A Deadly Beauty

  • The proverbs idle hands are the devil's workshop, idle hands are the devil's tools, and idle hands are the devil's playground mean that someone who is unoccupied and bored will find mischief; someone who has nothing to do will partake in something that will get him into trouble. -Wikipedia

    Seems like I’d better find something to do and real soon! The Ballard Rifle And Cartridge Company of Cody, Wyoming was for a brief, shining moment one of the finest collective group of master craftsmen of our times. The 1885 Winchester Single Shot in the photo is a prime example of their efforts. It is chambered in 38-55 Ballard. The original owner outfitted it with iron sights but apparently lost his ability to see iron sights before taking delivery. The Lyman Super Targetspot 16X scope suggests he either had a rock hard hold or only intended on shooting from a stand. The absence of wear attests to the sad situation we are all too familiar with: by the time we can afford such nice toys we are too old to play with them. It came to me without inserts and missing the tang sight staff. The #4 full octagon barrel puts it right about 15# as shown; not a stalking rifle for me anymore either. I expect it has a .375 bore instead of the traditional .380. All my bullet molds are .382+ but I have a goodly supply of .377 commercial bullets so the next owner will be buying it used. Kathleen took it pretty well. She likes pretty guns too. I made up 20 rounds with ancient Barnes 255 grain RNSP jacketed bullets and had 200 made up with 230 grain FP hardcast by Badman Bullets in Oregon that I made for Winchester lever guns. We’ll see how it likes fixed ammo. I have a breech seater for target shooting. I may switch the scope out for an MVA Malcolm that is currently unemployed.

  • @rr2241tx What an historic AND beautiful firearm! Would love to see a photograph of yours when you get a chance. Like you and Kathleen, I love guns with beautiful wood stocks. Put a finely finished Turkish walnut burl on as a stock and I will drool.

    German half of the family has returned to Frankfurt. We got to shoot pistols a lot while they were here. My son-in-law is a ranked defensive pistol shooter in Germany and his club just won the German championship. He finally shot my Volquartsen Ruger Mk IV 22/45 steel challenge pistol and I could see a light bulb turn on in his mind (he didn't know anything about rimfire other than it wasn't 9mm Luger). He put a big dent in my supply of CCI Clean subsonic so I hope the shortage will end soon. Never say never, but I will never pay $29 for a box of 100 of the CCI clean!

  • @shakeyhand The German half of our family also returned to Eschwige. No shooting this year but Doris was a marksmanship trainer for East German Army. She’s a heck of an offhand shooter.

    Took the Cody Highwall to the range this afternoon. Badman hardcast bullets made for lever guns did not impress me much, to paraphrase Shania. 255 grain Barnes round nose soft points were somewhat more precise, but none of the loads were really anything to brag about.

    Also tried out a Skinner receiver sight with the factory hooded bead front sight on a Marlin 39A. The combination would be a big upgrade for a squirrel gun. I don’t use it for squirrel hunting though so targets at 100 meters were meh at best, likely sufficient for Smallbore CLA silhouette. This is my backup rifle so it will stay this way until the primary gun requires professional attention.

    It was really good to get some trigger time for a change. All the matches have been canceled since mid November because of weather.