I just love having fun with the counter boys, especially at the big chain stores. It’s a nasty habit, I know. Still, I just love it when somebody hands me a dusty 45-70 Marlin and tells me that I NEED this rifle to bring down deer. It just makes my day when someone tells me I can’t get a new 300 Savage, not even on special order. Now that I have two sons to come with me, the fun gets even better. It has become more akin to performance art.
“Can I help you?”
“We’re here to look at yute rifles. Yute season is coming up, and I promised I’d take them yute hunting.”
“Yute rifles?” ( Oh good, this one is too young to have seen My Cousin Vinny!)
“Yep. Got any?”
“No sir, I don’t think we do. Are they like an antelope?”
“Nope. They’re like these two yutes here. I need a rifle for each of them.”
We try out a couple of rifles for #2, he’s 12 and his current nickname is “Mooseboy.” We find out that he’s already big enough for an adult rifle. I have him try on a Remington 7600. Mooseboy asks if it comes in 35 Whelen. The clerk says no. Mooseboy politely tells him he’ll wait.
#3 son is 6. He’s big for his age, but he is still trying to fit his brother’s BB gun. That doesn’t mean he has to be left out of the fun.
“What have you got for this one?” I asked the clerk.
“He’s a bit small.”
“Yes, but he’s got the urge. Son, what is it you said you wanted?”
“A carbine then, “ I said, as I turn back to the clerk. “ He prefers military styling– loves the SKS.”
“Have you got the Ruger Deerfield?”
“The Ruger Deerfield, the new 44 Mag semi?”
“They don’t make it anymore.”
“No, that’s the old style. He wants the new style.”
“No, we don’t carry it. “
“But you can order it?”
”Well, I. . .”
“Do you have a Mini-30 or a Mini-14? We can at least check the size of the stock.”
“We have a Mini-14.”
“Good bring it down.”
By this time, the whole counter had come over.
“Son, we’ll have to order it, but here’s the same basic thing in 223.”
“But Dad,” said #3. “That’s not a deer rifle.”
“Sir,” says the senior counter monkey, “ who has now interjected himself. You don’t really expect this boy to shoot deer with a Mini-14?”
“Nope. “ I said. “He was thinking about a Mini-30 or the Deerfield.”
“Don’t you think-“
At this point the Mini-14 came over the counter. I opened it, checked the action and then passed it to the six year old, who looked in the chamber and stuck his finger in just to be sure.
“Here, son.” I said. “Shoulder this.” #3 brought it up smartly and aimed at the stuffed coyote behind the counter as best he could.
“Sir, you’re not really expecting to have this boy-“
“Nope, I don’t. Not if it doesn’t fit. Proper fit’s everything. The stock’s too long, and I’m not going to saw up a good stock while this kid’s growing like a weed. Sorry Son, we’ll have to wait another year.”
#3 passed the rifle back to me without complaint.
“Sir, don’t you think a 22 rifle would be more appropriate?”
“For deer?” I asked. “That’s a bit small, don’t you think? Oh well, next year then. Moose? You like that 7600?”
“I’d rather have stainless.” He replied. “Stainless and black. Maybe Gunbroker?”
Times was up. The show had to end. Mom was waiting. It was time to go. We thanked everyone behind the counter and off we went.