Torrington's Gun Show an overwhelming success


Torrington's Gun Show got off to a fantastic start on Saturday, August 28, as the event pulled in a record crowd just one hour after the doors opened. It was wall to wall people for about an hour and there were a few vendors who mentioned how very cramped it would have been if the organizer had permitted more vendor tables. Saturday alone recorded almost 900 people coming through the doors, whereas last year the tally was just under 1000 for both days.
If you are a novice to these events, it is vastly surprising what you will learn, such as how widely practiced shooting black powder is. Gun clubs actually have members who truly enjoy the challenge of firing off black powder with these relics, which, they advise are notoriously inaccurate (wherein lies some of the challenge and enjoyment). Black powder can still be purchased but the owner of the rifle still has to (salvage some lead) to make his own ammunition, which is the little round ball you may have glimpsed in the movie, the Patriot (American Revolution circa 1775). The mold for the bullet is sold with the gun because the size of the bullet was fitted to the specifics of the barrel.
Walking by the different vendor tables will eventually bring you to a gun that seems really out of place. There are the usual array of Mauser, Ruger, Winchester, and Remingtons as well as a few militaristic or tactical specimens, but there are also guns for specific competitions. One class is for silhouette shooting. This particular weapon exhibited a barrel just like a rifle but the gun is fitted for your hand and rests again your knee. It looked truly bizarre and the vendor agreed there wasn't much of that class of shooting in 'these here parts'. Another strange looking rifle was a Bellows Air Rifle popular in the 1860's which incorporated a crank to fit the chamber with a bullet. The crank had to be detached before you pulled the trigger.
In speaking with a metal finishing and firearms repair vendor, you can learn about how he has to create a type of rust, in order to prevent rust. This is called 'hot bluing' and this is polished onto the barrel and does inhibit corrosion due to rust. Along with guns, ammunition, and hunting gear you will usually find another type of craftsman at these shows. This year it was Stettler resident, Larry Strandquist's home-made knives that were a real standout of craftsmanship for both the blades and the handles. He forges his own blades for filleting, skinning, and for the kitchen. One knife he was showing consisted of 198 layers of steel and he was happy to regale you with the techniques used by samurai sword artists.
Private collections are an awe-inspiring site as much for how the collector has mounted his display as to the collection itself. At a previous Torrington gun show there was a collection of hunting traps that was both exciting and terrifying but this year the collection was of frontier firearms dating from Custer's 'last stand' to NWMP. The collection entailed about 40 pieces of memorabilia and took the owner over 20 years to amass.
Saying that a gun show has something for everyone is just a statement until, that is, you visit one. This was the third annual Torrington Gun Show and with such a substantial increase in show patrons, its organizer, Stan Taylor will definitely organize the event again for next year. "I am an optimist, and even I was stunned by the number of people who came this year. It was awesome. It will be back."