Spike Camp

Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear

Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« on: September 11, 2017, 10:56:26 PM »
There was a lot of misinformation being put out by the Weather Services concerning the expected high water in my area, La Grange, Central Texas, on the Colorado River with Buckner's Creek running by my house and dumping into the Colorado a half mile South of town.  No one, including myself, can really fault the Weather Services, because they have never dealt with this amount of rainfall, around 48 inches over two or three days, over so vast of a watershed.  They just didn't know how the water was going to flow.  The bottomlands are a lot different than they were a hundred years ago, when there was similar flooding.  The FEMA inspector I spoke with yesterday, called it a "one in a million year flood," which I think over states it a bit, and I am assuming that is his opinion, and not the official FEMA opinion.  I was diligently watching ALL of the weather reports and warnings, watched the waters slow down to only rising a few inches per hour, and went to sleep that night thinking that I was going to have water about at my brick ledge, or maybe some in the house.  I woke up in the morning with six feet of water in my house.  My despair was totally mind-numbing.  With my semi blindness, I had still gotten quite a bit of my other things, like my music gear, upstairs, and I had put most everything I could "up," that was going to have to stay downstairs, but there was no way for me to get all of the guns upstairs by myself, plus, I truly thought that the water was not going to enter the house.  I had four safes downstairs, and it was not pretty.  First, it took a full day for the water to recede enough to get into the house.  I cannot describe the absolute horribleness, of what I saw of my house interior upon forcing open the front door.  Forty years of acquiring a lot of nice things, from all walks of life, all in a jumble of soaking stench.  It took a full day to make it to the first safe, the first safe I ever bought, when I thought I would never need one that held more than twelve guns.  I had over thirty long-guns and pistols stuffed in it.  It was manufactured by "Securty Products," which I think was in Ft. Worth.  It was a double key lock safe, with recessed locks to deter theft.  It opened right up.  It held a lot of my "heirloom" firearms.  Next safe, a much larger Cannon, with a combo dial.  It too, was stuffed with guns. It opened right up.  Next safe, was a Centurion, which I had bought at Home Depot.  It was a really nice safe with a combo.  One of the tumblers would not drop, could not open it.  Fourth safe; my monster Cannon.  A really HUGE safe; electronic ignition.  Nothing worked.  We put a fan on it, and got on the phone with Cannon.  My Son handled the conversations.  It was said that I should have removed the battery before the flood, but who thinks of that.  Anyway, they went through all manner of procedures to try and light it up, but to no avail.  Finally Cannon offered to send a locksmith down from one of the bigger cities, and would replace the safe for free.  I mentioned the enormous amount of firearms in it, but they only offered a free safe.  The locksmith never came.  After numerous calls, Cannon said that they could not locate a locksmith that could pop it, so we cut it open on about the tenth day after the flood.  We finally got the Centurion open on about the sixth or seventh day after squirting several cans of PB Blaster and WD-40 into the mechanism.  The tumbler was still really tight, but at least it finally dropped.  A day later, one of the workers must have thought it best to close it back up and locked it before we had time to relube the mechanism.  It took another half a day to pop it again, and then a buddy really went over the mechanism from the inside, and it is opening better than it ever did.  The first Cannon safe with the combo lock then froze up, but at least it was open.  My buddy has jacked with it, and has some knowledge with combo locks, and we cannot get it to operate correctly, but at least the door is open on it.  I also had maybe forty or so guns randomly stashed around the house.  I was desperately trying to remember where most of them were, they were mostly loaded, and I was hoping no volunteer was going to find them.  I did warn all volunteers that they may find a gun, and IMMEDIATELY get one of the family to handle it.  But as it is, I am still finding them amongst the piles of stuff in the yard.  A buddy found one today.  I can safely say that I had a bit over three hundred guns soaked.  I had four friends over Saturday, and we had a "gun salvaging" party.  With my eyesight, I would never get to the end of stripping down and cleaning that many guns.  As I had pulled them from the safes, I would gush them with WD, to try and stabilize the rusting, and hopefully buy some time.  We still have just under a hundred to go.  About half of my guns were "investment" guns; new, unfired, I had boxes for many of them.  Those were going to be slowly sold off as I got older.  The rest were collectibles, keepers, or family heirlooms.  I had divided all of the heirlooms up with the kids just a few months ago, but none of them have safes, so they all stayed with me.  Some of the heart breakers, were my Python; that gorgeous Colt bluing did not fair too well.  I was told that Colt would "make it like new," and add a serial number to it, but I do not think I will have the money to do that.  I had a pair of Smith and Wesson target .22 double action revolvers, unfired, wrapped in the wax paper, in the original boxes with factory papers; they too, did not do to well; lots of rust.   Same thing with all of my blued Dan Wesson's.  Truly heart breaking.  