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Me & Lexi

Me & Lexi

I’m in a funk. My big hunting trip was a couple wees ago and things did not go well – bird wise, anyway. This annual trip is my bird binge for the year, and I put a lot of hope into it. The ways things turned out left me depressed.

I’ve hit the western part of Maine for several seasons now, and in years past, the end of October was prime: the leaves were down, the woodcock flights were in, and the grouse were abundant. This year, the leaves were down, but the birds were hard to find.

Weather may be been the problem. We arrived after two days of heavy winds and flooding rain, and all week the temps were in the upper 50s (instead of the normal 40s). Lexi and I hit covers all over the place – alders, pole poplar, overgrown cuts bordering bogs, etc.

For the first few days, the woodcock were nowhere to be found. Spots where Puck and I used to move 10-20 birds were empty until the end of the week. Then they just had 4-5 flight birds in them. We saw some grouse, but not many. On the last day, we bumped  a covey of six, all sunning and feeding at the edge of a clear cut.

On top of this, one of my favorite spots was overrun by an active logging operation (so much for that), and another was inaccessible due to a bridge being out. Lexi and I struck out to some new spots, but the birds just weren’t there.

Fortunately, Lexi did see some birds — enough to turn the light on in her head and start her on her way to being a hunting dog. She handled beautifully: Quartering naturally, turning on command, and coming when called. After she had a few whiffs of bird in her nose, she was even hunting objectives. With a couple of seasons and a lot of birds under her belt, I’m sure she’s going to be a great dog.

And I did get a chance to do some fishing with my Maine-guide friend Greg Bostater. He knows where to find great fish, as you can see in the pics below.

 

8 gauge Parker PH Side-by-Side shotgun

8 gauge Parker PH Side-by-Side shotgun

There are two types of side-by-side shotguns that always thrill guys: The small ones (28s & .410s) and the big ones–like the eight gauge Parker you see here.

Eight gauges use to be used to pass shoot ducks, geese, and swans, and in the 19th century they were popular with shooters hunting along the big flyways up and down the Eastern Seaboard. In the 20th century, they fell out of favor and were eventually outlawed by the Federal Government for use on all migratory species. Today, some states allow you to use on other game species (like turkeys), while others have completely outlawed their use for hunting. Oh well.

Of all the major American makers, Parker made the most 8s – around 246 in all.  According to the book The Parker Story, the first one was #4360, a D-grade underlever made in 1870s, and the last one was #174065, a DH made around 1916 with 36″ barrels. Lefever made some 8s, too, and so did L.C. Smith, but in small numbers – Lefever may have turned out 40 or so (including this nice E grade) and L.C. Smith made around 35 (including this one).

8 gauge Parker PH Side-by-Side shotgun: Ser. No. 152883. 36″ Twist barrels on a No. 6 frame. Bores are mint- lots of finish- wt.- 13 lbs. 10 ozs. A great hard to find Parker in this condition.

8 gauge Parker PH Side-by-Side shotgun

8 gauge Parker PH Side-by-Side shotgun

8 gauge Parker PH Side-by-Side shotgun

8 gauge Parker PH Side-by-Side shotgun

E. J. CHURCHILL CASED SHOTGUN - 12 ga Side by Side Hammerless 'Utility' Model

E. J. CHURCHILL CASED SHOTGUN – 12 ga Side by Side Hammerless ‘Utility’ Model

Thomaston Place Auction Galleries in Thomaston, ME, is holding there FALL FEATURE AUCTION OF FINE ART & ANTIQUES this weekend. These side-buy-side shotguns are going off on Sat, Nov 08 2014, and the sale starts at 11:00 AM.

