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What I’m doing on my sorta vacation

What I’m doing on my summer fall vacation

First I fixed a broken gun.

It’s an old .22 single-action plinker probably not worth a gunsmith’s fee. That morning I met someone who claimed to be a gunsmith and he was such an ass & irritated me so much I finally tore into the thing myself. It was either fix it or get one of these. Which I really don’t need.

Maybe I didn’t really have to tear it down into such itty-bitty pieces; I don’t know. This hoogie-ma-jigger here turned out to be the whole problem.

Instead of turning the cylinder (its job), it was keeping the cylinder from turning. It also kept me from being able to remove the cylinder to see what it was hanging up on. Taking the gun apart was educational. Putting the hammer and trigger back together was like getting a Ph.D. in cussing. But I did it. Works now. Pretty proud of me.


Then the back fence and the tree came down. Somebody else did the work. I just helped with the Heaping Up of Things. That and shouting, “OMG!” at the most hair-raising moments. I’m sure he found that helpful.


Monday I went to the beach. I laugh at your assumptions about bikinis and sunlit basking. This is a scary gray beach where you see sights like this.

And this.

And where you find the unexpected sitting on the sand (the chair, not the dog).

The place made me feel like writing ghost stories. If ever there was a haunted beach, it’s this one.

Ava carried our picnic lunch on the walk out. After we ate cold chicken breast and veggies, I removed her backpack and leash and she did zoomies like a crazed puppy the entire mile back to the car.


Yesterday I commenced the Official Organizing of Stuff (the ostensible purpose of this entire week’s break). I began with guns, ammo, and gear. It took all day.

Not because I have so many guns, mind you, though I’m sure I have enough to make some guy in Boston think I’m a dangerous, paranoid weirdo.

If I were really a sufficiently paranoid weirdo, I’d take better care of these things. The reason it took all day was that it took at least half the day to find everything. Much of the other half was taken up re-labeling mystery boxes and cleaning guns that have lain neglected at the backs of closets ever since I moved back from the desert two years ago.

You do not leave guns unprotected in random places in the NorthWET. They rust. Fortunately, only a few were affected and those not too badly. A.G.’s WD-40 trick took care of that little problem. (And not to worry, I used WD-40 only on the exteriors. Despite the miraculous wonderfulness of WD-40 — it being one of the four fundamental forces keeping the universe intact and functioning — I know it’s a Foul Sin Against Nature to apply it to gunworks.)

In case you ever need to know, a toothbrush and a slightly dull fileting knife will get dog hair out of shotgun mechanisms. Okay, maybe you wouldn’t recommend that method for your $6,000 engraved Italian sporting clays gun, but it works in a pinch.

I realize this all sounds terrible, as if I’ve been some sort of sloven, letting my gear get so foul it can only be scraped clean with a knife. But trust me, most of the gear was well stored and in good shape despite my best efforts to neglect it and lose track of it. And I’m joking about the knife. Mostly.

I wrapped up with the Glock and my brother’s old Cub Scout .22 that I somehow inherited.

The Organizing of Stuff is a nasty job because you have to make a huge mess hauling things out, sorting, and cleaning them before you actually get anywhere. So there you are, trying to solve casual, but mostly hidden, disorganization by creating total chaos from one end of your life to the other. Ugh.

But it feels good when it’s done.

Well, except for those “what on earth is this?” items and those “I thought I had that but where could I possibly have put it?” items. And worst of all the “I don’t dare throw this out, but where the heck am I going to put it?” items.


  1. Pat
    Pat September 26, 2012 2:50 am

    Good job on the revolver.

    Wish I had your beach; the ones around here are too beautiful – and populated.

  2. 55six
    55six September 26, 2012 3:26 am

    Claire, try a product called EEZOX for rust prevention. It beat every other product hands down in a corrosion test with salt spray I saw years ago and I use it on all guns that see lots of storage and little use. I have yet to see a speck since using it here in the humid South. It is the ONLY thing I have ever tried that will keep a Remington 870 Express from rusting, if you have ever owned one of these then you know about what I speak LOL. -55six

  3. ILTim
    ILTim September 26, 2012 5:23 am

    I’m sure those Berettas are good guns….. but my spine twists and I wretch a little every time I see one. Good work on saving the single action.

  4. just waiting
    just waiting September 26, 2012 5:38 am

    Wow Claire, what an awesome beach!

