A friend volunteered to help refinish the stock on the carbine. When I brought it over, he saw it and balked at first, telling me it's a relic, and shouldn't be touched to preserve the value. He called a mutual friend, and while Steve was telling him over the phone, I was telling him face-to-face: it's been heavily modified, and is worthless. His eyes got so bright then.... Brandon then asked if I planned to attend any matches any time soon, and if he could "borrow" the stock and hand guard for a while. I left them with him. I have been getting update photos regularly, with a big batch coming today. Estimated time of finish is late Monday. I can't wait to see it. I am buying a new front band to replace the one that was ruined by whoever ruined the carbine, and will get a new front sight and mayyybe a bayonet next month. I'll need a new sling, too. I'm going to make it a pretty little boom stick.

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What a basket case. I found out today that a loose, wobbly trigger assembly really is as bad as it sounds. I need to fix it before I can shoot it again. Call a gunsmith! I have a couple of goals started and even a couple little ones completed. I should join the San Jose Zouaves so that I can learn the basics of rifle shooting with them, but before I do that I need to join the NRA. Done. I also have all of my safety equipment now, and will start gathering the bare minimum comfort and spotting equipment. I have always viewed the NRA the same as I do PETA. While the mission and organization are basically sound and good, it is the few bad apples that make the headlines and give the whole a bad reputation. We'll see where this takes me; I think I'll be pleasantly surprised.

I am still not quite sure what happened, really. I have an old M1 carbine that I found after my husband passed, and instead of finding another happy owner, I said to myself; "Well, it's mine, I might as well learn how to take care of and use it." I am still shaking my head over that one. I have never been a fan of firearms. That's not to say that I hate or even dislike them, it's more like I couldn't have cared one way or the other. As long as someone is CAREFUL with it, and RESPONSIBLE, it is their right to have one (or more). Still, I wasn't very comfortable with it, especially the ammo that came with it; hollow points, meant only for killing. Yech. I told a friend at work about it, and it turned out that he's an expert sharpshooter, and would be happy to help me learn the basics. Wow, that's really nice. He started me on pistols, and also walked me through cleaning, maintenance and eventually firing my old carbine. I wanted to get competitive with it, but it was explained to me that, around here, there aren't any carbine only matches, and it would be like taking a Geo Metro to Laguna Seca. Ain't happenin'. Instead, I need to decide whether I want to compete in high power or small bore. Looking at current ammo prices, I think I'll go small bore. It's also just a teensy bit more popular, and matches are a little more likely to be a bit closer. Something about all the chats during lunch, the lessons at the range, and with all the cleaning and research, this project has lit a spark that has been dark for too long, dark ever since my husband passed. I am interested, VERY interested in seeing how far I can take myself with this new sport. It's something I never thought I'd be doing, but after that first night with a couple of pistols at the local city range, I'm hooked. More so after I got to perforate a target with an M1 garand. I found myself motivated to challenge myself, and wanting to do what is needed to get myself to a match and, maybe, win one some day. My long-term goal is achievable: place well at a "match that matters." That means not just an in-club match, but a bigger one. With all that has happened to me in the past few months, I find that I need to remake myself. I think that marksmanship (marksWOmanship, thank you!) can do that, and there are a few things that need to change for that to happen. This is definitely NOT an instant goal, achievable with a few thousand dollars, which I certainly don't have, and a cute smile. No, I will need to work at it, and I will need to practice, set goals, meet them, and work hard toward that ultimate goal. Also, I find it difficult to make a decent pretzel of myself in the current state I am in, and so I need to loose quite a bit of extra ballast. I will begin work on that, as well as improving a few other things. I discovered the other day a kind of focus that I am really lacking in, With driving, sailing and RC soaring you need to pay attention to the world around you, as well as what you are doing. With shooting, you need to tune OUT the world, and focus only on the target, the sight, and your finger on the trigger. It's all about that focus. I will take this as far as I feel it will improve me. I feel that there is much that I can learn from this, including patience, self control and diligence, and I also think that I can have a lot of fun, and meet even more friends. I sill start with what I have, the carbine, and I will learn with that for as long as it can teach me. When I get to the point where I am wringing as much as I can out of the little short-range rifle, hopefully I will have been introduced to the various formats, I will have chosen which one I would like to pursue, and will have enough money set aside to get the appropriate equipment. Then it's up to me to carry on and start winning. Break out the Hoppes, friends, it's time to get to work.
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