Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anatomy of a gun trade...

It all started with a fly reel. An older USA-made Sage 3200 that I coveted and which should have by-gawd belonged to me in the first place. But no, my father inexplicably gave it to my little brother. My brother, who thinks flyfishing is mainly for wussies who can't operate a baitcaster...

Sibling jealousy simmered until I had an opportunity to shamelessly steal it from him. When he found out, he first demanded it back. I said,"OK, I'll bring it next time I come down." This, of course, was code for "there's no way in hell." He knew that as well as I did, so he countered with "why don't you just trade me your old 1100 for it. You don't use it any more anyway."

He was right. It was an old seventies-vintage Remington 1100 12 gauge that I had shot much when I was younger but had largely abandoned to the gun cabinet when I got into two-barreled guns. In fact, I had let my brother borrow it for a pheasant hunt the year before and he still hadn't returned it.

"You're out of your freakin' mind. I love that gun and I still use it all the time. I'm not trading it for a damn reel! Well, let me think about it." This, of course, was code for "I'm keeping the reel, and I'm stealing my gun back next time I come down."

"OK," he replied, which, of course, was code for "I know you'll try to steal that gun back next time you come down. Good luck finding it."

This uneasy truce lasted several months, until one day my brother called and said "Hey, there's an old 870 20 gauge in the pawn shop down here. I think I can get it for $140 bucks (he went to high school with the store manager and therefore got a considerable discount...). You want it?"

A quick description of the gun combined with a serial number search revealed that it wasn't just any old 870, but a first-year production ADL model in completely original, just-rolled-off-the-line condition with matching barrel and receiver numbers and a relatively rare matte unribbed barrel. And with the exception of a few faint rust freckles, this old 870, which was born in December of 1950, was also essentially unused. It had apparently been leaning in some closet for the past 60 years.

"Get it, and we'll work something out."

My mind churned. I wanted that gun. Lately I had been getting interested in early American pump guns, and although there are 10 million 870s floating around out there, you just don't stumble across first-year guns in this condition very often. So I called my brother back.

"Hey, tell you what I'll do. Man, you're getting to me, but I'll trade you straight across, the 1100 for that 870."

"But what about the Sage? I thought you were going to trade the 1100 for it?"

"You know that first-generation Shimano Curado of mine you've been wanting?"


"I'll trade you that Shimano and a brand-new BPS Extreme baitcaster for the Sage. That way you get the reel and shotgun you want, I get the reel and the shotgun I want, and we don't have to keep stealing things from each other." This, of course, was code for "I'm going to steal that Curado back the first chance I get."

"OK, that sounds fair." This, of course, was code for "you're screwing my eyeballs out here and the next time I come up I'm stealing something to make up for it."

So we both went away more or less satisfied, but wary, and biding time for the first opportunity to start stealing back what we had just traded away. Such is life for brothers...


  1. Ah Chad,
    Your post touches a nerve here, at times I lose count over who steals, owes, wants, sneaks and downright bamboozles who betwixt be and my 'older' brother (older by age only, not in his dense head!) Thanks for the post, glad we're not the only 'feuding' brothers.

  2. My brother and I have a slightly different relationship. He likes to kayak and rock climb so I have zero use for any of his junk. And vice versa. I think his computer is nicer than mine though....

    That 870 is a sweet find.

  3. I only wish I had a relationship like that with my sisters, on many levels. But they don't hunt, don't fish and don't steal. Damn.

  4. I think you're coming out ahead, though I imagine everything evens out in the long run.

  5. Brothers are a constant source of...something, aren't they?

    And as proof that everyone needs an editor sometimes, my English teacher wife just pointed out a little you're/your mix-up reading the story, since fixed.

    That's what happens when you write and publish instead of writing, reading, reading again and then publishing...

  6. AWESOME blog, just signed on as a follower. just found you, much prettier than mine,

    I'd appreciate if you could follow mine, and give me some "POINTERS" from the pro, and suggestions. GORGEOUS pics

  7. That's a pretty sweet 870. Bluing looks awesome. I'm mostly a two barrel man myself, but I do own one pump gun. It's an 870 and it's not nearly as nice as that one.
    It's nice to have a brother looking out for sweet deals for you too...

  8. Hi Jackson, thanks for the compliments, and I'll be sure to put you on the blogroll and follow you, but I don't think you want any blogging advice from me. I just learned to spell blog a few months ago...

    Greg, the problem with having a brother is well, he's your brother, and since you can't shove him out of the nest like some birds do, the rivalry manifests itself in stealing each other's stuff.

    I'm sure he'll be trying to steal that 870 before long...