Because sometimes I just want to post about old guns.
Many, many years back, I was suffering the tedious agony of escorting my dear sainted mother to some local pawn shops near her house. Of course she has to look at everything for extended periods while I tend to walk in, glance around, say "yep...lots of junk in here," and walk back out.
However on this day, we were in one that had a stack of beat-up old guns along one wall. Now when I say "stack", that's what it was. There were literally a couple dozen rifles and shotguns piled up like cord wood in a big heap on the floor. I began to paw through it when suddenly something on the bottom caught my eye. It was this:
I looked at it and knew that I'd seen others like it in my old military books. It was obviously a Mauser, and I could tell without even looking at the old-style writing on the receiver that said Kar 98. But it didn't look like any K98k that I'd seen before. It was in rough shape finish-wise. The bluing had all patinaed to a uniform brown, and the buttstock had definitely seen some strange sort of abuse at one time.
It also bore a receiver date of 1916, and the stamp indicated that it had been made in Erfurt, Germany. It hit me that I was looking at an original, unrefinished Kar98a, probably some World War One doughboy's bring-back. I checked it out more thoroughly--most every metal part had a serial number stamped on it and they all matched. Rough shape or not, this gun was worth something, at least to a collector like me. I casually sauntered up to the counter and tried to look barely interested as I asked the guy there what he wanted for it. I'd already decided that $200.00 wasn't too much for this one.
He looked at it. Ohhh....a hundred twenty five dollars ought to do it," he replied.
"A hundred and twenty five dollars?!" I involuntarily exclaimed. I'd been waiting to hear him demand three or four hundred for it as an opener. I could have kicked myself--I'd just given the game away. Now he surely knew that it was actually worth something.
But Bubba misunderstood. He obviously thought that I thought it was too much and he apparently wanted to sell what he must have thought to be a piece of beat-up junk.
"OK," he said. "Seventy-five dollars out the door. But I can't go any lower than that."
I quickly agreed to the price and reached into my pocket for my money, only to find out that I'd left it at home. Damn! The deal of the year was going south on me right here. I just knew that if I left it to go get my money, he'd wise up to it's real value by the time that I returned.
But fortune smiled on me that day. My dear, sweet mother actually agreed to loan me the money, knowing that I was going to use it buy one of those evil guns that she so despised. (I'd have bet money that I'd have never seen that happen.)
Needless to say, I did buy that gun.
I took it out to the range the next day and found to my delight that it still shot straight and true and put some nice groups on the 100 yard targets.
It doesn't get shot these days. It has a place in my Mauser row in the gun room and it gets cleaned and oiled every now and again and I occasionally take a few minutes to pick it up and wonder about it's history, how it got it's many dings and scars, and what brought it here to America. If guns could talk, I'm sure that this old battered veteran of Kaiser Wilhelm's army could probably tell some great stories.