This content is archived

Published on: Dec. 22, 1996

Last revision: Oct. 25, 2010

is a new shotgun. Somewhere, there is a magic wand that will fire invincible loads. I have bought about a half-dozen potential magic wands so far.

My first was a 12-gauge over/under that I finally threw on the ground after I'd missed two wide-open quail shots. I looked at the empty gun with loathing and stomped on it. My hunting partner, Dave Mackey, is a candidate for sainthood because he didn't laugh. He turned away and pretended to study the sunset (which wasn't due for another seven hours). I growled like a dog with rabies and perhaps frothed at the mouth. But mostly I concluded that the problem was in the gun, not in the shooter.

So I bought a 1910 L.C. Smith double that I thought would have the weight of the ages in its case-blued upholstery. I'd read all the classic upland bird hunting books and believed that if I were to have a gun like Nash Buckingham, I could shoot like Nash Buckingham.

That's like thinking if you drink a lot you can write like Ernest Hemingway.

Those little green guys still were working overtime. The Smith didn't shoot any better than the Sears and Roebuck autoloader that I shot when I was in high school. The only difference was that I had one less shotshell to waste.

Then I tried the 28-gauge because someone told me that a 28-gauge shoots better than it should. What they didn't tell me was that this is true only if the shooter knows how to shoot. Its primary advantage was that it weighed less than the 16 gauge.

I'm working with (more like "wrestling with") a 20-gauge Browning Sporter now. I've run through all the modern gauges except 10 and .410, neither of which is considered a quail gun.

The 20-gauge is beginning to show the luck of the Irish. Last season a covey flushed directly in front of me. I carefully covered the first bird and shot, swung to a second shot. Both were straightaway shots from Shooting Kindergarten.

I missed both and cried, "Now that's the way to miss a double!" The guys I was hunting with thought this a funny statement. About as funny to me as opening the door to find the Angel of Death checking his appointment book to see if he has the right address.

There seems to be only one course of action left. I need a new gun. It will not be as easy to sell my wife on this verity as it was the first four times.

But, hey, when you shoot like me, you learn to lie creatively.

Content tagged with

Shortened URL