October 27, 2011
Bashed-Gun Puzzle Solved
By David E. Petzal
In my post of Oct. 24th, I wrote about a friend whose hitherto-flawless backup rifle had developed a scope that was knocked 8 feet off target and an extractor that suddenly refused to extract. He—and I—now know why.
My friend put the ruptured rifle in a gun vise and saw that the scope was knocked so far out of line with the barrel that it was obvious from across the room. The last time he had used the gun was on a whitetail hunt in Kansas and, on a hunch, he hauled out the case in which it had traveled—a cheap plastic one. Sure enough, there were tire marks across the case. Some thoughtful ramp ape had driven a baggage cart or an airplane tug over it. The case had given and sprung back, but the scope mount—not the scope itself—was twisted all to hell.
In 2008 on a trip to Africa, a friend’s old Model 70 in a strong aluminum case was driven over (also in Kansas, I believe), snapping the stock at the grip and wrecking the scope. The second problem was caused by accumulated crud under the rifle’s small hook-type extractor. Every time you clean your rifle you should get under the extractor with a Q-Tip or a toothpick and root out everything that’s collected there: little pieces of brass, grease, stuff that I can’t mention here.
About the gun-squashing problem, the only advice I can offer is buy the strongest case you can afford and pray that the ramp apes are too busy to give it special attention.