After a slightly exhausting week, the much – postponed party finally straggled in to Reid and Connie’s country manse in Parker CO  on Saturday. Not every one could make it (Smokey Paul and Lynne met us at a Santa Fe highway exit to hand over a pistol for Carlos —  we still live in a free country where a poet can hand a handgun to a writer to pass to an ornithologist, and pass it through three states, all legally!)

I am not sure what the “Theme” of the party might have been– probably NOT blogging, though it had brought some of us together. But only Reid, Arthur, and me met primarily that way. Andy Wilson has known Libby from Outward Bound days, 40 years and more. Many of the others were members of what Carlos  and the (absent ) Gerry Cox facetiously call the  “Sewing Circle”, a bunch of writers, academics and artists fascinated with fine guns. Guy Boyd, who is holding the iconic Purdey, came down from Fort Collins; our first contact was through birds I think, as he flies a pursuit Gyr named Darwin, but I have also worked editing his yet unsold thriller ms. Chas Clifton blogs at Nature Blog, but we have known each other forever; he went to Reed College with Tom McIntyre, is a retired professor of English literature and comparative religion,  knew “Seasonal” writer Ed Engle (who once remarked after a hike in the San Mateos that we had seen a redtail catch a squirrel, but “if it had been twenty yeas ago, we might have seen Mescalito!”, and, if memory serves me right, first read me in the rather odd venue of Chronicles, in a nature- themed issue put together by Chilton Williamson and his legendary damned Patagonian conures!

Themes were guns, books, ideas, and food, plus a standing desk of splendid oak for me (thanks to Laramie based novelist Brad Watson); horses (Akhal Tekes) and dogs (Aussies- ours had stayed home) and a little mostly Chihuahua named Rainbow. And GRILLED MEAT– thanks especially to Carlos, and to Arthur for bringing lovely chile- flavored booze for a marinade.

And of course the Purdey, which is exquisite, not just the finest for its price but one of the finest hammer Purdeys I have ever handled. But, contrary to what everyone seems to think, despite my trade goods and its relatively good price, I do NOT have the full price yet. Perhaps, as the Nature Conservancy’s Matt Miller suggests, I should swallow my pride, and try a little crowdfunding– it looks like now or never… ideas, please!

This set all by Andy W:

Chas sights Broomie with Steve & Carlos in enthusiastic discussion behind

The younger set–Arthur and gunsmith Adam (not in this set, brother Oliver)

Novelist Brad Watson (check his new book on Amazon), Carlos, Steve

Reid with MEAT

We do love our food– and guns …

Purdeys and such

Gun nuts are persistent, and nobody is leaving me in peace about the Purdey, so ONE more post, mostly a reply to my old Canadian friend “Lucas Machias”.

I DID have a hammer Grant, a near equivalent and an original, not a
restored gun, which I foolishly– since it cost a lot less- let go–
will not do THAT again =(:-0)

I also owned Lord Dunraven’s 16
bore Woodward, which sounds better than it was- an utterly clapped out
gun that the late Bill Smiley bought for $600 in Phoenix, with a soft
oil- soaked 13 inch DOWN pitched stock with a vented pad and a white
line spacer,  and 26″ sleeved barrels. I couldn’t hit the ground, or a barn
if I were inside, with it; Terry Weiland wrote a piece about a dove hunt
at Bill’s in the month after 9- 11 with it, in Gray’s, and graciously
credits me with more birds than I shot. He, with I think his custom
Arrieta, and Bill with his “modern” Beasley patent hammerless self-
opener Purdey (made in 1912), shot the most, and the late Armand Romano,
a retired Brooklyn Homicide detective, shooting a custom Model 12 pump
20 with beautiful dark wood, told Bill’s wife Linda he had shot them

 The cheapest quote I could get on restocking was $3000; the
cheapest on rebarreling was 12,000 POUNDS, and Purdey refused to do it,
saying the gun was not worth the barrels. The guy who had it after me,
buying it for 3000 from Glenn Baker (who subsequently sold me my lovely
.410) spent TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS restoring it. It is
beautiful, but since this is more than I paid for my house and most
expensive car together (I know, I live in a poor rural community), I
think that is beyond my pay grade.

I also owned a graceful Holland and
Holland “Dominion” back action sidelock 16 that was often in the shop,
which I sold to help pay Jackson’s St John’s tuition one year– no

That is my London gun history, if you don’t count a Grant
hammer 16 that I kept long enough to refinish the stock but which had
barrels so badly pitted I could never quite dare to fire it (it was very
old, and I believe it was a pinfire conversion…)

I have no time
to blog right now, but knowing all about gun mania will do this ONE post on the Purdey and related matters. Then NO MORE TIL AFTER THE PARTY!

Purdey 12, made in 1885, 30″ barrels, 6 1/2 pounds,  14 3/4 ” LOP, cast off, in proof for 2 3/4″ loads; PERFECT: