As a kid i was often given broken things, because i would take them apart, at eleven i overhauled two pocketwatches from a cigarbox of broken wesclox dollar watches. I got started in guns with mostly zink capguns, fixed a few, but my first real gun was a usrco (ij) No manual, just a triggs nra page of a "similar" type, i got it. Cleaned and smoothed and reassembled, decided no more crosspin revolvers! My next Real gun was a marlin 336, jammamatic, made it work, it just needed a verrry thirough cleaning. The next one was a s&w firstmodel m&p, the smoothest gun ive ever had. At one point i got a small handful of rg38, they were cheap, i cleaned and smoothed and made them all work. no exploded views or manuals. Got thru a handfulla jennings .22 autos; clean, smooth, resell. did the same for a handfulla "potmetal" 22 scout types, and some undercoverettes, found a manual for the lil charters, chased spares at gunshows. Still have one of each of those. Have now several high standard nineshooters, inop, got the spares from a place that vacuum-packs them to a cardboard, but driving otr the last 3 years dosent let me mess around with that stuff. Fortunately (?!?) Yesterday they shut down the lil ol shoestring operation due to the boss' health, so i am looking for home-every-night like before and study the manual on those double-9s.
But that first usrco was The Worst.
The easiest fix, ever, was a real cheap tokarev (my first of two chinese pistol) that "dident feel right", i discovered the importer-fitted safety was in wrong.
I still make drawings of some things i take apart, as i take it apart, which dad taught me when he gave me the rotary phone. I was almost 6, and had just repaired a broken alarmclock. I have rebuilt carburettors and respoked bicycle wheels, but will not do them for anybody else for any amount of money.
For many years my Blackhawks stayed without a single screw being taken out (other than the grip screw) and then I got a .357 and started tinkering. The first few times was a pain, but now I strip it down once in a while just to not forget how it goes back together