Normal Lake Level is 322.00 feet
above Mean Sea Level.
Current level for Cedar Creek Lake is:
322.45 Water Temperature:
68 degrees - top
66 degrees - bottom
neglect ruin your weapon
By Lee McClellan
Special to The Monitor
FRANKFORT, Ky.–I hunted doves with some friends the first September
after I got married.
The sun burned down on us in the field and sweated poured from me
down and onto my beloved 20-gauge, a Remington 870 Wingmaster LW
Magnum. I bought it in 1993 after shouldering it and giving it back
to the store clerk a few dozen times over the course of several
My reluctance stemmed from the gun costing $150 more than a
lower-end Remington pump, but I finally succumbed.
It’s a relatively inexpensive pump, not a pricey over-and-under or
high-end semi-automatic, but no gun I’ve shouldered since feels as
good as that one. It’s like an old friend, and I’ve taken scores of
doves, quail and rabbits with it since.
After the dove hunt, I cleaned the inside of the barrel in haste,
stuck the gun in a case and shoved it in a closet. My wife and I
were in the process of buying our first home, and I didn’t take the
time to care for my favorite shotgun.
Late the following summer, I drove to a friend’s farm to shoot some
clay pigeons to bone up for the dove opening. I slid my hand in the
gun case and felt something rough.
I pulled the gun out of the case and a flash of pumpkin greeted my
eyes – a coating of orange dust covered much of the receiver and
barrel. My haste cost me the bluing of my much-loved 20-gauge. I
I maintained that gun meticulously, and just the one instance of
neglect bit me.
”If you have $300 in the gun or $3,000, you’ve still invested a lot
of money,” said Mark Marraccini, a licensed gun dealer and executive
staff advisor for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
“Some wear and tear on a shotgun has some good memories attached.
But, there is a difference between a little scratch from crossing a
fence and neglect,” Marraccini added. “Neglect is neglect, and there
are no good memories attached to that.”
Wipe your gun down with an oiled cotton cloth before doing anything
else after hunting.
“Body oils or body salts from sweat are corrosive agents to metal,”
Marraccini explained. “If you don’t take care of the gun right after
you use it, then it will likely rust. It doesn’t take long for those
corrosive agents to weaken the bluing on your gun.”
Marraccini, who builds pioneer-era black powder rifles by hand,
explains the bluing that protects the metal surfaces of a shotgun is
simply controlled rust.
“In the old flintlock rifle days, gunsmiths hung newly made barrels
in a moist, warm environment and let them get a light coating of
rust,” he said. “Then, they wiped them down with oil, and that was
their protective coating.”
If a gun is put up in haste like mine and rust develops, options
“All is not lost,” Marraccini said. “A lot of times it’s minor. You
can take a cotton gun cloth and apply gun oil to it and buff the
“If that doesn’t do it, take some 0000 steel wool, apply gun oil and
buff,” he added. “You must go very light, or you can take the bluing
off with the steel wool.”
When rust penetrates the protective coating to the bare metal, a pit
“If the steel wool and oil don’t work, try some of the cold blue
products on the market,” Marraccini said. “The cold blue is similar
to fixing a scratch on the hood of your car with touch-up paint. It
is the same color, but you can still see it.”
Deep pits in the gun metal most likely need professional help from a
“The gunsmith will do a complete re-bluing,” Marraccini said. “A
re-blued gun looks pretty, but it actually hurts the value of the
gun, and you can still tell it is not the original bluing.”
A shotgun taken into the field with any regularity will eventually
acquire some dents and scratches on the wood of the stock.
“Some scratches will make it an heirloom,” Marraccini said. “Each
one has a good story and memory of a nice time afield.”
Scratch repair depends on a couple of factors.
“Repairing a scratch depends on the severity of the scratch and the
type of finish on the wood,” Marraccini said. “A really high-gloss
finish shows everything, but you can get away with more using muted
Gun stock oils available at gun stores are made for scratch repair,
but deep scratches may require sanding the stock down to bare wood
A dent in the wood may be lifted by steam.
“Fold an old cotton T-shirt over two or three times and get it
damp,” Marraccini said. “Place the dampened T-shirt over the dent,
and run the tip of a hot iron over it a few times. You want to force
steam into the crumpled wood fibers and lift them up.”
If you do like I did, and make a mistake in maintenance, it’s not
the end of the world. Try some of these methods to remove rust or
repair a stock, but keep in mind they may not return the shotgun to
the way it looked out of the box.
”There are memories of Dad or Granddad with each little bit of wear
and tear,” Marraccini said. “If you want a gun that is going to stay
perfect, put in a shadow box and hang it on the wall.”
Author Lee McClellan is an award-winning associate editor for
Kentucky Afield magazine, the official publication of the Kentucky
Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. He is a life-long hunter
and angler, with a passion for smallmouth bass fishing.
Do you like high school football?
Do you like to write stories?
Monitor is looking for reporters to cover the Eustace, Kemp
and Mabank High School varsity football games this season.
As a reporter, you would:
- Attend Eustace, Kemp or Mabank’s home and away
varsity football games on Friday nights
- Keep statistics of the game and email them to the
paper Friday night after the game
- Write a story about the game and email the story to
the paper Friday night after the game
An eligible reporter, must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have reliable transportation and a good driving
- Have a computer with Microsoft Word
- Have email capability
If this position interests
you, please come to
The Monitor office and complete an application,
Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Monitor • 1316 S. Third St., Suite 108
Mabank • Next to Groom’s
No phone calls please!
KHS @ 14-3A meet
EHS @ 14-3A meet
(4 Pines Ranch, Eustace)
MHS @ 15-4A meet
(Samuell Farms, Mesquite)
Region II meet (4A, 3A)
(Vandergriff Park, Arlington)
State CC meet
(Old Settlers Park, Round Rock)
MHS @ Lancaster*
KHS vs Mineola*
EHS @ Wills Point*
MHS vs West Mesquite*
KHS @ Canton*
EHS vs Van*
(end regular season)
EHS @ Malakoff (scr)
EHS vs Alba-Golden (scr)
MHS @ Frisco Liberty (scr)
KHS @ Kaufman (scr)
MHS vs Commerce
EHS @ Trinidad
MHS vs Forney*
EHS vs KHS*
MHS vs Terrell*
KHS @ Van*
EHS @ Mineola*
(end regular season)