Thursday, July 7, 2011

Shotguns (Re-Post from 2008)

I figured "How in the world can anybody miss a bird with a shotgun? ". I mean you are shooting a pattern 30" across at 25 yards and a bird in that zone should be killed- what's the sport in that? Plenty, as it turns out. I don't even remember what my first gun was- a big 12 ga. auto loader, I think. I used to miss birds plenty, too. Finally, a buddy up in TN told me anything bigger than a 20 ga. on quail was just murder, so I got one of those-a Browning Citori Upland Special, to be exact. This thing had a short (26") barrel and a straight stock. It sure was pretty, but, once again, I couldn't hit the ground with it. Finally, about 15 years ago, I chanced upon a double in a gun shop. I hefted the thing and instantly fell in love. Never even having shot it, I offered the guy $200. He laughed and said $2500- it was on consignment and he thinks the old lady really wanted to get rid of it, otherwise it would be a lot more than that. Since I had no adult supervision at the time, I went to the bank and got a loan for the gun and I walked away with my very own A.H. Fox 20 ga.- built in 1912. Some folks would put it on the wall and stare at it, but I don't have any guns like that. Mine are bird guns or they are sold. This sweet little gun was like an extension of my arm- point and shoot and go get the bird. I still shoot that light little gun every season. I kill quail, grouse, woodcock, Huns and sometimes pheasant with it. And I really like the double gun- that big sight plane and the rounded pistol grip on the stock is perfect for me.
I've moved to the 16 ga. for pheasant and Sharptail grouse. For some reason the slightly larger gun seems to drop them more dead, more often. In a moment of weakness, I obtained another A.H.Fox- this one a 16 ga. It's newer (1930's I think) and much more ornate with the carving, but it, too, is perfectly balanced. I sent the barrels Briley in TX to have checked and they called me back the day they got them and said the measurements were EXACT on both barrels! I mean it was a big deal for him to say that- he'd only seen it once or twice in his career. I told him it was a Fox and the details and he said it was a fine barrel set and I'd better take care of it or he'd personally hunt me down!!
So, I guess I prefer the double gun. I like the way it shoots, and the classic feel of the gun. Some folks need that third shot and I suppose I'd have more birds in the bag with more shots, but, hey, I'm OK with these old doubles.

Update- 7/7/2011

I still like my doubles.  In fact, that old Model 100 SKB has shot about every species of bird I've hunted.  Once in a long while, I will break out the Ruger Red Label O/U I won at the 2009 NSTRA Grand Nationals, just because I like the heft of the thing.  Especially when I'm shooting 3" 4's on pheasant.  But, overall, a nice double gun has the feel that I like....
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