Civil War Spencer Cavalry Carbine

This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing for me.  Well, hopefully not.


I was on Facebook one night recently.  I’m a member on lots of those forums for stuff for sale.  I’m always looking out for a deal on things and every once in a while, I find one.

I saw that on a local garage sale forum, somebody posted an old rifle.  The called it a Spencer and said it was from World War 2.  Nearly as soon as it was posted, the moderator got on the horn and said that sales of firearms were prohibited on the site.  They deleted the ad almost as soon as it was posted.

I have moments of wisdom, though not very many.  I had clicked through to the person’s profile and sent her a message asking for more pictures.  She replied back and sent a few.

The Spencer Cavalry Carbine was made in the 1860s, not World War 2.  I recognized it from watching Aquachigger’s videos on Youtube.  He’s found a few in the brooks and rivers where the Civil War was fought.  I’m not going to write all of the history on the Spencer Carbine here, but you can find links here for more information.

The Spencer Carbine was one of the first repeating rifles.  It loads from the back of the butt stock and is lever action, though the action is not that of which most of you are used to on say a Winchester Model 1894.  Look at the pictures and you’ll understand what I mean.

I called the lady the next day and went to her house.  Upon seeing the rifle, I knew I had to buy it.  She knew what it was worth, but was moving and needed a quick sale.  She sold it to me for a sum I don’t even want to type here.  I was amazed.

The cool thing about guns made before 1898 is that there are no federal laws regulating them.  If you find one online and purchase it, you can have it sent directly to your house instead of the usual routine, which is to have it sent to a Federal Firearms Dealer (FFL), where you have to get a background check.  Here in Colorado, it goes one step further.  Person to person transfers of firearms have to go through an FFL as well.  So if I want to buy a gun from Jim, we both have to go to the FFL, submit our personal information and that of the gun, then get it approved by the ATF.  That isn’t so with this rifle because it is from the 1860s.  No background checks are needed and I can send this directly to someone’s house.  Pretty neat.  I might add that ammunition for these rifles is nearly non-existent, so it isn’t like someone is going to go out and rob a bank with it.  And if they do, they’re sure to get caught because they are an idiot.

Here are some more pictures for those of you that are interested.  You don’t see these every day.  I found it a new home this week.  And line my pocket a little. ;)

Mike, Oscar, Hotel….out.


That Time We Shot Bears All Summer

I’m letting you in on some of my fondest memories here.  This video hasn’t seen the light of day but once or twice.

Back in 2012, I was working at a transfer station.  We had a night shift.  Said night shift was having problems with bear activity in the evenings.  We were all worried that we’d end up on the wrong end of a bear encounter. The boss asked me to do something about it.

We contacted the Department of Wildlife and they gave us enough rubber buckshot to fight a liberal war.  The decision was then made that I would hang out after hours and shoot bears to deter them from coming into the yard.  I took turns bringing friends.  It turned out to be a real fun time.  Probably the closest thing to shooting zombies I’ll ever get.  Anyhow, here is a video.  Enjoy.  I don’t think I’ll ever get paid to do this again, which is an absolute shame. Might want to turn your sound down towards the end. ;)

Mike, Oscar, Hotel…..out.

Facebook Bans Gun Sales (We’ve got alternatives)

If you’ve been hiding out in your bunker or under a rock this week, you’ve probably missed the fact that Facebook has banned gun sales on their site. I’ve only recently become aware of gun groups on Facebook and was enjoying the posts and information I was getting from several groups. I’ve also bought and sold a few guns and had great experiences with that. One by one, Zuckerberg and his employees are *poof* getting rid of groups that even talk about guns.


Before you get heated about Facebook stepping on your rights, remember, they are a private company. We choose to (or not to) use their services. It’s just like Walmart or any other company. I’ve heard of people getting angry over Walmart posting their signs in both English and Spanish. If you don’t like the way a company operates, stop using them. Like, right now. If you don’t like Walmart, go to Target – or even better, a mom and pop shop.  In most places, there are alternatives.

Or, we could all stop using Facebook. Don’t believe me? Remember Myspace? People thought Myspace was unstoppable. In 2005, it sold for $580,000,000. I put those zeroes in for a reason. It sold again recently for $35,000,000. While Myspace may be perceived as being worth money, it’s worth nothing. The same could happen to Facebook.  Unfortunately, we’ve turned into such narcissists that the chances of us giving up our profiles and ability to be right is slim….unless we’re offered another place to be even more right.

Anyhow, enough about Facebook.

