The Wedding Present

Never Break the Two Rules …
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Dave prefers the lighter, 6-lug version of the Weatherby Mark V Ultra
Lightweight even more than the 9-lug version. This one is in .240 Weatherby.
No need to mourn the Ultra Lightweight as the current Backcountry
and Live Wild versions are even better.

The Senior Member was relaxing in his comfortable chair beneath the folding umbrella rigged to provide shade. He had his book; his dog was sleeping at his feet; he needed only a second cup of coffee to be perfectly content. The range was mostly quiet. From the rifle range came the occasional report; the most devoted rifle enthusiasts were developing loads and getting sighted in for the fall hunting season, avoiding the crowds who waited to the last minute.

His book wore a lurid cover titled Gunfight at Drygulch Saloon. On the cover were two cowboys drawing revolvers, facing one another across a table littered with poker chips and playing cards. In the background a scantily clad woman had a hand to her mouth stifling a scream.

Actually the Senior Member was reading Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason in the original German. He had taped the pulp Western cover to his book so as not to appear pretentious. The Lewis & Clark Rifle & Pistol Club had written rules, but the unwritten rules were just as important. Two in particular could get you expelled, or at least suspended: being pretentious and not carrying a gun.

The Senior Member was so deep into his book he didn’t notice the attractive young woman approaching. She was conservatively dressed, having recently been in court where her client had entered a “Not Guilty” plea. As always the old man rose and bowed courteously. “Miss Kelly, such a pleasure to see you. Young Rodney has already told me the happy news. Please accept my felicitations on your betrothal.”

Patricia Kelly was a brilliant professional in awe of no man, but she appreciated the courtesy. Not for worlds would she have turned back the clock but she could feel regret some courtesies, and some vocabulary, were being lost.

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The Kimber Montana is a sometimes-unappreciated gem, made
in the USA. This is an older model. Current-production Montana
rifles have a green synthetic stock and threaded muzzle.

“Thank you, Old One,” she replied. “As it happens that’s the very subject I want to discuss. I’d like to give Rodney a rifle as a wedding present. I’d appreciate your wise counsel. Oh, and I brought you a coffee.”

The Senior Member eyed the logo on the cup. “A peppermint white chocolate mocha cappuccino perhaps?”

“Of course not! Black coffee, dark roast. And a biscuit for the pup.”

Not for the first time, the Senior Member felt admiration. “May I ask what type of rifle you have in mind? I know Rodney has the basics covered, a good .22 and an AR. Is it a target rifle you have in mind, or does he want to pretend to be a sniper?”

“Neither of those. I want to get him a good hunting rifle. He’s been borrowing his dad’s old pump .30-’06 but his younger brother bought it. And I won’t lend out the Remington 7mm-08 my dad gave me for passing the bar exam. I want to get him something nice, something to express my love and devotion for many decades of married life.”

“Excellent! I’d suggest a best quality magazine rifle from one of the great British names, perhaps Holland & Holland, Purdey, or Rigby. I haven’t kept up with current prices but I suspect $25,000 to $50,000 should suffice.”

“Hmmm, interesting. Being realistic, we also have to accept that a large percentage of marriages end in divorce. Is there some, er, less expensive way of showing love and devotion?”

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A mule deer in the American west. Hunting here means lots
of walking, none of it on level ground. A light, accurate, adequately
powerful rifle is ideal for such hunting.

The Weatherby Mark V Ultra Lightweight, recently discontinued, is an
almost perfect hunting rifle, here in the 9-lug version chambered in .257
Weatherby. It’s ideal in big open country for game such as this springbok in Namibia.

The old man felt a pang of envy. What a woman! Attractive, smart, educated, romantic yet intensely practical. Then he remembered he had been married to just such a woman for 52 years and the envy faded.

“Have you considered a Winchester 70 Super Grade? Or a Weatherby Mark V Deluxe? Remington 700 CDL? RugerRuger Hawkeye? Sako Sporter? Two or three thousand will buy a very nice rifle.”

“That’s more my price range. I should have mentioned, we plan to honeymoon in New Zealand. I was so happy when Rodney suggested it! Of course we plan to do some hunting. It will likely mean climbing. I’ve read it rains a lot too.”

“So, light weight. Rust resistant, synthetic stock, $2,000+ budget. We should consider a Kimber Montana, Weatherby Mark V Back Country or Live Wild, Winchester 70 Extreme Weather, Browning X-Bolt, Springfield Armory …”

“Wait, that’s enough. For which cartridge?”

“Think popular and easily obtained. 6.5 Creedmoor, .270, 7-08, .308, .30-’06. I’ll save you time. Billy Bob’s Guns ’n Gear has a Kimber Montana .308 on sale, and Black Hills Ammo has a wide selection of good .308 loads.”

A few hours later the Senior Member was reading his book when his phone rang. “Ah, young Rodney, I hope all is well with you.”

“It certainly is,” Rodney replied. “Just wanted to thank you for suggesting a New Zealand honeymoon. Pat loves the idea. I need to get her something nice for a wedding present, maybe a really good meat grinder. We do love venison sausage.”

“This is your idea of a nice wedding present? A kitchen appliance?”

“Not good?”

“Of course not good! If you were here I’d crack your shins with my walking stick. Get her a nice over-under shotgun, 20 or 28 gauge, with her name engraved. Meet me here tomorrow and we’ll settle the details. And don’t forget to bring a cup of black coffee, dark roast. And a biscuit for the pup.”

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