the dissident frogman

14 years and 2 weeks ago

Potshots at the gun shop

the dissident frogman

Necrothreading much?

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I'd just paid for my big ammo purchase — shells and cartridges in various calibers from 12g to .280 Rem, and generous, family-size boxes of subsonic .22 LR, as the silencer makes it too easy to shoot my Anschütz in the backyard without sending half of the neighborhood in a surrender frenzy(1) — to refill my boxes and restock my shelves, when I figured that I had a bit of time in front of me. Since the friend who was driving this currently un-wheeled frogman around didn't care, I might as well ask the guy: "Oh by the way, do you sell Marlin rifles?"

"Mais bien sur Monsieur" answered the Gallic gunsmith, "let me show you what I've got."

Back to the back of the shop then, where the rifles lie in all their naked beauty.

He hands me two Marlin babes, the 336 in .30-30 and the Model 444 (unsurprisingly in .444). I've never seen the .444 up close before, and I'm rather impressed by the dimensions of the bore: this looks like 11 mm give or take, and makes for quite a big "tube" for someone more used to 7 mm rifles. I express my amazement. "Yeah, it's big. Let me show you the cartridge" says the gunnery salesman, as he grabs a box of Remington Soft Point under the counter.

What a suppository. The .444 looks big alright, particularly when placed alongside the more "modest" .30-30, prompting my non-hunting smart-ass friend to remark that the chances of me stumbling on a rogue elephant in our neck of the woods are very small indeed, while I simply stand by my statement that size doesn't matter anyway. The salesman doesn't jump on the joke train however, and goes all preachy-teachy on us:

"Well, it's big because that's an old, historical caliber you know. That's what the cow-boys used to shoot each other with, you know(2)..."

Oh dear is the first thought that crosses my mind at this point. You see, I just know...

"... and of course," continues the unstoppable Wild West Pundit, "particularly the Indians, who they shot to steal their lands..."

You see, I just knew where this was headed.

Being a native speaker and living in close contact with the French does that to you. I can detect upcoming anti-American horse manure in any conversation, formal or informal, sometimes minutes before it happens(3).

Adjusting the conversation's temperature a couple of degrees down, and charitably letting the anachronism aside, I try to move back to a neutral ground: "Well, I rather suspect that's because they have much bigger game over there in America than we do here."

The bovine look of the man screams moos "Say what?", telling me unequivocally that some elaboration is in order "I mean, around here we don't have that much grizzly bears and moose..."

No reaction. Apparently, "grizzly" and "moose" don't register. My friend comes to the rescue, adding "... and buffaloes..."

Bad move, as it instantaneously become apparent that "Buffalo" is the magic word that brings this Gallic Golem back to life. Yeah, you bet he's heard about buffaloes:

"Oh yes! They exterminated all the buffaloes, so the Indians would starve and then they could steal their lands. You know."

Though we're not very close, my friend has already seen the effect this things have on me, and she knows I'm just seconds away from becoming as amicable as the aforementioned grizzly bear on a rainy Monday morning(4). Disaster looms, and yet it was such a nice sunny day.

I take a good hard look around. The walls and the shelves are covered with fine products Made in USA, bearing names from the prestigious to the common. Behind the guy, Remington Browning semi-auto BARs and Winchester bolt action rifles are crammed into the racks. Smith & Wesson handguns and Allen Company camouflage tape on display next to an impressive presentation of KA-BAR and Benchmade knives. Between 80 to 90% of the store's merchandise come from the maudit US of A, and he's making a comfortable living off it all. Yet even here, in what shall be a temple of American craftsmanship and an altar to US engineering(5), I have to put up with the same old French tripe and bile.

I've just hit 40, and I've had these jerks tossing their reflexive and uneducated anti-Americanism at me in the same casual conversations — assuming that, being French, I'd naturally agree with them — for as long as I can remember. Today, I'm so tired of this country and sick of these people, I just can't muster the energy to shove this jerk's stereotypes down his throat. Life is too short, I've spent a far greater share of it here rather than where I always really wanted to live, and I've had enough.

I say, icily, "Well, that is a nice rifle."

"We're selling them like hot cakes. I have one myself and love it: I can't begin to tell you how many hogs and deer I collected with this rifle", goes the oblivious gun shop clerk(6), "I can make you a 10% rebate on the .30-30, if you're interested."

That brings it down to 650 Euros, which is a very nice price indeed. The best offer I've had so far.

"Thanks, I'll think about it."

I couldn't make it out of this country so far, but at least, I can make it out of his shop.

We walk.

