A Nurse with a Gun

Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Smith & Wilson

"Whatcha got in that box Mister?" There have been times that I almost wanted to put a rattlesnake in a blue Colt box and stroll through a gun show. I didn't know if I would even make the gun show today. It was my call weekend, and I've been busy. I began yesterday at six in the morning, and I walked out of the hospital after dark. When I got home, I collapsed sideways on the bed, devoid of sheets, as my wonderful mate was doing laundry. Today, I had another couple of cases, but we finished at noon, and I left the hospital with only my pager to remind me I was not a free man.

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

Labels: ,


Anonymous ScottJ said...

I get too emotionally attached to make trades. I have regretted most every one.

Picked up a Glock 19 this past May for $400 and then a windfall came at year end and I turned the Glock back into $400. Bought a SW9VE and a Taurus PT745 and pockted some cash to pick up a replacement 870 12 gauge I traded on another pistol back in November.

Hope I can pick up a nice private sale 870 12 after turkey season and am already sort of missing the Glock.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Tam said...

"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."

Just as a FWIW, the good prices on those 'round here seem to be $429-$439.

There was a guy at the last show had a stack on his table for $399, but I have no idea how he was making any money at that price, unless they were part of a package deal from Smith ("Buy ten leftover SW99s, please, and we'll give you some stuff you can actually sell at 10% off" or somesuch.)

FWIW, the Colt has a 180* selector, which reduces its effectiveness as a trainer, and is made by Umarex, to boot.

6:31 PM  
Anonymous Will said...

Posts like this make sure i come back daily.

6:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Glad to see you decided to keep on blogging. Thanks


8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are serious about 22 conversions for the 1911, check out the Marvel units. I have one and it is extremely accurate, as well as reliable. A bit more than the Ciener/Kimber/etc units, but I believe they are worth it.

10:11 PM  
Anonymous tjm said...

I was at the gun show today and on my way out a man was walking in with a colt python on his hip I stopped to watch. The officer checked it and then zip tied the cylinder so it could not be opened. I immediately asked to look at it and so we stopped right there at the door prize table. I took the gun and looked it over. I could not open the cylinder because it was zip tied closed. As I turned the gun over I noticed a cartridge in the cylinder. I took out my snips and opened the cylinder and removed a .357 magnum round. All of this happened right in front of the officer that checked the gun. I handed the round back to the owner and he put it into his pocket as the officer told him “shame on you” the man replied with “no, shame on you, you checked it…” The officer then agreed and said he did not check it closely at all. The trigger and hammer were completely free and if the wrong person had picked it up and dry- fired it a time or two there could have been a bad situation and a good excuse to stop the shows from coming back. I am mad. Unfortunately before that incident happened I inquired about a Springfield XD a man was carrying. I opened the box and pulled back the foam liner that covered the gun. I saw a gun with no zip tie and a fully loaded magazine sitting next to it in the box. I told the guy that is not ok in a polite way and he replied with “that is how the cop let me in.” I am not sure if I am going to call and complain or what but wow just think of what could have happened… not once but twice in one show I saw an oversight that could have had catastrophic consequences.

11:52 PM  
Blogger John B said...

As 22LR slide conversion kits go, I got one of the early Cieners. Sux rocks on my Llama frame. Of Course since I toss any old .22LR in there, it may not be the man's fault. I get more attached to cars than guns. I've had possession of four Glocks. Loved to watch them leave. If I find myself missing a Glock, I borrow or rent one. Like Tam, I'm too invested in the 1911 platform.

3:21 AM  
Anonymous Blackwing1 said...

What's your opinion on the Ciener "Platinum" kit, the one with the adjustable rear sight? I was considering getting one as an adjunct to the Ruger 22/45, but $250 (and $35 per spare magazine) seems a little pricey.

8:54 AM  
Blogger Zoom said...

I've got one of the old Pachmayer conversion kits sitting in the gun room.... I really should get that thing installed!

9:00 AM  
Anonymous Bob A (No relation to C.B) said...

Now you've got me worried about Cowboy Bob. I hope to read good news in future . . .

6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

+1 on the marvel conversion. 0.5 groups at 50 yards.

7:42 PM  
OpenID trebor1415 said...

I hope Cowboy Bob is alright.

If you ever find out anything, you'll let us know, right?

12:53 AM  
Anonymous perpster said...

I converted a Glock 19 to .22LR trainer with an Advantage Arms kit. Works ok but misfeeds are common. A dedicated OEM .22LR might be a better choice for reliability, if that's an issue for you.

I hope Cowboy Bob is ok. Maybe he was on vacation.

PS: I got a kick out of you sarcasm in this post! ;-)

8:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gosh Xav, I was about to delete you from my favorites and thought to check one more time- So glad you're back on top!! Thank You!!
Years ago I picked up a Brand New Colt .22 conversion unit- ($120.00- told you, YEARS ago!)- built it up on a Ranger aluminum frame- Great shooter, and looks great sitting next to my National Match.
Welcome Back!
John D

5:20 PM  
Blogger thorn said...

I often wonder about the vendors with their crazy BS of "this gun doesn't do X" or "Only THESE guns are good for Y".

Do they KNOW they're full of it, or are they really that dumb?

9:40 PM  
Blogger Ray said...

Xavier, if you are thinking 22 conversions, look into Marvel also. I can only offer second hand experience, but several friends love Marvel, and my neighbor loves his "Smith and Marvel" for competition.

Love your blog, and I am glad that you have kept it active and public for now.

7:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you didn't shut down your blog Xavier, I love posts like these, makes me wish that the gunshows/pawn shops around here were as fertile as yours for deals.

6:46 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Links to this post:

Create a Link