Lot 967: E. J. CHURCHILL CASED BOXLOCK SHOTGUN: 12 ga Side by Side Hammerless ‘Utility’ Model, s/n 3900 (circa 1937), double trigger, 30″ barrel, 2 1/2 choke, with crown V and other English proof marks, walnut stock with checkered pistol grip and fore-end, heavily engraved, gold inlaid ‘Safe’ mark, cushioned butt, rib sight, nicely blued finish. 46″ overall. Still has cleaning rods. One small nick in top edge of barrels, otherwise very good condition. Estimate $ 3,000-4,000

 

Winchester Model 21 Side by Side 16ga. Trap / Skeet

Winchester Model 21 Side by Side 16ga. Trap / Skeet

Lot 968: WINCHESTER MODEL 21 16 GAUGE Trap / Skeet SHOTGUN: Winchester Model 21 Side by Side 16ga., s/n 7353 (mfg in 1937), 26′ barrels, WS1/WS2 choked, pistol grip stock, beaver tail fore-end with kidney style checkering, single selective trigger, automatic ejectors, non-auto safety, solid matte rib, 43″ long overall. Includes original hard leather case. Excellent overall condition with a few light marks. Estimate $ 2,500-3,500

 

Lot 988: FRENCH SHOTGUN – St. Etienne Manufrance Robust No 32 S, 16 gauge: Breech Break Double Barrel Shotgun, serial number 99916, circa 1920, with engraved silver plate block and trigger guard, walnut stock. includes modern soft case. With appropriate manufacturer’s and proof marks. 27 1/2″ barrel, 44 1/2″ long overall. Good condition, minor wear to silver plating, all original except added butt cushion. Estimate $ 800-1,000

St. Etienne Robust No 32 S, 16 gauge Breech Break Double Barrel Shotgun

St. Etienne Manufrance Robust No 32 S, 16 gauge Breech Break Double Barrel Shotgun

Charles Daly Model 500 side by side Miroku 20 Gauge shotgun.

Charles Daly Model 500 side by side Miroku 20 Gauge shotgun.

Here’s the perfect double for anyone new to upland hunting — or anyone looking for a deal. This Charles Daly/ Miroku Model 500 20 Gauge is on Gunbroker.com now. It’s a NO RESERVE auction, ending 11/9/2014 3:58:13 PM ET.

The Charles Daly Model 500 is a very basic side-by-side. But basic doesn’t  mean cheap. It just means you’re getting a lot of quality for very little money. Miroku made Charles Daly’s shotguns from 1967 to 1976, and the one you see here cost around $150 in 1968. The Model 500 was made on the classic Anson & Deeley action. It came in 12  & 20 gauge with 26″, 28″, or 30″ bbls (chopperlump bbls, btw). All 20 gauges had 3″ chambers.

Charles Daly Model 500 side by side Miroku 20 Gauge shotgun

Charles Daly Model 500 side by side Miroku 20 Gauge shotgun.

Charles Daly Model 500 side by side Miroku 20 Gauge shotgun.

Manufacturer:  Charles Daly
Model:  500
Barrel Length:  28 inch
Gauge:  20
Capacity:  2

NO RESERVE – Charles Daly Model 500 side by side Miroku 20 Gauge shotgun: One side is full choke the other is Mod choke. The barrel has some tarnish here and there but not pitted. The break action functions perfectly and locks up tight. The fore stock and butt stock are in overall good shape, they do show normal signs of field use, but the original is in good shape and still in tact. The inside of the barrels is clean and shiny.

Charles Daly Model 500 side by side Miroku 20 Gauge shotgun.

Charles Daly Model 500 side by side Miroku 20 Gauge shotgun.

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28" bbls, English Stock

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28″ bbls, English Stock

Here’s a chance to get a great deal on one of the best upland guns America has ever made. Ruger’s Red Label O/Us tend to be clunky and a bit cumbersome in 12g & 20g. But the 28 gauge models are a different beast altogether. Light & lively, they are one of the handiest O/Us you’ll ever find, and absolutely deadly on grouse & woodcock.

This one has all the hard-to-find features that I like to see, too: Straight, English-style stock with nice figure in it, 28″ barrels, and all it’s accessories. It’s even in it’s original case. It’s on Gunbroker.com now, and the listing ends on Monday, 11/3/2014, @ 1:57:57 PM ET.

BTW: Ruger introduced the Red Label in 1977 and made them until 2011. They reintroduced them this year, but only in 12 & 20 gauge. I hope the company will come out with an updated 28 gauge in the near future.

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28″ bbls, English Stock:

MAKE: Sturm Ruger

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28" bbls, English Stock

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28″ bbls, English Stock

MODEL: Red label

CALIBER: 28 gauge

BARREL LENGTH: 28”

CAPACITY: 2 rounds

FINISH: Blued/SS

SIGHTS/OPTICS: Single front bead

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: You are bidding on a VERY nice, and very clean Ruger Red Label over and under shotgun chambered in 28 gauge with an English stock. The gun comes with the original box and paperwork, as well as 5 choke tubes (Full, modified, improved cylinder, and two skeet). The gun is in exceptional condition, with no noticeable imperfections to speak of. Upon close inspection, there are two very small indentations in the wood, but they are very hard to find. If this gun was used, it was not used much, that is for sure. Overall, I would rate this gun in 98% condition, but that is my opinion, please look at all the pictures and rate the gun for yourself.

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28" bbls, English Stock

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28″ bbls, English Stock

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28" bbls, English Stock

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28″ bbls, English Stock

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28" bbls, English Stock

Ruger Red Label O/U, 28 GA, 28″ bbls, English Stock

Arrieta Model 871 SxS 16 Gauge

Arrieta Model 871 SxS 16 Gauge

Arrieta Model 871 SxS 16 Gauge: Price:$4,229.99

Metal Condition: Excellent

Wood Condition: Excellent

Bore Condition:Bright And Shiny
Barrels:28″

Triggers: Double Trigger

Stock Dimensions: 14 1/4″LOP And 13 1/4″LOP

Weight:6 lbs. 2 ozs.

W. C. Scott Premier Hammer Double Barrel Shotgun in 10 gauge

W. C. Scott Premier Hammer Double Barrel Shotgun in 10 gauge

W. C. Scott Premier Hammer Double Barrel Shotgun in 10 gauge: This is one of the highest grade Scott guns one could buy in the day and the quality shows in its fit, finish, engraving, fancy Damascus, and lockup and lock quality. All of the highest grade. Bores are bright with only a few shallow pits showing. 30″ Damascus bbls, Chokes .045, Extra full in both, 2 7/8″ Chambers, 8 lbs. 13 oz. Price: $2,200

Meriden high grade (M58?) SXS 12 gauge in excellent condition: Meriden SXS 12 gauge that seems to be a model 58. highly engraved and possibly unfired, Gorgeous condition with only minor handling marks on the butt stock. 30 inch barrels with mint bores. Meriden manufactured 12, 16, and 20 gauge sidelock double-barrel shotguns fitted with steel, laminated, twist, and Damascus barrels. Some of these guns were engraved by artisans who formerly worked for Parker (also located in Meriden) They made hammer and hammerless varieties and are sought after by collectors. The shotguns were well made and available in a variety of grades. All had automatic safeties and cocking indicators. Barrels could be had in twist, damascus of several grades, armory steel or Krupp steel. Hammerless or hammer shotguns with varying amounts of engraving were available. Price: $1795

Meriden high grade (M58?) SXS 12 gauge in excellent condition

Meriden high grade (M58?) SXS 12 gauge in excellent condition

Browning BSS SXS shotgun, 28" barrels

Browning BSS SXS shotgun, 28″ barrels

Browning BSS SXS shotgun, 28″ barrels: *Full/**Modified  This shotgun has the Standard Style (pistol grip) stock, a  14 1/4″ length of pull, 1 5/8″ drop at comb, and 2 1/2″ drop at heel.  There are some minor handling and use dings on the stock, and some discoloration as shown in the photos, but the checkering is crisp, and the gun locks up tight. Price: $1,199

20 Gauge side by side Miroku – Western Field: Very nice quality 20 gauge side by side, sold through western field as model 326 EMJ, made by Miroku. Full modified choke, double trigger extractor – bluing and wood showing some wear, action is very tight. Bore is excellent. Excellent quality for this gun at this price. Price: $340

20 Gauge side by side Miroku - Western Field

20 Gauge side by side Miroku – Western Field

Parker VH .410 Shotgun, 26" bbls, 000 frame

Parker VH .410 Shotgun, 26″ bbls, 000 frame

Cowan’s Auction’s Fall 2014 Historic Firearms and Early Militaria sale is today Wednesday, 10/22, starting at 10am. There are a number nice looking percussion shotguns in the sale and this decent looking Cogswell & Harrison hammer shotgun. There’s also this little double, which is sure to attract plenty of attention.

