Thursday, March 25, 2010

Old Family Heirloom

Some Good, Ol' Fashioned Gun P0rn!!!!11!

This is a Savage Model 1909 - according to my copy of the 2008 Standard Catalog of Firearms, it was made from 1909 and 1915. Values range from $250 for Excellent down to $100 for Fair and $75 for Poor. It has all the parts with no major dings or dents, but it has no finish. It does have some minor pitting. I'd figure it would go somewhere between Fair and Poor, but you'd be hard pressed to get me to sell it for any hundred bucks.

That's another thing that irks me - this is my blog, and I'll get sidetracked if I wanna. In my mind, the values these guys give are always under what I can find them for. About the only $75 guns I've ever seen in a gun shop/show and actually for sale were the 1891/30 Mosin Nagants of several years ago. Any American made el cheapo .22 always seems to be at least $125 in the places I find, and oh, boy, are they rough. This rifle is an heirloom, so that really doesn't matter to me.

The 1909 is a carbine version of the Model 1903 - which had a twenty four inch hex barrel. The '09 is a round 20." It has a seven round removable box magazine (betcha finding a replacement would be a bitch!). It's also a pump action.

It does have a narrow beaded front sight - I like narrow sights like that since they obscure less of the target and just seem more precise to my eyeballs.

The rear sight is a leaf style - nothing fancy. This is, after all, a Savage. If you wanted better sights back in the day, there were always Lymans available, but this little gun was a tool, not a sporting weapon.

The seven round magazine.

The safety is a thumb operated slider. At the moment, it's in safe mode - the camera couldn't pick out the word "SAFE" engraved at the forward end of the safety. Sliding it forward to cover the word enables it to fire.

The left arrow points to the slide release. Pushing up on it allows the bolt to unlock and the slide to retract - to empty a live round from the firing chamber, for instance. The right arrow points to the magazine release. You can see this is a takedown rifle - that's what the big thumbscrew is for. However, years of neglect has frozen that puppy in place. You can see the marks my pliers left trying ever so gently to loosen it. So, cleaning was limited to spraying Gun Scrubber into the ejection port until it was full, and cycling and dry firing the action numerous times to loosen any gunk. I did get some chunks out with a dental pick and the narrow end of a plastic milspec gun brush.

I've found that my father's attention to his guns was even more sporadic and indifferent than mine - I'm not one who methodically cleans his guns every time I shoot one. I think his maintenance consisted of spraying WD-40 into them, and if they quit working, it was because they were broken. His old Model 12 Winchester was just plain shot, according to him, because it wouldn't extract shells reliably. It was no wonder, there was beaucoup crud in that ol' shootin' iron. He'd told me years ago that there was a problem with this one, but I couldn't remember just what it was. During my cleaning process, I couldn't get the bore shiny, but there wasn't any pitting. It was just a bit darker than I liked. Plus, the rifling was faint. So, I wasn't expecting much when I took it out to shoot.

The trigger is a very short travel with a tiny bit of creep, and perhaps a hint of stacking. It's no 1911 trigger, but it's serviceable. I expect if it were taken out and shot a bunch, it would smooth up considerably. It's really pretty decent right now. I did notice that it will jam if one dallies with the pump. Going slow noses the rounds above the barrel on the underside of the receiver. Clearing just involves backing the slide, tilting the rifle over so the ejection port is down, and allowing the round to fall out. A little more energy on the slide takes the rounds to the chamber without incident.

So, I expect that was the defect that Dad was talking about, plus the barrel is pretty well shot out. I didn't put up a target - but it does shoot minute of elm tree at twenty five yards just fine.

My grandfather bought this rifle - and I'm pretty sure he purchased it used. Like I said, it was a tool. He went into town one day and bought it just as he would a shovel - I highly doubt he ordered it new for some reason or another. It was what the proprietor had in stock, and it was affordable. Mostly, it shot rabbits. My Dad and uncle sat in the loft of the barn protecting the garden, plus cottontail was on the menu. The time period was the mid thirties on into the forties, and times were hard. They weren't all that finicky about what they ate, particularly if it was running around wild in their yard. Home slaughtered chicken, pork, beef, fish, pheasant, dove, home canned goods, and home baked goods were the order of the day. They didn't go hungry, but they didn't let anything go to waste, either.

In my mind's eye, I see Dad and my Unka Bill wandering down to their fishin' hole, poles, tackle and this rifle in hand to see what they could stir up for the pot, idyllic and unaware that they were, in fact, poor.


threecollie said...

Poor is a funny thing...if you don't notice, it doesn't matter so much. My grandparents were poor...but they sure had rich lives. Good post!

Anonymous said...

I have the single-shot .22 that my Dad carried to school in the late '30s & early '40s. Three mile walk home after class usually netted at least a couple of squirrels. It also has that fine front sight and I agree with your opinion on that.

Jeffro said...

threecollie: They didn't notice so much because there really wasn't much to compare - everyone else they knew was in the same situation. Plus, there were a lot of farm families compared to now, too. They literally had their own community.

farmist: I've got a single shot Remington Targetmaster that my grandpa purchased as well - it was my first rifle. I'll have to round it up and take some pics someday. It's a shooter.