Tuesday, April 06, 2010

What We Have Lost

Montie, in comments at Tam's:
When the 1968 gun control act passed, my dad had to stop selling ammunition in his grocery stores (yes, we used to sell ammo in our convenience stores!).

FWIW, I was getting about a 1-in-30 to 1-in-20 failure rate on the random-ammo-can .22LRs I shoot, mostly Remington Golden Bullet; a few were primer hits that didn't go, most were misfeeds. Hey, free malf drill!


Drang said...

One of the charms of last year's trip to the mouth of the Columbia was walking into the town general store and finding that they stocked ammo.

Mostly hunting rifle and shotgun calibers--and none at all I needed--but they had it in stock.

Dr. StrangeGun said...

1 in 30 failure rate... makes you wonder why nobody's using a vetterli-style double firing pin on modern .22s.

Sport Pilot said...

Any hardware store you went to also sold guns and ammunition before the 68 GCA,many simply stopped selling gun's afterwards. As a kid I alway's visted these locations because they allowed me to handle the rifle's and shotguns as much as I wanted to. Customer's and kid's were treated much differently then.

BobG said...

I remember when you could send away for firearms from the Sears-Roebuck catalog.
Did I mention I'm starting to feel old?

Tam said...

As recently as the mid-'80s in suburban Atlanta, I remember guns in:

The Ace Hardware in the little strip mall near my house.
Oshman's Sporting Goods in the mall.
Of course Sears and JC Penny's at the mall, too.
Service Merchandise.
An old dime store chain holdout nearby.

Once you got much out of the inner 'burbs, it wasn't terribly uncommon for a gas station to carry .22LR and 12ga birdshot, 'specially if there were any working farms in the neighborhood.

Stranger said...

Pre December 12, 1968, there were eight stores on the 90 miles of country roads to my in-laws house. All of them sold ammo, most would order any gun you wanted if you paid half down.

My favorite was Mr. Daniels in Beaumont, Mississippi. The inside was out of the 1880's - but there was just about any caliber and load you wanted behind the counter.

After 12/12/68 ammo was almost impossible to get. The ATF regs called for ammo sales to be recorded in a "bound book," but in those days when copiers were unheard of many BATmen wanted ammo purchases recorded on looseleaf paper. With brand, caliber, and bullet weight, along with name, address, and "social." All open on the counter for all to see.

Many merchants rebelled and that was the end of picking up ammo on the way to the in-laws.


Ed Skinner said...

My S&W model 41 thoroughbred is very picky. It works reliably and extremely accurately but only with CCI Standard Velocity in the plastic box. Making the smallest of change to the cardboard boxed CCI Standard Velocity (which permits a slightly wider muzzle velocity) and the 41 will get more and more cantankerous. On the other hand, my Ruger Mk III with Volquardsen this and that snubs its nose at CCI -- won't touch the stuff -- and will only imbibe (reliably) on Federal Gold Medal Target. In the gun safe, I try to keep the two guns separated from each other -- no tellin' what might happen when they're cooped up like that together!

Justthisguy said...

I remember reading in American Rifleman when FOPA passed, an editorial hoping that ordinary merchants would start selling ammo again. Mostly didn't happen. Dammit.

Roberta X said...

Too long a time had passed. The renormalization of firearms and shooting continues but we have a lot of lost ground to recover.

John B said...

heck! I remember a few years ago when schucks auto would sell a remington mug filled with 525 22lr rounds. Round christmas time. I'm still in trouble for bringing the neighborhood kids around for rabbit stew every easter.

Montie said...


I am honored to be mentioned by name in one of your posts (blush). Yes we sold ammo along with groceries, beer and cigarettes.

As to the point of the Remington golden bullets, I think I might actually have a box or two of that original ammunition left, that I retained for "old times sake". I never recall having any misfires with it in any of my rimfire guns. I used to buy a lot of Remington rimfire ammo because I had developed a certain "like" for it having had such good luck with it, and don't recall having any problems with it over the years.

Oh, and that Winchester 190 with the Weaver 4X .22 tipoff scope, was given to me for Christmas when I was 12. My dad got them as a free promo package for selling a certain amount of a product (I'm thinking Coors beer, but I could be wrong).

Standard Mischief said...

@ Dr. StrangeGun

of course, we'd have to make those retrofitted vetterli-style firing pins out of water-jetted and skeletonized titanium to keep the lock time down to modern expectations...