    I’d gladly swap you my white sand, manicured every morning, packed shoulder to shoulder with “the entitled”, 5 miles from where they shoot MTV’s Jersey Shore, shaded by beachfront mansion, no dogs allowed beach for yours anyday.

  5. Joel
    Joel September 26, 2012 5:41 am


    Quit flaunting your technical knowledge, Claire. You’re making the rest of us feel bad.

  6. Claire
    Claire September 26, 2012 6:54 am

    Yeah on the awesomeness of that beach. I’ve forgotten all about the sunny, manicured, packed-with-bodies, and loaded-with-rules type. Here’s even more awesomeness: We walked a mile out and back from the road, picnicked, and saw only one person (off in the distance, playing with his dog) the whole time we were there.

    55six — I’ll check out EEZOX. If it works in the South, it’s bound to help here. Thanks for the link.

    ILTim — Twist and retch? Looks too much like a phaser, does it?

    Joel — Next time I’ll remember to stick with mere “thing-a-ma-bob” so as not to sound so ed-u-ma-cated. πŸ˜‰

  7. just waiting
    just waiting September 26, 2012 7:03 am

    LOL, I think this is the first time I’ve actually been jealous in years!

  8. Joel
    Joel September 26, 2012 7:10 am

    That Beretta thing is genuinely ugly, BTW. Glad you could get the revolver working.

  9. Kent McManigal
    Kent McManigal September 26, 2012 7:13 am

    I would love to wander that beach. I despise “nice” beaches because they are too boring. Maybe if the girls on those “nice” beaches looked like beer commercial girls it would be better- but I never see those. I only see the “what’s that walrus doing wearing a bikini? Oh… wait….” girls. Yes, this is sexist of me, and I admit I am no six-pack sporting Greek god. But I love your beach.

    Maybe it’s time for another ghost story- this time inspired by the beach.

    I recently cleaned a relative’s .22 revolver for her. It makes yours look elegant. I found some like hers online for $75, and some research showed that they used to sell for $6 in the 50s/60s.

    Anyway, it sounds like you are having a good break from “normal”.

  10. Matt, another
    Matt, another September 26, 2012 7:39 am

    That is my kind of beach! We have plenty of simila beach here, just a darned shortage of suitable water to go with it.

    Good job on the revolver. You just learned the first rule of gunsmithing, most people could fix guns at home if they took the time. I have a similar revolver I had cause to disassemble and adjust many years ago. Not a real tough job, but I had a 6 year old helping.

  11. Scott
    Scott September 26, 2012 9:10 am

    It looks more like a veeblefetzer than a hoogie ma jigger. I don’t know what this says about me as a person, but that looks like a cool beach to wander around on. Sometimes, the best way to fix something is to just go for it and figure it out yourself-more often than not, you can fix it yourself.
    I gotta try that EEZOX stuff-corrosion is a problem here, as well.

  12. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 26, 2012 9:27 am

    “Well, except for those β€œwhat on earth is this?” items and those β€œI thought I had that but where could I possibly have put it?” items. And worst of all the β€œI don’t dare throw this out, but where the heck am I going to put it?” items.”

    I have a house full of all those… LOL Used to be I got organized each time I moved (40 lifetime moves), but since I don’t ever intend to move again I’ve got to think of something else.

    Big +1 on the EEZOX stuff. It’s the only lubricant I use as well, except for the one or two places on the rifles that really need a tiny spot of moly grease.

    On doing one’s own gunsmithing. I’m game, but need more instruction. πŸ™‚ Got a nice M1 .30 carbine and took it all apart because it was so dirty. I downloaded several manuals and talked to people who knew about them, but I could never get it back together again right. Something about leftover parts just didn’t work for me… The manuals were no help because I didn’t have a clear idea what went where… need actual schematic drawings, not vague photos with people’s hands or whole body blocking the actual thing supposedly being illustrated.

    Then someone offered to reassemble it, but he had to take it home. sigh

    I’m hoping someone will stay with me while I disassemble and reassemble it one of these days. Hands on is the only way I learn. Just can’t deal with leftover parts!! πŸ™‚

  13. Concealed Carrying Cyclist
    Concealed Carrying Cyclist September 26, 2012 9:33 am

    After seeing the pic of the lounge chair, I think “Unexpected” would be kind of a cool name for a dog.

  14. mike
    mike September 26, 2012 9:40 am

    Looks like a Hawes 21 to me.

