Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Purdeys and such

Gun nuts are persistent, and nobody is leaving me in peace about the Purdey, so ONE more post, mostly a reply to my old Canadian friend "Lucas Machias".

I DID have a hammer Grant, a near equivalent and an original, not a restored gun, which I foolishly-- since it cost a lot less- let go-- will not do THAT again =(:-0)

I also owned Lord Dunraven's 16 bore Woodward, which sounds better than it was- an utterly clapped out gun that the late Bill Smiley bought for $600 in Phoenix, with a soft oil- soaked 13 inch DOWN pitched stock with a vented pad and a white line spacer,  and 26" sleeved barrels. I couldn't hit the ground, or a barn if I were inside, with it; Terry Weiland wrote a piece about a dove hunt at Bill's in the month after 9- 11 with it, in Gray's, and graciously credits me with more birds than I shot. He, with I think his custom Arrieta, and Bill with his "modern" Beasley patent hammerless self- opener Purdey (made in 1912), shot the most, and the late Armand Romano, a retired Brooklyn Homicide detective, shooting a custom Model 12 pump 20 with beautiful dark wood, told Bill's wife Linda he had shot them all.

 The cheapest quote I could get on restocking was $3000; the cheapest on rebarreling was 12,000 POUNDS, and Purdey refused to do it, saying the gun was not worth the barrels. The guy who had it after me, buying it for 3000 from Glenn Baker (who subsequently sold me my lovely .410) spent TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS restoring it. It is beautiful, but since this is more than I paid for my house and most expensive car together (I know, I live in a poor rural community), I think that is beyond my pay grade.

I also owned a graceful Holland and Holland "Dominion" back action sidelock 16 that was often in the shop, which I sold to help pay Jackson's St John's tuition one year-- no regrets.

That is my London gun history, if you don't count a Grant hammer 16 that I kept long enough to refinish the stock but which had barrels so badly pitted I could never quite dare to fire it (it was very old, and I believe it was a pinfire conversion...)

I have no time to blog right now, but knowing all about gun mania will do this ONE post on the Purdey and related matters. Then NO MORE TIL AFTER THE PARTY!

Purdey 12, made in 1885, 30" barrels, 6 1/2 pounds,  14 3/4 " LOP, cast off, in proof for 2 3/4" loads; PERFECT:

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I'll be back!

The Blog Party will be at Reid's in Parker, CO, east of Denver, the weekend of June 11. Regular blogging will then resume. I couldn't have quit if I wanted to with all the response!

Health continues iffy: PD under control at the moment, but apparently a bad case of spinal stenosis is next on my plate. Meanwhile, in one of those ironies that life hands us, I have found an excellent affordable Purdey.

One thing I must note in this quick reference: the death of Herb Wells, greatest coursing photographer who ever lived, in his eighties, in Alpaugh CA. If Dan  Belkin was responsible for founding that odd colony, Herb kept it alive, and was its soul. Here are just a few images to remember...

The last 3 are a sequence; the hare flips, and runs away

Saluki Lahav's greatest catch, in front of three GOOD greyhounds

"The most sensitive hare portraits I know are done by an old saluki man in southern California-- just shots of peaceful jacks." Me, in an old blog post here...


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

4000 #7

It is hard to sum up one's life so far even in seven posts. I hope you have enjoyed the ride...
Taik's mother was 14when she had her in Almaty- and lived past 2O. Turkmeni tazis make old bones...

4000 # 6

Kariba. I got killer Malaria there, and have never since been so fat (with those baggy linen trousers and horn- rimmed glasses, I look like Redmond O'Hanlon!), or so healthy.

1994 or 5, s. AZ. Doug and I have aged  some, but Jack has grown up, and now has a four year old son of his own.

McIntyre calls this "It's been HOW long since your last confession?" The late Anderson Bakewell SJ,  Jesuit, scholar, adventurer,  snake collector, explorer, mountaineer, and socialite, shooting with me at the Magdalena range in 88.

Shot with the .416 Rigby, of course
The neatest I ever saw Bakewell's Santa Fe house. Usually food, bottles, books, and ammo were everywhere.The fridge had a sign that said "We don't serve women here-- bring your own!" and a Currier and Ives litho of a dead man being carried out of a bar with the caption "This man was talked to death" . In front of the statue of the Virgin were the latest Alpine Journal and Social Register (!) and an old Colt 45 auto Combat Commander,  loaded, cocked, and locked, that moved to a holster hung on a bedpost at night ("What the Hell use is an unloaded gun?")

Read  the marked paragraph, second from the bottom. Some say Tilman's hubris cost them the first ascent...
Where is this? Hint: NOT Taos Pueblo, despite belt buckle  & architecture...

Only in (Sanli)Urfa are pigeons so revered that the fanciest hotel in town features a signed art photo of one (a Reehani flying dewlap, if anyone cares), in the lobby. While 40 miles away in Kobani, the Desert Plague massacres all pigeons and pigeon fanciers..