Brescia, Italy. Great place, great people, great guns…

Train station in Brescia, Italy
The train station in Brescia, Italy

Last week I flew into Milan, Italy, and traveled east to Brescia to visit Beretta and a few other gunmakers.

People in the Brescia region have been building guns for 400+ years. Today, the area is home to 100+ companies who build 40% of the sporting and hunting firearms sold around the world.

In 2016, these companies shipped 395,000 guns to the U.S. alone.

Beretta is the biggest and most famous of these companies. This year they’re introducing a fine new OU called the SL3. I talk more about this gun–and about the other gunmakers I visited–in future posts.

Learn more about gunmaking in the Brescia region.

Roman ruins in Brescia
Roman ruins in Brescia
Vineyards in front of the Castle of Brescia
Vineyards in front of the Castle of Brescia
Cool building in the old part of Brescia
Cool building in the old part of Brescia
Val Trompia, from a roofdeck at the Beretta factory
Val Trompia, from a roof deck at the Beretta factory
Dinner one night in Brescia
Dinner one night in Brescia
Mille Miglia Musem in Brescia
At the Mille Miglia Museum in Brescia

7 reasons you’ll kick yourself if you miss this shoot …

“The memories will last a lifetime!” – David J.

Wales awaits! If you’ve ever dreamt of shooting in the UK, you’re in luck: The Harding Shoot has a few spots left. It runs from November 15, 2015, to November 21, 2015. .Here are 7 reasons you have to go:

1) Superb Birds. High and fast, with great presentations for shooters.

2) Visit five different estates over five days. With shoots in England & Wales

3) Be challenged by a variety of driven birds. Pheasants, partridge, ducks, and woodcock – far more variety than most shoots offer.

4) Shoot more. This shoot present you with more birds and drives than shoots costing much more.

5) Wonderful accommodations. Including great Welsh food and hospitality.

6) Experience the camaraderie of the entire team: shooters, keepers, beaters, pickers-up, and dog handlers.

7) Best of all: it’s a superb value. $8500 for an all-inclusive week.

To learn more, visit The Harding Shoot now, or call 717-919-5317 to speak with the shoot’s organizers right away.

The Harding Shoot is as good as it gets! I have gone for 14 years. I have great memories of outstanding drives. If one wants to experience true British Driven Shooting on beautiful Estates at a reasonable price, I highly recommend the Harding Shoot.” -Tod D.

The Harding Shoot – A Driven Bird Hunt in Wales from Sean Delaney on Vimeo.

“The experience was truly unique. Staying in a classic 16th Century hotel in the charming rural village of Crickhowell, shooting a mixed bag (pheasant, partridge, ducks, and woodcock) on a new estate daily were just some of the highlights. What I thought to be a one time experience turned into me returning for the next five years. The memories and, more importantly, the friendships developed during those years, will last a lifetime.” – David J.

You can read more about everything that makes the Harding Shoot a great time in this post which I put up a few months ago.

Traveling with a travel gun…

Traveling with a nice double barrel is an uncomfortable experience, especially when commercial airlines are involved. I’ve heard too many horror stories about favorite guns being damaged or stolen to rest peacefully when my side-by-sides are in the sky.

Worry about the landing, not about your guns
Worry about the landing, not about your guns

A couple of years ago I eliminated some of this anxiety by buying a travel shotgun. I picked a 20 gauge Beretta 686 Onyx with 28″ barrels. It’s an all around over & under that handles everything I hunt and all the ammo I need to stuff into it (including steel).

Most importantly, it’s not collectible and easy to replace. So if I lose it, or if it ends up severely damaged, I won’t cry because a valuable, hard to find side-by-side has been ruined.

Here are a couple quality double barrel shotguns that I think would make great travel guns. They’re nice guns, too, and I would be proud to carry either one in the field.

An affordable, meat-and-potatoes option: 12g Beretta Bl-3 O/U, 28″ barrels

If you run with a fancier crowd, this one’s more upscale and traditional: 12g Beretta 470 SxS, 28″ barrels