- Thompson submachine gun. In 1975, I was assigned as Equipment Manager for the Sheriff. The Patrol Captain, who had overall responsibility, directed me to inventory all Sheriff-owned firearms. I discovered two Navy Thompsons in inventory. Up until ten years before, Patrol Deputies had carried the Tommy Gun if they qualified. I asked the Captain what he wanted done with them, and he said that the Sheriff had authorized him to transfer them out of inventory. The Captain asked me if I wanted one. I declined, as I was getting divorced and was flat broke.
- 44 Auto Mag. In 1976, I was pulling a shift as Precinct Desk Officer, and a drunk guy staggered up to the counter with a small briefcase. He asked me to check out the gun it contained, a 44 Auto Mag. I did, and it was not stolen. He asked me if I wanted to buy it for $200. Remember that was a lot of money, I made less than $8/hr then. I turned him down, but did find another Deputy who bought it. They were selling new for almost $700 then. They are over $2000 today if you can find one.
- Springfield M1A SOCOM carbine. An old USMC veteran in my-then gun club died six years ago, and his wife couldn't pay for the funeral, so she sold off some of his guns. I bought a Colt Anaconda at market price, but didn't have the $1600 for his fine scout-style battle rifle.
- "Buntline Special". This was the gun I drooled about as a kid. One day at the practice range at Mizzou (I shot for the Rifle Team there '61 & '62), a team member drags out the long-barreled SAA and offered it up for $100. Of course, I didn't have that much money as a poor college kid, but I did get to hold it for a minute or so...
- Browning BAR (civilian model). Technically, this one doesn't count, because I did own one briefly. I inherited it in '93, but sold it quickly to raise cash. I wish now that I'd have kept it. I was 30-06, had fine Leupold glass, and was in near-new condition.
How 'bout you, readers? What are your five guns?