  1. The other half replays "l'Exode", the infamous June 1940 exodus of civilians mixed with the [fast] retreating army, and take the roads heading West. Now you understand why I silence this German rifle of mine when shooting it. I don't want to create a panic, now do I?
  2. Only it's not, you know. Unless we're talking about "cow-boys shooting each other" with the .444 in the late 1960s...
  3. Admittedly not a big feat in this country.
  4. She's confessed cold sweats and goose bumps at the memory of my encounter with a far-right activist of France's National Front, who saw fit to inform me that "the TV was in the hands of the Jews" and that "all the Americans are just stupid f*cks" — particularly considering that it was during a clay-shooting contest and everybody had loaded shotguns in hands. To which I answer that it was quite all right, since the operative word was "everybody".
  5. No matter what you think about guns, you can't deny they're at least impressive mechanical devices.
  6. Well, I can't dignify this jerk by calling him a gunsmith, really.

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the dissident frogman

I own, built and run this place. In a previous life I was not French but sadly, I died.

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To reveal my email address, find the 4th  number in the code and enter it in the challenge field below.

52920

The Wise knows that Cities are but demonic Soul-tearing pits that shall not be entered.

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Comments thread (22)

3010 - floridasuzie

Comment author avatar
  • floridasuzie Florida

DF said: >without sending half the neighborhood in a surrender frenzy<

ROFL!!!!

DF said: >Life is too short, I've spent a far greater share of it here rather than where I always really wanted to live, and I've had enough.<

Why don't you come over here to America with us Froggy, you know we adore you!? Pack up your parents and bring them too! Only don't listen to the Texans on this blog who keep trying to entice you to their state, rather come here to north Florida, ours is the best state and we need you here worse. Just kidding Texans, don't shoot :) If I wasn't born here and if I didn't love Florida so much, Texas would be one of my other best choices.

3011 - Arch

Comment author avatar

DF:

I like the Marlin 336. I had one in Oklahoma in 1965 and it was a great brush gun. Personally, I prefer it to the Winchester model 94 because it has right side, rather than top ejection. The 336 will take a wide FOV scope if you want. (I prefer iron sights.) I found the Model 94 upward ejection distracting when I was trying to keep a sight picture. 30/30 is a good cartridge if you hunt on wooded land and take shots under 200 yards. You can hit a twig and not deflect the projectile as badly as with lighter higher speed rounds such as a 243. Even though it is slow, use 180 g bullets and buy youself a good leather sling. Before you buy, look at the Model 94. Lots of my friends swear by it.

Arch

3012 - Grimmy

Comment author avatar
  • Grimmy Where I'm at.

Actually, we could use an extra gun hand here in central California.

We're surrounded and expecting an invasion of brain eating zombies any day now.

PS. Someone once said that if just one good man could be found then the civilization was worth saving. Due to you, the good folk at No Pasaran! and Enough, I've been working real hard at knocking off the French bashing (see? I even capitolize French like they're real people now).

This is a hard habit to break. I hope you're happy.

PPS. I would be really extra-double-mega miserable without my usual outlet for bile and foriegn devil type disgust, but the germans are stepping up just fine to fill the gap. God Bless their empty heads.

Where does the light go, when the light goes out?

3013 - bonmotdot

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Awww, French-Froggie, you know you're always welcome on this side of the pond where we can all hug you to our collective American-size bosom (so to speak).

(Plenty of hunting here in Texas, where about 97 percent of the land is in private hands because that's who takes the best care of it.)

Everything is bigger in Texas, by the way... including those afore-mentioned bosoms. Warning, though. Some of the women here might be able to outshoot you.

3014 - Iwo Gina

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  • Iwo Gina Maryland

I could always adopt you, you know.

Iwo Gina

3015 - 2hotel9

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  • 2hotel9 Western Pennsylvania

Hell, Froggy, the worst I got to deal with is my hardrice dealer disparaging me because I'm only spending $200 on ammo. I mean come on, he has 2 ex-wives and a herd of crumbcrunchers to support. As for the schmendrick you had to deal with, if he is shooting deer and wild pigs in France with a .444 what the hell is left?!?!? He dressing this game out with a sponge?

3016 - Grimmy

Comment author avatar
  • Grimmy Where I'm at.

2hotel9:

It's probably frag splash produced from the trees and dirt he hits around the deer and boar that does the actual killing.

Where does the light go, when the light goes out?

3017 - tinga-tinga

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Oh, nuts! So close and yet so far. Them Marlins are sweet.

3018 - Proof

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  • Proof Stockton, Callifornia, USA

Monsieur Frogman: I know you don't suffer fools lightly! It's obvious that this gun seller is not a man of your caliber!

3020 - 2hotel9

Comment author avatar
  • 2hotel9 Western Pennsylvania

Yea, he is probably running HEDPs in a bore diameter that big! Nothing says good eating like picking frags out of your venison.