When I’d been shooting for 6 months or so my father told me he had 3 rifles in a gun cabinet that hadn’t been touched in 20+ years. Since I was the only one in the family that was shooting, they were mine. So I found myself with a Browning .22, a Winchester .22 and a Marlin 336 in 35 Remington. I read that again… 35 ??? Never heard of that.
I made plans to meet a friend who would walk me though loading and firing each rifle at the county range on a very hot day last August (2012). I hauled them in one at a time. The range has a rule against “naked” guns, so one was in a very old case that I found in the bottom of the gun cabinet. I think it was “pleather” or PVC. The next was in a case that was too short for the rifle but the trigger was covered, so it looked odd but was considered safe. The 3rd I hauled in wrapped in an old Army blanket after checking to be sure they were ok with that. Covered is covered, and thought not elegant, it was acceptable.
I wanted someone to take a look and tell me if they were safe to shoot, try them out, them decide whether to keep them or sell them. The range is indoors but has no heat or A/C so at noon in August, it was over 90 degrees and it was pretty deserted. That was good for me as the Range Safety Officers (RSOs) were not very busy. One of the gentlemen used a metal rod down each gun to check for any blockage and declared each safe to shoot. Then I had them look at the 35 Remington ammo and decide if that was safe to shoot. I had one box with 19 shells. That was given the thumbs up too. Worst case, it just wouldn’t fire.
My friend met me there and brought his Marlin chambered in .38 Special. I brought my 3 gifts and we skipped shooting pistols that afternoon. The Marlin in .38 Special was a joy to shoot. Virtually no kick compared to my snub nosed pistol chambered in the same caliber. I liked the lever action and (of course) it was much more accurate than my pistol.
I got a few tips on shooting rifles: “bring the gun up to your eye, don’t bring your eye down to the gun.” And we shot about a 100 rounds through each of the .22 rifles. One looked too scary to shoot, but once loaded, performed just fine. I’ll define scary: a dented stock that had turned mostly black and had a bit of mildew with a barrel that was rusted and pitted.
The beast of the group was the 35 Remington. One of the regular shooters told me it was for elephant hunting (it’s not…) and would knock me flat. I, of course, responded, “Load her up.”
The fellow that tossed out the challenge, Bill, actually volunteered to take the first shot. I was willing to let him if his wife consented. She’s a deadly shot, she’s at the range every day it’s open, and she lent me several .22s when I was picking my first pistol to purchase. I really did not want her mad at me if something went wrong. And nothing did.
We only put 3 shots through her. Bill took one, I took one, and my friend with the Marlin .38 took one. Oddly I was closest to the center of the target we used. That made me smile.
Soon after I checked out the price of ammunition and found it ran about $1.25 a round. In contrast I can find 9mm Luger for 25 cents a round. The place I usually buy ammo didn’t carry 35 Remington but you could order it online. I asked my Dad what he used the gun for and he said “bear hunting”. I really don’t remember my dad doing much hunting when I was little so my best guess is that this gun saw the woods once or twice. More digging turned up [this video] and other digging said this gun was good for hunting anything in the lower 48 states. I has a lot of knock down power.
But: I don’t hunt, at least not yet. And it’s in an odd caliber that is hard to find and is expensive. So, I decided to sell it and use the cash toward my pistol purchases. That was about 3 months ago.
Next post: Sold!