Friday, February 24, 2006

Down memory lane...

Ever since two of the commentors here mentioned kickass rifles, I, like any mildly retarded person would do, have been fixating on precisely what the biggest rifle I've had the pleasure of knocking me flat on my stupid ass was.

I was 16 going on 17 when my Uncle Frank took me for a drive to his VFW hall in North Jersey. This was one of those oldtime establishments, you know, the kind with the rusty old tank in the front yard and more .50 caliber machineguns pointing at you than could easily be counted. Uncle Frank swore me to secrecy because if my Mother knew that I'd be firing a .55 caliber she'd turn it on all of us.

Yeah, a .55. Old British rifle, made in Canada during the early days of WWII. Kicked like a mule and bit like a crocodile. I had announced my intentions of joining the Marines as soon as High School was done with, and it seemed that from that point on the men in the family began treating me differently. Anyway, Uncle Frank wanted me to try out a "real" rifle, something that the Marine Raiders of WWII fell in love with, and I was just as dumb then as I am now so I said, sure.

The thing was all the rage for a while, and I'd heard of but never seen a Brit-Boy. Boys was the name of the inventor, or the British officer who convinced the military to begin manufacturing these rifles to stop lightly armored vehicles, and my Dad agreed that yes indeed, they'd crippled many a Japanese tank with a liberal dose of 750 grain tungsten-cored bullets traveling somewhere around 3000 feet per second. After the 1968 gun control, spit, act, spit, was passed, anything over .50 caliber was considered a monster-evil-dinosaur-killing-projectile-from-hell, and goodbye Boys. From that point on, all guns and rifles belonging to lowly civilians had to fire a bullet no bigger than half an inch, and some VFW halls had theirs fitted for smaller barrels. Others did not. Some of those others paid the hefty fees to own such monsters of the range and some did not.

Anyway, I shot one before the nannystaters demanded they be circumsized, and if I look really really close I can still see the mark it left on my right shoulder. I was firing from the prone position and do believe I made a cartoon-character divot in the ground as it drove me backwards. Hurt like hell but I smiled and said how great it was.

I've since squeezed off rounds from big rifles, and of course the odd rocket launcher now and again, but I'll say without hesitation that the Brit-Boy made an impression which this boy never forgot.


Fits said...


Anonymous said...

Fits: The Boys was an anti-tank rifle. It was intended to defeat light armor.

No wonder it had a kick!