This article originally appeared in Issue Zero of Project Upland Magazine.
“What do you love about bird hunting? For me, it’s everything from the clanging of dog bells and the smell of woodsmoke outside my cabin at night to the bittersweet emotions I feel when I kill a bird as beautiful as a woodcock.
Of course, I also love the guns, especially vintage side by-sides.
I’ve been obsessed with old side-by-sides for decades now. I’ve owned ones by all the major American makers, and I’ve owned others from the United Kingdom and other European makers. I actually haven’t owned a gun—like a Holland & Holland Royal or a Dickson Round Action, but I’ve held many examples in my hands. Even with all this experience, I learn new things about old shotguns all the time.
So if you’re looking to buy a vintage shotgun, trust me when I say there’s a lot you need to know before you buy one. Here’s a crash course to get you going. Before we begin, I’ll also give you a warning: Old doubles are addictive. Don’t be surprised (or sorry) if you find yourself spending hours learning about them and looking for the perfect one. It will be time well spent …”
Of all the sporting magazines out there today, Covey Rise is the newest – and one of the most beautiful. If you haven’t seen it yet, head over to the local bookstore and pick up a cop. I’m sure you’ll be impressed. If you grab the latest issue, you can check out my latest article, excerpted below. I hope you like it.
In 1948, a young Italian gunmaker man named Stefano Fausti stood at his workbench, picked up his files, and started a company. For most people, the time would not have seemed propitious. During World War II, Italy had been crushed as armies ground a crimson path to Berlin. But as these armies blew up and bombed their way across the country, they also cleared the way for a new nation…
Engraving is one of those things that can make or break a shotgun. When it’s done right, it add to a double’s overall elegance, and pushes it to the level of a real Best gun.
Lisa Tomlin is an engraver who is a master engraver who’s an expert at doing it right. She started engraving in 1983 when she was hired by Ken Hurst. Eventually she went out on her own, working on custom knives and then firearms.
Today, she has engraved firearms for everyone from former President George H.W. Bush and General Normal Schwarzkopf to movie director/screen writer John Milius.
“Constrained by trigger and bolt and breech, the gun engraver’s canvas is hardly the size of a playing card. A few square inches with possibly another stamp-size space or two. That’s where she is asked to express the surprise flush of a pheasant, the quiver of a pointing dog’s flank, the thunder of an elephant scenting danger…”
Shooting Sportsman just published my first feature-length magazine article in their July edition. It’s about Addieville East Game Farm, Chokebore Kennels, and Robin Hollow Outfitters.
I visited them last fall and had a great time at all three.
A Sporting Trifecta
“Move up there and get ready to shoot,” Jack told me.
We were five minutes into our hunt and already had a point. It was a Saturday morning in October, and I was at Addieville East Farm, in northwest Rhode Island. Manager Jack O’Brien was my guide. As the sun broke above the trees, autumn’s reds and golds seemed to burst all around us. I had a field of cover and the whole morning ahead. Life was good….”
Back before I sold my soul to the world of advertising, I aspired to be a real writer. While I was laboring away on short stories and reading small-print literary journals, I came across a short story by a new writer names Rick Bass.
After I found figured out that “real writer” means “real poor” for most people who make their living with a pen, I moved on to commercial work. But I always kept up with Rick’s work, and I’ve always admired it. This short piece from the recent issue of Garden & Gun magazine is the reason why. It’s about dogs, a dream, and a whole lot more. It’s worth checking out and I hope you enjoy it.
Lead shot is controversial subject in the world of upland hunting and shotgun shooting. In 1991, the federal government banned the use of lead shot for us in all types of waterfowl hunting. Today,many people thinking that lead shot needs to be banned for all types of bird hunting, from pheasants and quail to grouse.
Ted Williams (not that one, the outdoor writer, conservationist one) wrote a piece in a recent issue of Audobon magazine that I encourage you to check it out. I don’t agree with all of it, but there’s definitely some food for thought there.
Bad Shot, by Ted Williams
“Despite cheap, readily available alternatives, most American sportsmen are still using lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Because of this, some of our most majestic birds, from eagles to loons to condors, pay a terrible price…”