Monday, June 06, 2005

The Tyranny of the Why & Custom Guns

As promised, a couple of random thoughts on custom revolvers, Custom Revolvers and why we "why" ourselves to death.

So I've been reading Hamilton Bowen's book on custom revolvers in preparation for the SHOOTING GALLERY episode on the great revolver-maker. Bowen has made a career of creating some of the most unique big bore revolvers around, all the while honing to the a bygone esthetic. Foir example, he's built a reproduction of Elmer Keith's #5 single action; a reproduction of a 1917 Colt Army from a Ruger Redhawk, conversions of Ruger single actions in such calibers as .475 & .500 Linebaugh, .50 AE and aging calibers like .38/40, the .32/20 and the .44 Special.

Now why would someone want a Ruger copy of a 1917 Colt .45 revolver in .50 AE?

Is it more practical than a handful of black plastic pistols? Nope. Better for competition or genuine, authentic "tactical" carry than a bevy of premium 1911s? Nada. A better hunting gun than, say, a Freedom Arms .454 Casull? Negative. More powerful than an S&W .500 Magnum? Not a chance. Smaller than a factory Ruger Alaskan .480. Not exactly. Hey, it's too old for practical; too new for cowboy. Expensive to boot.

So what is the point?

The point is it is 'way cool. And that's why it exists.

Back in the day, the gun magazines were full of cool guns. Somewhere along the way, we got all tied up in the "whys" of owning guns. See, we have to have a "why" for getting a gun, like "it's the most tactical gun made and I'll be ready for the barbarian hordes when they sweep through my suburban neighborhood." Or, "it'll drop that whitetail deer like the pure-D hammer of god, as opposed to my current gun, which is only rated to pure-C." Or my favorite one of all..."it's the idea 'bug-out' gun, which I will carry with me on my person when civilization collapses and my family flees from our suburban neighborhood to your suburban neighborhood, where we will proceed to shoot the living hell out of you, unless, of course, you've also 'bugged-out' with the better bug-out gun..." Or something like that.

Rationales are a disease! You want it; you can afford it; what the don't need a string of "whys" to buttress your purchase. And by the way, the last time an antigunner asked me why I "needed" more than one gun, I said it was for the same reason she "needed" guava-flavored toothpaste — because!

So I sent Bowen my beat-to-hell Ruger Old Model Blackhawk .357, to be converted to .44 Special, which remains one of my all-time favorite calibers (overexposure to Skeeter Skelton as a child, no doubt).

Ask me why...

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