When I think back to all the years I have hunted there are a lot of good memories there. Memories, mostly of people, places, and dogs, that have been a part of my hunting past. Also embedded in my memory are the guns that I have been lucky enough to own and hunt with. These are not the fancy high dollar guns that you see in the hands of big name hunters on TV shows, they are the common guns owned by a common man.
When I was a teenager I loved to read. I loved outdoor magazines and books dealing with outdoor subjects. I could get into a book and be in a different world, I couldn’t get enough. One thing that I picked up in the Leatherstocking tales was the fact that Hawkeye named his guns. So all of the guns I have owned and hunted with have been named.
Ole Faithful, or simply “Faithful” was the first gun that I truly hunted with. A simple Stevens double barrel 20 ga. gun, I made a lot of first kills with Faithful. I remember clearly my first deer and my first duck killed with this shotgun. This was the gun I had in my hands while I hunted with my father and he taught me about gun safety. I hunted with this gun for years. When most of my friends had moved up to 12 ga. guns, I held on to my rugged little double barrel. I drug this little gun through a lot of places that you wouldn’t want to take a fancy gun, and I hunted with it when I got there. Each scar left in the stock of this gun tells a story all of its own. I always fired the back trigger of the double triggers first. This was the full choke barrel, it taught me to hold the gun. I would imagine that twice the amount of game has fallen to the choke barrel than has fallen to the modified barrel. There is probably very little value left in this gun, but it is priceless none the less.
Daddy’s 12 ga. Remington 1100 does not belong to me and was never named, but it certainly holds a great many memories of my younger years hunting. You see, many times I would hunt myself out of shells, so when I didn’t have 20 ga. shells I would hunt with Daddy’s automatic. The Remington 1100 was a great hunting gun. Rugged and reliable, most of the men I knew hunted with Remington 1100s. Before the day of screw in choke tubes, Daddy had two barrels for his gun, a 26 in improved cylinder, which I found extremely useful when hunting ducks, and a 30 in full choke barrel that could hold #1 and #0 buckshot like nobody’s business, but don’t try to shoot #00 buckshot in it, because it would scatter it all over the place. I grew to be a young man shooting that excellent game getting shotgun.
As a senior in college I knew it was time to find a 12 ga. gun of my own. I saved my money and bought a second hand Browning A-500R. There were 2 types of A-500s. The R model recoil operated gun that I bought, and a G model gas operated gun as well. I don’t know that I have ever seen another A-500R. They never got to be that popular, but I soon found out that my gun Brownie was a duck hunting machine. Equipped with invector chokes, I found that the combination of the improved cylinder tube and #6, 2 ¾ in steel shot or #4, 3 in steel shot was lethal on ducks. Over the last 18 years I have run many cases of steel shot through this gun, I have shot it to the point it is nearly worn out. Unless there is some drastic change that I don’t foresee, I will feel that this was the best duck gun ever made until the day I die.
About 10 years ago I sought to retire Brownie with a 3 ½ in. 12 ga. gun. I bought Black Death, a Remington 870 super magnum with a 26 in. barrel equipped with the Remchoke system. I have killed may ducks with this gun, however, it didn’t take me long to figure out that by shooting the 3 ½ in. shells I was unnecessarily maiming my right shoulder and my wallet, so I went back to shooting 3 in #4s. This gun is a great value and a very rugged duck killing machine.
As I get older hopefully I will have the chance to buy one of those fancy big name guns to help me kill more ducks, I will be willing to bet that within a season Bo will have talked me out of it, and if she is able, Brownie will continue to belch out those 3 in. #4s so I can send my dogs on retrieves, the Briary River Way.