AYA is one of Spain’s most famous gunmakers, and the No. 2 is probably AYA’s most famous shotgun. This model was introduced in the ’50s and went on to become the company’s top seller. Today, these guns gun around $8000 brand new.
AyA ~ No. 2 ~ 12 — $2,399.99: The Aguirre Y Aranzabal No. 2 is a handmade side by side shotgun with hand detachable side locks, cocking indicators, automatic ejectors, double triggers and case hardened frame with scroll engraving. There are few spots of finish damage on the barrels. The action is tight, the barrels are on face and the top lever is right of center. This is a truly fine shotgun at a very affordable price. Manufactured 1999 in Spain. 12 Gauge. Chambers: 2 3/4 inch chambers. Metal Condition: Good overall with some scratches, small spots of finish damage on the barrels and some wear on the sharp edges. Wood Condition: Good with some scratches and dents. Bore Condition: Very good. Barrels: 28 inch barrel. Triggers: Double triggers with articulated front trigger Stock Dimensions: 15 1/4 in. LOP, 1 5/8 in. DAC, 2 3/4 in. DAH Fore End: Splinter fore end Butt Pad: Rubber pad Weight: 6 Lbs. 10 Oz. Sights: Concave game rib with single bead Chokes: Improved cylinder and modified. Price:$2,399.99
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.
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.
I’m always on the lookout for deals, and this 20g Beretta BL-4 looks like a good one to me. It’s on Gunbroker.com now and the online auction ends tomorrow, 4/19, @ 10:01 PM.
Upside: I think it’s in great shape, it looks like it has a nice, long LOP thanks to the professionally-installed pad. It also has 28″ barrels, 3″ chambers, and ejectors.
Downside: The opening bid is $1,295. So not a steal, but a deal.
Beretta’s BL-grade shotguns were imported from Italy by the Garcia Corp in the ’60s and through the ’70s. They feature a shallow, low profile action scaled to match the gauge and they were build to be rugged, reliable doubles that delivered a lot of quality for the money.
Beretta BL-4 20 Gauge 28″ Barrels: Choked light mod / Mod. The chokes were opened up from Mod / Full and a recoil pad installed by Briley Mfg in 2012. The LOP is 15 inches. The cast and drop were not adjusted. We do not know if the gold leaf on the action is factory original or not. It was present when the gun was purchased from an estate in 2010. The gun is in excellent condition and has been fired very little since it was acquired from the /estate. The action is tight and on the face.
LOVE CAN BE HARD TO UNDERSTAND, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT’S for anything other than babies, puppies, and ice cream. Of all the things I love about upland hunting—my pointers flashing through the woods, the whirl of a flushing woodcock, the cidery smell of old apple trees—my lifelong affair with shotguns is the most difficult for me to comprehend.
I’m not from a family of hunters or shooters. My grandfather never killed a bird in his life. While my dad was a fisherman, he never owned a gun or fired a rifle. And I didn’t grow up on a farm with cornfields or stands of aspen outside my door. I grew up in Connecticut, down the street from a 7-Eleven and a strip mall anchored by a bar called the Amber Light Lounge & Cafe. But despite all this, bird hunting, and especially shotguns, have always been my thing.
When I was a kid, I pestered my father to take me to gun shops. I didn’t care about the rifles, and I didn’t stare at glass cases lined with revolvers and pistols. I wanted to see the shotguns. Most of the ones I came across were autoloaders and pumps: Remington 1100s, Winchester Model 12s. Sometimes there would be an O/U, usually a Browning Superposed. Those always commanded my attention. When I was thirteen, my family moved to northern New Hampshire. Now there were woods behind our house and, I would discover, grouse.
Our first bird season there my father borrowed two shotguns. The one for me was a 16-gauge Savage Fox Model B. I was fascinated with it. I had seen side-by-sides in a little newspaper I received called the Orvis News, but this was the first one I had held in my hands. With its two barrels aligned next to each other and double triggers, it looked awkward and outdated. But it also seemed more refined and purpose-built than any other shotgun I had come across. It suggested something . . . different? better? I wasn’t sure, but I was reluctant to give it back at the end of the season.
My father and I hunted grouse throughout my high school years, but he had little passion for it. I tugged us out the door early Saturday mornings and insisted we hunt every weekend. Fortunately, my father obliged. When I was fifteen, he indulged me again by taking me to buy my first shotgun: a 20-gauge Remington pump with a twenty-one-inch barrel and a straight stock. I hunted with it into my twenties.
I went to college near one of the largest gun shops in the country. The sales floor was crowded with racks of firearms, hundreds in all, and there were always dozens of shotguns for me to look at. I spent many Sunday afternoons there looking at the Rugers, Berettas, Parkers, and Foxes—shouldering one, then another, and another, flipping over the price tags, trying to find anything I could afford.
