By Tank Hoover
Since rescue dogs seem to be the proper and decent rage these days, I’ve done my part, and rescued a few pups myself. I saved the dogs from my local gun shop. Lacking purebred documentation, these mutts were previously owned, and in many cases, altered, denying them show-class status. It doesn’t matter to me. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. In many cases, a good eye can spot a gem of a dog that will provide great companionship and loyalty, for a smidgen of the pure breed variety.
This was the case when I was perusing my local gun shelter a few years back. I always go to the used section first, as this is where the previously owned pups hang out. Fate was with me that day, as I spotted an remarkably low-priced 5-screw pre-29 dog of S&W lineage staring at me. I mistakenly made eye contact, and it’s love at first sight. Trying not to appear excited, I go to one of the shelter officials and inquire about the 5-screw mutt.
Seems he started life as a documented pure breed, a pre-25 in fact. Born in 1956, the 5-screw had a 6.5″ barrel, target stocks, hammer and trigger. He even had papers in the form of a factory letter. Someone doctored with him and swapped out his barrel and cylinder to .44 mag. That suits me just fine. If kept in original form, his price to bail this pooch out would be 4-5 times the current asking price.
This reassembled prodigy of parts really strikes a nerve in me. Being a student of Elmer Keith, and having a deep admiration for Skeeter Skelton’s work, this blued steel dog fits the bill. Elmer enjoyed compact, carrying guns with 4″ barrels. Never a handgun hunter per say, he used his ever-present side arm to take targets of opportunity when his rifle was not within reach.
Skeeter also preferred the 4″-barreled gun for its ease of carry and ability to conceal. Skeeter’s fictional character, Dobe Grant, a hybrid of several men Skeeter worked with and knew, and a favorite of mine, was known to tinker with Colt SAA’s, changing barrels and cylinders to different calibers. With all these memories, thoughts, reasonings and justifications going through my mind, the decision was a no brainer. Something my wife fondly calls me from time to time. What’s one more mutt for the kennel?
When looking deep into his eyes, I can’t help but see and be reminded of all my favorite mentors from days gone by. His looks and temperament are so good I got him a pair of Herrett Roper stocks to walk in, along with a Barranti holster to carry him on longer trips. Sure, pure breeds are nice, but there’s nothing wrong with a dog sporting a mixed bloodline. I’m happy with my pup. He barks on command and shows good manners. What else can you ask from a good dog?
A trio of mutt’s in Tank’s kennel. A Ruger SBH with elk stocks
Tank made, the cut down FT, and the worked over Pre-29 displaying
Herrett Roper stocks. It doesn’t take much to spruce up a mutt!
There’ve been other rescues in my paltry purchases of pre-owned pooches. My first Ruger 3-screw was captured at a long-ago gun show. This poor boy looked healthy as a horse, but had a mangy silver spot on his cylinder about the size of a dime, where someone put him up wet. I brought the scared pup home where I sent his disfigured soul out to be re-dipped in bluing salts. The hot spot gone, no one would ever be able to tell the difference for his discounted price as his coat is now slick, shiny and bright.
One inbred dog I saved is a favorite I call “Little Skeet”, a 5″ cut down .44 Mag Flat Top someone had swapped his original grip frame and hammer for a brass Super Blackhawk frame and hammer. I bailed him out for about half his full-blooded value. He is the little brother to “Skeeter” a 7.5″ barreled FT I have. I replaced the grip frame to original, but kept the SBH hammer and trigger.
There have been a slew of freckle-faced dogs spotted with flecks of rust and despite their cosmetic complexion imperfections, don’t have a thing wrong with them functionally. A little oil and OOO steel wool combined with some soft loving and rubbing, knocks those freckles right off. Rifles, sixguns, muzzleloaders, shotguns, you name it they’ve all been rescued by me in the past.
So if you find yourself pining away for a gun, doggone it, and they happen to be of mixed parts, alterations, or have a few freckles, dents, scratches, or gouges, have a heart, save yourself some money, and bring them home with you! Once there, they will be appreciated, played with and loved. You won’t regret it! I know I don’t!
Just so you know, I have rescued a real maniac of a dog. He is my Border Collie/Golden Retriever mix, Cooper. He keeps the household lively and in stitches with his antics, and has rescued us with his love, devotion and loyalty. Hell, I’m more mutt-like in attitude than any purebred pedigreed pooch. I guess that’s why we get along so well — and why I love my mixed breed mutts of blued steel.
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