In my circle of friends I am the dedicated gun guy. As a result, I think some people think I spend most of my time reading about clockwork bullet throwers, all my money acquiring them, and all my intellectual capitol strategizing their future. The reality—especially lately—is that while I would like to be on the range every week, I am lucky to spend a day each quarter at Continental. I am not happy about it but I believe honesty is the best policy—especially when reviewing my to-do-list.
Cherylkat kindly accompanied me to the range to kick off my recent celebratory weekend. I got some quality time in with the 10/22 project. The action functioned without a hitch for 90 rounds. The scope worked fine. After that I spent some time working with my Blackhawk in .45acp. That was humbling. That plow handle grip dissipates recoil but man is it difficult to get a consistent hold orientation. The curve of the grip frame causes the muzzle to flip up with each shot transmitting the recoil into vertical rotation while dislodging my hand alignment. I am going to have to get some finger groove grips for that beauty or develop herculean hand strength. I finished with a couple cylinders through the single 10. It was a nice light range trip. I like function testing projects and finding new things to work on—new grips and hand strength being at the top of that list.
On the way out I signed the consignment papers for my marlin 4570 and the Remington 1100. I do not like selling off guns. Most of my collection have functional and sentimental places in my heart. However, I came to a couple conclusions that forced some difficult decisions.
· I am going to be a recreational shooter for the foreseeable future. The only local guy Continental recommends declined to even consider giving me the CCW training course. I was not particularly surprised. Blind people and guns just put some people off. I was polite and left the door open so maybe he’ll come around. The upshot is that unless I can find a qualified instructor willing to take on my ambitions, I am stuck Shooting for fun.
· I am not going to be ranging that often. Last year a friend and a relative offered their land for occasional freeform shooting. Those opportunities have not panned out. Elk Neck—as much as I wish it were different—is just not practical for any kind of routine range time. Free state—where I would theoretically have been able to shoot some full power rifle calibers—is likewise impractical. This definitively cuts me down to whatever calibers Continental allows—shotgun and pistol calibers for the most part. Friends have been unable to get out much to put lead down range. So, fewer locations and less frequent ranging have driven a quantity and quality reduction in firearm indulgences.
· We are not moving out of Maryland any time soon. The brunette has a couple years in her current job and just successfully applied to grad school. I am actively searching for in-state professional development. We are tied here by friends, finances, and the benefits of a blind friendly community.
· Maryland—even with a republican governor—is going to keep on cutting away at second amendment rights. Our AG is a died in the wool gun control true believer. Just watching some of the recently proposed legislation is painful. Most of it is objectively bad law—vaguely worded prohibitions that, while well intentioned, show a profound lack of understanding regarding the law of unintended consequences.
· Even in the absolutely best case scenario we are 10 years away from true national shall-issue, Supreme court validated discrediting of assault weapon bans, and lifting of related strictures. Trump nominated a supposedly 2a friendly justice but what with Republican efforts to repeal and rebuild the ACA, multiple confirmation hearings, Democrat intransigence, and a laundry list of political footballs on the table, it is going to be a while before we see a possibly second amendment friendly court. That does not take into account how long it takes cases to get to be heard in the first place. All of that presupposes the court will rule in our favor, which is far from guarantied.
· It looks like we may have to tighten the belt a bit. I am considering several professional opportunities that would change my compensation structure. Grad school for the brunette is going to require some careful planning—no worries, just need to be careful. We are starting to look at solidly preparing for retirement which means setting aside more money on a regular basis. All told the future looks great but likely with less liquidity for my hobbiesL
· I am limited in what I can reasonably maintain. My sonic cleaner does not work with aluminum well. Platforms that require lots of pin pulling and spring removal are a bad idea due to my fumble fingers and need to assemble/disassemble by touch.
· We are probably sticking with this apartment for a while. This means that I am not going to be able to expand my storage options any time soon. I am saving toward a consolidated safe, but that is really only going to help with part of the problem.
It is not as if any of this is new. I have been thinking about most of these points for a while. It is just that as of 2016 the “what if” factor evaporated. Consequently, I have come to some decisions.
· It will be easier if I build my collection around likely upcoming AWB strictures. I hate it—I really do—but there is no point buying into a bunch of platforms that I will not be able to support in f—magazines, accessories, component parts…etc.
· The AR10 is going on the block. I bought it when it looked like HR might win and I might not have the opportunity to acquire such a platform in future. Now that I do not apparently have a place to shoot it and a cleaning system that doesn’t like aluminum much, I am just going to recover my investment for future projects.
· I am cutting down to .22lr, .45acp, .45lc, .44 magnum, .410 gage, and 12 gage. I have a 30-30 on hand that I need to clean up but will probably be selling after it is in marketable condition. Life is just going to be easier the fewer calibers I have to keep on hand.
· Guns are going to take a back seat for 2017. I have some major health goals that I have to hit. If I am not shooting much and I am not likely to do so very often in future, then investing more time and treasure is a bad idea. Once some of my projects sell, I will probably reinvest them into more guns but new lines of endeavor are off the table for now.
· I am not going to be buying a range membership until I can hit the range 6 times in as many months.
I wish I was the range-rat of old. I could push friends and family into shooting more often. I could shove more money at the process. The truth is that I need to deal with some bigger issues first. I need to get my health on a better trajectory (more on that later.) So, guns are still on my list of hobbies. I will still happily hit the range if possible but it is time to take them off front line hobby status.