I can’t speak for anyone except for myself, but of the twelve months on the calendar, February has got to be the least appealing one. For me, no matter how you slice it, it’s 28 (or 29) days of cold, miserable weather that must be trodden through in order to make it to what will likely be a cold, windy March. But at least by March there will be some days where jackets won’t be required all day and the days will have grown long enough to allow for some afterwork chores to be done in the daylight.
February, if it is good for something, is good for planning any outdoor activities a person has in mind for the rest of the year. Due to the short days, lack of open hunting seasons, tax season preparations and all sorts of other contentions, I tend to overlook the month of February as black hole of time that, like Wyoming, doesn’t exist. So one of the things, besides avoiding winter illnesses, that I like to do is make sure all of my rifles are in clean, working order so that when the longer days of spring arrive I can load up that rifle and mosey on out to the range for a little trigger therapy.
It is during these protracted evenings where a good deep cleaning can be done while listening to a good podcast. Not only is this a good time to clean and lube your rifles, it’s also a great time to evaluate other details like how that particular rifle is set up and changing things if you feel there is change that needs to be done. With my modern sporting rifles this is a frequently occuring task as I’ve made changes to those rifles so that each is optimized for a specific use or theme.
Now that spring is only weeks away, I’ll be once again going through the gun safe and bring out each rifle and for a good cleaning and evaluation. I also need to take inventory of the spare parts that I’ve accumulated as well. If the past is a predictor of future behavior, there’s a good chance that the spare parts pile will start turning into another rifle. This practice is getting harder to justify, but that hasn’t stopped me before. While I’m not huge on diversity of calibers, I did most recently build an AR based pistol in .300AAC. This departure from my 9mm and 5.56mm/.223 is the most radical chambering I’ve ever had. I do not consider the .45-70 Marlin in the safe to be radical, though. The .300AAC is an intriguing load that is weirdly well suited for hunting in the dense Ozarks, especially for feral swine and coyotes. It’s also well suited for whitetail deer inside of 100 yards.
The biggest reason I finally decided to build a pistol in .300AAC was for the convenience of having a stable, standard capacity defense gun that could be discreetly stored in my vehicle or even in a backpack while out and about. With this in mind and a few magazines full of 200 grain sub-sonic ammo, the .300AAC pistol is arguably the useful round in existence for this purpose. Like any other rational human, I hope never to need this round or any other round to defend my own life, but it is nice to have the insurance policy should the need ever arise.
Speaking of insurance policies, treat your gear right and it will treat you right. With that in mind I am going to get back to the task that inspired this missive, that is, cleaning my guns and making sure everything is in ready-to-go condition. After I get a few rifles cleaned, this snowy afternoon will be a good time to hand load a few .45-70 cases. I’ve been getting the itch to shoot my Marlin 1895G a few times.