Pete's random thoughts

Thursday, December 14, 2006

9622, P-17, and bad limping

We had gotten a few calls from people who were annoyed that they had sent emails but hadn't heard back from me. At first I didn't believe them as I spent far too much time in front of my computer dealing with email, and I keep track of who I respond to. Then we startedt o hear it from several more people, paniced last minute Christmas shoppers etc.

So I looked into the domain servers/forwarders etc at the web hosting place that our website is on. Not that I really know what I'm looking at there: I'm a gunsmith, not a computer geek. Nonetheless, I discovered a cache of emails that had somehow been misdirected by the forwarders. If it didn't go to my own personal inbox for whatever reason, it went into this cache. For the last two years. It also seems that the DNS servers changed maybe two moths ago (judging by the amount of cached email from that date) and certain forwarders just got erased somehow, so MOST of my email that was sent to me through the website got sent to the cache.

There were 9622 emails there. No decimal point, not a misprint: nine THOUSAND, six HUNDRED and twenty two emails that had been misdirected. Fortunately, well in excess of nine thousand of them were spam: offers for viagra, ciallis, Nigeria scams, the fallout of viruses, all sorts of flotsam and jetsam, but the bad part is that several hundred of them were from real live people. Needless to say, I spent about 14 hours sitting in front of this silly machine yesterday, deleting spam and sorting out real emails from the cache. My eyes are still not focused properly, but I must press on regardless.

On the bright side, yesterday morning I picked up a new rifle that I had won at an online auction. I is an Eddystone P-17, the workhorse rifle of WW1. Bore is a bit rough, but not unsalvageable. The rest of it is pretty nice for an 88 year old gun. The P-17 is an Enfield influenced design. It fires a 30-06 round from a box magazine like the 1903 Springfield does, but has a slightly different shape to the stock including the rudimentary pistol grip that makes the Enfield type guns so comfortable to shoot. This one makes 14 military bolt action rifles from 11 different countries represented in my collection. Our museum collection is shaping up nicely, now we just need to wok on creating a proper display.

I'm hobbling around here like an old man today, barely able to walk. Maybe it is because I've taken to wearing shoes because it's December, or it might just be the change in the weather, but my foot is killing me. It's an old wound that has healed, but will never be quite right again. A few years back at rendezvous, I managed to whack myself in the foot with a 3/4 length axe. I think I've told the story here before, but to sum it up, the resulting infection nearly killed me and there was talk of dealing with the infection surgically. (I.E. taking the leg off) Modern antibiotics saved me, but the foot will never be the same. On a day like today, I'm glad that I am no longer a mechanic that spends all day on my feet.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Butchered rabbits today

Today started off with standard confusion, but we slavaged the day by butchering rabbits. Everybody here is sick, so we slept late. The original plan was to start filling the freezer with ducks and chickens, but the Coleman stove that I use to keep the scalding pot hot crapped out on my once and for all. I couldn't put my hands on the propane powered backup stove, so plucking birds was out for today.

Instead I butchered rabbits. The way you butcher a rabbit is to hold it by the back legs in one hand so that the head hangs down, then whack it in the back of the head with a blunt object. It makes a noise like crushing an eggshell, the rabbit's body tweaks for a few seconds, then goes limp.

You hang it by the back feet (over a bucket), cut the head off, then the front paws, skin it, gut it, then cut off the hind feet and you are done. The pigs get the guts and head, I put the skins in the freezer to tan when I've accumulated a bunch of them, and the rest is ready to eat or freeze.

Rabbit tastes like white meat chicken and can be kind of dry if you don't use a wet cooking method. It makes good chili. (everything makes good chili)


Went to the West Leb gun show

Last weekend Paulie and I packed up a bunch of stuff and went to the West Lebanon gun show. it was a pretty slow show. We didn't sell much, but we did a lot of horse trading. And of course,a lot of talking...

He came home with a big brass blunderbuss with at least a 1" bore. It appears to have been built using a Pedersoli Bess lock that has had the markings ground off. All of the furniture seems to have been cast at somebody's backyard foundry and the barrel is like nothing we've ever seen. It will take a bit of tweaking to get it working, but once it is done it will really be a one-of-a-kind piece.

As for me, I came home with an assortment of pistols and a Long Branch (Canada) Enfield #4 Mk1 dated 1942. Here is a pic of the pistols. From the upper right, you are looking at an 1895 Nagant revolver, built in 1926, marked CCCP. Continuing clockwise, the next one is a Belgian Bulldog pocket pistol in .32 S&W (notice the quarter in front of it for a size reference, the thing is tiny!). My gusee is that it from the last quarter of the 19th century. Of the same vintage is the next one, a British Bulldog, also in .32 S&W. This one has had it's hammer bobbed to make it easier to pull out of your pocket in a pinch. Finally, on the upper left, a CZ-52, a Czech cold war era military pistol. This one fires the Soviet bloc 7.62/25 round, an oddly shaped pistol round that is similar to a 9mm at the back but is necked down to use a smaller (therefore faster) projectile.

Now I'm shopping for a 1903 or a 1903a3 Springfield. Pete Knight has one of the new rifle display racks complete and the other mostly done. Visitors will have a better laid out collection to look at and examine. This coming week, Jeff will probably be building shelves to display the rest of our helmet collection. This place is slowly but surely turning into a museum!