Friday, August 12, 2011
A Family Find
I had originally written this post as a straightforward review of an old pistol that my brother-in-law Mike inherited from his father. But, like a lot of things in life, it is turning out to be something more.
Mike came over the other day, and he and I and my son went to the shooting range for Mike's very first shooting session. To say he enjoyed himself would be an understatement.
When he arrived, though, he handed me an old paper bag, and said "Here's something I'd like you to take a look at."
In the bag, in a worn leather holster, adorned in a few places with my late father-in-law's name, was a Beretta Model 1935 pistol, chambered in 7.65mm, or .32ACP. My curiosity was piqued. After a quick visit to Youtube, I took it to the work bench and took it down, and except for some rust on the spare magazine, it isn't in bad shape at all.
My late father-in-law was in the US Air Force during the Korean War, but spent his time in Europe. This wasn't unusual, given that the prevailing suspicion at the time was that the Korean assault was merely a feint by the USSR and China, in prelude to an attack on Europe.
While there, he acquired the Beretta pistol from a European officer, by means of which neither my brother-in-law nor my wife are aware.
Being the Family Gun Guy, Mike brought it to me for a couple of reasons. First, he wanted to see what kind of shape it was in - could he still shoot it, and if so, would it make a good defense gun?
My inspection showed that the gun is in good shape. Some of the bluing is worn in the pbvious places, like where the barrel cycles and where the hammer falls. But none of the surfaces show undue wear, and there is no corrosion or rust on the barrel, chamber, or rails. A few shots of Gun Scrub and a nylon brush cleaned the workings, and a light oiling and wipe down made it look very nice indeed. If I had the time, I think I would look at replacing the springs, just to be sure, but I think the gun is safe to shoot.
Second, he was worried. Since my father-in-law had brought it back from Europe, Mike was concerned that the gun wasn't licensed. There, I was able to allay his fears.
Fortunately for us, Georgia does not require registration or licensing of guns. And, after questioning him, it was clear to me that Mike had nothing in his past or his record that would prevent him from owning the gun. All was cool.
As an aside, I am continually frustrated by people I meet who are convinced that all guns are registered, or should be registered. Moreover, when I tell them that very few states require registration, or licensing of shooters, they don't believe me. This is why I encourage everyone who shoots to join the NRA, SAF, and other gun rights organizations.
So, back to our story, we packed up, and headed to the range. On the way, we stopped by our local favorite gun store to buy some ammo.
Yikes. It turns out that .32ACP was selling for $40 a box. (I've since found it on line for half that.) Mike decided to hold off on shooting it. Instead, he shot everything else I brought to the range, and fell in love with my .22LR Browning Buck Mark.
The next day, Mike came by the house, and he was still talking about our range trip. He asked me to look into selling the Beretta and getting him a Buck Mark or other .22LR pistol. He's obviously smitten, and I have gained another range buddy. I can't blame him. $20 for 500 rounds of .22LR beats $20 for 50 any day.
So now begins my quest to trade or sell this quaint Italian masterpiece. Give a holler if you have some leads.