Saturday, August 9 2003

Life’s little pleasures

After taking a week off to drive to Washington and back, I resumed my quest for a Browning Buck Mark Classic Plus. As I suspected, the only store who had one was 100 miles away, and thanks to California’s silly-ass gun laws, I have to make the trip twice, once to fill out the federal and state paperwork and supply a thumbprint, and again ten days later to claim my property.

Fortunately, it’s a fairly pleasant trip down to Paso Robles, and after driving nearly a thousand miles on Thursday, a mere hundred or two was no big deal. I’d been to Bridge Sportsmen’s Center once before, and I knew they were a full-line Browning dealer with a good selection of other brands. A bit pricy on some items, perhaps, but they had what I wanted, and they’re nice people.

Actually, they had a lot of things that I wanted, including a 125th Anniversary Model 1885 rifle and some lovely high-grade Citori shotguns. Dangerous to find when you’ve got $40,000 worth of empty credit cards in your pocket (which I’ll be locking back up in the safe tonight…). Some nice non-Brownings as well, although I could probably find those closer to home. I’d probably have bought the little Smith and Wesson Model 317 Kit Gun today, if I hadn’t already purchased the Buck Mark.

Yes, friends, it’s bad enough that I wanted to buy a .22-caliber handgun, but buying two of them is such a threat to public safety that I must wait a full thirty days. Somewhere, someone will sleep better with the knowledge that I have to delay this purchase for another month. Oh, well, I guess I’ll just spend the time practicing with my .357 Magnum.

I had been avoiding S&W handguns for a while, due to politics, quality control, boneheaded “safety” locks, and a product selection I just wasn’t that interested in. They’ve supposedly been getting better recently, but until I spotted the 317 Kit Gun, I had no reason to give them my business.

I think it’s the perfect gun to train new shooters with. It weighs only 12 ounces, has compact rubber grips that should be comfortable for any adult and most teens, adjustable sights with a high-visibility front sight, and a 3” barrel. And it’s a .22, of course; easy to handle, cheap to feed, and it will last forever.

Even better, the model 337 Kit Gun is almost identical, but chambered for .38 Special +P, so someone who trains on the 317 has a natural upgrade path if they’re interested in more power for target shooting or protection.

I don’t have any need for one of those, fortunately, since it would take yet another month of waiting.

After my shopping was done, I was delighted to have the opportunity to revisit my youth: Paso Robles has an A&W Root Beer stand with carhop service. There’s nothing like having a pretty girl deliver that famous Frosty Mug right to your car, accompanied by a chili dog and an order of french (but not French) fries.

And I have to go back there in ten days to pick up the Buck Mark. Hmm, maybe those silly-ass gun laws are good for something after all.