Lot 921 – Parker VH 410 Shotgun, 26″ double barrels: S/N 219820. Top of barrels marked Parker Bros Makers Meridan CT. USA Vulcan steel. Marked on the side of frame Parker Bros. Frame is engraved along the outside edges with a border. Triple O size frame. Frame with the lightened oval cuts. Frame marked VH. Miller trigger. Walnut stock and forearm with checkered pistol grip and checkered forearm. Buttstock with hard rubber buttplate and Parker Brothers logo. No ejectors.

Condition: Barrels retain most of the original blue finish. Frame has traces of the original case colors in the protected areas. Most of the frame is a silvery grey. Stock and forearm are excellent with minimal nicks and dings. A very rare American made shotgun in 410 gauge.

Parker VH .410 Shotgun, 26" bbls, 000 frame

Parker VH .410 Shotgun, 26″ bbls, 000 frame

Parker VH .410 Shotgun, 26" bbls, 000 frame

Parker VH .410 Shotgun, 26″ bbls, 000 frame

PARKER BHE TRAP VENT RIB 12 GAUGE

PARKER BHE TRAP VENT RIB 12 GAUGE

PARKER BHE TRAP VENT RIB 12 GAUGE:  #207XXX #1 FRAME 32″ VENT RIB FULL AND FULL 2 3/4 SINGLE SELECT TRIGGER  EJECTORS BEAVER TAIL FOREARM ENGLISH GRIP EXCELLENT ORIGINAL CONDITION WITH CASE COLORS  8LBS 7 OZ X 2 1/4 X 1 7/8 X 14 1/2. Price: $16,500

ULTRA RARE 20 GAUGE WINCHESTER MODEL 21 TWO BARREL SET: Made in 1933 and everything letters. Both sets of barrels are 26″ in length, one set is imp cyl/mod the other is skeet/skeet. Winchester recoil pad. Overall this gun will go 95% on wood and metal. Price: $13,950

ULTRA RARE 20 GAUGE WINCHESTER MODEL 21 TWO BARREL SET:

ULTRA RARE 20 GAUGE WINCHESTER MODEL 21 TWO BARREL SET:

WEBLEY & SCOTT 12's- SET of 3 EACH MOD 702's- ALL- 28" Bbls.- 1974- OVERALL in 88% COND.- STRAIGHT STOCK at 15 1/8

WEBLEY & SCOTT 12’s- SET of 3 EACH MOD 702’s- ALL- 28″ Bbls.- 1974- OVERALL in 88% COND.- STRAIGHT STOCK at 15 1/8″

WEBLEY & SCOTT 12’s- SET of 3 EACH MOD 702’s- ALL- 28″ Bbls.- 1974- OVERALL in 88% COND.- STRAIGHT STOCK at 15 1/8: #143885 & 143886 & 144150, Webley & Scott, Birmingham: A Trio (3 each) of 12 Bore Game Guns in Model 702 Made in 1974 with 28″ Ejector Dovetail Lump barrels, #1 at .730 .012 & .038″ (Imp.Cyl. & Full), 2 3/4″; #2 at .730 .012 & .040″ (Imp.Cyl. & Full), 2 3/4″; #3 at .730 .009 & .031″ (Imp.Cyl. & Imp.Mod.), 2 3/4″; Standard concave game ribs, Nitro Proved at 3 1/4 tons per square inch, Double triggers, Splinter forend with an Anson release, Straight hand stocks at 15 1/8 x 1 7/16 x 2 3/8″ over a 1″ pad, Very slight cast-off for the right hand, All 3 right at 6 lbs. 9 oz., 90% coverage of period scroll engraving, The original barrel blue on all 3 would average out at 88-90%, The 3 average about 90% original bright & vivid case colors, The stock finish comes out at 88%, The checkering overall at 95%, Each gun has a leather cheek face installed for a right hand shooter, Every bore is bright & shiny and in excellent condition but there are a few very minor dings in a couple of the barrels, Each gun is numbered 1 – 3 in Gold on the toplever. These guns belonged to a very Sporting Lady in Spain and were used to shoot driven Red-Legged Partridge in Spain. You can buy all 3 for $5950, or we will sell the #3 gun for $2250. Price: $5,950

