Well, I’ll be Damned

Apparently the C&R exception to GCA that allowed the surplus boom of the late 90s and early aughts, which I took some advantage of, wasn’t, in fact, in FOPA, despite my claiming that over the years. Of course, Dave Hardy was my source for that, since Dave was involved with FOPA and is the leading authority on it, so I’ll blame Dave. But good find!

20 thoughts on “Well, I’ll be Damned”

  1. I can’t contribute much about the subtleties of FOPA, but the comment,

    …there’s a widely-held [theory] in Fuddlore that the “sporting purposes” clause was thrown in as a sop to the gun manufacturers of the Northeast, who were having a hard time selling new Remchester deer rifles at high retail prices in a market where it was easy to buy and Bubba-ize a Mauser.

    grated on me a bit, since I will always remember the pre-’68 era as the Golden Age for the gun hobbyist, and I resent the attitude implied in “Bubba-ize a Mauser.”

    Maybe it was the still-latent engineer in me, but I’ve always admired the clever solutions amateur gunsmiths applied in the course of “Bubba-izing” whatever they had to work with, in the days when there was a consensus among my fellow workers that “any man who is bringing home $100 a week has nothing in the world to complain about”, and the fact was that gun and ammo components were only starting to become readily available again. (My father remembered making it through the four deer seasons of WWII with five rounds of 8 x 57 hunting ammo bought under-the-table from M&H’s in Philly.)

    Anyone who wants a taste of the era can find a number of 1960s “Guns” magazines in .PDF format online. Here’s a sample from 1960. Check out the “Ye Olde Hunter” ads starting on page 34. The prices look ridiculously low today, but no way could my family afford them at the time without some scrimping and saving — which we did. But that was when the real fun would begin; figuring out the cheapest way to turn a “relic” into something suitable for whatever “sporting purpose” we had in mind.

    1. Andy B,

      I like a quality sporter built on an ex-military action as much as anybody and more than most.

      I also feel sorry for anyone who can’t tell a quality sporter from a rifle that’s had a saw taken to the original military stock and some Weaver bases sloppily attached.

      1. “. . .a rifle that’s had a saw taken to the original military stock…”

        One of my main “nostalgia” rifles is a 6.5mm Arisaka that came to my father with the buttstock burned off by a flamethrower. Dad sawed off a couple plane surfaces at the stock wrist, glued on new wood with two-part resorcinol (sp?) glue, and shaped a new buttstock. It’s a damn nice job, even if it wouldn’t win any aesthetic prizes.

        At the same time he sent the barreled action off to the “TP Shop” in Michigan (formerly “Pap’s Jap”) to be rechambered to .257 Roberts. I think a rechambering job was less than $10. He soon learned that factory .257 ammo with .257″ D bullets wouldn’t shoot for crap, so that brought him to centerfire rifle reloading, with .264″ bullets. That rifle was/is capable of “bottom of a beer can” and better at 100 yards, with store-bought Sierra 6.5s, or Ideal 266467 cast bullets. (Jacketed bullets cost as much as a nickel apiece in those days.) We would bag many ‘chucks out to 300 yards with that rifle.

        Anyway, we had a lot more hands-on fun than I would have later when I could afford to throw my wallet on a custom gunsmith’s counter and leave it there. (I’ve reflected we had more fun with that Jap than its original “owner” did, when it had its stock burned off by the flamethrower.) ;-)

        1. Just like every Luger that came into the shop came off a dead Nazi general. lol

          You do you, boo, you do you.

          1. I don’t know the path by which that Arisaka came to us, but I had an older cousin who was at Iwo, and he endorsed the idea that if it had been on the receiving end of a flamethrower, the odds were overwhelming that the soldier who carried it was dead. The rank of that soldier is of course undetermined. :-)

            The chrysanthemum is unground, so it definitely is a battlefield pickup, and not a surrendered weapon that suffered some other kind of fire-related mishap.

            Not relevant but, in the mid-1960s a guy in my company in Germany found a badly rusted and rotted Mauser just leaning against a tree in the woods — more than 20 years after the war ended.

          2. “You do you”. What a charming and polite way to say “Go f*** yourself”.

