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American Handgunner Jul/Aug 2011 Digital Edition - Page 32

Mike “Duke” Venturino SHOOTINGIRON TM Photos: Yvonne Venturino THUMB BUSTIN’ MUSINGS FROM THE DUKE DUKE’S Duke bought this Thompson M1 submachine gun sight unseen, and it turned out to be an almost pristine one dating from 1942. LUCK M y luck in games of chance is absolute zero. Once in my early 20s I tried my hand at blackjack. After about 20 minutes the lady dealer said, “Mister, you have the worst luck of anybody I’ve ever seen. You shouldn’t gamble.” I’ve pretty much adhered to that advice ever since. Also when it comes to hunting I bear a curse. That curse can range from prairie dogs to African game. Fellows have invited me to hunt the former with them saying, “The ground will appear alive there are so many of them running about.” Then I’ve sat in the hot sun for hours firing perhaps a half-dozen or so rounds. Africa is famous for its plentitude of game. My professional hunters told me usually on the first day or two they take their clients after warthog or impala in order to get them over their jitters. In 14 days we saw precisely one warthog, running away for all he was worth. Then we hunted for several days just for an impala buck without getting a single shot. One fellow said to me, “Yeah, but I’ve been in your office/gun room and there are antlers and African mounts on the wall.” Certainly there are. Occasionally I’ve run into critters having worse luck than mine. Thompson Nirvana y the time my M1 Thompson arrived I had a book titled American Thunder by Frank Innamico. Sitting down with my new “Tommy-gun” I gave it a full examination. Duke’s Luck! It was precisely as it had been made in 1942, right down to the inspector’s stamps. The buttstock with reinforcing cross bolt was a later M1A1 version, but using my much-vaunted luck again I found a proper M1 cross bolt-less stock. Back in the early ’70s when I was struggling to finish college, one of my professors insinuated my grade in a tough but necessary class could be better if I helped him find a certain gun he had been searching for with no luck. He was awestruck when I had it the next day. Duke’s Luck scored a good grade that day! Just recently his majestic Editorship Roy wanted a special gun for La Belle Suzi’s 2010 Christmas present. I told him “no sweat” and found what he wanted pronto and at a good price I might add. Duke’s Luck strikes again and keeps his editor happy at the same time. Someday I’m going to write a column about my luck in finding a wife! Duke’s luck benefited La Belle Suzi Huntington with this fine Colt Python. B Gun Magnet ow to the other end of the spectrum. When it comes to finding good used guns I have few peers. Fellows have said to me, “If I could just follow you around and get the good used guns you pass up, I’d be happy.” My new quest for assembling a shooting collection of World War II firearms also has seen such luck. At a gun show in Bozeman last year I had just said to a friend, “Well my money is safe. There’s nothing here I want.” Then I looked down at a table to see a really nice US Army marked Colt Model 1911 .45 of 1918 vintage. A holster with it had a previous owner’s name carved into it, along with the US Army’s Signal Corps insignia and the year 1931. In better light I found the same name was visible on the bottom of the magazine. n A 1918 vintage Colt 1911 .45 with the original holster and the owner’s name and date carved in it. Not only did I get it for a darn good price, but I can shoot it more accurately than any 1911 I’ve ever ownead. That luck held when I started adding some full-auto submachine guns to my World War II collection. The second one I hunted for was a “Tommy-gun.” But I wanted only the M1 or M1A1 version made from ’42 to ’44. I felt it was more the quintessential Thompson submachine gun of World War II fame. A friend told me about an Internet site called Guns America that listed items for sale. Sure enough, there was an M1 Thompson on there. The price was enough to take your breath away, but having sold a bunch of unused guns I could afford it. Also as with buying full-autos, you must make the deal, then wait while the government paperwork for transferring ownership is processed. I figuratively held my breath for the months while that happened, hoping I hadn’t bought a “pig in a poke” as my father used to say. * 32 WWW.AMERICANHANDGUNNER.COM • JULY/AUGUST2011

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