Monday, February 17, 2014

Picking a Shotgun

Some decisions are agonized over....
    Picking a shotgun is perhaps a more difficult decision than choosing a spouse.  It is best to try several different types before settling down with any one in particular.  Do you prefer a wide shooting plane, or perhaps a slender one?  Do you shoot better with a little weight forward, or maybe butt heavy suits you better?  Most seem to enjoy a balance somewhere in between.
    For many, the first experience is with a pump action, but later they discover the beauty and smooth handling of doubles.  Some enjoying side by side, while others like one on top of the other.
    A stock of high figure often brings a higher cost, but many find the expense worthwhile.  High-priced guns often have lots of glitter and even gold trimmings, and, although pleasing to the eye, don’t necessarily perform any better than unadorned ones. 
Older ones may be missing a screw.
    Older ones are often appealing, particularly if they have not been abused.  Nothing detracts from their appearance more than dings and bulges, and nothing is worse than one that just sat somewhere and became rusty.  Many enjoy wondering about the storied history of the older ones while using them.  You must remember though that the dimensions preferred years ago are quite different than those of today, and some may feel awkward when mounted.
A wide plane catches the eye. 
    Older models in pristine condition are often expensive, and you may not even want to use them.  They are sometimes referred to as “safe queens”, but I’m not sure what they are safe from.  It is best to admire them with as little handling as possible, to wipe off with a soft cloth any fingerprints that you may have left behind, and then to leave them where you found them.
    Perhaps you have friends with different types, and you could ask them how they like them.  Maybe they will even let you try theirs, but that is not common.  Some may not want you to take theirs out into the woods, but most will at least let you look at them.  Be sure to ask their opinions, whether they prefer side by side or over and under, ejectors, wide or narrow fore end, and straight grip.
    Large bores are becoming less popular in the upland woods, with the slender twenties becoming quite common.  As many men get older, they look for a twenty-eight with a properly proportioned frame, which they feel makes for a more appealing look. 
   Their light weight feels nimble in the hands and is a delight to experience, but a proper mount must be practiced, or the motion is too jerky and may cause a miss.  Practice mounting is the key, and can even be done in almost any room at home.
    Remember, practice safe shooting.    

A favorite, leaning against a tree.

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