Hello Wyatt Smith,
Yours is an interesting thread, I’m enjoying it.
My feeble story is that, my father was not a hunter or a gun person.
He liked golf, tennis and sailing, to include watching all three of those painfully boring things on television LOL.
So, I do not have a heart warming description of any “first deer rifle”, given to me by my old pops or anyone else.
I had to buy mine.
That said, my father was otherwise a reasonable man and so, he made sure I was able to hunt and fish, as long as I did my chores and earned decent grades in school.
The first time I went deer hunting, it was with a borrowed WW II, British surplus rifle, caliber .303 that, belonged to one of my father’s friends.
I was 15 then and never got a shot at any deer until 10 years later (and a few rifles later), at age 25.
I was born and raised in Soviet Socialist California, where wildlife mismanagement was invented.
So, even seeing a buck deer, much less seeing one during deer season, between 1967 and 1977, was a truly remarkable event.
I would have compared it to seeing a real live Sasquatch or finding Black Beard’s lost gold, etc.
And as such, my taking of one scrawny little black tail deer, finally after 10 years of hunting them, played a major role in motivating me toward escaping the jack-booted tax thugs of California and settling in The United State of Alaska.
Any way, back at age 16 (working as a cook in a Sacramento restaurant), I bought my first rifle.
It was a Smith-Corona Typewriter Company built 1903-A3 Springfield .30-06 caliber, all original / as issued / not tampered with.
I did not even own a .22 rifle yet at that stage.
Perhaps I should’ve kept that Springfield but, in my early 20’s, I sold it to buy something else.
And so it has gone throughout my life (I’m in my mid-60’s now).
Buy, sell, trade.
At one stage, while I was working A LOT of over-time, I had simultaneously in possession, one hundred thirty something firearms............
Then, I went to Africa for the first time.
Today, 5 Safaris later, I’ve sold almost all of the 130+ guns mentioned, to help pay for the hunting trips and not the least bit sorry.
At the moment, my personal favorite rifle is my Brno Mauser, Model 602 Magnum, in caliber .375 H&H.
It has factory express sights (with larger white front bead added).
The scope is a 4x Zeiss, in Alaska Arms Company, lever rings.
And, I had a professional Gunsmith (Andy Hawk, here in Anchorage), replace the set trigger with a traditional single stage trigger (of South African manufacture).
One of these years, I’ll get organized and have Mr. Hawk replace the Bruno trigger block type “safety catch”, with a Model 70 style, striker blocking one.
Favorite rifle as it definitely is, I likely will sell it some day, when I get to where I can’t stand much recoil any more.
Do I own a rifle or rifles that, I will NEVER sell?
In a word, no.
Do I own one that I likely will keep quite a few more years ?
Stay on that front sight,
I’m with you VD.
Memories made with special people in special places is most important to me.
Guns, as much as I love them, are replaceable commodities.