Welcome to November friends! Time to get the ole’ shotguns out of the safe and get them dusted and oiled up as bird season is near. If you are like me, you might even go as far as setting up the wobble trap or getting your hand-held clay pigeon thrower and get back into muscle memory mode.
While I certainly like rifles and handguns, shotguns are king. Out of all I own, my favorite is an old Remington 870 pump 16 gauge. Why, you ask, when I have several that are worth significantly more? Because my father gave it to me. It’s even more special because it’s the first gun he owned. He bought it when he was 16 years old brand new after making money selling newspapers in Greensburg, KS (my birthplace). While shells are sometimes difficult to find, I enjoy utilizing it rather than just letting it sit in a safe. It’s still in excellent shape. My folks bought my first shotgun for me (I used my dad’s others growing up) ss a high school graduation gift. A semi-automatic Remington 1187 Premier. Boy, it was a step up from the old pump actions.
While I still love Remington shotguns, I suppose it’s safe to say I’ve moved on to Brownings. I love the new A5 (and the vintage ones) and typically hunt pheasant with it. It’s light, sleek and simply beautiful. I shoot trap with an old-school Browning BT-99 from the 70s. I enjoy the real wood stock significantly more than the synthetic stock of today. I was lucky enough to find this beauty in a gun store in Duncan, OK. True to its name (trap gun) it improved my trap shooting significantly after only previously using field guns. If you struggle with trap more than skeet or sporting clays, give a trap gun a try.
I shoot a Browning Citori 725 with extended chokes for skeet and sporting clays. The over/under is suited perfectly and if you are in the market I’d absolutely suggest you check out this make/model. I have several Brownings and have never had a single issue with any of them (with proper maintenance, of course). Occasionally I’ll shoot a Winchester 101 I was also lucky to find brand new in the box (also from the 70s) which is another stellar shotgun.
Finally, my quail gun preference is a 20-gauge Browning Citori over/under I snagged from a local Chisholm celebrity (thanks Royden!) Shortly after purchasing it, he told me that selling it was one of the dumbest things he’s ever done. Knowing him, I suspect he hasn’t made too many mistakes in his life but glad he made this one.
While these are my shotguns of choice, (we’ll talk turkey, rabbit and waterfowl guns in a later article) the key is to find one suitable for you. Go to a gun shop and ask to hold several different types, barrel lengths, etc. Determine what gauge you need (will depend on what you are shooting) as there are 10, 12, 16, 20 and 28 gauges. Figure out proper maintenance and thoroughly clean after each use and they’ll last you a lifetime. Until next time friends, keep the lead flyin’ and I’ll see ya around the bend.