A Break in the Action, Season 2, Episode 2: Are ‘British shotguns better than American shotguns’?: Jonny Carter hosts the TGS Outdoors channel on Youtube. A few weeks ago he uploaded a video simply titled ‘British guns are better than American guns’ and with that – Pandora’s Box was opened! Today I am joined by the now infamous Jonny Carter and Gregg Elliott of Dogs and Doubles to discuss some of the points that the Youtube video may have left off specifically – how do the best shotguns that America has ever produced stack up to the London best guns?
I’ve known Sean & Liz Delaney since they started their shooting trips to the UK. I’ve watched their business grow and their clients list expand.
They’ve done this by offering clients great sporting experiences at prices that are more affordable than what British companies charge for the same thing. See for yourself what people say about Delaney & Sons in this long list of testimonials.
From 2000 to around 2012, the highlight of my year was the week I hunted in South Dakota. That was back during peak pheasant (see chart below), and it was to see a few hundred of those birds a day along with dozens of sharptails and huns.
Most years I went out for the season opener in October. One year I held off until November, once the crops were out of the fields all the hunters had gone home.
The day after I arrived, temperatures dropped from the 50s to the 20s and a blizzard rolled in and buried us. I spent the rest of the week hunting in conditions like you see in this video. I had a 12g Fox Sterlingworth and a chocolate Lab named Jack. For four days, we had thousands of acres of land, and thousands and thousands of pheasants, to ourselves.
Here’s more about this Custom Tall Timbers Beretta SL3 OU from the folks at Tall Timbers:
“A Quail Gun with a Cause”. Tall Timbers Gun III, Custom Stocked Hand-Engraved Beretta SL3
Tallahassee, Fla. August 26, 2020 ― Number Three in the Tall Timbers Gun series is, appropriately, the SL3, the newest offering from Beretta’s famed Premium Division in Gardone, Italy. The SL3 was introduced in 2018, first as a 12-gauge capable of withstanding high-volume punishment from driven-game shooters in Britain. Beretta designed it to be agile and responsive in the hands, yet capable of enduring hundreds of thousands of rounds, including hard-to-digest steel- and other hard non-toxic shot — in other words, a 21st Century version of a best game gun. Last year, the world’s oldest gunmaker unveiled its sleeker, lighter sibling in 20-gauge, perfect for American upland hunters, and ideal for those who pursue bobwhites behind bird dogs.
The SL3 is a symbiosis between Beretta’s centuries-old craft heritage and its state-of-the-art command of modern metallurgy and manufacturing capabilities. Shotguns produced by the latter method, often designed by engineers, can be handsome and affordable and are usually relentlessly reliable, but can lack the grace and beauty and subtle handling attributes of those made by a skilled craftsman’s hands and eyes. But with handiwork in increasingly short supply worldwide, it is ever more expensive — a traditional handcrafted best gun will cost as much as a Porsche 911, and often much, much more.
The SL3 was purpose-made to bridge the gulf between man and machine. Ferdinando Belleri —the traditionally-trained master gunmaker who captains the Beretta custom shop — designed it with other elite old-school craftsmen, but its components are machined with exacting precision in the larger factory. These return to the custom shop — Beretta Due, as it’s called — and under Belleri’s eagle-eyed supervision every SL3 is assembled, hand-fit and finished to the standards which Beretta premium guns are known for. The result is a hybrid — with the beauty of Beretta’s sidelock SO10, and the durability of its Olympic medal-winning DT11 competition guns, and far less expensive than the former.
As with the first two Tall Timbers guns—the first by bespoke Italian maker Luciano Bosis, the second by Scotland’s renowned David McKay Brown — this year’s gun is an international collaboration headed by Tall Timbers CEO William Palmer, assisted by Shooting Sportsman Senior Editor Vic Venters. For the second time, noted American artist C.D. Clarke was enlisted to provide artwork — of flushing bobwhite against a backdrop of the famous fire research grounds at Tall Timbers — to serve as a template for the SL3’s hand-engraved game scene on the base of the action. Standard SL3s come either with a plain highly polished action, or with English-style rose & scroll, or full game scenes, or deep floral scroll, engraved to superb standards by Beretta’s five-axis laser technology. The Tall Timbers Beretta combines the deep floral scroll with the hand-engraved bobwhite scene to distinguish it from all others. Premium Beretta dealer Rich Cole, of Cole Fine Guns & Gunsmithing — often dubbed “Mister Beretta” for his expertise on the line — was instrumental in recruiting Beretta for the third Tall Timbers gun. Cole, headquartered in Naples, Florida, and one of America’s pre-eminent dealers of fine Italian shotguns, traveled to Gardone to hand-select the highly figured walnut blank and to coordinate the custom engraving with Beretta. The gun has been headed up, but the stock left unfinished so that it can be custom fit by Cole to the purchaser’s bespoke stock dimensions. It will then be made-to-measure, hand-checkered and finished out in his workshop.
So equipped, the lucky new owner should never miss another bobwhite, but should it happen, it will be for a good cause — wild quail conservation.
By Chris Dorsey. Published www.SportingClassicsDaily.com, Jun 30, 2020.
“When last September’s chilling news from Cornell University’s Laboratory of Ornithology hit press wires reporting a decline of some three billion birds across North America since the 1970s, there was one group in Chicago already making plans to raise awareness about the shocking problem and the little-known habitat that holds the key to continental bird populations.
“The prairie wetlands that stretch mostly from western Canada to North and South Dakota are as ecologically important to North America as the Amazon is to South America or the Serengeti is to Africa,” says Charles Potter, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation President and CEO. “Yet few people know of this important and imperiled ecosystem. We’re going to change that.”…
I’ve been chasing birds for thirty-five plus years now, and while the hunters I’ve known have come from all over and all kinds of backgrounds, 99.999% of them have been white guys (I hunted once with a guy from Puerto Rico).
So the first time I saw Durrell Smith’s work in Project Upland about African American dog trainers and bird hunters and their legacy in the southern quail hunting, I was intrigued.
Durrell has a point of view I haven’t heard before. His stories show me how much more there is to our sport — and how much is missing from my tiny, narrow view of it.
This piece by Durrell is on the Outdoor Life website now.
“There’s a deep, rich history of African American dog trainers in the South. It’s time to face the beauty, and ugliness, of those origins
I’m a diehard bird hunter and dog man. I love everything about it: The discipline and patience it requires, the glorious days in the field, and the long, storied history behind it all. But as an African American dog man living in Georgia, I know that there’s a large hole missing in the history of bird hunting and dog training. That hole is created by stories unheard and untold to the general public…”
From Outdoor Life: Durrell Smith is a 30-year-old native of Atlanta, an author, visual artist, art teacher, bird dog handler/trainer, and most notably, the host and founder of The Gun Dog Notebook Podcast. He writes mainly for Project Upland and is also a member of the Ga-Fla Shooting Dog Handlers Club in Thomasville, Georgia.
Episode 8: Experienced grouse chasers from the Northwoods, BUT will hunting knowledge and writing experience truly help them in this battle of bird brain trivia? The winner gets bragging rights and the loser will be wearing a skirt…… errrr…kilt…. on an upland excursion this fall.
Learn how Craig Doherty and Gregg Elliott use long-legged pointing beasts to hunt Ruffed Grouse in the Northeast. Get to know the guys behind the writing of articles you’ve seen in Pointing Dog Journal and Shooting Sportsman.
Bob Foshay passed away last week. He was as a Master MaineGuide, a lover ofbird dogs, and my friend. I’ll miss him.
I think the first time we hunted together was in October 2006. Bob took me to classic grouse and woodcock covers — old apple orchards, dairy pastures reclaimed by alders, poplar stands blocked off by rock walls — and to unlikely spots like stands of pines and pockets of young maples. The first lesson Bob taught me was that those kinds of unlikely covers could hold birds.
Bob also taught me about bird dogs. He was one of the first guys in New England to hunt with a field-bred English Cocker (named Trigger), and at one time he ran and field-trialed a lemon-and-white Pointer. By the time I was hunting with him, he had moved on to an English Setter and GSPs. Bob taught me the merits of the different breeds and what mattered when looking for a pup.
I had my pointer Puck back then, and Bob loved to watch bolt through the woods and spring over fallen logs. “She does everything with gusto!” he said — and he was right.
The first video below is from October of 2012. That may have been the last season I hunted with Bob. I helped him sell off his shotgun & dog training gear when retired from guiding and bird hunting. I also helped him find a new home for his last bird dog, a close-hunting little GSP named Nellie. I tried to take him out a few years later so he could watch my pointers run, but it never happened. I don’t remember why.
Patrick Flanaganm Border to Border Outfitters, is a wanderer, a dog lover, and a bird hunter. Living-the-dream he chases wild birds from Minnesota and South Dakota to Arizona. The guys at Project Upland caught up with him and some clients on a wild quail hunt. Check out this great film to join them: All Wild – An Arizona Quail Hunting Film
Rough grouse populations have not been doing well in Pennsylvania for a while now, and other states are seeing similar drops in their grouse populations. Watch this video to see some of the thinking behind why this is going on.