There are alternatives, especially if you’re into social communities that embrace the 2nd Amendment.  Specifically for the gun crowd.  It looks as though these people saw the Facebook ban coming.  It has similar controls to Facebook, which will make it appealing to some.  I think this might be a more viable alternative because it is set up for social networking, not just guns.  One of the more prominent Colorado groups I participate in migrated here and people seem to be following.  It’s relatively user friendly and has a few perks that Facebook doesn’t have (including a DISLIKE emoji).  I’m giving this one a go.  We’ll see how it turns out.

If you find this post useful, share it.  People need to know that there are alternatives.  The free market will prevail.  We’re better connected now than we’ve ever been.

Mike, Oscar, Hotel….out.





1911 at 100 yards

So I was at the range the other day – like a few good stories start out – sighting in that scope that I’m still writing the review about. My buddy was shooting, and I was done with my AR. My 1911 was sitting there, so I figured I’d try it. It’s a stock Remington R1, bottom of the line (but I love it). 

See those boards way down there? 

  I aimed a little over the boards and sent 7 185 grain FMJs downrange at a 2 foot target. 

1 little feller is low to the left, but that’s 6 on the paper from 300 feet away. 

I think I’ll keep it. 

Smoke ring from a muzzle break

Went to the range today – expect a review of a pretty good mid level scope this week. 

While we were shooting, the guy next to us had a neat effect with the muzzle brake on his Mossberg MMR tactical 5.56. I caught a video, I hope you guys like it!

I looked into some different muzzle brakes for my rifle – I think I’ll just buy a lathe. They aren’t cheap!

PESTeL analysis of Squa Pan, Maine

DSC05125I have been remiss lately, and leaving our readers and my friend Mike Oscar in the lurch. I am currently learning series circuit resistance equations, and taking two online college classes (Communications and Interpersonal Relations, and Strategic Planning) through a local university – 4 classes away from my B.S. degree! Although anyone that knows me will tell you that I’ve had a degree in BS for a while now.

One of my assignments tonight was to do a PESTeL analysis of my current hometown. Political, Economic, Sociocultural Factors, Technological, and Legal – commonly done on various industries, but we had to apply it to the area we currently live. I’d rather do it on my hometown I grew up in, but I wouldn’t be able to drum up enough verifiable data to pass the class.

I grew up in a complicated area. Technically, I lived in Masardis, Maine. We lived around five miles from the town hall, which was a long way for a town that had a single building for the town office (open every Wednesday afternoon), fire station, sporting events center, and where Santa showed up the week before Christmas. I pretty much claimed Squa Pan… sorry, we recently discovered that Squa is the shortened form of Squaw, which according to a bunch of well-to-do non-Native Americans meant a word describing a Native American lady-of-the-night. Now I’m from Bear Pan, or Moose Pan, I’m not sure (although the Hotel clan generally had Moose in the pan, not bear). So, since my teacher would not have appreciated it as much as you, our dear readers, I will expound on the demographic makeup of The ‘Pan.


Political – No town hall, no mayor, no meeting place. Pretty sure we were mostly working Republicans, with the exception of those living on government handouts. So that puts us…. 10-25. Yup, it would appear that we were mostly Democrats.

Economic: See last paragraph.

Sociocultural: We were a pretty social bunch; we waved to everybody, and pumped our arms at the trucks and trains going by, so they would blow their horns at us. A few of us kids had face book – our face was always buried in a book. We had to! We only had 3 channels: PBS and channel 8 went off the air at 8:00 p.m., and dad wouldn’t let us watch the Canadian channel after that, because they got a little free with the boobies. His belief of boobs-after-8 carried into the internet age, where he forbid my brother and I to be on the internet after that time, assuming that all the legit websites packed up house at night and just left the dirty websites wandering around.

Culture? We had tones of it! We had a lumber mill that had been abandoned 40 years before, leaving rusty buildings and a monstrous sawdust pile for us to explore.



We had a junkyard, with a mechanic that would cheerfully launch into a barrage of fun new words to amuse our friends and keep from our parents. We even had a railway station that was easy to break into, and had lockers fully stocked with various magazines of a very educational nature to growing boys, how much more culture would anyone want?! Our mechanic could even speak a different language. Drunkinese is pretty tricky to listen to, but easy to learn, I hear.

Technological: We had oodles of technology! We had a sophisticated and rarely-used method of figuring out how much gas was left in the snowsled! Uncap the gas tank, shake it a little, and take a deep sniff. If you can smell any hint of gas fumes at all, then it is perfectly safe to take it on a 20 mile ride at night, through fields, woods, deer paths, and old bogans. Well, halfway through them, that is. If you’ve ever walked 5 miles to grab a gas can to drag back 5 miles, you will quickly realize that this is not a good way to gauge how far you gonna git.


