Wednesday, September 07, 2011

To Boston

... for a week, to stay with sister Karen Graham, frequent commenter, her husband George, and their sons Alec and Evan, and to see my mother Mary (below).

They even like guns!

Hoping also to meet up with Dr Hypercube and Sy Montgomery (below, in Mongolia) and fish with Captain Rick Rozen (below Sy, in Costa Rica) and go to a museum or two and EAT FRIED CLAMS AND STEAMERS! Reports to follow.

(Blogging, email, comment validation may be slow).


Reid Farmer said...

Sounds like a fun trip! Your nephews are getting big

Kitty Carroll said...

Steve, we are not too far from you In Danvers for the next couple of weeks. If you think you have time, contact me. Phone: 386-647-7075. BTW: We have all of the birds with us too.


Hammer87 said...

Stephen -- when you are in the Boston area please stop by Roach's Sporting Goods in Porter Square, Cambridge. I lived in Boston for 9 years and learned almost everything I know about good guns from your articles and books and from Charlie Callanan who ran that place and bent over backwards to help a 22 year old kid buy old guns he could not afford. He let me put an AH Fox Sterlingworth 20 bore 2 barrel set on layaway and refused a higher cash offer from a blue blood in the store because he wanted me to have it and knew I would appreciate it. He helped me read the proof marks on an old Greener 16 bore to determine that it was black powder proof, then checked the barrels and told me not to worry, that if it were his he would shoot it anyway -- and I did. When I got rooked on a 12 bore A grade Fox which had a loose action and shortened barrels, he helped me get it fixed. And now 24 years later, when I am able to buy these kinds of guns without the sacrifices I had to make then, more than anything I wish I knew a dealer like Charlie. I know you bought guns from him and learned from him as well -- ever thought about profiling him in the blog?

I moved back to Texas 15 years ago and I heard Charlie died and his sons are running the place. I feel good knowing there is still a gun store in the heart of Cambridge. Would you mind checking it out and letting me know what it is like today? I have bought nicer guns over the years but have never felt the same sense of pride I did when I risked everything because Charlie told me it was a good buy and I would not be likely to see another one.

Thanks for all of your books and this blog -- they are wonderful -- John Hamlin

Neutrino Cannon said...

It would appear that the sailfish has skewered that little dog.

Steve Bodio said...

John-- email us at "ebodio- at- gilanet- dot- com"

I'd love to talk about the Callanan brothers, who were the same kind of mentors to me (and Betsy, who Bill once compared to "Jane"-- a Maugham heroine, a longer tale than I will address here). This was a flying family visit but will check next time. Maybe meanwhile I could send a friend to look it over. Her guns, a pigeon grade Belgian Browning superposed and a M99 Savage .250 2000, were from him, and he kept the shotgun after she died until he did I think...

Hammer87 said...

> Steve -- I sent on email as well but not sure this got through --- just in case I am pasting here as well:

Thanks for your response to my comments on Roach's Sporting Goods and Charlie Callanan. I have just been re-reading Good Guns and had forgotten that you gave Charlie a very nice mention in that book as well. I grew up in Dallas and live in Austin now but lived in New Hampshire from 1983 to 1987 and Boston from 1987 to 1996 and spent hours at Roach's and lots of the old New England gunshops in search of doubles I could not afford. I mentioned in the blog comments that Charlie helped me buy a 20 bore Fox Sterlingworth 2 barrel set on layaway and a Greener 16 bore -- as well as get a flawed A grade Fox 12 bore repaired. He also signed up to sponsor me at the Minuteman sporting club so I could actually shoot near Boston.
> You probably remember some of the old dealers I used to frequent -- Jim Austin and Steve McCarthy at New England Arms in Kittery Point, Maine and a shop in Framingham called Lew Horton's. I believe both are gone now. I also read every issue of Gray's Sporting Journal then when Ed Gray still owned it-- believe you were doing the book reviews then.
> I don't believe I still have any of the guns Charlie helped me buy -- but his help enabled me to trade well and move up the food chain as I learned. I traded both Foxes and the Greener to New England Arms to get my first English sidelock -- a between the wars HJ Hussey 12 bore, double trigger with a diamond grip and 28 inch barrels. I still own and shoot it on just about everything with the lighter one ounce loads. It seems like this is the kind of gun you can never find now: light, in proof, perfect barrel condition and craftsmanship but from a lesser known maker so priced where the average mortal could still afford it.
> Your writing has had a great influence on me -- particularly the advice to learn and discover and have the confidence to discern quality from the crafstmanship one can observe rather than becoming obsessed with the name on the barrels. Like most I started by trying to chase the "name" American guns but as I learned to judge quality for myself I quickly decided the English boxlocks were a tremendous value -- far better workmanship than any Parker or Fox and without the hyper-inflation. Everyone else seems to have figured this out now but there were several good years when you could get superb small bore boxlocks for less than $3000. Fortunately I kept a good William Evans 28 bore and a WC Scott 20 bore even after all of the trading. I own no safe queens and both of these guns have taken quail and dove in Texas and grouse and woodcock in New Hampshire. I think Charlie would have approved of the guns I ended up with -- and laughed at the path I took over 30+ years of trading to get there..
> I was interested to hear about Betsy's guns from Charlie -- the Savage 99 and Browning Superposed. A good Savage 99 is on my wish list and while I prefer side by sides the Belgian Brownings have a religious following here in Texas and my 79 year old father still shoots his with skill and grace -- his is also a Pigeon grade.
> Thanks for the great writing over the years -- especially Querencia, Good Guns and Good Guns Again but also the blog. If I can't be out using my old guns there is nothing I enjoy more than reading about them from someone who is equally obsessed -- John