anyway, it was Christmas morning and I unwrapped my gift. It was a Springfield Armory Mil-Spec 1911! How’d she ever know (wink)?

Like most kids on Christmas day, the first thing I did was disassemble the gun, wiping off the heavy factory grease and using a lighter gun oil. As I started reassembling the gun, it decided to get frisky and wanted to play. As I compressed the recoil spring, pushing on the spring plug so I could lock it in place with the barrel bushing, it slipped past my bratwurst fingers and let loose. BOINGGGG!

I heard it laughing in free flight as it launched across the living room. Let the games begin!

I figured it would be a short game. Wrong!

I searched and searched for that recoil spring plug for two days! Tired, frustrated and embarrassed, I admitted defeat, but the part kept playing. Recalculating trajectory, direction and any unsearched area, I went over to the Christmas tree. I heard the giggling before seeing it. There it was, insolently sitting on a tree bough. Game over!

Hidden in Plain Sight

I’d just gotten back from the range and was ready to clean my guns. It was a single-action kind of day, so any unintended gunplay would be unlikely … or so I thought. Besides playing hide and seek, my guns like making me feel stupid at times — adding insult to injury.

So, I started cleaning my single actions, pulling base pins, cleaning barrels and cylinders, lightly oiling them and started reassembling. Uh oh! I cleaned four guns, but there were only three base pins on my shop rag. Game on!

I looked on the ground in my immediate area. No luck!

I spread my search pattern with negative results. I started looking under my benches, checking every nook and cranny. Nothing! For three hours, I played this frustrating game! My wife was yelling that dinner was ready. I’m soaking wet, mad and frustrated. I picked up the disassembled gun, trying to get a clue, when it smacked right between the eyes!

For a small 4 ¾” Ruger Blackhawk, it packed a wallop! Base pins on 4 ¾” can’t be removed without taking off the ejector rod housing. Duh! Double Duh!! Now I was really pissed for being so stupid! Guns enjoy every moment of these playful times.

Misery Loves Company

This last story involves a good friend. His story may be the best of all. He enjoys Weatherby Outfitter rifles and must have 8 or 9 of them in different calibers. Each of them came with threaded barrels, muzzle brakes and thread protectors. One day, he pulled the box out for his latest Outfitter. For some reason, he looked for the muzzle brake. It wasn’t in the box! He had been reorganizing the past year and figured it would eventually turn up.

My buddy plays at a much more relaxed pace than I do, but he ended up playing a marathon game of hide-and-seek.

He checked with the gun shop owner to see if he had pulled the bag out of the box containing the brake while scoping the gun for him. Nope! He searched his storage facilities, safes, garage, and every square inch of the house—nothing! A year went by, and it was still missing. He figured he’d have to buy a new brake and thread protector from Weatherby.

I guess his rifle started feeling guilty and finally decided to stop playing. When looking the rifle over he was knocked out cold by the discovery — his barrel is NOT threaded! He’d been searching for a nonexistent part. That’s some serious gunplay! My buddy told me he was so happy and pissed off at the same time, he didn’t know how to react.

The Searchers

For all my fellow searchers, don’t feel bad. Things happen. Take your time. And if you do get the urge to play with your gun, do it this way! Because real gunplay is dangerous and stupid!

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