CHARLESTON, WV – Gov. Jim Justice announced today that the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is beginning a five-year project to restore northern bobwhite quail to the state. This bird is a native species and once was found across West Virginia, but the winters of 1977, 1978, and 1979 devastated the bobwhite quail in West Virginia.
“There’s no question we’ve lost favorable habitat to quail over the last several decades, however, there is still a significant amount of habitat for quail to flourish by starting this reintroduction program,” Gov. Justice said. “Over the next few years, we’re going to work so that our folks can once again hear that familiar bobwhite whistle.”
Here’s a great video of some old-school duck hunting with a real punt gun: The Fens (1945) – Wildfowling. This style of waterfowling was practiced through the UK and Europe. The Fens are a coastal area on the east coast of central England.
The Gun Nuts over at Field & Stream are full of insights and information. In this video, Phil Bourjaily, one of the nuts (the right one?) and Shotgun Editor for the main magazine, gives you some tips on how to be a better shot.
I make mistakes #3 and #4 all the time. Which ones do you have problems with?
If you like bird dogs and bird hunting, here’s a preview for a film. The film playing across the country this February. I’m going to see it on the 12th. Here’s more about it from the Project Upland site:
“Earlier this year, Project Upland Magazine in collaboration with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, joined together to tell the story of our beloved #PublicGrouse. The idea was simple: capture the people, places, and birds that make the story of grouse and public lands in North America so important to us. We sought to celebrate the truth that without public lands we would not know any of the grouse species in the capacity we do. They are a part of our culture, the fabric of American grouse hunting…”
“For Joel Penkala, Marketing Manager of Griffin and Howe, the idea of a legacy shotgun has personally come alive through the pages of grouse hunting classics. At its core, it is simply the shotgun that is truly worthy of being passed down from one generation to the next, a proven and treasured implement that will continue to not only meet but will exceed the demands of upland covers across time and space.”
We are extremely excited to share with you the details for a new shoot at Finca Fuentelfresno, located along the Eastern edge of the Cordilla Central Mountain Range, approximately forty-five minutes northeast of Madrid. This will be a traditional partridge shoot, and all shooting will be conducted within the confines of the Estate, with different drives every day. This is truly a rare and unique opportunity. Let us know soon if you are interested in this elegant and all things Spanish driven shooting experience!
Best, Sean and Liz Delaney
Fuentelfresno consists of 35,000 acres of ground filled with olive groves, almond trees, vineyards, farmland, and rolling hills, all providing excellent habitat with perfect topography for a traditional shoot. Birds are driven by a team of up to forty beaters over narrow valleys for the guns waiting below. We will shoot three back-to-back 400 bird days. This is challenging shooting in a breathtaking setting!
We will spend the entire week at Finca Fuentelfresno as the guests of Carlos de Llanza Mala, its current custodian. The Lodge, which was built by Carlos’ father about sixty years ago, manages to be rustic and elegant at the same time, a perfect setting for a shooting party. All rooms are en suite and comfortable, with excellent views of the gardens and the landscape beyond. The Main Lounge has a pair of beautiful fireplaces, a perfect spot for a sundowner. Our team will have exclusive use of the premises, and all of our meals will be prepared in-house by our chef Anna. The food is beyond compare.
Shoot Price – $9,750
Includes: Transportation to and from Madrid airport and throughout the week, three days of driven shooting (with an anticipated bag of 400 birds per day), lodging at the elegant Fuentelfresno, guns (if needed) and ammunition, traditional tapas and shoot lunches on the estate, gourmet dinners each evening, alcohol, game licenses, liability insurance, and gun permits (for your guns or ours).
Excludes: Flights, gratuities to chargor (loader) and secretario (€80 each per day), and gratuities to hotel staff (€100 total).
Non-Shooting or Peg-Sharing Spouses: Non-shooting spouses are welcome to join us for an additional $1,750. This includes four nights’ lodging, all meals, alcohol, and ground transportation. Two days of sightseeing. Spouses are welcome to share pegs on some or all days for the same rate.
“This family shoot (Finca Fuentelfresno) is favoured by many of the royal houses of Europe and King Juan Carlos, although no longer young, still takes 6 days during the year when he comes, either with friends and family, or as a guest of friends. The photos displayed in the lodge go from Caroline of Monaco (who on a yearly basis takes a team of ladies to shoot with her), to Dutch Crown Prince William Alexander van Oranje, and the Grand Duke of Luxembourg …”