The Pastor’s Garden Gun: Reliable, Accurate, & Untraceable

The Pastor's Garden Gun: Reliable, Accurate, & Untraceable
The Pastor's Garden Gun: Reliable, Accurate, & Untraceable

Pastor Phil was not raised with guns. He was raised in Chicago, where guns were associated with crime and gangsters. He did not own a gun until he was in his 60's, after taking the call to become pastor of a struggling church in the North woods of Wisconsin.

The Church has prospered and grown, although it remains small. A parishioner gifted land to the Church. The Pastor and his wife have a small acreage, the Church has a nice new building. Pastor Phil and his wife Kathy, grow a garden for salads and fresh vegetables.

A grateful Christian gave Pastor Phil the rifle.  The Pastor was ignorant of guns, and while rich in faith, had little income. A local retired police officer offered free training. That was about a decade ago.

The Garden Gun has seen much in its long-lasting existence. Remington marks their rifle barrels with a month and year code. It was made in 1948, within a couple of years of the pastor's birth. It was made before the Korean War, before Sputnik and the Space Race. It was over 20 years old when an American first set foot on the moon.

When it was made, there were no background checks and no requirements for serial numbers on .22 rifles and shotguns. The requirement for serial numbers was instituted as part of the infamous Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968.  It is one of the millions of guns in the United States that have no serial number and is legally and completely untraceable.  From 1990 to 2018, it was officially elevated to being an “assault weapon” in the state of New Jersey. One man was sent to prison for owning a similar rifle he had won at a police charity event.  The rifle has been outlawed in Australia and would have to be altered to be legal in New Zealand.

After a thorough cleaning, the little rifle showed itself to be reliable and accurate. The magazine holds 15 Long Rifle cartridges or 22 Shorts. A Remington made with blued steel and walnut stock, the old 550-1 rifles are often available at bargain-basement prices.

Pastor Phil took to his old, but new possession, with diligence and pride. He has energetically defended his garden with the little rifle.  The woods are home to rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks. 13 striped ground squirrels, locally called “gophers”, multiply in the nearby field.  They all find his garden irresistible.

As with fabled Western gunfighters, the Pastor has tracked the number of varmints he has stopped from eating the succulent fare in his garden. The latest, this summer, was number 87.

The boy who grew up without guns in Chicago has become an enthusiastic supporter of the Second Amendment as he guided his flock in the turbulent teens of the new Millennia.

It is hard to wear out a well made .22 rifle. The bores are generally protected by the lubricant used on the bullets. They need little cleaning. Put a few thousand rounds through the semi-automatics, like the Remington 550-1, and you should scrub the chamber and action to clean out the powder fouling. Keep the outside oiled against rust, and the rifles chug along for many decades.

As the Church has prospered, the Pastor and his wife have moved up beyond the income level of Church mice. The Pastor purchased a centerfire rifle. The deer herd in Northern Wisconsin is high this year, so he may supplement their diet with venison. .22 rifles are a favorite poacher's tool, but the Pastor is a law abiding gentleman.

Pastor Phil and his wife, Kathy, obtained their Wisconsin Concealed Carry licenses.

The Concealed Carry class was offered at the church, by my brother. 21 people attended.

If, as seems unlikely, Wisconsin would follow New Jersey, and declare the little rifle an “assault weapon”, and demand it be registered or turned in, I suspect the Pastor would engage in passive civil resistance and fail to comply.

That is what has happened in New York, California, Maryland, and Connecticut.  I suspect the local Wisconsin sheriff's department would not cooperate. Wisconsin residents treasure their rifles. In 1998, Wisconsin voters completed the arduous process of adding a Right to Keep and Bear Arms amendment to the state constitution. From law.ucla.edu:

Wisconsin: The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose. Art. I, § 25 (enacted 1998).

When leftist Wisconsin Supreme Court justices refused to admit the amendment had any force of law, they were gradually replaced. There is a solid originalist and textualist majority on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, due in part, to a surprise election result in 2019. It was said that rural Wisconsin Christians were the voters that made the difference. Churches were often centers of resistance in the Revolutionary War.  I pray elections will suffice to restore liberty in the new millennia.

Pastor Phil was happy to have the address of the Calvary Baptist Church included in this story. It is 13713 W. Thannum Fire Ln, Hayward, Wisconsin, 54843. If you’re in the area, feel free to stop by. Services are from 10 to 11 a.m. on Sundays.

Owning a rifle and using it to protect your food supply does much to affect a person's attitude about what is “reasonable” regulation.