    Fun little guns to shoot.

    Nice job on the re-assembly.


  15. G.W.F.
    G.W.F. September 26, 2012 9:54 am

    hoogie-ma-jigger is not that far off, I think the technical term for that is actually the “hand assembly” (just in case you were curious). Knowing the names of all the tiny bits and pieces is not that important (well unless you have to order parts).

    If you can take them apart, fix what is not working and get them back together…that is what counts. It sounds like you did that just fine. I find most stuff with guns is very frustrating the first time around, but once you have done it, the next time is will come easy. Great job getting an old gun workign again.

  16. Woody
    Woody September 26, 2012 11:21 am

    MamaLiberty, one of the best gunsmithing tools available is the digital camera. Take pictures of every part before you remove it. Reassembly is much easier when you have the pictures to look at. Some wag suggested that you should aim a tripod mounted video camera at the work area so when the spring loaded parts explode outward you can replay the video backwards to see where they came from. That of course, assumes you managed to find all the parts. In my experience wayward gun springs always fly directly into the wood pile, never to be seen again.

  17. naturegirl
    naturegirl September 26, 2012 6:15 pm

    Wow, you’re “vacation” is extremely productive, LOL….

    I swear there are gremlins that come along and mess up things that “should have been organized” already, hehe…..

    Zoomies, hehe, that’s a good one…..and that beach needs some serious help!….

  18. Hanza
    Hanza September 26, 2012 9:48 pm

    I think that beach looks just great the way it is.

    Fine NorthWET unspoiled beach.

  19. RickB
    RickB September 27, 2012 3:58 am

    So, Claire doesn’t lack mechanical ability–she simply has no interest in cars. Give her a machine that interests her and all that hidden ability surfaces.

  20. just waiting
    just waiting September 27, 2012 6:07 am

    LOL, at the Jersey shore, that waterfront, open air dream cottage sitting on a bluff above the beach would rent for $2000+ a week during the summer

  21. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 27, 2012 7:04 am

    Thanks, Woody… I can try that. Still would prefer a schematic drawing. But I’ll settle for one of the boys helping me put it back together. The leaping springs thing is always a distinct possibility. LOL

    The part of the story that got left out was that the gun pieces were all set out very carefully in the order they came off/out and I probably could have put it back together reversing that… but a friend was visiting and she helpfully cleared the table for lunch without asking… and put all the parts jumbled into a box. I had not anticipated that little problem. sigh

  22. Claire
    Claire September 27, 2012 10:33 am

    RickB — Ah, but you forget the degree of complexity between a revolver and a vehicle. And in this case, also the relative potential harm that could be done by a botched DIY repair job.

    just waiting — Hey, if you want to rent out some of those “open air” cottages on the “glamorous West coast,” I’ll serve as your local rental agent for just a 15% commission. πŸ™‚

  23. Hanza
    Hanza September 27, 2012 10:42 pm

    @ MamaLiberty: That was no friend. She obviously has no working knowledge of mechanical items.

  24. MamaLiberty
    MamaLiberty September 28, 2012 5:48 am

    Not at all, Hanza. πŸ™‚ She’s a good friend. We still laugh about the box full of gun parts.

    My fault for leaving it out like that. She had no way to know that I couldn’t just put it together anyway – and she was very careful to pick up ALL the parts. Actually, it was her husband who fixed it for me later.

    Just one of those things. I now have a dedicated gun table and don’t do that sort of thing in the dining room. πŸ™‚

  25. Pakkinpoppa
    Pakkinpoppa September 28, 2012 11:13 am

    Good job on the “countertop gunsmithing”.

    Nothing makes one feel better than making the broken fixed.

    Especially something like that little plinker.

    I bought an FIE .380 off a buddy for 19 dollars because he said it wouldn’t eject, and that’s what the magazine would cost so if nothing else it was worth that.

    Turned out it just needed cleaning. Should have kept it, if nothing else to say I had a 19 dollar pistol that worked. But…it had straight grooves in the barrel, so it keyholed at 21 feet more often than not. Still would have hurt at close range either way, but I had someone offer to give me 75 for it one day and I accepted.

  26. The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit
    The Infamous Oregon Lawhobbit October 2, 2012 1:13 pm

    If you’re not finding the EEZOX around, Breakfree CLP should be available locally.

    And as a visitor to PNW beaches, I was not expecting bikini things.

    Except maybe for the dog….

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