I suppose it was meant to be, this crazy fascination with firearms, and now in my sixtieth year I well remember the beginning. Like most kids of the mid fifties I was always playing “Cowdies and Injuns” we all did in them days, no political claptrap then, just honest fun.

       I was given a real longbow by someone, I told all my mates at primary school it once belonged to Robin Hood, well!! I was a kid, and only 10 years old. I could not bend it of course but no matter it was bonza to own it, one kid at school was most demanding and made me an offer I could not refuse, A real pistol, no cylinder of course, nor arbour pin, but you could cock and fire the action, so that was good enough for this little black duck, I made the deal with him, the pistol and five bob for Robin’s Bow. 

       I now know it to be an Ivor Johnson .22 long (Not Long Rifle) Nickel plated “Sat night special”. I have no idea why it had no cylinder; perhaps his dad took it out and gave it to him as a toy. So this is where it all began for me, the first firearm I would repair, restore, or make parts for.

       I went into Dad’s work shop and found a block of mild steel about the size I would need, I got his pistol drill and bored a hole through the centre so I could stick a 3inch nail through to hold the block, I found there was a little catch thingo there to hold in the nail, that was handy, (Arbour catch, and arbour pin/ ejector pin), so I notched the nail to fit it. Ok so that worked, now I just filed the block to fit into the hole (Cyl recess in frame).

       That done, now was the hard bit, I found a drill about the same size as a .22 case, (Dad did not have to lock up his ammo in the good ol’ days) and drilled from both ends for the case, I remember thinking I was so clever being able to push the drill through the barrel and tap it with a hammer to get my mark, the case had to be recessed just a little so I used a larger drill to counter sink the hole one end. 

       Now it was test time, I thumbed the hammer back with the 1 chamber cylinder (Yes I know, it was a cube) and found it would not go to full cock, took out the “Cylinder” and looked at what happens, Ahh! A little bit of steel comes up when you cock it (Cylinder Bolt) so will I file that down?? Maybe it’s meant to be there, so I cut a slot on the underside of my “Cylinder”, that’s better and what’s more it does not move now, how clever for someone to think of that. Rather than remove my “Cylinder" each time I load, it may be better to file the sides so it can pivot out the side, yep that worked too, and I have only worked on this all Saturday too. 

       Test Time: Now I had a rather large cage for my Guinea Pigs, about 8x4 foot, a roof and all, in the corner was a heap of brickies sand, this is the place to test my gun. Slipped in a .22 Long, cocked it, pointed it at the sand, and… Mother of God!! The noise, Guinea Pigs shrieking and the ringing in my ears, what the hell was that? I had best try again and be sure it works proper, Blam!!, again and another, and another, so great, I own a REAL gun.

       The door of the cage flies open, two hands reach in, one grabs me by the throat and the other grabs the pistol, and that is the last vision of my pistol I ever had, disappearing into my Fathers hand. Did I cop it for that? No, I didn’t because my Dad understood that it would be just the first of many to come, and I had already lost it.

       But I did cop it bad for blowing up the Chooks sheds… but that’s another story.

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