About Dean Weingarten:Dean Weingarten

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

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    WillWild BillTionicoWhodatyJPM Recent comment authors
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    Whodaty
    Member
    Whodaty

    Comforting to know that that old gun is now officially, in Washington State, an assault weapon that the good reverend would have to spend a bunch of time and money to acquire, go through a background check, give the government permanent access to his medical records, and wait ten days before he could start to keep the critters out of his garden. Part of the good works of our Governor and presidential candidate, Jay Insley. Guess who I’m NOT voting for.

    Tionico
    Member
    Tionico

    couldn’t even get a backgorund check to buy this rifle as it has no serial number,Probably have to jump through some more hoops to have BATF invent and apply one.

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @Tio, a perfect opportunity to ignore the BATFE and GCA!

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @Tionico,let it go,forget it !

    JPM
    Member
    JPM

    What a great story and what a great guy. We never hear about people like Pastor Phil and others who are just plain ol’ good Americans and how guns are useful and enjoyable tools used by all sorts of good people to make their lives better. God bless Pastor Phil.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @JPM,I agree 100%. Pastor Phil is a great man with a great story. That story just made me feel better.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    Pastor Phil is wearing a Chicago Cubs cap in that photo !!! My God ! I’m just kidding. It says he was raised in Chicago so it makes perfect sense. Go Astros !

    tomcat
    Member
    tomcat

    Good story Dean. Something like that is needed now and then to bring us back into a real world, not the one we live in now. I remember when I was a kid, probably 12 or so, I used to take my dad’s J. C. Higgins 22 out while they were at work and shoot soda cans off a fence post. What I didn’t consider, at the time, was how far that lead would travel after it went through the can. As far as I know the shots never hit anything or anyone and that had to be a blessing.… Read more »

    Mark-Z
    Member
    Mark-Z

    Dean,
    This was a nice little piece about a normal American gun owner and I enjoyed it. I wish there were more articles written like this to show that it is not all that unusual to be a gun owner out in flyover country and people need to realize that and relax, not every gun owner is some fire breathing monster. Thanks for writing this, The Pastor is someone I wouldn’t mind meeting if I wasn’t such a heathen. 😉

    2ndA'murrican
    Member
    2ndA'murrican

    I would STILL be a heathen except for my former and present pastors. LOL. All of whom like to shoot guns themselves. Even had a pastor in AL who packed concealed. He also organized shooting clays on Church property during certain special events. All of them God-fearing patriots that understand the evil that prevails in this Country because good men(and women) do nothing. I am grateful to each and every one of them for their convictions and their humble service.

    Ej harbet
    Member
    Ej harbet

    Another excellent story from dean. Before the tragic boating mishap i owned a singleshot jc higgans that was illegaly mailed in the late 70s by my grandmother for passing 8th grade.i still snicker at the most”propper lady” i ever knew violating fed gun laws to get me my first real gun.statute of limitations is long past and the guilty parties are far out of reach of batfe. Still im gonna miss that ghost gun! Heh

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @Ej, Grandma outsmarts the USPS! I love it. Oh, and let us add our hearty congratulations on graduating the Eighth grade, as well!

    Witold Pilecki
    Member

    I have a Western Auto Parts Revelation 105 (a re-branded Marlin Model 25) that also has no serial number. When I received it, it was ready to be scrapped after being left on a porch for at least 10 years. After function testing it, I gave it a full restoration, and it is now a beautiful tack driver at 50 yards, wearing a Daisy Powerline scope. The magazine was missing, but still available brand new from Marlin. I have taken many squirrels with it, and it is great fun with .22 sized tannerite exploding targets. Nice to own a firearm… Read more »

    Get Out
    Member
    Get Out

    A great story and memory, thanks for sharing.

    My Grandmother who lived on a farm in Texas would shoot Cottontail rabbits and squirrels that got into her garden as well. She would check the garden every morning and evening from the bedroom window, we had rabbit and squirrel for dinner every couple of days too.

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @GO, And she did not even have to go hunting, the store, or shop online. The delicious little morsels came to her. Pretty smart and thrifty old Granny!

    Ryben Flynn
    Member
    Ryben Flynn

    I have a Stevens Westpoint Model 121 single shot .22 rifle my Father bought for me in 1967. I think he paid something like $20 for it at the local hardware store. The date code on the barrel indicates it was made in 1966. No serial number. It still shoots fine and can shoot short, long and long rifle ammo.

    Vern
    Member
    Vern

    Nice trip back down memory lane, thank you, excellent article.

