One thing I always thought was interesting was the motorcycle culture in days before today. Today it seems like the trend is to buy the most expensive one you can. When motorcycle clubs were far more prevalent, people would work on their bikes every spare chance they had. They worked in car factories for their money and after paying their bills and putting food on their table, they’d take their $12.40 leftover and dump it in a bin towards their next set of chrome. 2 years later, they had an extremely respectable bike that the fresh meat would look at it and go “Man… that’s love for his machine.” The OLDER guys would say “Good start.” In the owner’s heart was the feeling of accomplishment for what he had. He knew what sweat went into it. Maybe some sacrifice. PROBABLY some sacrifice.
This kind of biker led a biker lifestyle. He breathed motorcycle fumes for air and thrived. He drank motor oil to quench his thirst. He cleaned his hands with engine grease. Not all “bikers” were like that.
There was a class of “biker” (and I use that term VERY loosely here) that was paid more. They had white collar jobs on the stock market or managing someone’s budget that had yet more money. Younger urbanites usually. Ones that had more money to spare than their neighbors, but desperately wanted to fit in. These “bikers” were the yuppies. These are the fellows that would see a real biker with a leather vest that spent more time on his shoulders than it did on the animal that grew it. These yuppies would then go down the street, hit up his local Harley dealer, and walk about $5k poorer ($5k was a LOT more then than it is now) and 1 bike richer. Mr. Yuppie would then show up to the bikers’ clubhouse, usually some seedy joint on the outskirts of town, saddle up to the bar, and order a tall one. Crisp leather jacket on, no logos, manicure, and a brand new bike sitting outside. They fit in, right? Only one way to find out. Let’s compare bikes. This is done in only one fashion. Performance.
Mr. Yuppie has a brand new bike. Nothing can compare to that. Factory tuned, perfect shape, no scratches. Factory, so peak performance.
So he grabs his bike and invites the yuppie up to the road with him. Mr. Yuppie thinks “I’m in!” and calmly grabs his bike and hauls it out to the road. He can HARDLY contain his excitement. Surely this is what bikers do on the weekends. They just race each other.
Hardly. You see, the salty biker has been building his for years. 1, 2, 10, 15 years. Something. It’s been his life. He knows how it feels. He can tell when it’s broken. Since he doesn’t have a lot of money, he spent a lot of time elbow deep in grease trying to fix what ails his baby. He knows his bike. He’s tweaked everything so it runs JUST right. His isn’t pretty to the untrained eye. The seat is all squishy. There are creases along the sides of the seat from being too old. Small holes are worn at the edges of those creases. The handle grips are worn down to rubber, maybe more. Saddle bags that are worn and one has a missing buckle from where the strap ripped, but it does the job. It doesn’t even LOOK neat with that duffle bag bungied around the rear seat back brace.
A random biker drops his arm and both bikes take off in a roar of potatoes.
When all is said and done, Mr. Yuppie hangs his head in shame. He has no ego left. He is now starting to understand.
Guns are similar. Particularly rifles. Sure, you can go and buy a $6000 custom rifle kit from a custom shop in a single weekend… or you can start from the ground up. A basic rifle. Buy an el-cheapo weaver rail. Throw on a low-end scope. The trigger doesn’t quite feel right. It feels gritty, so you find a custom trigger job on eBay. You discover the rail is warped. Buy a new one. Sand down the hand guard to free float it. Discover it works well, but you still need a replacement so you buy a replacement stock not made out of a synthetic. It works great, so you buy some stuff for the cheek rest to give yourself a better stock weld. You reload your ammo because you can tweak performance even better. You decide you don’t like casings, but you don’t want to waste them, so you use them up while you buy more replacements. You find the powder isn’t quite right. Poor quality, but it was a little cheaper. You’ve learned your lesson. You replace the rings around the scope because the old ones felt a little cheap and sat up too high. But now you want to shoot long distance and your rail won’t accommodate the severe elevation changes you need to make to the scope, so now your weaver rail needs to be replaced with one that’s got a 20 moa offset. This rifle is now worth several thousands of dollars and thousands of rounds. You need something to protect it, so you buy a case.
How well do you think you shoot this boomstick? You’ve had it for years and you know what it’s capable of and you know its limitations. You’re familiar with the entire works. This is why you don’t show any fear when you’re sitting at the bench and a guy in a shiny pickup with a 13″ lift that’s never seen a spot of dirt rolls up and he pulls out a $4k rifle with matching serial numbers on everything that he just bought from Cabela’s. You don’t fear him because he’s 23 years old and landed himself a good job and found himself with extra money. You only hope he’s willing to learn. You and your ugly rifle with scratches on it with the bipod that’s a little lose can teach him how to hit his bullseye. Maybe then he can get a REAL rifle.
This is my BOOMstick. There are many like it, but this one is mine.