By Jeff the Griz
The other day while reading TTAG RF asked, “What’s the most important gun you own?” This got me thinking…I know dangerous, right? I thought about what firearms are important to me. I have my first gun, a single shot .410 from my 10th Birthday. I have my first deer rifle. I have others, and I have a lot more on my wish list. But the question got me thinking about something that I have been thinking about off and on for a while – family heirlooms . . .
My father-in-law has a collection he will be passing to my wife’s brother consisting of antique deer rifles, including a 1930’s Savage 99 with a lot of scratches from Great-Grandpa’s hook after he lost his hand in a farming accident. I encouraged my own grandfather to pass his deer rifles to my younger cousin who is new to hunting and has been fortunate to spend more time with him in the woods than I have. My father has had to sell most of his guns after his small business went bust, but I have been happy to help him add to his collection.
What I would really like to do is be able to pass on firearms to future generation that are worth the treasuring. I understand something beautiful does not always hold sentimental value, and sentimental things are not always beautiful. I am wishing for the best of both worlds.
I have been eyeing a Henry Golden Boy in a pistol caliber or something historic like 45-70. I have long been dreaming of a Browning Citori, and for years have been salivating over gorgeous 1911-style stainless beauties like the Kimber Crimson Carry or the Smith & Wesson E series. Logically speaking, these firearms are a little out of budget at this time and although obtainable, I am making no immediate plans to purchase them.
So I am going to break down and admit that I do have one firearm that holds a special place in my heart and I pray it is going to have an impact on my future generations. It’s the first pistol I ever purchased and although I shoot it far less now, I sometimes pull it out of the safe just to remind myself it is there.
It’s a well-used Browning Buck Mark and I am its third owner. The story as I was told is that it had belonged to a gunsmith in Michigan’s upper peninsula and he used it for target competitions before selling it to the retired state police officer whom I purchased it from.
Being a target shooter’s firearm it has definitely had some trigger adjustments, and has been in and out of a holster a lot. The bluing is very faded on the left side of the pistol, it has obnoxious but comfortable worn wood grips, and simple rear adjustable sights. I can not even guess the round count, as the rifling is difficult to see and the bore is almost smooth. Personally, over 1500 rounds myself. It has occasional light firing pin strikes causing failures to fire. Per the Browning website, it was produced in 1989. Not too old, but more than old enough to drink.
Although there are many negatives, it still shoots like a dream. Chambered in .22LR there is almost no recoil. Even with the barrel wear, I have been able to shoot a 6-inch steel spinner 10/10 times at 35 yards on a frequent basis. Since the pistol was not a beauty queen it has accompanied me on numerous rabbit hunts through the snow and the rain.
I have won and lost bets based on my ability to shoot it well, or not in some cases. It has helped me teach shooters new to pistols, or those returning to pistols after some time. While it might not have saved my life, or been handed down to me from a relative, what I can say about it is there were days it felt like an old friend with me at the range. So yes important to me, check. Is it a family heirloom? I can pray that it will be.