Bourjaily: Why I'm Not Buying a Black Rifle

Black rifles are selling faster than manufacturers can put them together right now. Partly out of fear of possible new gun laws, and partly just because, everybody is buying them - everybody but me and my friend Tommy Akin, a gentleman and duck hunter from Tennessee.

"The day I turned mine in I swore I'd never shoot one again," says Tommy, who served as a forward observer in Vietnam.

Me, I can't afford to feed a black rifle. They go through ammo the way the furnace in our drafty old farmhouse burned propane. As the gun manager at one local store told me: "People come in here and buy a new AR and one 20 round box of ammunition. I tell them, that box will last you two minutes. Buy more."

Last weekend, because the weather warmed up a little and my friend Nathan had recently bought a S&W AR carbine, my son John and I met him at the range. I brought 100 rounds of ammo, Nathan had 50. We punched paper, broke a spinner target, then we made little snowmen and shot them. It took us an hour to go through all our ammo.

Shooting a black rifle is like eating Lays potato chips; you can't stop. They are fun, accurate, don't kick, and before you know it, you've sent $100 worth of ammunition downrange with a few twitches of your trigger finger. And that is why I'm not buying one.

On a side note, snowmen are the greatest reactive targets ever. Snow is a free, endlessly reusable, biodegradable, environmentally friendly target medium. And, snowmen blow up beautifully when you shoot them.

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I watched "Appaloosa" last night, which was pretty good. One of my favorite actors, Ed Harris, stars as Marshall Virgil Cole, and Viggo Mortensen plays Everett Hitch, Cole's 8-gauge toting sidekick. Based on a novel by Robert B. Parker of Spenser fame, "Appaloosa" is full of great, pithy dialogue.

At one point a brief gunfight leaves four bad guys dead and Cole and Hitch on their backs, bleeding in the dust.

Hitch: "That didn't last long."
Cole (weakly): "Everybody could shoot."