Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Ballseye's Gun Shots 41 - Hunting Season Almost Over - How Do Your Guns Spend The Winter?

Well, here in the great State of New York (the so called Empire State but maybe it should be called the Socialist State) the main parts of the hunting season are soon to come to an end. By the end of this month, the season for just about everything for which you can hunt will be over. I imagine that is much the same across a lot of the country. So I wonder: Does that mean you clean and oil your guns and then put them away?

Not me. Of course, this year I will make sure to take the scope off of my Marlin to see if any rust developed under the scope mount. Shame on me I did not do that at the end of last season and then earlier this year I found a lot of rust under the scope mount atop the receiver. Only surface rust and easily removed but so was some of the bluing. So I will make sure to get it done this year. For now a good squirt of WD-40 under there may help to keep out moisture. I do not use WD-40 on my firearms regularly because I do not like its properties, I much prefer Breakfree CLP to lubricate and protect my firearms but in this instance I can spray the WD-40 under the part and maybe that will work. I hope so.

I will also clean the rest of the guns that were used on the hunts, but they are simpler to clean since we did not use another scoped gun this year. Then into the gun locker they go but certainly not to remain there until the next hunting season. Late fall, winter, and spring all see me shooting my firearms when I have the chance. The indoor range may only be 25 yards long but it will do for something to stir up the boring doldrums that always seem to come with colder and drearier weather, and shorter days of this time of year. Yes I realize the days actually are getting longer after the first day of winter but they are still pretty short, and therefore pretty dreary and pretty boring pretty often even if they look pretty when covered with snow. I guess you can tell I am not a skier or I might feel differently.

So, since I don't practice many other wintertime activities, I like to shoot. Of course, there are other activities I enjoy over the winter, but none as much as shooting I suppose. I have my tropical fish tank to keep me busy, and my cool water tank too, and my reptiles and amphibians that all require care that helps me enjoy spending my time; but if I can get to the range to shoot, well that is just the best way for me to break up an otherwise monotonous day. I truly envy folks who live where they can utilize outdoor ranges in the winter while wearing only a light jacket, places like southern Arizona (I do love it there) but I live here in NY and make it work as well as I can. This year I may call the outdoor range that Brendan and I use to see if they are open throughout the winter for outdoor shooting. It might behoove us to try to get in some longer distance shooing than we normally do.We usually shoot at up to 50 yards. That is mostly because if we hunt here in NY, 50 to 75 yards is about the furthest distance we would shoot, with 25 to 50 being much more likely than the longer distance. Still though, shooting at 100 to 200 yards would be fun even if I could not see the target at 200 yards (only kidding about that last part). This would certainly give Brendan a chance to sharpen his shooting skills far beyond the point they are at now. I hope he will have enough time with school and all, but I think we ought to be able to swing one or two trips per month. I suppose that is a plan, and I will go with it if I do not go back to Tucson on another temporary work assignment. If I go to Tucson, I will push him to go to the range on his own.

Besides just shooting, the winter months are a great time to work on your firearms. This is a good time to add a scope, put on new sights, refinish a stock, reblue the metal and so on. I am not a gunsmith, so unless there is something wrong, I do not work on the actions (bolts, trigger groups, sears, etc...) of any of my firearms except to clean them. If they are broken and it looks too complicated for me to fix, I would send them off to a qualified gunsmith. Despite that though there is enough with which I can keep myself busy - for instance I may have to refinish the stock of one of my Mosin Nagants, and my Remington 870 stock sure could use some more boiled linseed oil and lots of elbow grease.

So what do you do with your guns over the winter. Are you one of those who puts them into the gun locker to await the next hunting season, or are you one of us who likes to shoot whenever the opportunity presents itself?

All the best,
Glenn B