My favorite rifle is back from the gunsmith

A while back, I left my old .30-30 with a friend to have the stock fixed. I finally got it back, and now I’m itching to get out in the field with it.

I have an old Winchester Model ’94 .30-30 that I bought myself, with my own lawn-mowing money, when I was about 14. I love that rifle. It’s no sniper rifle – it has iron sights and a short barrel to lob those heavy .30-caliber slugs. But I’ve taken several deer with it, and it’s never required a second shot on a hunt.

Besides, it was my first rifle of my own. I bought it at an auction my dad took me to. I had $100 to spend, and I lucked out and got it for $95. I think the guy I was bidding against finally realized he was bidding against a kid, and he took pity on me. If the guy who was bidding against me is out there listening, I want to thank you.

That rifle wasn’t perfect, though. The action was clean and worked well, but the blueing was pretty worn from decades of use. I’ve had it examined by people who know more about guns than I do, and it was likely built the year my grandfather was born – 1914. And the stock had a chunk of wood chiseled out of it, presumably for a brass plate that had somebody’s name or some other statement, but that brass plate was missing and the hole in the stock was visible.

I’ve used it for years that way, but a while back, I had a friend tell me he knew a guy who would replace the stock for me. I finally agreed to get it fixed, and I’ve been without it for about a year.

But last week, I got that old Model ’94 back. It looks great – the guy who fixed it actually found a stock for it that was also off a Model ’94 from 1914. It’s no longer fully original, but I don’t care. I’m not going to be selling it, anyway.

What I do want to do is to get it out for another deer hunt. There’s a little bit of season left – maybe I can take it out this weekend. Give that new stock a test run.