My heart is always filled with joy when making the decision to buy a new firearm. My mind races with questions like, what brand should I get? Or, which size caliber/gauge is going to be the best for my desired hunt. Sometimes there are too many variables to just pick one. Realizing you can always buy another for a later hunt seems to help settle the building anxiety. Just keep in mind that wives are uniquely expensive when you try to bribe your way back into their good graces after a “much needed purchase.”
This year I had my sights set on a shotgun within my $200-$300 price range. The purpose of this particular shotgun would be to hunt deer, waterfowl, bear, boar, and turkey. In order to accomplish this I would have to make a choice between new or used. Used, being the more budget friendly option. Taking into consideration the foreseeable reaction my wife would have after bringing a new firearm home, I decided to take this as an opportunity to shoot two birds with a single pull of the trigger. I could use my old kayak, which only took up much needed storage space, as a means to barter for a “new” shotgun. Believe it or not, it actually worked. I put that bad boy up on craigslist and within a week I got a response. The gentleman who responded offered me one of two firearms to choose from. An almost new Marlin 30-30 lever action or a 10 year old Maverick Model 88 12 gauge. Even though I knew I needed a shotgun, I felt slightly heartbroken throwing away my dreams of being a 19th century lawman. Disregarding my wants to shoot the lever action, I chose the Model 88. Now, it’s never a good sign when someone strongly recommends one over the other due to the “wear and tear.” However, I made my decision and that’s final.
Upon meeting this gentleman, I presented the kayak, and of course everything went swimmingly. Afterwards he slowly opened the gun case revealing what looks to be a shotgun that could tell more hunting stories than my whole family. This model 88 was covered with scratches and dents from the trigger all the way to the front bead, it had mountains of surface rust covering the bolt as far as the eye could see. After looking at it thoroughly, I only had the ability to mutter three words, I’ll take it! Most people would have run from this deal, but the action still worked and now I had the ability to come home with a shotgun plus cash. What more could I ask for?
The moment we left each other’s line of sight, I took my new found cash as an opportunity to order a custom stock and forearm. I even got an alert from amazon saying it shipped before I parked my truck in the driveway. Excited about my purchase, I spent four hours cleaning the entire gun that night, two of those hours was spent on the bolt alone. Afterwards it smiled back at me like a redneck prom queen. Two days later the stock and forearm arrived, making her look like a million bucks.
Applying a little elbow grease to an aged piece of metal like this will spark a level of accomplishment like no other. In a way it’s giving that rusty old firearm another shot at life.