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  #1  
Old 02-03-2013, 4:10 PM
stamina stamina is offline
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Default Sad reunion with an old friend

Like a lot of women, I was introduced to firearms via a male family member, in this case a beloved uncle.

My uncle was a Korean War veteran, and his time in that conflict caused him some problems from which he was, unfortunately, never able to recover. He was rarely able to relax and smile, one notable exception being when he was shooting.

He always said that the focus and concentration of competition shooting was for him a zen-like, meditative act, that enabled him to get to a genuinely peaceful state in his mind.

So he was my first teacher, and we had good times, esp going outdoors to a lot of places in Southern California where today it's just not possible to shoot any longer. This was 1983, and he bought a new Browning Challenger 3 that year, and that was the first firearm I ever used. We went shooting every week, and got to know the firearm as a reliable and trusty friend that always delivered a fun time.

Later that same year, he suffered a setback and was never able to shoot again. The gun was packed away in Sept of 1983 and it stayed packed away until last month, when he passed away. He left it to me, and so I was reunited with it after 30 years.

Took it out of a 30 year-old leather gun rug, wiped it off, and thought it looked pretty good for an aging firearm:




Needless to say, I was very much looking forward to shooting it again. Took it apart, cleaned it (it was still spotless from the cleaning I gave it before it was packed away), and



Ah, yes. The Bad Old Days of plastics. Remember cracking dashboards and vinyl seats? Luckily those buffers are still made, and now they use HDPE, so the replacements I bought will probably last a lot longer than the original. So after waiting 10 days for the new buffers, I was finally ready to go...

This magazine's springs have been fully compressed for 30 years -- will they "take a set", or will they work fine?


Likewise the ammo in that magazine is 30 years old - any bets as to if / how it will fire?

Last edited by stamina; 02-03-2013 at 4:12 PM..
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2013, 4:18 PM
NorcalGSG NorcalGSG is offline
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Mags and ammo will be fine. Glad you got it, and will give it a good home. Lucky it didn't rust in that rug. Best bet for future storage is oiled, and open on a rack in your safe. The rugs can trap moisture and be rust heavens.
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Old 02-03-2013, 4:18 PM
SoCal Bob SoCal Bob is offline
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Sorry to hear about your Uncle but glad you have your good memories and especially the Browning that meant so much to both of you. I would take apart the magazine(s) for cleaning in case any dust and oil mixed. Many springs are fine after being compressed for long periods of time and you should have a pretty fair assessment on how they will do after you clean them and then reload them.

The ammo is probably fine, just listen for low reports that might mean the round didn't clear the barrel. Have fun and beautiful pistol (memory).
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Old 02-03-2013, 4:19 PM
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I'm thinking you having that browning is making your uncle smile right about now.
I'd replace the buffer and see how the ammo acts. It would be pretty cool to shoot ammo loaded by your uncle 30 yrs ago. Almost zen like.......
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Old 02-03-2013, 6:01 PM
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Sorry about your uncle; I hope he is at peace.

I have some .22lr I bought over 30 years ago and misplaced for 20 of them. I'm slowly shooting it -- still shoots fine. In the can with the .22 were some loaded .45 cal 1911 mags. After 20 years the mag springs worked great and the ammo was good.

Shoot it and see how it does. Send your uncle a thank you for the pistol and the memories.
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Old 02-03-2013, 6:19 PM
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Cool story.No sarcasm intended.Take good care of that gem to honor your Uncle.
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Old 02-04-2013, 7:27 PM
beammeupscotty beammeupscotty is offline
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Default Sad indeed....