They will clean up, but they will just be shooters.  The stainless pistols did better, but there were some disappointments.  One NIB Ruger Stainless Bearcat would not run, but we got it running.  The Ruger revolvers that were blue all rusted bad, but in my opinion, they are shooters primarily, and I am not worried about the finish being dicked up with cold blue patches.  The Ruger grips did really horribly; some of them curled up like Frito's.  My Freedom Arms and BFR's, all stainless, appeared to have faired well.  My Kimber 1911's all cleaned up well.  OH, and yes, I know, that at some point, I am going to have spring or detent problems in most of these; but I expect that, not being able to do a total breakdown cleaning of the firearm.  Say what you want about Glock's, but absolutely every Glock that came out of the goo; just shake out the goo, and they were ready to spit out the lead, except for two.  Remember how everyone mocks those "Tupperware" Glock cases.  Two of the Glock's that were in those silly cases, came out bone dry, all papers inside, bone dry.  And surprisingly, ONE Ruger, a Stainless Super Blackhawk in it's case, came through bone dry.  All of the rest of the cased pistols were soaked.  Glass wise, I am not able to see much looking through a scope, but on the guns done so far that my buddies have helped with, all Leopold glass is good, all Zeiss is good, one Burris lower tier scope, maybe a Timberline, soaked, which surprised me, even for being a cheap scope.  I was surprised my Tasco World Class Euro was soaked; I thought that was one of their better scopes.  No cheap Bushnells or Simmons survived, but I am going to see about possible replacements on them.  That is what the current tally is on glass, more to come.  Shotguns:  All Benelli's were ready for dove season, right out of the water.  Most of the Mossberg's, with a few shots of WD were also ready.  My Browning and Valmet's O/U's were completely broken down by a gunsmith buddy, and I think they will be fine.  Rifles:  Say what you want about the lowly SKS;  ALL of them were ready to fend off invaders, right out of the water.  I think I had six of them, from various manufacturing countries.  I expected the same from the AK's, but one of them would only open about an inch.  But we got it going with a thorough going over.  The AR's all faired well.  The Garand's and the M1A are still up in the air; we soaked them down well, and one of my buddies will completely break them down in a day or two.  The other military styled weapons all cleaned up fairly well.  The bolt guns were hit and miss.  Half were rough functioning, but all opened up save one ancient Savage.  Any blued one, when pulling the stock, had lots of rust under the barrel.  With this many guns, we did not have time to disassemble the bolts, but I am thinking about making up a batch of Ed's Red or getting a gallon of WD and soaking the bolts for an hour or so, and then draining them, hoping that will displace any water, and stop any internal rusting, until I can get them disassembled.  Someone also mentioned Kroil or Marvel's Mystery Oil, with a bit of mineral spirits added.  I don't know yet.  The Stainless Weatherby Vanguard's all did well, the blued Vanguards also, with some finish rust.  The Remington's and Ruger's were hit and miss; some had lots of rust, some not, but we got all functioning.  My Winchester Model 70's look like crap; wood and metal.  I don't know why they didn't do better.  The Mausers and Enfields all cleaned up.  We got all of the Winchester and Marlin lever guns running, but I am expecting problems down the road with them; there are just so many parts.  My Wild West Marlin takedown "Bush pilot," or whatever it is called, came through like a champ; but that is what it is customized to do.  So, all in all, I think that all will be salvageable, just not as nice as they were.  The unfired ones will look like they have been hunted and fired for twenty years.  But I can deal with that.  I was expecting a FAR greater loss, so I am OK with that.  I especially expected those that sat so long in the Cannon safe to be much worse, but they were not that much worse.  Value wise, on my investor pieces, I will lose a lot of resale value, but that is what it is.  On the Cannon safe we had to cut, we used a commercial grinder cutter, and I must say, it took a while.  We cut the back off.  If a new mechanism can be affixed to it, I will have it welded back, and it will be serviceable.  Someone said that a combo lock can be put in place of the electronic lock, but you can read anything on the Internet.  I am not dissing electronic locks; perhaps they can handle minor wetting, but I assume they are not designed to handle soaking for two days.  I will remove the battery in the new one, if this ever happens again, AND I will make sure every gun is out of it, if I have to call the Girl Scouts to help me.  My music gear did not do as well.  It was heart breaking to see my baby grand piano cartwheeled to the dumpster.  It was a wet noodle.  My amp repair guru says that he might be able to get many of my amps running, as long as I do not turn them on for a month or two until he can open them up.  I will post a second post concerning the non gun aftermath of the flood when I have time.  To say the least, I saw THE VERY BEST OF AMERICANS come out in the past two weeks.  There is hope for this country.  While there are a few "Americans" intent on destroying statues of old Democrats on horses, there are tens of thousands of REAL Americans right now, not afraid to volunteer, and get into goo up to their arm pits, and try to help their fellow Americans.  I still do not have Internet, Frontier is, might not be for long, my provider.  I am typing this, and then I am  going to find some signal somewhere and send it.  MM


