George Block

Column George Block

George Block is a sports columnist who loves the outdoors.

Bring some flowers indoors for a taste of spring

Bring some flowers indoors for a taste of spring

March 23, 2013

Like everyone else, I’m tired of cold, overcast weather. For the others who feel the same way, I suggest bringing a touch of spring indoors.

The willows are turning yellow and the daffodils are above ground, so spring can’t be far away.

If you want some color on the end table, find a stand of forsythia, break off a branch, and take it indoors. Placed in a vase with water, it will bloom a bright yellow in a few days. My wife, Eileen, used to do just that every spring and it did brighten the house a bit.

While on the subject of spring weather, the robin is hardly a harbinger of spring. A more reliable sign that spring is close is the turkey vulture, seen gliding across the sky. I have been spotting them for over a week now, along with groundhogs.

Incidentally, it is the groundhogs that have been struck by cars that are providing food for the vultures.

Now, if we spot a red-wing blackbird sitting on a fence post, we will know it is spring.

• It seems to happen quite often, so I shouldn’t be surprised that the opening day of trout season and the April gun show at Arden are occurring on the same day. It really is not that much of an inconvenience for me. I seldom trout fish the opening day.

Not too long ago, I would drive to Pymatuning and fish for walleye on the trout opener and avoid the crowds, My feeling was that I was still fishing.

I was talking about the April 13 gun show with Tom Bloom of Wellsburg, W.Va., and the subject of rarely seen firearms came up.

When is the last time, if ever, either of us spotted an S&W Model 18 at a show or in a store?

I don’t think I have ever seen this four-inch K-22 chambered for the .22 rimfire. In the old days, this wheel gun was called the Combat Masterpiece. It’s every bit as fine a firearm as the highly-touted Colt Diamonback.

Another forgotten handgun is the Colt Cobra. This revolver is not to be confused with the much larger King Cobra, but was a light version of the familiar Detective Special. Did you know it was offered in .22 rimfire? Have you ever seen one?

With the popularity of what is called Colt’s Snake guns, you would think more people would be seeking one. While on the subject of the snake guns, don’t forget there was a model called the Viper.

Most everyone attending a gun show knows that a pre-64 Model 70 and Sako L-46 are collectable and a good investment, but what of a Remington 721 in .264 magnum? I have seen but one in my life. The same could be said of Remington’s best standard production bolt-action rifle, the 725.

What happened to those short-barreled Swedish Mausers in 6.5 caliber?

At one time, they were as common as dandelions in my front yard. They were inexpensive, yet almost never seen at gun shows. I knew a wealthy man with a good gun collection who used this short carbine for wild boar hunting.

The Golden Eagle was made in Japan and was a quality firearm, but a bit fancy. It is all but never seen today. It may be an exception to my feeling that quality is seldom gaudy.

For a long time, I have wanted, but couldn’t afford, a Mannlicher Schoenauer carbine. My problem is I am picky. I want it in a European chambering.

Actually, the one I really want is the carbine in 6.5 x 54. Have you ever seen one? I haven’t.

Do you remember the Musketeer rifle built on the F.N. action? They were a quality firearm at a low price. I did handle one 30 years ago.

Few collectors think of Ruger guns as desirable, but there is one Ruger model I kick myself for not buying when it was made. That is the little .44 mag carbine.

This rifle was never popular in Pennsylvania because of our restrictions on hunting with semi-auto rifles but was popular in other states such as Maine. I don’t think I have seen one for at least 10 years.

While 60 percent of those attending the April 13 gun show will be looking for the holy grail of shooting, ammunition or semi-auto rifles, old George will be looking at or for the rarely-seen sporting firearms.

George H. Block writes a Sunday Outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.



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