Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Old Family Friend

Like most gun owners right now, I'm getting bit by the cost of ammunition, sure I reload in most of the calibers I shoot, but the way things are with component availability, let alone cost, I've decided that I need to fall back on the old standby .22lr for plinking and some practice.

On Memorial Day weekend, I was digging in the safe and decided I should clean up my Dad's old .22 squirrel gun, so I pulled it from the dark recesses of the safe and headed to the garage.  My dad's old gun, a Marlin Model 99 .22lr semi-auto was (as I later found out), only made for 3 years, from 1959 to 1961 and was the predecessor to the ubiquitous Marlin Model 60, the main differences are that the Model 60s generally have provisions for mounting a scope and Marlin went from Walnut on the 99 to Birch on the 60.  I'm sure there are minor internal differences, but the actions are essentially the same. 
rimfire by you.
I always remembered Dad as being a fairly good shot, at least in my estimation, I remember he, my brother and I putting a dime on a post about 20-30 yards away and trying to pick it off between us.  I also remember being so entirely proud of myself for hitting it and spending a half hour looking for said dime, I carried it in my pocket for a year or more.  I suspected he was sand bagging, but I didn't care much, I still hit that dime!  I also recall Dad going out in the morning and coming back before noon with several squirrels for dinner that evening and how good a cook my mom was/is.  A lot of family history is stowed away in the lustrous walnut stock and when I look down the barrel at the the brass bead front sight, I can imagine Dad zeroing in on the next meal.

My Dad's Model 99 isn't worth a whole lot of money, it's got a lot of wear and has seen it's fair share of rust, but I'll fight you for it and It'll be a damned cold day in hell before I sell it.  This is an old family friend that's taught several men and a couple of women how to shoot, provided meals for a poor country family of seven kids and various other family members and until I dug it out that weekend, I didn't realize just how much it meant to me or my family.

Oh, did I mention you could hit a dime with it at 20 yards?  Yeah, that too.

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