Monday, October 29, 2012

The World's Largest Gun Show...

Ciney, Belgium. This is, beyond question, the largest gun and militaria show on earth.

It takes place in a huge, I mean huge, agricultural show building.

This is taken from almost the end of one of the hundred lateral rows.

This is taken from almost the end of one of the hundred lateral rows. Two ranks of tables, each side of each row. 

There's apparently some quirk of Belgian law that allows machine guns to be sold without much problem, supposedly easier than our NFA does.


Frame only…

And dug up.

Yes, dug up.  Braver and stupider people metal detect and dig this stuff. I understand the interest, but not to dog on good old American know-how, that TNT is waaaaay less stable than it was when they shipped it out of Chattanooga and fired it at the Hun just up the road. 

And Lord knows, Lucas Electrics probably got its start brewing Ammonal  in a disused spanner works back in '17.

Lots of military vehicle bits and pieces.

And complete military vehicles.

Two dealers had entire jeeps for sale.

Need a drive sprocket for that Sherman?

Half a wooden prop?

Reichstag desk lamp?

May have minor smoke damage.

 20mm Lahti magazine?

Tent stoves?

The absolutely correct musket ramrod?



Granatenwerfer 16?


Small boat cannon?

Fakes abound. Everything on that black tablecloth is brand new.

What on earth…


Could be behind the tape?

This poor man

appears to have had a nose injury when he sat for his portrait.

The bored girlfriends are a bit more chic.

And the MREs sound tastier.

Something you'll not see in the U. S., good military bronzes.

Of course, it is a gun show.

Saw a few things I had never seen in the U. S.,  for example  Swiss Gew. 1889s.

There were a couple of dealers selling deactivated modern commercial handguns.  Mainly second tier brands- Astra, CZ,  Norinco Tokarevs, FEGs, and FN or Manufrance pistols from the 1920s – 1970s.  The price tags read  about twice what they would on live ones in the U. S, in Euros of course.  For example, two Llama .45 or 9mm 1911 copies at E 350 per.

I lurked  at one table,  he was selling at a rate of about  one every three minutes, including the aforementioned pistolas Hispanicos, at full price, no haggling.  There were full boxes of guns under the fully covered table,  take the cash,  throw another gun out. 

No identification, no paperwork at all.

The deact jobs were minimal, mainly just plugged barrels.  A new barrel and voila.  I almost bought a nice clean third model Colt match target woodsman for E250,  but the drill that bored out the barrel for the plug had some sort of larger  end, and the feed ramp was gone.  More trouble than it was worth.

Older revolvers or oddities changed hands with similar informalities although they were not deactivated.  One could have bought a trunk full of  1870- 1910 revolvers- S&W top breaks,  Webleys, French, German, or  miscellaneous ordnance revolvers.

IF you had the money, these were priced in Euros at about twice, sometimes thrice, the U. S. level.  There was a nice Webley .455 automatic at E1750, closest I saw to a bargain.  Well worn  lemon squeezers were  E300 up.

Long guns told a similar tale.  NO working modern semiautos,  the K98s and Springfield  I saw were all plugged.  Everything else was ready to go, again priced at or above U. S. levels, add 30% for Euros. 

But wait, there’s more!  Another vast exhibit hall,  larger than any U. S. venue I have seen.  This was loaded with better things. No picture, it was too dark.

 American guns weren't ignored, they love their cowboy and Indian era!

I wonder how this old Evans came across the sea from Maine?

The biggest difference from a U. S. gun show, aside from the lack of modern shooting guns, was the complete and total absence of fireable ammunition. Not a cartridge, not a primer, not a casing.

Just for you, Roberta...


 And Tam,

Since I found everything on your list except Smith PCs and tons of Mosins, here's a new verse...

Tunics and daggers, Devisme revolvers,

machine guns and tank treads dug up from the polders,

 bayonets, helmets, and greasy jeep springs...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Staying at the Hotel Georges Orwell...

Very basic indeed.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Off the airplane and into the hunting field, France 2012....

So I slept like the dead on the airplane, my last (unsent) text was gibberish. Don't even remember takeoff, and was awakened by the wheels coming down at Paris. Thank you, HotGirl!

Got the car at 7.30 A. M,

Sure he's a Communist wife beater and an awful destroyer of the ethos of Art. But he makes a pretty good car...

So here it is 7:30 on a lovely Saturday morning in Paris. What to do.... Well duh!

A la foret! Little did I know, it is St Hubert for this pack.

Hmm. We Hunting people will go anywhere for a drink and a biscuit...

Standing room only. Then back for the blessing...


That's better.

We all know that you'll get no hunting with them Egyptians,

but a plague of locusts is nothing to us!

Meet was at the "quarry"...


Hounds don't mind second main fumer...

Braids on the left, Bitsy and Nancy would die!

"I am so pretty..."

Probably thinking about...

nothing at all.

"I am so enthusiastic!"

"If they would just let me out of this truck...

...I would have this hootenanny organised in five minutes."

Apach' says...

"Temps pour la Chaaaaasse!"

Of course, have to have a picture of this whipper-in putting one back in the truck...

And the Jeep bleu will get me to the right spot.

Everyone is looking at the forest. As Rhoda tried to teach me, when everyone is looking at somthing, you look at something else...

And sure enough, across the road right there and a gauche...

Mr. Demille...

Hounds right on him...

Both in the same field!

Better pick up the pace, Stagboy...

Those are the ones they got from Rhodri...

Comment dit-on "Girl Crush" en fran├žais?

It's late so I will close with an end of day shot...

If I'd had a day like that,

I'd be stretching my back too.

I surely hope that first draw, with its absolutely perfect example of something I hunt to see, is a harbinger of the next six weeks.

But even if it's not, that minute paid for the trip.