I moved to another station, where builder Charles Roberts watched me put in the bolt, slide, and trigger assembly. Then we ran my gun through an inspection. Using a pair of dummy steel cartridges (on one the rim was the proper size; on the other it was too thick), we made sure the gun would shoot when the bolt was fully closed and wouldn't shoot when it wasn't. I filled the magazine with dummy cartridges and cycled them through to check function. From there, I took the gun to the proof gallery, where we put a proof load in the chamber and fired the gun remotely inside a steel box. After a muffled boom and an inspection, we took a hammer and stamp and knocked a proof mark on the breech. My gun was ready to hunt. [pagebreak] Hunting With No. 9,524,500
I couldn't legally take the 870 with me from the factory, but Pugliese promised they would ship it to me in time for my turkey hunt in Tennessee the following week. (In Eliphalet Remington's day, shipping was a matter of standing on a bridge over the Erie Canal and waiting for a barge. As it went under the bridge, you raised a plank and passed the gun to a deckhand. Then you wrote the buyer a letter telling him which barge carried his purchase.) After a fruitless trip in Tennessee, however, and several empty-handed hunts at home, I started to wonder if I might be the weak link in this plan.