My brother Salt Chuthers was also a technological pioneer in the field of particle acceleration. Like, how much do I have to accelerate to insert this gocart into the garage with the door closed? Or how fast do I have to go to insert this snowsled into this other snowsled? Or, depending on the season, either the gocart or the snowsled into this thick lilac hedge? He was usually half right at his estimation; I’ve never seen him bury it past the rear wheels/middle of the track in anything.

Legal – I hope none of you guys sue me if you figure out who I’m talking about! Just kidding. I write this in jest, even if it is mostly true. I love where I grew up. It’s where I got my name from the railroad that ran through my yard, the Bangor and Aroostook. I hopped on the cars and rode to different places, things that most 10 year olds don’t do nowadays. It’s where I came nose to nose with a bear in the woods, hid out from a moose under a car, and watched coyotes run across a potato field on many moonlit nights.  I still have scars on my fingers from working in that junkyard with my buddy, fixing up field bombers to drive around. The Tin Cup you may remember from another one of my tales,  that was just over the road on the ‘Pan side of the tracks.

Been stuck in river mud, buried right up to the axles in it. Followed sled tracks home, feet crunching on fresh fallen snow, only to follow those tracks back hauling a gas can with me, a bright moon shining on a deserted Polaris a few miles ahead.

I’ve made a PESTeL diagnosis – the PEST moved out years ago, but I’ll always be there in my dreams, fondest memories, and every time I hear a train horn or a big rig honk.



High Standard Dura-Matic M101

Some people like polymer pistols.  Some like revolvers.  Me?  I like stuff that I can shoot and that I’m accurate with.

My grandfather had a High Standard Model HB.  I’ve fired it a few times.  It reminded me a lot of the Ruger Mark series.  It was exceptionally accurate and solidly made.  Since then, I’ve kept my eye on High Standards.  They’re an enormous amount of fun and while they command decent prices, there isn’t a huge following for them like, say, the Colt Woodsman.

When my dad died back in August, I inherited a Chiappa 1911 style .22 pistol.  Mind you, I’m not a gun snob.  I’ve owned Hi-Points (if you are a gun snob, that should say it all.  If you’ve actually owned a Hi-Point, you get it).  I say it out loud.  I like pieces that are fun to shoot and that shoot well.  The Chiappa didn’t fit that description.

I have two people that I rely on heavily when it comes to gun advice.  One is the Sharpened Axe’s own B&A Stowaway, the other is my Uncle Bern.  I talked with Bern about the Chiappa when I got it.  He suggested dumping a few magazines through it, rapid fire, to see if it had any difficulties functioning.  I did that and it jammed with every magazine.  Beyond that, I couldn’t hit much with it and the sights (IIRC) were not adjustable.

Another uncle showed up as we were going through dad’s estate and mentioned that he really wanted the Chiappa.  I told him about my experience with it and he wasn’t bothered by the news.  He asked me if I wanted to sell it and if I wanted to sell dad’s refrigerator as well.  I was in the throws of grief and wasn’t really processing everything he was saying until he said the magic words.

“I even told your old man I’d swap ‘im a High Standard for that Chiappa.”

I shot him a look. (Pun intended)

“Go get it.  I’m interested,” I said.

In the end, we swapped the refrigerator and the Chiappa  for the High Standard and $100.  I wouldn’t have given $50 for the Chiappa, thought I might have to donate the refrigerator and, well, the $100 bill was a bonus.  I was pleased as punch.  I brought it out the next morning and hit the target well with it.

It’s an interesting piece.  In initially looking at it, it’s hard to believe how simple it is.


The barrel is held on by this screw by the trigger guard.  Just loosen it and the barrel pops right off.  Apparently, they used to sell different length barrels separately.   I’d love to find something crazy like an 8 inch barrel for it.  I’ve been looking, to no avail.


The grip is held on by one screw and also acts as the magazine well.  The grip is made of plastic.  The above picture is what’s left when you remove the grip.


Breakdown for cleaning is really simple.  I like that in a piece.



It can be a little finicky with ammo.  It doesn’t like hollow points. and it also likes being clean.  Other than that, this is my favorite shooter.  I carry it when hiking and fire it more than anything else that I have.  As you can see, it’s pretty accurate.  This target was from about 10-12 yards.

If you’ve been thinking about a light caliber semiautomatic pistol, High Standards are worth considering.  They are cheaper than the Colt Woodsman and very, very fun to shoot. I really wish they were still making these.  I’d have a safe full of them.

Mike, Oscar, Hotel….out.