BB340

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Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2017, 01:50:53 AM »
I am deeply sorry for you tragedy MM. 
Aussie gun nut.

Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2017, 02:59:55 AM »
Glad you are OK!  The rest is tragic. 

Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2017, 04:19:31 AM »
Happy your well and unharmed. The loss of condition of the guns is tragic but they still have some value and unlike a automobile can still be sold for something other then parts.
One would think that a fire proof safe would also be water proof since the are air tight but from your description they are not.
TD

224KING

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Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #4 on: September 12, 2017, 04:27:42 AM »
My deepest sympathies MM
Sorry... Yesterday was the last and final day for any and all complaints whatsoever.

I try to avoid temptation unless I can't resist it.

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Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 05:02:21 AM »
So sorry MM.
Prayers and blessings for you and your family.
Duane

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Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 06:54:00 AM »
Glad you are okay. Terribly sorry for your loss. Hurts my heart.
You cant catch a fish without a hook in the water....

dubyam

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Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2017, 06:56:52 AM »
First, glad you are safe. All else is secondary.

Very sorry to hear about the guns and music gear. We will be praying for the best resolution you can have. Be sure to question everything as far as insurance, if you have flood coverage.

Stay safe and be well, MusicMan!
I believe this is a practical world, and in it I can count only on what I can earn.  Therefore I believe in work, hard work. - The Auburn Creed
The older I get, the less stock I place in what men say, and the more I place in what men do. - Andrew Carnegie

danno50

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Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #8 on: September 12, 2017, 07:00:24 AM »
The sheer amount of devastation this catastrophe has caused you is unthinkable to most of us here at The Nation. Your sadness is unimaginable, but heartfelt by all of us. If there is anything that I or anyone here at the Nation can do, you have our support. Our prayers continue to be with you. God Bless You, your family and all who have been unselfishly helping you.
 
DosEquisShooter

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Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #9 on: September 12, 2017, 07:31:58 AM »
So happy to know you and your family are safe, but the destruction of your firearms, musical instruments, etc is heartbreaking. Pray things continue to improve for you!!! 
      Doug
We stand for the Flag, and we kneel for the fallen!!!

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Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #10 on: September 12, 2017, 07:40:02 AM »
+1 with Dubyam.

Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #11 on: September 12, 2017, 09:36:43 AM »
MM, I am sorry beyond words for your troubles, but thank the Lord you are well and safe. Thank you, too, for your good words reaffirming the decency of real Americans who pitch in and help and all too frequently risk their lives to aid others. There is always far more good in the world than evil, but sometimes we need to be reminded of that. Thanks again.
JP
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zonie

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Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #12 on: September 12, 2017, 09:48:47 AM »
Very sorry to hear about all your losses.   

Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2017, 12:55:49 PM »
Sorry Mark.That is terrible.
Roger
Faster horses,younger women,older whiskey,and more money.

Re: Hurricane Harvey vs. my guns and gear
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2017, 01:42:29 PM »
Wow, so sorry to hear about your ordeal. I can only imagine what you are going through, but had feared I was going to suffer the same thing. My house is 1500 feet from the Brazos River and I feared we might get 6 to 10 feet of water, as the levee was expected to possibly breach. I had emptied both safes and packed all my handguns in a suitcase to take as we evacuated (heavy!) and put my long guns upstairs. I had to leave those. We had spent a whole day and all night hauling things upstairs. The water came about two inches below floor level, waist deep in the road. I hope you can save many of your guns. I'm sure you got out the oil right away to stop the rusting. On the safe locks, I was told years ago that the number one reason for service calls on safes is electronic locks. I would urge everyone to only buy the old fashioned dials when getting a safe - I've yet to see one fail personally. I hope you had current flood insurance. There are places, including churches, offering help tearing out sheet rock and such - please check locally to find them. Good luck and God Bless.
Some like cologne, I like the smell of gunpowder.