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
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.
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.
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
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