The Pickering Chronicles #3 – Building A Collection
“Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible.”
― Frank Zappa
Having no firearm experience when I started to learn to shoot, I read everything I could find and watched as many YouTube videos as I could find. I learned a lot about how eclectic some firearm owners’ collections can be, and got some insight into the various categories of arms. Then I proceeded without prejudice to acquire guns in about as haphazard a way as is humanly possible. I figured if I watched my budget at the same time as I bought whatever caught my eye, I could try out this and that and, whatever I found not to my liking, I could always sell.
After I shot with my first 91/30 I bought several more: one to restore, a couple to sporterize. I did the same with SKSs. I bought one 22lr, then another one, then another one. I got a 30-06.
I took the additional firearms course so I could get a license (in Canada everyone needs a special PAL, i.e., Possession and Acquisition License) to acquire handguns. Semi-autos don’t appeal to me, but I’ve developed a real fondness for revolvers, so I’ve slowly built up a small collection in several calibres.
As noted, I was gifted a Winchester 94 built in 1981 and chambered in .375. Over several years I added a Winchester model 68 single shot .22 target rifle built in 1934 that is extremely accurate and fun to shoot, a 30-30 built in 1952 with an action as smooth as silk, and so on. I got the beautiful Uberti 1866 Yellowboy (gone now. . sob, sob) and several guns chambered in .44mag. My collection is split about half/half between Canada and USA.
My last acquisition was the CZ550 chambered in .458 LOTT which was stolen last week. Fortunately for me I was at least able to get 100 rounds through it in preparation for my trip.
I had a little trepidation about the CZ550, having seen all the “funny” videos about people knocking themselves backwards from rifle recoil and ladies whacking themselves in the forehead with a Desert Eagle. However, I never shoot from a bench and I do know how to hold a rifle now. I shoot the CZ either freehand standing or freehand kneeling and I do not find the recoil too bad.
Having said that, shooting the danged thing more than 4-5 times on a day, using Hornady’s DGX or DGS .500 grain cartridges quickly loses its charm. As noted, I bought dies and reloaded using a lighter bullet (230 grain 45ACP) and Trail Boss. Thus I was able to get out and practice with the rifle and shoot 10-20 rounds per session. I first started reloading .38sp. Recently I reloaded the .458s under supervision from someone who knows their stuff and then did the rest on my own. In future Chronicles I plan to go into details about my reloading efforts, etc.
All the time during the building of my collection I have been shooting, shooting, shooting, constantly working on improving my marksmanship with each different firearm. For that, I thank Thorsaxe and his advice regarding focus, attitude, mental approach to the challenge.
In the meantime, below is my first shot with the CZ550 using Hornady’s DGX 500gr at a paper plate propped up against a boulder in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. What you see is approximately the level of marksmanship competency I’ll take to Zim.
This shot was taken from 50-55 yards standing. The tear at 1 o’clock is from a rock chip ricochet. The red circle is about 3” across.
To follow: Where I go to shoot. . .
Find the entire series here: The Pickering Chronicles
If Uncle Jim were a few years younger, he’d be old enough to be Thomas’s son! Nevertheless, Thomas enjoys hunting, freehand shooting, and reloading. He’s looked for challenges all his life and continues to seek them out. He agrees that everything goes better with Loads of Bacon!