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  1. This is a pretty cool story ... Back in 1972 I boarded my horse on the farm of an old gentleman who was at that time 77 years old. He was still spry at that age, and was always hanging out around his barn. He loved to spin yarns, and talk of his days back in the 1920's when he had been an express guard on the Great Northern Railway, and had been a horse back deputy sheriff in Wyoming. Great stuff, and I am so grateful that I had the chance to meet and get to know these old guys who were young men when the country was still somewhat wild. My own grandfather was born in 1883 (Three years before the capture of Geronimo) and lived to see man land on the moon ... But back to my story. One day Mr. Fields was sitting on a bench at the barn, when he said to me "I sure could use me a new hog gun" Not knowing what a hog gun was, after I inquired he explained that a hog gun was for killing hogs when he butchered ... A .22. He told me that his old .22 wouldn't fire anymore. He then looked up and said ... "I got me an old cowboy gun at the house that I would trade for a hog rifle" So we go to the house and he brings out a beautiful 1873 Winchester in 44 WCF caliber. (44-40) I showed him a Ruger 10/22 that I had, he liked it and we traded. I had the Winchester for less that 24 hours before his son came looking for my scalp. He said I had taken advantage of his Dad, and demanded the rifle back. Being as I was young, I acquiesced and returned the rifle, and took my Ruger back. Apparently, old Mr. Fields thought that he had in fact "greened me" as by his logic, he had only paid $20 for the Winchester in 1920. Mr. Fields died in the 1980's and his son inherited his guns ... End of story? Not quite. Fast forward to 2022. I was at the funeral calling of an old classmate, when I noticed a woman at the funeral home ... It was Donna, Mr. Fields grand daughter. I made my was across the room and asked her if she remembered me, and she assured me that she did. We then casually chatted about the old days, when I brought up the story of the gun trade, and how angry her father had been at me. She laughed, and acknowledged that she definitely remembered that incident. She then mentioned that when her father had died back in 2010, that she had inherited her grandpa's guns but had no used for them ... I managed my best disinterested "Oh?" I finally told her that I would be interested in the Winchester if she still had it. She affirmed that she had the rifle then she added "I have his pistol too ... The one he carried as a deputy sheriff" I courteously listened to her describe her life tragedies, the loss of her son in an auto accident, her divorce, the deaths of her parents. After a while she gave me her phone number, and said that she still lived on her Grandpa's farm. I waited a week or son, then called Donna and made arrangements to look at the rifle. When I arrived she welcomed me in, and had the firearms on her dinning room table ... There was the 1873 Winchester, an 1886 Winchester in 33 WCF and a Colt New Service in 44-40 caliber. I asked her what she wanted for the 1873 and the New Service, and she quoted me a price that brought to mind those stories of finding a pristine Corvette in a barn with only 120 miles on it and the owner asks a pittance for the car. That said, as I try to live a Christian life, I told her that she had way under-valued her guns, and I offered her a fair market value for the two pieces, and told her that I knew someone who would purchase the 1886. So here we are ... Fifty years after I initially traded for this rifle, I finally was able to take undisputed possession of it ... Plus his Colt. Both weapons are in amazing condition, with bright shiny bores, and very little in the way of handling marks. Neither of the guns have been fired much. Fifty years ... I guess good things do come to those who wait.
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