• Kit Carson was a mule man. So was Al Sieber and General Crook.
• A Henry Repeating Rifle cost $42 in 1863. That’s the equivalent of today’s cost of a basic AR-15. Served the same function, too: Send a lot of lead downrange fast.
• Speaking of the AR-15… Black Rifle Mania has swept the land. ARs everywhere you look. Gotta have one —with a holographic sight and a combat flashlight and… and… and…
Tacticool. I get it. All that gear is pretty sweet. Building an AR is like tricking out a car. You can spend thousands of dollars making your Black Rifle all whiz-bang.
I have no problem with this. I’ve had my fun with an AR, but I’ve never wanted to buy one. You want to throw down the cash, knock yourself out. But you don’t need to. Unless you’re an operator, any job you could realistically call upon an AR to do you could do just as well or better with a .30-30. For a third or less of the price.
But, hell, I’m an old-school walnut-and-steel guy anyway. And the only handguns I have are revolvers. My idea of tacticool is dated c. 1916, so what the hell do I know…
• Went with my buddy Jack to see the firearms exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Bend. Good stuff. The exhibit asked viewers to decide what firearm we’d have chosen if we lived on the Western frontier. Depends on the period of course. For the early days, can’t beat the Hawken. Robust, powerful and still damn good-lookin’. Later on, the Springfield Trapdoor and still later a Ballard. Yep, all single-shots. I’d opt for knock-down power and range over firepower.
Jack’s a handgun man. He was in a swivet over the cap-and-ball Colts. There was a Dragoon, an 1860 Army and an 1851 Navy — all in great condition.
• Joe Meek’s rifle is a thick, crude .62-caliber with a short-for-the time 27-inch barrel. He carved “DEATH” into the buttstock. Badass mountain man.