Closet Queen brought back to life.



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    Bought this 1967 Marlin 39A off GB a couple of weeks ago thinking I might get it cheaply since the stocks definitely don't match. Someone else obviously thought the same thing, so I ended up making the seller happy and hitting the BIN button so I wouldn't be late for supper. He was gracious and waived the shipping charge without being asked so I guess it worked out. All original, including the bent sheet metal rear sight. Looks like he had run multiple bricks of penny per round bulk ammo through it and never had it apart to clean it but, no rust so Golden Rods really do work. After a thorough cleaning and oiling, I took it out and fired it offhand at 25 yards with some Wolf Target. It printed dead center for windage and about 3" high, leading me to surmise that it had been zeroed for around 75 meters which would have been the usual practice for NRA Smallbore Cowboy Lever Action silhouette. That suited me just fine because that match shoots in the morning before the Pistol Cartridge Cowboy Lever Action match I already shoot in the afternoon. So, cut to the chase.

    Sunday morning it was about 40 degrees with a moderate southeast wind and a forecast for the clouds to hang heavy all day warming to the mid-70s by early afternoon. In other words, a typical, beautiful winter day in New Braunfels. The range faces due south so we would be shooting with about a quarter value tailwind. There wasn't enough of the Wolf ammo left to shoot the match but a quick search of the emergency ammo stash under the stereo yielded an unopened box of Federal blue box bulk hollowpoints so those were the ammo of the day. The match got underway with an odd number of shooters, so being the FNG, I was "randomly selected" to shoot alone in the first relay. Luckily, there was a Master level shooter on the other bank of the same animal who was shooting in the second relay and he volunteered to score for me in addition to spotting and scoring for his partner. This meant I had to really work on my follow through because I would have to see my own misses or shoot blindly. I probably should have taken the time to adjust the elevator for each range, but had decided to simply hold low on chickens and pigs, high on rams and see how it went since I'd shown up with less than 20 rounds through the rifle and that with different ammo than I was shooting in the match. I know, what a plan! First time shooting that rifle and that match, no spotter, no elevation data, REALLY basic sights and no offhand practice for four months; what could possibly go wrong? As I started to load for the second bank of animals on my second animal I happened to notice that the action was not completely together. Apparently, I had only finger tightened the takedown screw and it was shooting loose. I had about 15 seconds before the command to fire and I needed a quarter to tighten that takedown screw in the worst way. Luckily, my house key is close to the thickness of a quarter and just as I was putting my keys back into my pocket, the command was given. Concentration was completely broken and two turkeys were left standing before I recovered my composure. After that, things went more smoothly and I finished third behind two Master shooters. AA on my first attempt, not too bad.

    Timin' has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.

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