Heirloom Piece

When Dad gave me the gun he told me I shouldn’t try to shoot the cartridges accompanying it because black powder gets stronger with age and it might blow up. Naturally, I had to shoot it, but there were no new .38 Rimfire cartridges being manufactured. My only choice was to try it with the old ammo when Dad wasn’t home. I clamped the revolver in a vise attached to the workbench in our garage and set up a Memphis phone book to use as a backstop.

To make sure I didn’t get hurt if it really did blow up, I tied a string to the trigger and backed away about 10 feet. Nothing happened. I cocked the gun and tried again. Again nothing. I learned years later black powder doesn’t really get stronger with age but just the opposite. Also, the primers had decayed with age so the powder never got a chance to ignite.