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    I almost forgot about the minister’s garden: Our Presby minister, out here in the wilds, was having a “creatures of the night” problem. So he bought the cheapest SKS, and the cheapest ammunition that his money could buy. That combined with not having the foggiest notion how to shoot put the entire country side at risk. I tried to have a teaching moment, but what he knew from watching TV precluded learning. I bought a single barrel 12 gauge and gave him three boxes of rubber shot LE ammunition. Now the “extended community” is safe again. I think that he… Read more »

    David LaPell
    Member

    I can tell you the sad truth of it is we’re watching state after state succumb to more gun laws. New York gun owners are refusing to comply more and more, I think the last I heard the compliance rate for the Safe Act was supposed to be 30%, and that’s optimistic. But look at the laws being passed in Vermont, once a safe haven for gun owners, New Hampshire, even Texas. Even if the federal laws remain the same, the states one by one are passing ever stricter laws. Gun owners need to make sure that both sides of… Read more »

    Bill
    Member
    Bill

    Texas has been strengthing owners right. They’ve lowered a ccw license from $140 to $40. Don’t tar Texas!

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @Bill,Open Carry too ! “Texas,like a whole other country” !

    Oldvet
    Member
    Oldvet

    @Will… Sounds like some of you good ole boys need to do a little varmint work down around Austin . There is a guy who lives in Bay City who is the ex’s brother , you don’t want him , I wouldn’t trust him with a gun any more than joe bidden !

    Ej harbet
    Member
    Ej harbet

    Illegals and blue state immigrants will flip texas in 2 elections.i dont like this but you need to get your govt to secure your elections and make people in blue states get a visa with a patriotism test.
    Take a spin down the i35 colon and count beto and bernie stickers.
    And for the record i consider texas my fallback point when or if Missouri goes blue.
    I hope its there

    Will
    Member
    Will

    Texas voter ID laws will prevent 99% of illegal Mexican votes in Texas. Plus,parking ICE vehicles at polling places on election days,will have illegal Mexicans running and hiding. “Texas,like a whole other country” !

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @Will, that is a terrific idea. We all have a magnetic sign that says I.C.E. on it. Put it on the side of a vehicle close the the polling place entry. A guy could even start the rumor that ICE is here.

    Oldvet
    Member
    Oldvet

    @WB…I have a green hat that says U S Border Patrol on it . I put on my Wrangler long sleeve western shirt with genuine imitation pearl snaps , and lizard skin boots . When I walk down an isle in Walmart , turn around and look the isle is empty . Someone told me I was going to get shot . Been around long enough anyway .

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @OV, Yup, that would keep them out of the polling place, alright. You better keep on your toes and head on a swivel.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    @Bill,plus with a TX LTC no more call-in b/g checks !

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    I’ve still got my old 514 and my 550-1. A nice full-sized .22. You can hold it without choking up on it. The Winchester Mod 270 pump is fun too. My wife and each have one.

    Oldvet
    Member
    Oldvet

    There were three models ..510 …511…and 512…Single shot bolt action, Bolt action repeater and semi auto . At one time or other had one of each …until that boating accident ###

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @Dave “Viking” in Fairfax and OV, Well, those are nice, but their forerunner the Remmy model 341, a C.C. Loomis design, is more accurate. The Model 341 “Sportsmaster” was produced between 1936 and 1940. It had a very expensive to produce cartridge lift system that was one of the keys to its accuracy. Tubular magazine, buckhorn or aperture sights. Real walnut stock, a Mauser like look and safety mechanism, and a terrific trigger. Legendary accuracy, but too expensive to produce for the depression era, so WWII was a great time to drop it from the Remy line. When everyone was… Read more »

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    Hi WB, had to go back and get creative to respond on that previous comment. Growing up in MI we had Rus, Svensk, Dansk, Hollanders, Eastern Bloc, just about everybody in the neighborhood. We all got along and the food was great. Sentiment has kept my .22s from back when with me for scores of years. Single shots, pumps and a few semi-autos. Not that they weren’t good at putting food on the table, and fun to plink with. I regret the ones I gave away, including my Ithacas, when I went to visit SE Asia, but there’s not much… Read more »

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @Dave, Man is that nostalgic! Growing up in the country surrounded by all that Norse, you could not help but grow up right! Eat right, too!

    Dave in Fairfax
    Editor
    Dave in Fairfax

    WB if you can get up to MI, the hunting and fishing are terrific. Or at least they were back when. I had folding boats from the Kalamazoo Folding Boat Co, Michicraft and a 10′ fiberglass. Endless water, the Little Manistee, lakes up the wazoo, and a wolf-dog as a companion. A VERY different world from the mess we now inhabit. First time I took my ex out fishing she pulled in a huge large mouth and had to throw it back because it was out of season. Never forgave me. EVERYBODY had guns and didn’t think twice about it.… Read more »

    Wild Bill
    Member
    Wild Bill

    @Dave the Viking, Sounds beautiful. Your ex had a huge Large Mouth? Maybe the right thing to do would have been to throw the fish and the ex back.

    Will
    Member
    Will

    Lots of tomato cages. I use them for cucumbers too ! Them cucumbers all over them cages,damn …pick 10,next morning 20 more !