Collectors and hoarders have a lot in common; the first group is just more discriminating than the other. In my first ten years or so of chasing doubles, I was a hoarder. If a gun had two barrels, I wanted it. My first double was an A. H. Fox Sterlingworth. Then there was a Parker VHE. Both were 12s and both weighed around seven pounds. The bluing on the barrels had been worn to gray, and the checkering on both had been rubbed smooth. Neither fit me well. But I didn’t care. They were the classic American shotguns, they killed birds, and they were mine. I was proud to own them, and when I bought them, I swore I would never part with either one. Of course, when other doubles came along, my resolve faded, and I sold both.
Over the next decade I owned Ithaca NIDs, a run of 16-gauge L.C. Smith No. 2s, a SuperFox, and more Parkers, including a 12-gauge DHE pigeon gun with thirty-two-inch barrels. There were Francottes, W & C Scott Premiers, and Charles Daly Diamond grades. Boxlocks and sidelocks. A Purdey hammergun from the 1860s and a Merkel double rifle from the 1950s. Guns, guns, and more guns. Some I shot; most I didn’t. Regardless of whether or not I fired them, I studied every one and noted their mechanics, styling, and workmanship.
Along with guns, I also hoarded information: The Double Gun Journal and Shooting Sportsman, old catalogs from gunmakers like Boss & Co. and retailers like Abercrombie & Fitch, books by Michael McIntosh, Stephen Bodio, Donald Dallas, and Major Burrard. I loved learning the obscure language and knowledge of doubles as much as I enjoyed the history of the classic American and British makers. All this was the sun and water that grew my fondness for shotguns into a full obsession. Losing money is an excellent way to learn a lesson, and my hoarding period was an expensive education in buying and selling guns.
I learned how to spot reblued barrels, the right questions to ask a seller, and what dealers mean when they say a gun is “as new” (it’s totally redone). I learned how to measure up a set of barrels and the arcane language of shotgun proof marks. I also learned the value of original condition and, more importantly, how to spot it.
The most important thing my hoarding period taught me was what I thought was important. Like most people who get into guns, I started with an interest in what everyone else said was special: Parkers, Winchester Model 21s, Purdeys. After a while, I learned what was special to me: vintage British doubles (especially ones in their original cases), German O/Us made before World War II, and, above all, high-quality shotguns in original condition. When I concentrated on what I thought mattered, I became a collector. I learned to discriminate, and this taught me more about what moved me and who I am.
Why do we love the things we do? Perhaps it’s a search for wholeness or inspiration. Perhaps we’re looking to bring some type of beauty into our lives or connect with deep, profound currents running through all people for all time. Regardless, I know I can’t decide what I’ll love. My heart makes these decisions, and most make little sense to me. But if I want to feel satisfied and make my hours and days feel worthwhile, I need to follow its commands.
If you’re jonesing for grouse season like I am, you’ll enjoy this video. Just released by the guys at Project Upland it’s a great look into what makes upland hunting so special–and a great reminder of what’s just a few months away.
If you hang around the coverdog field trial circuit at all, you probably know Hifive. Located in Beulah, MI, they’ve been breeding, training, and trialing dogs for 20+ years, and they’ve produced a long list of great dogs.
I’m not used to nice accommodations, and on past hunting trips I’ve curled up with my Pointers to stay warm, eaten Beefaroni out of the can, and gagged while using outhouses ranker than rest-area porta pottys.
The North Maine Woods are 4-6 hours from Boston, 3Xs the size of Rhode Island, and more populated with moose than people. Once you’re in them, a dirt-road empire rolls out before you in every which way.. It’s lorded over by logging trucks, crisscrossed with brook trout streams, and spotted everywhere with grouse and woodcock cover.
Chandler Lake Camps is an outpost of comfort and graciousness amongst all of this. Built in 1902, it was an abandoned family retreat when current owners Jason and Sherry Bouchard bought in the ’90s. With hard work and grit, they rescued it from decades of neglect and turned it into one of Maine’s finest sporting camps.
For uplanders, Chandlers is a place to get into lots of birds, whether you do it by hiring one of the camp’s Registered Maine Guides or by grabbing a Delorme map book and asking Jason to highlight some likely looking spots like I did.
Lexi, Sky and I averaged 2-3 birds an hour — solid numbers considering it was our first time in the area. We hunted overgrown logging roads and shot into the woods to explore deep pockets of birdy-looking cover and the furthest cover we hit was only 15 miles away from the camp.