L.C.SMITH SPECIALTY 16 GAUGE FEATHERWEIGHT-ENGLISH STOCK RARE

L.C.SMITH SPECIALTY 16 GAUGE FEATHERWEIGHT-ENGLISH STOCK RARE

L.C.SMITH SPECIALTY 16 GAUGE FEATHERWEIGHT-ENGLISH STOCK RARE: sn218189E, Ejectors, Hunter One trigger, 26″bbls, choked sk1 and sk2. Mfg in 1914, one of only 691 manufactured between 1913-1950, and is even more unusual in the straight stock configuration.This gun is in excellent condition and would be a fine collectors piece and /or field gun. It shows light wear, has mirror bores, and the ejectors are in perfect working order. The stock is 141/4″LOP, cast off for the right hand, and is a nicely figured piece of wood with crisp checkering. The action is tight and there are double ivory beads on the barrels. An overall nice piece that will gain value and will be a pleasure to handle. Price: $5,600

Westley Richards Pigeon Side by Side 12GA 28"

Westley Richards Pigeon Side by Side 12GA 28″

Westley Richards Pigeon Side by Side 12GA 28″: Chokes (FULL/EXTRA FULL) barrels, case-colored action with single selective trigger. Prince of Wales pistol grip stock, splinter forend. About 60% of factory case-color hardening remains, minor bluing wear and handling marks in stock. Probably a live pigeon gun, tight bores and heavy barrels.  Built between 1906-1915 . Sold without case. Price: $4,995

 

 

Pheasant o2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakotapener in South Dakota

2008 Pheasant opener in South Dakota

Will the birds be back? That’s the big questions thousands of hunters will be asking as they head  today for the opening of South Dakota’s 2014 pheasant hunting season.

Last year’s opener was a bust for a lot of people. Back-to-back years of poor rain and thousands of acres of loss CRP took their toll on gamebirds throughout the state. This raised concern across the state and throughout the country: Was South Dakota dying? It sure looked like it.

I hear much of SD has had plenty of rain this year, and early reports from the state say bird numbers are better (even though numbers are still way down from the 10-year average).

South Dakota used to be the best place in the world to hunt wild ringneck pheasants. I hope it regains that title this season — and holds onto it in the years to come.

BTW: If you’re heading out for the opener, please let me know how you do. Stay safe — and I hope you see a ton of birds.

The first place we hit.

The first place we hit.

Lexi and I headed out for our first day in the field last Saturday. Lexi did well, but the birds were scarce. We moved two grouse and zero woodcock (and we hit two of my best woodcock spots).

The day started in some classic New England upland coverts – overgrown farmland broken up by plowed fields — plenty of tumbling rock walls and old, craggy apple trees. Lexi hit the first spot with crazed exuberance, bouncing and leaping like she was electrified. She seemed thrilled, but not sure why. We hunted into a birdy looking tangle and after a few seconds of high-octane tail wagging, she popped into a point. I thought she had her very first bird. It turned out to be a dud, though.

Lexi began by ranging out 10-20 yards and keeping a close eye on me. I walked her into the birdy-looking spots and tried to show her where to hunt. By the end of the day, she had started to hunt on her own. Her range was about 40 yards, and she was more independent and bold. She came when I called her, and quartered on command. Not bad for a five-month old pup.

The past week has real warm throughout New England, and I’m not hearing a lot of good things about the woodcock. I’m hoping to find some migrants tomorrow. We’ll be pushing further north and hitting spots that should have some local birds. With a little luck, Lexi may have her very first point. My fingers are crossed. Wish us luck.

Apples from an old apple tree

Apples from an old apple tree

A birdy looking spot

A birdy looking spot

Nice cover. No birds.

Nice cover. No birds.

 

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