Profile, continued

 

   I feel a little uncomfortable writing about myself, but I will do my best to prepare a an article that is interesting.

   I was not raised around firearms and my parents never had any kind of guns in the house.  My uncle and grandfather were avid hunters, but both of my parents had no use for any kind of guns.  They have nothing against them, but they don't feel any need to own them. Both of my parents are from Oklahoma, so don't start blaming the California culture for their beliefs.

   My interest in guns began when I was starting to look into a career in law enforcement.  I carried a gun for seven and a half years while I served in a variety of law enforcement positions.  It was in the last couple of years of law enforcement that I began competing in PPC matches, hosted by the Department of Energy, that triggered my interest in competitive shooting and in being a hobby gunsmith.

   I like to tinker so I started working on my Smith & Wesson Combat Magnum.  I was slicking it up to be used in PPC competition, but I was only successful in making it unreliable.  It went to a proper gunsmith who tuned it and it still shoots fine to this day.

   I left law enforcement in 1982 and became a professional photographer and then a computer and networking person.  My guns were put away and most of them were sold to raise money to buy things for my young family.  I didn't shoot a gun again until 1999 when one of my employees invited me to go shooting.

   He figured he would show up his boss and had a bit of a surprise when I started shooting pretty decent patterns at twenty-five yards with that old Combat Magnum.  I bought a .45 Colt auto as an investment and made a few blackpowder guns.  I think everyone should experience shooting a muzzle loader.  CI occasionally went shooting with my employees, but nothing serious.

   I was accidentally reunited with an old shooting friend when there was some publicity about his son competing for an opportunity to shoot in the Olympics.  I visited the old friend and his son told me about the fun of Cowboy Action Shooting.

  I went to the Manteca Sportsman's Club one Saturday morning to test fire my new Ruger Super Blackhawk and visited with a few of the guys who were shooting with the Two Rivers Posse and was hooked.  I started learning more about about cowboy shooting and studied their matches before heading to Jamestown to shoot my first match in their more relaxed environment.

  

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   Cowboy shooting got me back into shooting and into working on guns.  I had risen to the level of a company executive and had enough income to pretty much do as I wished, but tinkering was how I relaxed.  I had a couple of horses that took a lot of my time, but I worked on blackpowder guns and became pretty proficient at working on my own CAS equipment.

   I was a successful corporate director of Information Technology and was starting to think about becoming a gunsmith for my retirement when things started heading downhill.  I was bucked off one of my horses and broke four ribs, my arm, and damaged several internal organs.  I was off work for a month and one of my supervisors handled things in my absence.  That set the stage for some decisions by the president of the company and all of the executive positions were eliminated about a month and a half after the accident.

   I suddenly found myself as an unemployed technology manager along with a whole lot of other unemployed technology managers.  I hung out my consulting shingle and began helping companies with their strategic planning, but a few asked me to help design their web sites.

   I quickly taught myself how to design a web site and then went to work.  The Mohave Gambler site was my first attempt and it progressed slowly as I added some old gunsmith projects I had done. The recognition came slowly, but it started building and I started seeing my site mentioned on the SASS wire.

   I decided that I wanted to do an on-line business topics newsletter, but chose to pilot the project with the Hobby Gunsmith newsletter.  A hobby newsletter would be less risky if nobody signed up and it would dovetail with my hobby of working on guns.

   I made the decision one morning and posted it on the Frontier Spot at about six in the morning before heading in to take a shower.  When I returned a  half hour later, my mailbox was full of requests to be added to the distribution list.  The newsletter was born.

   I did the first newsletter with no idea about how it would be accepted or what people wanted to read about.  I just wrote about the things I was doing in the garage and people seemed to like them.  I asked for input and people gave me good advice about the direction they want to see.  The surprise is that they just keep signing up.

   Publishing the newsletter has had other surprises.  People sometimes approach me at matches and want to see a certain gun or to get advice.  I also get a lot of e-mail from people wanting to know how to fix their guns or recommending modifications. I am not complaining and think it is great that people are reading the newsletter and trying new things.

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   Some of the people who write to me have the impression that I am an experienced gunsmith, machinist, and that I work in a well equipped and modern facility.  Some have asked me to include articles for people who have to do their work on the kitchen table or in the garage.

   There is no modern facility filled with equipment.  I have a very messy garage with a workbench that was made from some old kitchen cabinets.  The lathe was given to me by my father who bought it just after world war two.  I collected the rest of my tools over the years as I went through several hobbies.  There is not anything in there that cannot be picked up at garage sales or discount tool stores.

   Am I an experienced gunsmith or machinist?  Not at all.  I am able to read books and lean how to do things I have never done before.  I have also damaged quite a few parts as I learned.  Some people get upset if they damage a fifteen dollar part, but I look at it as costing me fifteen dollars to learn something.  Parts are just parts and part of learning.  I just did my first decent solder job yesterday.  Continuous learning!

   The newsletter is about to go through a transformation.  A few people have asked about writing articles about their gun projects and I am working with them to add their work to the newsletter.  That means more projects and a greater variety of things to read about and to do.

   My consulting practice has grown a lot during the last couple of months and is keeping me pretty busy.  I have decided to try doing a better job or organizing my time and getting the projects done on a regular basis.  I will probably spend much of my time split between editing the submissions from other authors who wish to contribute and working on the more advanced projects that are on the horizon.

   I plan to introduce more woodworking projects like making and finishing gun grips and stocks.  Electroplating is something I will tackle, but has become more involved than I originally thought. 

   I would like to see more projects that are sponsored by companies who would like to contribute in exchange for being noted in the articles, but that is probably a way down the road.  I will be allowing a few sponsored projects and will let people know when a company has contributed to the project.

  It would be nice for this project to operate at a profit, but until the sponsors start flooding me with donations or advertising money, I will continue to keep it simple and personal.

Mohave Gambler

 

If you have suggestions for articles you would like to see in this newsletter, please use the e-mail feature, which is done by clicking on my name at the end of each article.

Mohave Gambler

 

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