Laws, Ordinances & Regulations

Dear Senator Tester

Dear Senator Tester:

I notice that the proposed director for ATF, David Chipman, has said he would like a ban on the AR-15 rifle, that it is not suited for use other than military.

Since you come from Big Sandy, I’d like to share a story about my daughter.  She was hit by a semi as she was stopped to make a left hand turn.  The concussion left her with prosopagnosia (face blindness and object recognition challenges),  and the impact pretty well trashed her right shoulder – she can’t even handle the recoil from an M1 carbine, but the lighter .223 bullet, with the direct gas impingement, is gentle enough that she can handle the recoil of an AR-15.

Here in Trego, we live in grizzly country.  She can hike the woods in my quarter section where I have the trails blazed to show which way leads to the house and which way leads away.  She has a small dog who does an amazing job at identifying people.  And the AR-15 rifle gives her a much more even chance if she encounters a grizzly (or two) than the other light recoil option of a 22 long rifle.  The injury has taken her ability to use a large caliber handgun – she is pretty well limited to a .32 ACP blowback to make recoil manageable.  The dog takes care of recognizing threats and she can still have a chance with an aggressive bear or cat if she has the light recoil of the AR-15 with the .223 (larger cartridges like the 30 blackout still are beyond her recoil tolerance, and she’s not fond of my .223 bolt gun.

So I’m hoping that, with Choteau close to your home, you can understand that she has a use for the AR-15.  Frankly, I wish she were still able to use a 45 – but I am happy for the recovery she made – she is a high school science teacher and she and her dog really enjoy having 160 acres of forest where she can hike without fear of getting lost.  But last year, we had two problem bears (with collars) that FWAP wound up euthanizing.  They were 5 yards from my front door.  A couple years ago, a griz trapped by FWAP on the place had his video go viral as he tried to use the rope on the gate to reel in the warden when he (the bear) was released.  We have had two adult grizzlies through this year, one a sow with cubs. 

I can understand how the President, coming from Delaware, doesn’t share my reality – but I figure that, while your place in Big Sandy may not see as many grizzlies as we do, you probably have neighbors that are more similar to us.  I have friends who are scarred from their grizzly encounters – for myself, I have had nothing worse than confrontations that ended with the bear leaving. 

I figure that with the Senate split as evenly as it is, I should ask you to vote with Montana instead of the President, and keep the AR-15 available.


Michael McCurry

Trego, MT


My Father’s Pistol

For years my father wanted a 410 pistol – just like his father’s.  It wasn’t to be – the National Firearms Act of 1934 outlawed smoothbore barrels less than 18” long.  As I researched to figure out what my grandfather’s pistol must have been, I kept closing in on the game getter -one 22 barrel, one 410 barrel, like in the old poster below.

As you will notice – it technically wasn’t a 410.  And the pistol I got for Dad is for the same 44 Ball cartridge you see in the ad.  You see, before 1900, folks in the US pretty much used 44 shot cartridges, and the Europeans used the 410.  As the 410 moved in, someone made the discovery that if you chambered the gun for 410, you could also use a 44 shotshell or 44 ball.  It’s an important detail to the story, for after about 20 years of searching, I found a single shot pistol, with a rifled 12 inch barrel, marked 44 Ball.  The 410 cartridges he wanted would fit, and with a rifled barrel it was legal.  Dad was blind, but not a problem – I bought the pistol he had wanted for so long, and didn’t even haggle.

It does kick a bit – particularly when it’s stoked with 5 pieces of triple ought buck – but in general it’s a pleasant little gun, though Boito doesn’t have the greatest reputation as a quality gun.  I’ve inherited it back, and, with its age, decided I should find out where, or if, parts would be available if I ever needed them.  Gun laws are strange things – Canada is concerned about handguns, but not about short-barreled shotguns.  North of the 49th parallel, my pistol is illegal as can be.  South of the 49th parallel, the Boito hiker (pictured below) is good for a $5,000 fine and five years in prison.  But it looks to me like I have found where I can replace broken springs.