On top of great bird hunting, Chandler Lake Camps also has great accommodations. Guests are treated to their own hand-peeled, spruce log cabins, each with a wood stove, electric lights, complete indoor facilities and charging outlets for things like remote collars and GPSs.
Meals are served in the main lodge, and everyone eats together around a large, wooden table. Breakfast is to order, lunches packed for you, and dinner family style. There’s a different menu each night, and everything is homemade in the lodge’s kitchen–even the bread and bagels.
And while Chandler Lake Camps is far away from civilization, it does have internet connection to the outside world. So anyone who needs to stay in touch with home or work can check in.
Here’s something I’m dying to do, and with quail numbers up, I think it’s time for me to head west and check it out. I’ve never hunted quail — wild or pen raised. From this video, the experience looks awesome. The video was produced by the Quail Coalition. They did a great job.
Here’s a great bird gun. Beretta’s BL-line of OUs were imported into the US in the ’60s & ’70s by the Garcia Corporation. With various degrees of engraving and a touch better finishing, I think they’re a bit more refined the 686s. They can bought at better prices, too. This one is Gunbroker.com now. The online auction ends 4/27/2017 @ 2:42 PM.
Here’s the info on it from the seller:
Used Beretta BL-4 20 gauge, 28″ bbls. This gun is in nice condition with only minor scratches and ware to it. None of the marks really stand out on the gun. Marks are noticeable but not bad at all. Overall gun was well cared for by the previous owner. Guns action runs smooth and opens and closes with no issue at all. Top barrel on the gun is Full choke and the bottom barrel is modified. Pictures of the gun should give you a good idea of how it looks.
Ruger Red Label 28ga 26in Vent Rib OU, Nice NO RESERVE 28ga: This is a Ruger Red Label over/under shotgun in 28ga. It has a stainless receiver and 26″ blued vent rib barrels. It is chambered for 2 3/4″ shells with screw in chokes, 2 are included. It is in great shape showing just a few light handling marks. The checkered stock and forearm are in great shape, no cracks or chips. A very nice piece of wood! The bores are nice and shiny. It has a original Ruger plastic buttplate with a 14 1/4″ length of pull. The serial number is 420-156**.
Even though our trip to Maine a couple weeks ago produced few birds, it did give Lexi the chance to get out in the woods and start on down the path to becoming a bird dog. Here’s are a few quick videos of her in action.
Overall, she handles well – coming when she’s called, hunting to the front, quartering naturally, and coming around on command. Her range stretched out to 200-300+ yards on some casts, and after she had some solid grouse & woodcock finds her under collar, she started to hunt objectives.
You can see how much fun she’s having in these videos, and how dynamic and electric she is in the field.
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.
Puck and I are back from hunting. We had a great time. While I download some pics and pull together my thoughts, check out this great video of rough shooting in the UK.
Rough shooting is a lot like the kind of upland hunting we do here in the US. Check out the video to see what I mean, and to see how similar the countryside in Old England is to the stuff we see in New England.
Every gun nut has THE shotgun they’re trying to find. For a friend of mine, it’s 2o gauge Lindner-made Charles Daly with damascus barrels. Another guy I know is searching everywhere for an all original, color-case hardened Belgian-made 20g sidelock with 28″+ tubes.
My holy-grail used to be a 16 gauge L.C. Smith No.2 with a straight grip and double triggers. I spent years trying to track one down. When you look at the gunmaker’s production numbers, it’s easy to see why.
According to the L.C. Smith Collector’s Association, the folks in Fulton made just seven-hundred and ninety-three 16-gauge No. 2s. I bet at least 90% of these had pistol grips, and that’s why one with this configuration are easy hard to find (I’ve owned at least 3).
But swap in a straight grip, ask for double triggers, and now you’ve got a tough gun to track down. L.C. Smith probably set up fewer than thirty 16g No. 2s like this, and I’ve spent a decade looking for one.
In the past few month — bang! — two of them have popped up on the market. When I found the first one, I shocked by the condition – 90%+ all original – and stunned by the price – $8,0000. This one has less of that condition, but the price is still steep. Of course, it may be the last one you every see:
16 gauge L.C. Smith 2E with an original straight grip and double triggers: Nice, original condition LC Smith 16 GA, grade 2E. 28″ barrels choked .021 modified right and .032 left. Both bores are .661. Barrels retain 75-80% original blue. Engraving is sharp and clear, original case color remains at 50% or so. Straight hand stock with splinter fore-end. Checkering is sharp and un-damaged. Butt stock has an extension added that is so good that is hard to see.(see photos). LOP is 14 7/8″ to a 1/2″ pad. DAC 1 5/8, DAH 2 3/4, Cast is neutral. Mechanically perfect, this one is ready for some action in the field or on the range. Price: $5,495.00