The Eclectic One

…Because labels are a poor substitute for thinking

New acquisitions: Making Sarah Brady cry

Posted by Bill Nance on November 22, 2008

As you may (or may not) know, this was the week our gun licenses came in from the Third Reich Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

It’s been a three-month process, gathering information on how to apply, (The Commonwealth makes it intentionally vague and difficult to navigate their complicated gun laws), the mandatory training course, (which doesn’t even require you to pass written or practical test, so what’s the point?) And then of course the Abu Ghraib-style interrogation from the Commonwealth and our local police department, plus fingerprinting and background check. Not to mention the money: $125 for the safety course and $100 for the license. Each.

But finally the licenses came in, so we can actually take advantage of our Second Amendment rights.

The day the licenses came in, we picked up two previously arranged purchases: A Springfield Arms 1911A1 pistol, and a Ruger Security Six revolver. Additionally we saw a good deal on a Beretta 92 FS, so we picked this up as well.

Now we didn’t get to this out of a vacuum. I’m a long-term firearms enthusiast, temporarily disarmed due to gun laws which have made it more trouble to be armed than it was feasible to deal with. Since I was moving between three States for a couple of years, all of which have different requirements, licensing, mandatory training, registration etc. I just sold my guns years ago. It wasn’t worth the hassle (nor could I afford all the fees).

So we knew what we wanted and had made arrangements to get it well in advance of the licenses actually arriving, though we couldn’t take possession until we had permission from the government to exercise a fundamental right guaranteed under the constitution.

Sorry for the rant, but frankly I’m so angry about being treated like a criminal by my government and having to get permission to exercise a fundamental right, I hope you’ll bear with me. If you don’t understand the frustration, imagine if you had to go through all this in order to vote. My rights under the Second Amendment are no less fundamental than my right to vote; which is why I become so incensed over having to go through all this rigmarole.

At any rate, as I have reported already, we took all three pistols out to the range, got a feel for them, and had a pretty good time.

In addition to the pistols, we had wanted to acquire a couple of rifles. One of these we planned would be of the AR family, or what you see if you look at the news and see what the guys in Iraq are carrying. (In a semi-automatic version, not the full-auto military models).

The other rifle we weren’t quite sure of. On the one hand, I really wanted a 7.62 mm rifle, preferably magazine fed and capable of handling a 20-round magazine. On the other hand, I wanted something reasonably light.

Now in Massachusetts we live under an “assault weapon” ban. Which means basically that any firearm which scares a gun-phobe is illegal unless it was manufactured and in the state prior to 1998.

This means the top contenders on my 7.62 list, the FN-FAL, HK-91/G3 are either unobtainable, or so expensive they are out of the question.

The top contender for the 7.62mm category that is available here was the Springfield M1A1, a civilian version of the M-14, which is probably among the finest battle rifles ever made. And while not exactly light, it’s not so heavy you can’t use it for stand-up shooting, or carry for hunting. Unfortunately, this excellent firearm is something I definitely plan on getting eventually. Sadly it runs about $2,000, which is honestly more than we’re able to pay at the moment.

Yesterday I took a trip up to State Line Gun Shop in Mason, NH (an excellent shop with terrific staff. I highly recommend them) to have a look at a very cool DPMS LR-308. It’s Massachusetts legal and not too bad a price. Unfortunately, one heft told me it would be a non-starter for my wife. Simply too heavy in the barrel. Lighter versions are available, but overall, If I’m going 7.62, and AR-style rifle isn’t too high on my list for a lot of reasons.

But, they did happen to have something else which had been on my “definite maybe” list:

Ruger Mini 14 with scope

Ruger Mini 14 with scope

First, the Mini-14 an excellent firearm with wide usage and a terrific reputation. Second, it’s in 5.56 mm, a caliber I like and finally, it’s very light. My wife can shoot this baby from a standing position all day long with no trouble. So at the excellent price State Line offered, I snapped it up and brought it home, along with a scope and a couple hundred rounds of Ammo.

But a funny thing happened about five minutes after I got home. As I was about to show my lovely bride our new rifle, she shouted for me to come quick and look at a “for sale” post on a gun forum we frequent.

I could not believe my eyes. As I said, a rifle in the AR family was definitely on the list prior to the Mini-14 acquisition.

