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'Arsenal' pic

By Everyday Gunner

Don’t bother lying… we all know you have an “arsenal” stashed in your gun safe. (If you don’t know why I use the sarcastic quotes, just search “Zimmerman Arsenal” in any search engine and peruse the plethora of firearms and stockpile of ammo that caused the media to determine that “arsenal” was definitely the best descriptive noun.) What factors made you decide on the guns you did when you began your collection? My process was simple and very goal based at the beginning . . .

If you’ve read An Idiot’s Guide to Becoming a Gun Guy you’ve heard the story of my first firearm, a Beretta 92G. My second was a Rossi R35102 .38 Special that my girlfriend (now wife) loved to handle and shoot. I really don’t consider either of those the start of my collection though. That began years later with the purchase of my trusty FNH FNX-45, and continued with the rapid additions of another Beretta (this one a 92FS), a Sig Sauer P938, an Arsenal SAM7SF, and a Springfield Armory XD-S, in that order.

For myself, with protection of my family a primary concern, I had an outline of what “roles” I wanted my early firearm purchases to fill. My wife and I are legal to carry both openly or concealed in our state, which means that a service-size handgun can fill the role of both a “nightstand gun” (hate that term by the way, insinuates that having a method of carry is unnecessary) and open carry pistol.

So right away, four roles were defined: my full size gun, her full size gun, my conceal gun, and her conceal gun. With the decision about types of guns out of the way, it just became a matter of research on the specific tools I was willing to spend my all-too-hard-earned cash on. Those four roles became the FNX-45, the Beretta 92FS, the Springfield XD-S, and the Sig P938.

The choice of the Arsenal SAM7SF AK-47 was somewhat separate. It came from the desire for a home defense long gun that could also be used for medium game hunting at relatively short ranges. That and the fact that I’ve wanted an AK-47 ever since my brother-in-law let me fire his AK when I was a young teenager. It is, after all, the finest battle rifle ever designed (that’s right AR fans, come at me).

Pretty basic, huh? That’s the blueprint that dictated my first several firearm purchases. However, the beauty of a free (relatively?) country is that you can choose whatever you want for whatever reasons you want. You like beautiful things and think that classic Henry, Winchester, or Colt absolutely has to be the keystone of your nascent collection? Awesome, I’d love to see it. You’re like me and had a pre-determined plan for each purchase? Let’s hear the specifics of what you settled on. Just play too much Call of Duty or Counter Strike and had to get your favorite load-out in real life? Was it everything you had imagined?

Either way, having a plan is a great idea. Figure out what you want your collection to look like and don’t be afraid to save for the best. Oh, and make sure you account for the cost of “…well over 100 rounds of ammunition.” Very important to have more than 100 rounds of ammo to qualify as an arsenal…apparently.

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    • I Inherited it, then quintupled it. It’s not that impressive though. I Inherited a .45 llama (awful gun, but ignited a passion) from my Dad, and a Lee Enfield from my grandpa. Now I have a safe full of “goodies”.

  1. The video game thing is true. Been playing a lot of Red Orchestra 2 lately and now am considering starting a collection of Soviet arms.

  2. I harbor no hate toward the Kalashnikov, but the finest? You have to at least give the VZ-58 a try before you say that…

    • I just got a VZ 58 clone yesterday. I love the thing. My wife wasn’t happy that I bought another gun, but she got over after an hour.

      • I hear that once you have a dozen or so longarms, it gets easier to add one to the collection without the wife noticing.

        I have also heard rumors that wives employ a similar strategy with regards to the size of their shoe collections. 😉

    • Same for me (indirectly) if wasn’t for AKs.

      Whats your story if you don’t mind me asking?

  3. Currently, I have:
    A Mosin Nagant 91/30 (cost: $100)
    A Mossberg 500 currently undergoing a 590 conversion ($350)
    A Zastava M57 ($310)
    A Homebuilt Bulgarian AK 74 (and the homebuilt tools that made it) ($700)

    Zastava/CD 999 ZDA on the way ($300)

    1080 5.45×39 7N6 ($150)
    600 assorted 12 gauge (~$200)
    360 7.62×25 (Yugoslavian surplus) ($80)
    880 7.62x54R Russian/ Bulgarian ($160)


    Some “arsenal” huh? (Not bad for a highschooler, eh?)

    • Thank you, sir! I’m quite proud of it myself. Had been coveting AKs since I was about 15, so it just made sense to go all out when I did get one finally.

  4. “It’s not an arsenal, it’s a collection.”

    Someone asked “Why do you have so many guns and ammo?”
    “Do you play golf or tennis?”
    “How many balls do you have in your bag?”
    (Number doesn’t matter.)
    “Why would you have so many? I haven’t used that many golf balls since Nixon was president. (Which was the last time I played golf.)”
    “Why do you have more than two clubs? I can play with a three-iron and a putter. I probably could play just as well with either a three-iron or a putter.”
    “Have you ever gotten a high-capacity 100- or 500-ball bucket at the driving range? Why would you need to practice that much? I don’t practice at all and do just as well as I would with practicing.”

    • Some people just can’t understand that you can also collect guns. I have guns I rarely shoot but they are my milsurp collection. I also have my newer stuff to shoot. Mostly I like to look at them and enjoy the craftsmanship of some of my weapons. People collect other stuff all the time and think nothing of it.

      • Why do you “need” multiple pairs of shoes? One for dressup & one for everything else.

    • “How many balls do you have in your bag?”

      Usually two last time I checked.

    • yeah, that logic checks out just fine if you’re a gun owner, but it doesn’t compute with people who believe that guns are “designed to kill.” trust me, they’re not going to see the connection, and trying to make that analogy will only make them think that you’re crazy for equating golf clubs with “assault weapons.”

  5. What I learned from this article is that a service-sized pistol cannot be a “conceal gun.” I guess a “conceal gun” is a gun for “conceal carry.”

    And here I’ve been using a service pistol for concealed carry. Sorry.

    • Not everybody is big.
      I can conceal a full size GLOCK.. but my wife cannot. Most people I know cannot.
      If I weighed something closer to what I should, I probably could not.

      Then again, some folks want “concealed” to really mean it. If I was going to carry all the time, I’d put the GLOCK in the safe, and carry an LC9 or XDS..

      • I weigh 147, stand an even 6′, and wear pants with a 30″ waist. Most people who know me tell me to eat a sandwich. My daily carry is a 4″ S&W M65 in an IWB holster. By daily carry I mean every day throughout the entire year. I would say 85% of the people I interact with on a regular basis do not know that I carry a gun. Even in the summer, I can make the gun disappear under an untucked button up shirt, or a regular, colored t-shirt. And yes, both types of clothing fit me well without appearing to be 3 sizes to big. I recognize the comfort issues some have with carrying a service-sized pistol, but it really is not that difficult to conceal.

        • Reminded me of my Drill Sergeant who told me to eat a damn Burger since I weighed 130 lbs at 5ft 8 in when I first entered.

        • So you are tall and thin, no one is going to notice if you wear a size medium shirt instead of a small.

    • I can and do conceal a full size pistol when I am wearing a jacket (You’ll often see me sporting an Indy Colts jacket even on warm days around town when I have to go into locations that ban open carry), but that just doesn’t work when it’s 95 in summer. So… thin gun that lays under a shirt it is.

  6. Make a list of everything I want. Put the stuff that’s unlikely to be banned at the bottom (bolt action, revolvers, lever action, .22LR, etc.). Then take off all the stuff I could never afford (sorry Tavor, that’s 2-3 guns for 1 price). Sort by need, scenario and ammo availability/price. Then work my way down. I’m halfway through my list. Funny thing is, I’ve been buying guns for years and am still halfway through my list!

    • Phil, that’s because those evil #ooga-booga gun manufacturers keep adding guns to the bottom (top? middle?) of your list. I should know. I have the same damned problem and probably the same methodology…

  7. He’s what I think a gun collection should have at a minimum: defensive pistol, shtf rifle, shotgun that can shoot game, scoped hunting rifle with some oomph, rimfire rifle, and rimfire pistol. Build up from there.

    • But in what order? Me, I’d keep most of your order intact but scoot the rimfire rifle ahead of the “scoped hunting rifle with some oomph”

      • Preferably all at once! Otherwise, I agree that rimfire rifle should come third or even second depending on how much tinfoil you wear under your hat.

    • Good list. I added “concealed pistol” after defensive pistol, and then went rimfire rifle and shtf rifle. The shotgun is coming next followed by the scoped rifle. Once my son is big enough to shoot (he’s 16 months old) the rimfire pistol will work it’s way in. In the meatime, time for some fun guns for me 🙂 Thinking a .357 lever action/revolver combo to start off.

    • Never really understood why everyone likes shotguns so much. Sure, if you only have one gun then a shotgun is great. Problem is when you have multiple weapons (a battery) then the shotgun is redundant. A .308 SP does all that shotgun slugs do, just with more range while a rimfire rifle is good for rabbits and birds.

      I still do like shotguns, especially considering how easy it is to make one + the ammo if compared to rifled guns.

      • “Never really understood why everyone likes shotguns so much.”

        Because it’s awfully damn tricky to hit those sporting clays with my AR.

      • Pheasant, turkey, dove. There’s three reasons to want a shotgun.

        BTW, in my opinion, no wild game tastes better than turkey… legally hunted in Kansas with a shotgun only. Unless you hunt with a bow.

      • Yeah, here in the garden state, there is no rifle season for deer. It’s bow, crossbow, muzzleloader or shotgun. Turkey, its shotgun, bow or crossbow. So, if you have any interest in hunting at all, you need the shotgun or archery. My first gun was a single-loader 20 gauge hand-me-down. Not a great defensive weapon, but great for getting comfortable with firearms.

  8. I selected based on the following:
    Carry – open or concealed
    Her gun
    Range/possible competition gun
    Her fun rifle
    Her carry gun
    Fun rifle
    Scary black rifle with the shoulder thing that goes up.

    I’m not quite halfway. But its only been a year since I started shooting.

    • “Scary black rifle with the shoulder thing that goes up.”

      Lol!!! Excellent choice. Some of my next-in-lines are a lightweight AR for Mrs. EDG, a pump shotty (because pump is cooler, that’s why), and then a pair of 1911s after that most likely.

      • A Benelli M4 is pretty cool and it’s a semi although for the money a pump is the way to go.

  9. Guns fall into two categories: The ones you have for a practical reason, and the guns you have just because (pretty, fun, historic, sentimental, etc.,). Both are fine. The best fit both categories. My 642 is for carry, as it is light, concealable, and potent. It is not awesome. My Mosin is for “Holy shit! This thing is awesome!” My matte stainless CZ75B I would gladly carry in a WROL/SHTF/ZOMBIE HORDE situation loaded with its 26 round factory mag, as it is reliable, accurate, easy to handle, AND IT’S AWESOME!

    • The vast majority of my guns to this point fit in the hybrid role (both a practical reason and just frickin’ awesome to have). Gotta be one of the most pure fun moments, that feeling you get when you have the chance to unbox a new gun that you’re excited about for the first time.

  10. I picked up a ruger p89 for my as my first, then got a buckmark .22 when I realized that I didn’t make enough to shoot 9mm all day, now many years later I am really getting into 1911’s because I can’t afford to shoot .22 all day.

  11. I’ve been acquiring My “arsenal” over the last 40 years, it has too many guns to list and more ammunition than the LGS, but I think it is a paltry collection. There may be between 35 and 40 firearms including the three I won at a Friends of the NRA event a couple weeks ago and the Glock 26 I picked up from a private party last night. I’ll be selling four of them in the next several weeks so I can upgrade the optics on my FAL, (which truly is one of the FINEST battle rifles ever made if you want to hit a man sized target at more than 25 yards, AKs suck) and pick up a Glock 36. Then I need a decent Sporting Clays shotgun and then …..

    • Sounds like a pretty decent sized collection to me! I will say that I think the mileage with AK accuracy varies greatly based on what you’re willing to buy. I’ve fired a stamped AK purchased for $280 in the late 90s that at maybe… 50 yards (been a while, I can’t remember exactly) I would hit 2-3 feet off of poa while bench resting. On the other hand, with my Arsenal AK I have put the cheapest of ammo into a 6″ circle, standing, with iron sights, at 70 yards, and I am far from an excellent shot.

      • I was at a range several years back and we were sharing guns. I tried an AK at 100 yards and never could get it to hit the silhouette, frustrated I picked up a G98 Mauser and put five shots into a 4 inch circle about where the heart is, I’d never shot a Mauser before much less this particular sample. I had an Arsenal AK, never shot it, sold it for $700 more than I paid for it so I can’t complain. OTOH I’ve put five shots into a 2 inch group at 200 meters with my DSA FAL using German milsurp ammunition and a 4 power IOR Valdada scope. My favorite rifle is an HRA M1 Garand I got from the CMP, I can smack an 18″ steel plate at 400 yds all day long with Greek HXP militar surplus ammo.

        • It would appear that you are a much better shooter than I ; ]. The point was, the AK platform is capable of reasonable accuracy, even if some of the cheap examples aren’t.

      • I’m a pretty good shot but not that good, I just shoot a lot. I also teach with the Appleseed Project. I understand that the Arsenal AK’s are good, the one I had was a SAM 7 with the optics rail, it had a milled receiver and all that neat stuff. I had a Russian SKS that I sold too, at one point I decided to try and standardize my ammunition holdings somewhat and the 7.62×39 took the hit. The SKS was a good shooter. Having said all that I think there are a lot more bad AK’s out there than good AK’s, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. 😉

      • My SAM7SF is wearing an Aimpoint CompM4S with the 3x magnifier on a twist mount. I guesstimated the hold and was hitting steel consistently at 200 yds (shooting offhand with the magnifier). The Arsenal has a really nice stock trigger and produces tight groups. I’m just feeding it Wolf steel case.

        • Hey Speleo – That’s a pretty nice config. Ever consider swapping out the handguard on your SAM 7? I’m eyeing up the Krebs AK UFM (for milled receivers). Expensive, but man… can’t get my eye off the thing. I really want to drop an AFG on it. For optics, I went with a RS products AK 301 and aimpoint Micro H1

        • Apart from the optics I’m keeping things simple on my Arsenal for now. The stock furniture is pretty boring, but it does what it’s supposed to do, and it’s lightweight. If I get a bug to run a light or something then I’ll be looking for a furniture swap. The Krebs looks interesting since keymods will keep the weight down. I wonder how hot it might get, though. 🙂

    • Some AKs are better than others, and feeding quality ammo does make a difference. As an example, check out the Zastava M77 .308 on the market right now, it is a genuine 1MOA rifle, and it’s an AK.

      I have shot side by side with some quality factory ARs with my Saiga .223, and shot nearly identical groups. I doubt the Saiga would keep up with a target rifle being fed handloads, but that’s not what it’s for.

      I sort of got into AKs by accident, now I own seven, and really don’t have much interest in ARs other than to build an M16A4 clone.

  12. My collection has been my son’s collection since the day he was born. That’s how I justify each new addition to the boss (wife).

    It’s not for me! It’s for the boy!

  13. The ideal collective concept would be the Noah’s Ark approach. Two of EVERY animal…er…gun.

  14. The first gun I bought was/is an NEF .223/12ga combo, and that was it until I inherited a few others.
    More than 20 years later, with the changes in the political/social environment, I put together a plan for sport/plinking/defense by what I call “area of influence”.
    Handgun, shotgun, small rifle, medium rifle, large rifle.
    Then I started on stuff I thought was cool, Call of Duty pieces, pistol carbines, black powder, etc.
    I like the history and geography lessons too, so I collect by those parameters as well.
    So many arms, so little cash…

  15. I broke the first purchases down to what I considered the basics:
    Open – m&p45fs
    Conceal – m&p9c
    Rifle – ar15
    Shotgun – rem 870

    Now the fun can start with .22’s (pistol and rifles), scar17, a semi auto 12ga, and something fancy to carry when I go nice places (nice 1911).

    Oy, this habit gets expensive quick…

  16. Two comments….
    I’m always amazed how everyone feels like they have to show off or list what they have—-no need for a federal gun registration. They will know what you have!
    And,……just 100 rds?? You’ll need more than that when the SHTF!!!

  17. Also I use a ‘5 caliber’ rule for ammo, (with a couple exceptions for her 20ga and black powder stuff)
    12 gauge
    And yes, even the AK’s have to fit the ‘fab five’.

  18. For me, it all started at a BoyScout camp. I took the riflery course, and found I really liked marlin .22s.
    So I talked my folks into letting me prove I was responsible enough, and got a Marlin 880SS.
    Then saw an add for the Walter P22. Saved up money and Dad bought it for me. Graduated HS, was given my fathers American Arms “Ducks Unlimited” 12ga over under. Beautiful gun.
    Went to college, saw a Mosin Nagant for 75 dollars, saw how cheap the ammo was and decided I could eat Raman for a few more weeks and got it. And a few spam cans. Then I learned what a milsurp ammo can opener was. Exciting times.
    Turned 21. Got a Springfield XD, because “it looked cool” (awesome reasoning right? Got lucky there, still one of my favorite pistols)
    Got a summer job as a gun clerk at LGS. Never seemed to take home any money, but did bring home; an AR15, two 1911’s a .22 conversion slide for those 1911’s, two black powder cap and ball revolvers, a Smith and Wesson .30-’06, a Winchester model 1300, and a Remington 870 in 12ga.
    Started working armed security, got issued a Glock model 22.
    Met a nice girl. Got her into shooting. Picked up another AR, two SKS’s, another O/U shotgun, another 1911, a savage .22 rifle, and a sig P238 for her.
    Then I found a steal of a deal on an M1 Garrand, that I just couldn’t say no to, a replica of a browning model 1896 falling block made by Uberti, which I refer to as my poor boy sharps ( I know, it’s not. But if I say it’s similar to the “quigly” gun everyone knows what it should look like). Then I also found a top break revolver made in 1891 by Hopkins and Allen chambered for the old .38 S&W, the black powder round not the .38 special.
    I filled all my gun “needs” quite some time ago, but there are still quite a few wants left out there.
    I think I’m done for a while with the tactical stuff, but old guns are beautiful… And I have a weakness for them.

  19. AK’s? Great for slinging lead down range. But if you like accuracy, well…not so much.

    • Haven’t shot much with an AK I see. I don’t expect MOA from them but 1.5-3 MOA is perfectly doable with an AK with decent ammo (AKA not the cheapest stuff you can find) and some better sights (Tech sights for example).

    • Military Arms Channel posted 1.5 MOA with the Sam7SF in his spotlight of it at 100 yards. Not a tack driver, but definitely more than enough accuracy for what it was designed for.

  20. I Really enjoyed how candid you are in your writing, as well as the humor.

    I should really write another piece…lol.

    For me, I bought an Atlantic AK build…The BAK-132. Sure it looks like a Saiga that made it only halfway to military furniture heaven, but its quality and finish is on par with (or better) than any arsenal I’ve seen. For only 750 smacks.
    Give em a look!

    • Tyvm! Saiga would have been my choice if I was trying to save on cost. They are very solid, having shot a couple examples. Haven’t seen the Atlantic though, I’ll check it out.

    • Well it should be, since Arsenal SGL rifles (well, now FIME or whoever they are) are just Saigas with the necessary legal magic to bring them into USA with the military parts still intact.

  21. I would highly recommend to anyone, the Thompson Machine built, Ruger 10-22 with the integral suppressor. I have several more expensive long guns with a lot more oomph, but you can’t beat this gun for pure fun factor.

  22. I come at it from pure logic.

    I live in the US. 223/5.56 is plentiful. DI AR parts are everywhere. They are relatively cheap. I have a AR, paid a little extra here and there for specific parts to make it a “quality” AR. I have spare parts for it, extra BCG, gas tube, buffer, buffer spring, lower parts kit. All of the electronics take the same battery (flashlight, red dot). I have a ton of mags that I rotate. I buy bulk brass ammo when its cheap. I train with it. I have hunted with it.

    Pistol’s again logic. After much trail and error I chose Glock and 9mm. I did not want to be a Glock guy that is for sure. But they work for me and work well. 9mm gets the job done. Sure I like my buddies Glock 21, and always think about getting one, but I don’t want to stock another bullet type. Sticking to only Glock’s makes them all the same, they way they feel and work. I even choose the same sight type, Warren Tactical. I have tons of mags that I rotate for my 3 Glocks….another advantage of Glocks.

    I have other guns that I have gotten over time, like my Marlin 336 I got back in the 80’s or my Remington 870 security back from the 90’s. Both given to me as gifts and I like both but they are not my go to gun’s that is for sure. I have also purchased 22 rifles for my kids to learn on but they also would not be my go to type of gun.

  23. I’d love to pretend I’m that logical.

    It’s basically a carry gun or two, a full size handgun or 2, then funsies.

  24. Everyday Gunner – Gotta love the SAM7SF, huh?

    * Did you splurge on any Bulgie Circle 10 Mags yet? They are not cheap, but are TOP notch. I have a few, but still holding out for Magpul’s next AK MOE entry with steel lockup points before I blow the cash on any more Bulgies.

    * Are you looking at optics? I went with an Aimpoint Micro H1 sitting on an RS Products AK 301 mount. Full co-witness, easily removable, etc. If you want to lower the price point, you can swap out the Aimpoint with a Primary Arms MD-08.

    * Get the itch to replace the handguard yet? I’m eyeing up the Krebs AK UFM (for milled receivers). Looks awesome. Don’t have to mod the gun, adds hardly any weight, and I can mount my AFG, which greatly increases control of said AK. They are all on BO still right now, so have some time to decide. The MI AK SS rail looks cool but don’t like the weight caused by the big aluminum block it uses to clamp to the barrel and also heard some people say it changes the POI. While I like the Arsenal grips, I want an AFG and also would like something that will never melt (although you’d really have to push it to melt them, but heck it’s an AK…. I like having the option to run it all out).

    * I came up with a really simple cool way to get some padding on my cheek weld by using a thermal beer cooler sleeve thingie. It makes it super comfortable and doesn’t interfere with it folding over, etc.

    • So… I’ll preface my reply with the fact that I really enjoy the look of the classic AK. If Arsenal made a wood furniture version of the SAM line with a thumb safety, that’s what I would have bought.

      Mags: just stayed cheap so far, used steel mags just so I could afford to get several. Circle 10s will probably make their way in eventually as my “regular” ones, but I’ve intentionally avoided polymer so far like the magpuls.

      Optic: I will get a mount for the side rail and an optic at some point, and the Primary Arms is on my list (the Everyday Gunner can’t always afford the best stuff >_<), but I'm very satisfied for the time being just using irons.

      Handguard: most likely won't ever change that out. Not big on the additional rails and whatnot, so the cost isn't really justifiable to me.

      Definitely be interested to hear of any particular rail mount recommendations if you or anyone has any. Low to the dust-cover, sturdy, and light preferably.

      • Thanks for the response, EG. I too like the classic look, but actually went with a cheap CAI for that ‘role’. SAM7 SF is more of a performance piece for me, so am tricking it out pretty good. For the rail mount, I recommend the RS products AK 301, but definitely not a budget item… Coupled with the PA MRD, you get a relatively light package with full co-witness, that you can snap off in an instant if needed. (unlike if you mount a red dot on a gas tube rail like Ultimak). I believe MAC has a good review on this mount. I prefer this over a gas tube or dust cover set up. It’s almost absolute co-witness and really speeds things up.

        Have you noticed any heat issues with the Arsenal handguards? Again, think you really have to get it rocking to actually melt them, but reality is, that is the ‘weak point’ of the system as far as heat is concerned, so I am getting the itch to swap it out with the Krebs AK UFM Rail. Nothing I’ve done will prevent me from taking the rifle back to factory config in less than 5 minutes. But with a few more mods, this thing will be an ideal kit for me.

        And yeah, definitely recommend getting at least one Bulgie. They are definitely the best. Still holding out hope for Magpul Gen 2 though… Guess we’ll see.

        • Cool, I’ll check into that mount for sure. Thanks for the feedback on it.

          I’d agree the hand guard is the weak point. Particularly over the gas/piston tube. Don’t believe that has an extra heat shield in it like the lower guard. Not against changing it out, so it may be something that happens eventually.

          Might just have to get one of the SAM7R-61s (I think that was the model number…) and change out the furniture to some nice wooden stuff so I have a classic-look milled Arsenal : ]

  25. Most of my collection is based on the question, “did a major power use it in WW2?” I also own some modern stuff (AR, AK, some pistols and a Ruger 10-22), but my love is my US Rilfe, Caliber 30, M1.

  26. The method to my collecting has evolved a lot over the years. The basic premise has always been the same, filling in a “niche” I don’t have or have the opportunity to improve on. What made one thing better than the other though has evolved a lot.

    Knowing what I do today, would I have made changes to how I did things? Yes. But it’s been a good learning experience.

    In any case, I’m pretty well squared away aside from the “just because” list.

  27. My collection started when I was 16 (back in the 1960s – when dinosaurs roamed the earth!). Visiting a friend in Upstate NY (I was living in NYC then), he took me to a gun shop in Ithaca. There was $50 burning a hole in my pocket and I spotted an old 1923 Enfield. Think it was tagged at $35. Don’t know why, but I just HAD to have it! This Enfield has a magazine cut-off and the rear sight mounted over the back of the receiver. Found out later that it was kind of an experimental between-the-wars model. Along with the rifle, I got a bayonet, and scabbard with frog and think I still had a few bucks left in my pocket. Didn’t get to shoot it until 1982, when I was stationed at FT Hood, TX. That was my first – and I STILL own it! Bought my first handguns while at FT Knox in 1974. A surplus 1911 (not an A1), and shortly after, a Browning Hi-Power P-35, just because I could (and I liked them both). I still regret having sold them… Being in the military, what with moving around often and spending a great deal of time overseas and not having much spare $$$, I really didn’t get to collect much until I retired. Had a job making good money and the time to go to the range on a regular basis. My collection grew rapidly then. Bought a few guns for home defense. Went crazy at an auction and bought 13 long guns – that’s when my US Military arms collection grew. Since then I have picked up a few more at other auctions and am pretty happy with what I have – from Trapdoor Springfields to AR-15. My Cowboy Action battery is a Stoeger 12 ga. Coach gun, replica Henry, Uberti Cattleman and Uberti Schofield – all in .45 Colt. My love of Enfields hasn’t dissapated, as I have added a few to keep that very first one company.

    • Very cool. Definitely want to get a Schofield at some point just for the cool factor, even if I never do cowboy action.

      I wonder if that gun shop is still there in Ithaca. My first shooting experiences came from just down the road from there in Owego with my grandfather. Planning to go back for a visit this fall.

  28. I purchased my first pistol back in the sixty’s and continued to 2006, gave my son the collection, mistake. I bought another around 2007 and now have another collection, shit I can’t give them up! Love to shoot and anyway be ready for the SHTF.

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