            1. Easy, folks…remember, we’re all on the same team here, and we may really need each other in the next few years, if not months.

              Peace to all!
              – Arnie

              1. Lighten up, Francis. It’s a humorous comment on the ambiguity of the phrase. And Tam is pure distilled awesome. As is Bobbie. I read both blogs every day.

                1. My sincere apologies for misunderstanding. Liberty and blessings to all!
                  – Arnie

            2. I agree with Arnie. I chose to believe that anyone in our community who intended to say “go fuck yourself,” would be enough of a gentleman to say it outright. I preferred the “to each his own” interpretation.

  2. So antique guns include weapons for which ammo is not available through normal commercial sources. Which these days would be everything. Not that I am willing to be the test case.

    1. I suspect you’d find the definition would be, “commercially catalogued“, even if not practically available.

      That would be further complicated by, whether any old hardware store anywhere could be found to have a dusty box of ammo in that caliber at the back of a shelf.

      It always interests me from time to time to go through a recent edition of “Cartridges of the World” and see what calibers that came along when I was well into adulthood, are now classified as “obsolete.”

    2. Not to beat the obvious to death, but that’s the problem with subjective terminology in laws. I have never understood why economy of wording is considered a virtue.

      (Obviously) :-)

  3. Well, Biden did it…he just now called for violating our individual right to keep and bear militia rifles, in direct violation of the Constitution to which he swore an oath. I’ve already written my GOP Senators about this. I shall write them again. They can be wobbly on “reasonable” regulations. Groan!
    – Arnie

    1. “…he just now called for violating our individual right to keep and bear militia rifles…”

      But, what is any player saying that hasn’t been said a skillion times before, following a massacre?

      There’s still plenty of money to be made from hysteria, and neither camp is anxious to give that up; and arguably the gun issue is the last best hope for a Republican comeback. They’ll want to keep it fresh for next year’s midterms.

      After almost 60 years (it’s 53 years since GCA ’68) a lot of the moves remind me of WWC wrestling. If you really hurt your opponent, there will be no one to fight next week, for a piece of the gate.

      This morning a friend sent me an announcement from The Association of New Jersey Rifle & Pistol Clubs, that they were launching a court challenge to NJ’s firearms permitting scheme, on the grounds that it is (wait for it. . .wait for it) unconstitutional! Gosh, I thought, why hasn’t anyone else thought of that, since 1967?

  4. I sure hope you are right, Andy B. With the present numbers composing the Senate, and the way the COVID Relief Bill sailed through on a party-line Vote, I fear the anti-gunners may feel this is “their time” to finally ban those “evil-looking guns,” only this time, permanently. Even if Joe Manchin balks, one wobbly Rino would be enough to ram this through. Here’s to hoping they are all just hot air and campaign ads!
    – Arnie

    1. I actually came back this evening to apologize to you Arnie, because I thought my first reply sounded a little snarkier than you deserved.

      I won’t pretend to know the precise boundaries, but I’ve been watching this stuff so long, with so little progress scored by either side (at least post-1968) that I’m convinced a big percentage of what goes on is a charade largely agreed to by all players. Also, there is no reason why anyone in a position of political power would want the people they rule to have a viable means of saying “no” to them, so I don’t believe there is Pol-One who altruistically believes in gun rights. (I won’t go through my Old Story of when the NRA got downright nasty in supporting, first, an anti-gun Republican governor, and then the gun control law he wanted.)

      So if I turn a little snarky now and then, it’s because nobody would believe what has become obvious to me, yesterday, and I can’t quite accept that no one will believe it tomorrow. My sarcasm about the ANJRPC lawsuit was intended to say “OMG, here we go with the Same Old Stuff again!

      I can remember when Disney Studios used to re-release their early animated classics every seven years, because that was the ideal timing to fill the theaters with a new crop of little kids who hadn’t heard it all before.

    2. I often flashback to this passage from Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four”:

      What is concerned here is not the morale of the masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work, but the morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.

      It can be fun to paraphrase that to fit our situation. E.g., substitute “steadily writing checks” for “steadily at work.”

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