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Teen Arsenal: 1959

Teen Arsenal: 1959

From Columbus, Georgia, or vicinity circa 1959 comes this uncaptioned shot of the young marksman last seen here. 4x5 inch acetate negative. View full size.


On Shorpy:
Today’s Top 5

RE: Keep them clean

There IS a time stamp on the photo. It is on the desk and shows about 4:25. I have to assume it is in the afternoon as his hair looks too nice to be 4:25 in the AM

RE: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

kines - I' glad to hear your take on this.

Sorting gun ownership in the USA will take time and there are numerous "interested" parties but I hope you'll eventually reach the near-zero figure we have in Scotland!

Speaking of bayonets

I’ve always wondered about the dual nature of a rifle with a bayonet affixed, making it a weapon both to shoot and to stab. Which raises the following macabre question: does not the function of the bayonet sometimes result in an impaired function of the rifle as a shooting weapon? In other words, doesn’t the muzzle sometimes get clogged with blood and gore, resulting in a blocked rifle, making it impossible or even dangerous to shoot?

Words of Wisdom

In the word of Santa Claus and Ralphie's mom, "You'll shoot your eye out, kid!"

Fountain Pen

I suspect our marksman was using a fountain pen, since I see the familiar bottle of Sheaffer Skrip ink. It came in a number of colours, such as blue black and emerald green. But only the girls would dare use green ink. I still have a jar of jet black Skrip ink, now mummified. The jar featured a little reservoir to fill the fountain pen easily.

Cadet Corps was compulsory in Windsor, Ontario high schools in 1964, and we had to learn how to dismantle a gun and clean it. We also did target practice with .22s down at the shooting range in the basement.

On that bayonet

It's probably a war prize. Is it a huge risk? Not really, as the gun it's mounted on is far more lethal than it is. David Grossman, who made a career out of teaching soldiers to kill (it's evidently harder than you'd think), characterized the use of the bayonet as one of the hardest things to teach simply because it by definition is a close up killing.

Dime a Dozen Springfield

Second from left looks like a Springfield .58 from the Civil War. It has been cut down a bit and is missing the original barrel bands. Looks like someone put an Enfield barrel band on it. My dad said when he was a kid, these rifles were a dime a dozen, with many being cut down and used as shotguns.

A decent Springfield of Enfield will set you back at least $1500 now.

The Real Danger

The young lad could easily get tangled in the venetian blind cord and strangle himself in his sleep. Those cords are real killers!

What folks knew in '59

Clearly, no one is going to change anyone else's mind on gun issues. But, in spite of what a couple of the comments posted here might suggest, could we at least agree on the proper use of "less" vs. "fewer"?

Arisaka Rifle

I agree that the rifle on the far left is likely a war prize Japanese Arisaka rifle. My late great uncle brought one back from his stint as a U.S. Marine fighting on Guadalcanal Island. We had it in our household for a period of time when I was a kid (I was fascinated by it), but my uncle at some point took it back and no telling where it ended up. He returned from combat a profoundly changed man and lived the rest of his life as a delusional drunkard - a victim of PSTD before it was a widely-recognized affliction.

Times have changed

I graduated high school in 1969. From the 7th through 12th grade the school had a rifle club whose members would shoot in the basement firing range. This, mind you, was about eight miles from downtown Boston. These days people would freak out just seeing a photo of the rifle club. To my recollection, there were no incidents of gun violence involving anyone in the schools.

Keep them clean

I'm guessing he is putting his firearms away since the shotgun is no longer on the left end of the bed. And those might be used patches on the bedspread.

I know I would not want my mom seeing those patches and cleaning rod on my bed. They'd have been cleaned up first!

Course, if I knew the time stamp on the pictures it would confirm putting away or taking out.

Real Penny Loafers

It’s been many a year since I’ve seen pennies in penny loafers! When I grew up in Texas in the 1950s, adults and kids had guns, but they were used for hunting and plinking. They were not misused. Guns in racks in pickup trucks were not given a second glance. My how times have changed.

Army brat

There was some speculation in the previous iteration of this young man that his father may have been a Marine due to the Arisaka rifle. Columbus is right next to Fort Benning, so it's more likely than not that his father was in the Army. The US Army fought in the Pacific too, most notably in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Okinawa. It's even possible that Dad was still in the Army and stationed at Fort Benning (where I took basic training almost 50 years ago). It's also possible that most of the weapons on display belong to Dad too.

The term "Army brat" is a term of pseudo-affection given to children of career Army soldiers.

Arisaka Type 44 Carbine

I could be wrong on the exact identification but the weapon on the extreme left is a Japanese Arisaka Type 44 carbine. The bayonet is actually a part of the carbine and is not easily removable. It folds underneath the stock. The boy simply has it extended. This weapon could have been a bring-back by his dad or other relative during World War II as at the time the US military allowed certain captured weapons to be sent home. The amount of rifles/carbines is not unusual for a boy of the period especially in rural areas or the South. My dad and his brothers for instance, around the same year as the photograph was taken, had quite a few rifles. They lived on a farm and hunted game with them or just did target practice.

RE: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Sulzermeister, just so you know (this coming from a once-Texan no less), not everyone on this side of the pond thinks gun ownership is a good thing. In fact, I'd like to think it is a majority of Americans who shudder a bit at the thought of a kid with an arsenal like this in his bedroom.

When one

just isn't good enough.

A boy and his bayonet

I'm not a gun enthusiast. While I can understand that a kid from Georgia might want a rifle, and a few more rifles, and a shotgun, maybe someone can explain why he needs a bayonet.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

From the UK side of the Atlantic this looks pretty odd.

I'm not aware of any of our considerable list of friends here in Scotland actually owning or possessing a firearm!

No high end rifles there

But I do like the pneumatic pump up rifle next to the young man. Crosman or Benjamin 5.5 mm or .20 caliber

Kids and Guns

In that day and age kids were taught gun safety and were trusted not to misuse them. Today they only know what they see on TV, which is the misuse of them.

We need a reason to raise families again.

There were a lot more guns back then. Kids brought them to school and schools had shooting clubs. What went wrong? People changed their values. Life just doesn't hold the same value as it used to especially when kids play games that provide extra points for finishing the wounded off. Tighten your seat belts, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

[There were not "a lot more guns back then." - Dave]

You're correct, there are more guns today, but less gun holding households. Since they are primarily manufactured for domestic use, it translates to more guns per holding household. Accordingly, 3% of the population own half the guns in the US while gun manufacturing numbers have increased since at least 1972. In any case, it's the psychology that has changed most drastically.

Gun Ownership in America

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