My father was also in that conflict, and like your uncle, never fully recovered from the experience. I am happy for you however, that you have such a wonderful memento of your uncle to keep and cherish. War sucks. It's a "gift" that keeps on giving, long after it is over.
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Old 02-04-2013, 7:34 PM
bruce381 bruce381 is online now
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you should keep the mag he loaded and get a new one for your shooting
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Old 02-04-2013, 7:35 PM
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if i may ask - im a bit curious as to why you put it away for 30 years. maybe its just me, if a close friend/relative gave me something special and passed away soon after, i'd probably have it out and if possible, use it, to cherish and honor my memories of them.
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Old 02-04-2013, 7:48 PM
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I had a similar experience with my inlaws in Las Vegas last summer. My father in law taught me to shoot in the late 70's while dating his daughter. Turned out fine considering I've been married to her for 28 years! Many fond memories of shooting in Palmdale/Lancaster/Palm Springs areas for rabbits, yotes, pheasant, snakes etc. Fast forward 30+ years......we meet up with the in laws at our Vegas vacation home and Father in law pulls out a paper bag with two handguns I'd never seen before. A Colt .25 cal and a Ruger .22 wrapped in an old oil soaked diaper (old school!) in their original box w original paperwork. He'd stored it in his gun safe back in the mid 50's and hadnt't taken in out since. Each handgun had one mag fully loaded. After stripping both guns and cleaning them thoroughly but not touching the mags. Took em out and ran approx 100 rds through each gun with almost 60 yr old ammo. Both ran like a charm with no issues.

Sorry to hear about your Uncle, good times and memories will last forever.
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Old 02-04-2013, 8:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penguinofsleep View Post
if i may ask - im a bit curious as to why you put it away for 30 years. maybe its just me, if a close friend/relative gave me something special and passed away soon after, i'd probably have it out and if possible, use it, to cherish and honor my memories of them.
His uncle put it away for 30 years. He just passed away recently, not 30 years ago.
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Old 02-04-2013, 8:10 PM
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Clean gun. Go to range, insert mag, rack slide, aim, pull trigger... And BANG! Oh, I have no doubt it will function and fire just fine.
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  #13  
Old 03-17-2013, 4:08 PM
mr00jimbo mr00jimbo is offline
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Stamina,

I thoroughly enjoyed your story and your pictures. I don't know what it is, but the idea of firearms having sentimental value and being handed down from family members, especially after being meticulously stored for several years (or decades!) has a real emotional appeal.

Can you tell me about the Challenger 3? It looks a lot like my Buckmark...do the parts interchange? Is the receiver/slide on your challenge steel or aluminum alloy?
Beautiful, stunning gun, and thank-you for the story and memory of your Uncle, may he RIP.
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Old 03-17-2013, 4:13 PM
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good way to keep the memory of your uncle alive.
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Old 03-17-2013, 9:22 PM
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beautiful story and pistol, sorry to hear about your uncle.
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:48 PM
Hokanut Hokanut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoCal Bob View Post
Sorry to hear about your Uncle but glad you have your good memories and especially the Browning that meant so much to both of you. I would take apart the magazine(s) for cleaning in case any dust and oil mixed. Many springs are fine after being compressed for long periods of time and you should have a pretty fair assessment on how they will do after you clean them and then reload them.

The ammo is probably fine, just listen for low reports that might mean the round didn't clear the barrel. Have fun and beautiful pistol (memory).
Very good tip. Hope she see's it. Hate to see anything with that much senimental value damaged due to a squib.
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Old 06-09-2013, 12:53 PM
Hokanut Hokanut is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruce381 View Post
you should keep the mag he loaded and get a new one for your shooting
That's a nice thought. I still have a box (yes a box) of matches my Uncle Leonard had used to light his pipe before he passed. Still has the matches in it and a strike mark on the side from his use. I'll start a fire with two sticks before ever using any of those.
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Old 06-09-2013, 1:16 PM
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Very touching story, thank you for sharing it with us. Hopefully your pistol will bring you additional future pleasant memories.



Quote:
Originally Posted by d33pt View Post
His uncle put it away for 30 years. He just passed away recently, not 30 years ago.
That would be "her" rather than "his."
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Old 08-19-2013, 12:19 PM
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Now that you're ready to hit the range, take a beginner along with you.
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Old 08-21-2013, 8:32 PM
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Thank you for sharing, and I'm sorry for your loss.
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  #21  
Old 08-21-2013, 9:20 PM
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Great story, what happened with the ammo and mags?
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  #22  
Old 08-23-2013, 4:09 PM
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99% everything will be fine go and shoot it then give us a review on that beauty.
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  #23  
Old 10-18-2013, 9:11 PM
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Shooting yours and your uncles Browning Challenger 3 - priceless
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