Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Choice

No. 1 son reached 18 recently and on that day he was given a choice. I placed several rifles out for his viewing and said one word, “Choose.”

Among those available were: Remington 700, Stevens 110, a 70yr old Mauser, a couple of scary guns (you know, detachable magazine, pistol grip, bayonet lug, etc. etc…) and a Marlin 336.

He stood there and it took awhile before the “why” sunk in. This was a moment of passage, the crossing of the Rubicon that he was about to undertake and he wanted to make the right choice. Maybe he was thinking what it meant to be a Free Man as opposed to an "adult". He wouldn't say.

He likes the bolts and I thought he was leaning between one of those or one of the soon-to-be-banned rifles. Following the Four Rules (he learned something along the way,) he picked a couple up, checked the chambers, and held them up to the shoulder, feeling the weight of each but I wasn’t able to decipher his mind.

It took awhile and his choice: the Marlin.

It was a late entry that I added as an afterthought and I was surprised that he chose it. We all know what it’s like, when an object “speaks” to us. That old Marlin was looking for a new owner to serve, to be treated with respect not only for the power it holds but for the history that she carried. She was a "rescued" gun.

I thought he made a good choice. After I told him what Mike Vanderboegh had to say about "urban assault rifles", he agreed.


drjim said...

I've got an 1894 in 357, and it's one of the sweetest little rifles I've ever hard the pleasure of using.
I commend his choice!

strandediniowa said...


I found the Marlin at a DNR auction a while back. The state (for now, at least) sells confiscated guns.

I wouldn't mind having one in 357 though, matching up with a revolver can be a good thing.

drjim said...

I made one mistake when I bought my 1894, and that was getting an 1894CB instead of an 1894C. The "CB" is the Cowboy Action Shooting version, with a slightly longer octagonal barrel, and no checkering on the wood. it's a really nice rifle, BUT, I can't find any off-the-shelf scope mounts for it. Everything I've found has been for the round barrel versions, and right now I'm stuck with a set I bought that won't fit the gun!
The upside is I asked at my local range if anybody might be interested in a "CB" version, and three people said "How much?".

strandediniowa said...

Thanks again for stopping by, drjim.

I had a newer Win 94 in 30-30 but I just didn't like how it ejected upwards. Just a preference, tho. It was traded in a few weeks ago.

The Marlin is 30-30 as well and it just fit me better. I paid under $300 for it.

I found another older sister a couple weeks ago for a good deal - I think #2 will be getting it someday.

dubber308 said...

Your post just brought some powerful memories to the surface. My dad had a Marlin 1893 in .30-30. His grandfather passed it to him on his eighth birthday. Long octagon barrel, eight round magazine, metal crescent buttplate, and scarred and scratched from over a hundred years of use, she is still a beauty. Dad killed his first deer with that rifle. I killed my first deer with that rifle. My dad passed away a couple of years ago and willed it to my then fifteen year old son. My son killed his first deer with that rifle (and my handloads). It now sports a brass plate on the buttstock "From my granpa to me to my grandson...pass it on".

drjim said...

Great story, dubber!
Your family is truly blessed.

strandediniowa said...

That is a very good story, dubber. You are very fortunate and the history can now be passed on to the next generation. Everyone, past, present and future, can share in that connection.

When my father passed away a couple years ago he had three guns and I tried like hell for my oldest brother to get them.

There was too much fighting amongst siblings, but I ended up with my dad's Win 97 12ga. My brother shot his first duck with that gun, so I hid it in his car that day.

My brother then passed it on to his son earlier this year. He gave both of his sons an opportunity to choose also.

To me, the stories are just as important as the gun itself.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing.