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'And every other terrible implement of the soldier'

'And every other terrible implement of the soldier'
by Vin Suprynowicz

One of the great pleasures of collecting and restoring old firearms is hauling them out to the range and letting a visitor find out just how good some of our grandfathers' military engineering really was.

It can be an even greater pleasure to introduce someone who's previously been a "Second Amendment agnostic" to the exhilaration that comes with learning how to safely and effectively handle these historic tools of freedom. Suddenly some appreciation dawns of what it must have been like to stand with the Minutemen on that town green in Lexington, or to dig the mud or snow out of your action, slam in a clip, and carefully squeeze off eight aimed rounds of 30.06 from the unstoppable Garand.

These old-timers aren't dainty target rifles. You slam them closed with the butt of your hand. The weight of steel across your arms, the crack of bullets breaking the sound barrier (even through modern ear protection) are sobering. Then, once the newcomer develops that cake-eating grin that comes when you confirm it was him -- not the wind -- that really knocked down those cans at 60 yards, you point waaaay down the wash, and explain that the average infantryman was expected to hit a man-sized target over there, at 300 yards ... that a marksman was expected to do so at 800.

"You mean you can hit something out there? I can't even see what's out there."

"Yes. And I also mean that any trained soldier out there ... can hit you."

Suddenly all this talk about banning "assault rifles" with "magazines that hold more than 10 rounds," or rifles with bayonets or flash hiders (yes, that's why that collector's piece you're holding has been emasculated with a hacksaw, like an antique table imported with only three legs) start to come into focus.

"They made them import this SKS without a bayonet? But they're obviously designed to carry the folding bayonet, like this older one here. Without it the cleaning rod rattles around and falls out. And how the heck does taking off the bayonet make the weapon any less deadly in a shoot-out? Who thinks up this stuff?"

Any American can still learn to shoot safely, and then teach one more person, and then another. It's wonderfully subversive.

Recently, a fellow who I took out was moved to recall that his father had qualified as a marksman in the army, but had died before he was able to teach his son that skill. So pleased was he to start re-learning his father's skill that he insisted on buying me dinner, to compensate me for my ammo costs. Two weeks later, the lad who grew up without a father won the Republican primary, and now stands a good chance of becoming our next congressman. Good luck selling your victim-disarmament bill of goods to him now, Ms. Feinstein, Mr. Schumer.


Of course, the downside of hauling a collection of arms out to the range always faced you that evening, when a half-dozen rifles leaned waiting against the wall, and you started figuring how long you were about to spend with cleaning rods, powder solvent, jags and patches.

(And if you find a woman who loves the smell of Hoppe's powder solvent in her living room, fellows, marry her straight off.)

Since this has been the fate of the rifleman for centuries, I will admit it was with the standard "Yeah, right" that I first noticed an ad in one of the firearms tabloids a few months back for a new product modestly named the "World's Fastest Gun Bore Cleaner," a patented rayon pull-through cord with phosphor-bronze bristles braided right into the front. Everyone knows the only way to clean a rifle barrel is to brush it out with a cleaning rod, run through cotton patches soaked in solvent, and then run through dry patches to remove the black soot, repeating again and again in a semi-hypnotic ritual of devotional labor. Pull some fancy cord once through the gun and rack it away? Ha!

Then I dropped by the Soldier of Fortune Expo here in Las Vegas last month, and spotted a table full of these things, manned by the inventor, who explained how he got to wondering -- as he was clearing out some varmints in the frozen wilds of Idaho, cold enough to freeze your fingers to the barrel -- why in this day of space-age materials no one had invented a device that would clean a rifle barrel with one pull, no bent or broken steel rods to haul around, no gouging of the rifle's delicate crown, no chemicals.

I bought one of the things -- which you can roll up and carry in your shirt pocket -- and Bruce Hedge made me a gift of a second one to fit my pistols (the Bore Cleaner is sized precisely by caliber), my total compensation for this rare and unsolicited product endorsement.

Because, you see, they work. After that precision-sized brush stutters through (you want it to stutter -- that means the bristles aren't lying over sideways because they're too long), the braided cord swipes your lands and grooves with a surface area equivalent to 160 cotton patches. And when the cord is dirty, you just wash it out in soapy water, to the tune of 200 to 500 uses.

Mr. Hedge's biggest problem? Other than finding enough salesmen to move his product, and butting up against some out-of-date military specs that are so far keeping our men in uniform from capitalizing on this breakthrough, that would be "setting aside the $100,000 we figure we're going to need to protect the patent."

As the man said, "This changes everything."

The "World's Fastest Gun Bore Cleaner" is from National Tech-Labs in Boise, Idaho; tel. 208-345-5674. The product can be mail-ordered from the Delta Force Catalog (800-852-4445) at $16.95 per unit to clean rifles or pistols (specify caliber), $19.95 for shotguns; or from LS&B at 800-228-7925; or from Bass Pro (Redhead) at 800-227-7776.

If you shoot, you want some.


Vin Suprynowicz is one of the most articulate spokesmen serving on the front lines of the Freedom Movement we have. Vin's timely and well written articles are syndicated in newspapers all around the country, and they circulate around the world freely on the Internet and in Libertarian publications. He is the author of Send in the Waco Killers, the book that tells the details the media failed to tell in plain English. The best way to get Vin is to subscribe directly to the e-mail distribution list for his column. Send a request to vinsends-request@ezlink.com with "subscribe" in the subject line.

It is an honor to host this man's work, and we encourage you to visit his site and read his book. To read other articles by Vin on this site, click here. You can also see his full archives at these two sites:
http://www.nguworld.com/vindex
http://www.infomagic.com/liberty/vinyard.htm

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