A Smith & Wilson
After a burrito, I decided to gamble the gate fee and head to the gun show any way. I checked the gun vault for trade fodder, and at the top of the stack was the SW1911 I purchased from Neil last year. I purchased the pistol as trade fodder, and it still resided in my gun room. I opened the box, checked the chamber, and headed to the gun show. I was violating my gun show rule number four, carry cash, but the banks were closed, and I hadn't planned on going. Perhaps I could get a swap for the SW1911......
I was looking forward to seeing old friends, and after I let an officer of the law fumble, paw, zip tie and tag my pistol, I entered the Last Bastion of Freedom. As usual, I made my way to the rear of the arena where Cowboy Bob peddled his wares. I first purchased a firearm from Cowboy Bob years ago, a Star Model A. I thought it would shoot 9mm parabellum, but I soon learned that Largo wasn't just the name of an island off Florida. Bob was a gentleman about it. He took the gun back, returned my money in full, and I have been a faithful customer of his for the past decade or so. Bob's pencil thin moustache and Stetson aren't that unusual, but his lavishly engraved Colt single action Army revolvers are heady fare at small town gun shows. He always has used guns, usually at fair prices and is an eager trade. Heck, I purchased my first Remington Rand M1911A1 from Cowboy Bob. There was no telling what he might have!
Cowboy Bob was not there. A dealer who didn't know Bob was in his usual spot. I cruised the tables a bit, and took note of several items of interest, I looked at a S&W 22 caliber AR clone for $500. That seemed like a fair price. The Colt version was a bit more. Both, however, are available at any time for the same money. I passed.
I spied a Clark Custom 38 Special wadcutter gun. It was in the cardboard and styrofoam Colt box, and had obviously been built by the old man himself. The bluing was like new, and tiger tooth stippling covered the frontstrap. The old Keithville location was hand engraved on the slide. It was interesting, but the dealer selling it liked it a lot. The price was $1600. I decided to keep my thirty-eight specials in wheel guns.
As I attempted to pass by the bearded guy from Arkansas who sells mix master M1911s as all original war relics for inflated prices, he called out "Whatcha got in the box, Mister?" I started to say 'Grandpa's trashy old Singer sewing machine gun,' but I refrained. I just smiled and kept walking. He dodged past his Chinese 1918 trench knives and asked again. I finally told him a S&W 1911 that I was looking to trade off. He asked me how much I wanted in cash.
Lesson #1 in negotiating: Never be the first to state a figure. Lesson #2: Guns are worth more that cash. Cash doesn't shoot, and there are many ways of obtaining cash. I told the fellow that I only wanted a trade, and if he had anything to barter besides cash, we could talk. He eyed his stack of beater GI guns, and decided he would save them for some unsuspecting fish. I walked on.
As I passed a table full of zip lock baggied ammunition, the seller inquired about my mystery box. We talked 1911s a bit, and I learned his two Kimbers ate everything shoved into their chamber, even lead wadcutters. He went on to inform me that Colt 1911s and S&W1911s only shoot hardball and I would do well to swap the pistol for the Taurus revolver he just happened to have. I thanked him for his generosity. After all, it is unusual to find such an honest reloader selling factory ammunition in reusable and biodegradable containers. I decided not to take advantage of the offer though.
I was starting to believe I had walked into one of the gun shows I often read about when I came upon my old friend Lester. "You still trying to sell that pistol Xavier?" he asked.
"Trade Lester, trade...." I replied. I asked to see what Lester had purchased, and he opened his sportscoat to reveal two Smith & Wesson revolvers in his waistband. The diamond grips of one caught my eye. Lester grinned and pulled a Combat Masterpiece from his waist.
"Damn. Yesterday? I asked.
"Just now, in the parking lot," he replied. Then Lester saw my face. "Don't even think it," he instructed me. We cruised the tables together, and I asked about Cowboy Bob. Lester had not seen him the previous day either. Nobody seemed to know what had happened. Finally, as the arena became crowded with people coming in from church and Sunday dinner, Lester and I decided to call it quits. I still had the SW1911.
"Have you ever thought about ordering a 22 conversion kit for that thing and making it a dedicated 22 caliber training gun?" Lester asked as we walked through the parking lot. Actually, I had not. Lester went on, "I hear Wilson Combat is putting out a pretty decent 22 conversion." Hmmmmmm.... A Smith & Wilson, mail ordered to my door. I could do that. Hmmmmmmm....
Wilson Combat 22 conversion kit