Growing up in a stately home is probably a little different from the norm, but I lived in a 19th century mansion from the age of 10 onwards, so it was my normal. Living there meant that I was literally living in a museum which was full of antiques. It also meant that I got to meet people who worked on the contents or were in and around for any number of other reasons.
One of them owned a very nice collection of antique firearms. And of course I was fascinated by guns and knives.
So at some point in the late 1980s while I was out at his place we took out a light game rifle and what I think must have been a Colt 6 gun.
We probably had a few other weapons out that day, but the only photos I have are of me firing the game rifle and the Colt.
The game rifle was big. I remember it had a ridiculous caliber, probably between 20 to 30 mm. It was a beast and its recoil was impressive. The photo capture me just after firing. I still remember my shoulder getting hit with the recoil – it was powerful. The other “fun” thing was that it was a flintlock. They’re great fun to fire, but you have to be careful that you don’t lose your eyebrows! See that smoke? While some might be coming out of the barrel, most of it emanates from the bit closest to my face!
The same afternoon I got to fire the Colt 6 gun. You can see the holster including the strap on my leg in the photo above. In the shot below you can’t see it quite as clearly, but I can assure you it’s there. I think the Colt might have been one of those that predates the modern cartridge, so it would have had percussion caps and all that other malarky, so reloading was a slow and fiddly process. Of course this is going back over 30 years, so it might have been a more modern model. I know I fired both styles, but maybe not that exact day.
I hadn’t completely forgotten about any of this, but it was only earlier today while going through a box of photos and other junk that I came across these photos. The memories came flooding back.
I’m dating the photos based on my haircut mostly. I had that style of hair for a couple of years in the late 80s. I remember the headmaster at my school telling me that if I didn’t grow it out a bit and trim it that I wouldn’t be welcome back there. Ah good times!