But there’s something I wanted to have a lot more than an AR. A lot more than an AR. However these babies are extremely hard to get in Massachusetts for less than a donated body part. -As in nearly impossible. But Sweetie found one and got us a terrific deal. (Thanks Steve, you are a Gentleman, a Scholar and Judge of Good Whiskey)!

Yes, I speak of the Sig Sauer 556.

Here it is:


An interesting side note here. Both my wife and I have traveled in Europe rather extensively and I lived in Germany for about 3 years, so we have friends all over the place. Among these are a few from Switzerland.

As you may or may not know, Switzerland has both mandatory military service, and also mandatory reserve service for all men from ages 18-50. Each of them goes home with their firearm, and reports for training every year until they retire.

My Swiss friends have been taunting me for years about what they have in their closets and frankly I was jealous. Now…not so much. While this isn’t the full-auto version they have, it’s close enough for me. (Plus mine has picatinny rails you guys)!

I’m stoked.

Tomorrow is another range day (today was one as well) and I’ll post a full range report on both new guns, as well as an update on the somewhat cranky 1911, which had been sitting in a box, new and unfired for 21 years when I got it.

But (at last) I get to the point.

Lissa has a line I quote all the time: “Every time Sarah Brady cries an angel gets its wings.” (apologies to Frank Capra).

This week, I think we went beyond making Mrs. Brady Cry. About right now my wife and I agree, she’s looking for razor blades.

-Nuff said


7 Responses to “New acquisitions: Making Sarah Brady cry”

  1. David said

    As I read through the blog I thought I’d suggest you get the Galil or one of it’s variants as we used it a lot over here. I have also found that **GENERALLY** the lighter the rifle, the less accurate it is ubt when I saw the Sig rifle… I just said ‘beautiful’ out loud!!

    What sights you going to put on it? How many mags are going to buy? How else can I live vicariously through you??!!??

    Thanks for the blog.

    • Andy said

      The m1a1 is not a civilain spin off of the m14, the m1a1 it is a compact version of the m1 grand. m1a1 was used by para troopers in ww2

  2. Bill Nance said

    Optics, not sure.Probably an Eotec. I’ll have to see what I can get my hands on without spending a zillion bucks as optics range from pricey to “kill me now I’m broke forever.”

    Yes, I would love to have a Galil in 7.62. Unfortunately these babies are extremely hard to get here, and even harder to find in very good or as new condition. I’d probably have more luck getting hold of a HK91.

    For now we’re done buying firearms (As in we spent our new gun budget for the next several months or more).

    Probably next on the list for long guns is:

    1. A .22 target rifle. Ruger 10-22 or perhaps a bolt-action.

    2. A shotgun. I’d really like to start shooting skeet, but I also need to get a shotgun press if we’re going to do this.

    3. A decent deer rifle. I have no idea what I’ll wind up with, though a 30-30 lever action would work well here in the northeast as a lot of what I’d be doing is short range, through the trees kind of thing.

    And then come all the just plain interesting toys, from the k98 Mauser to the M1 Garand, Lee Enfield etc.

    All of this is going to take some time. Normally we are extremely thrifty. The money we’ve spent in the last several months on licenses ($500) some new parts and dies for the reloading equipment ($500) the gun cabinet ($300) the money spent re-building my work bench which was destroyed by a plumbing leak ($400) and the guns (I’m not telling, but it’s a lot) has left us pretty well broke in terms of what we’re willing to spend.

    All in all the money is about the same cost as a very nice month-long vacation in Europe to see all our friends. So I don’t anticipate any more buying for a long time unless it’s such an amazingly good deal I can’t say no.

  3. DJ said

    Fine choices, all.

    I am curious, however, as to why the magazine is inserted into the SIG upside down.
    Some kind of tradition?
    Top-secret speed-reloading method?
    Trying to cheer-up Mrs. Brady with some dark humor?

    Inquiring minds, and all that…


  4. Bill Nance said

    When the magazine was inserted properly it was at an angle that would have scraped the leather on the sofa. So I inserted it backwards to prop it up at the desired angle without nicking the leather on the sofa.

    Very observant of you though.

  5. DJ said

    See, I just KNEW there was a logical explanation!
    Never having owned a critter-hide couch, it didn’t occur to me.
    Thanks for taking the time to (ever-so-tactfully) educate me on this subject.


  6. Nice post. My friend Herman told me about this blog some weeks ago but this is the first time I am visting. I will undoubtedly be back.

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