Back in the day, L.C. Smith was one of America’s most successful gunmakers. According to this timeline from the L.C. Smith Collector’s Club, the first “L.C. Smith” SxS shotguns appeared in 1884. The company went out of business in 1950. The name was revived in 1969 and retired for good in 1971. In that time, LC Smith built 250,000+ guns in several configurations and grades (learn more about them here).
The 16g you see here is a Field grade, the most basic SxS Smith offered from 1912-1950.
The Field-grade Smiths came in 10g, 12g, 16g, 20g, and .410. Regular and Featherweight (FW) models were offered. LC Smith built around 199,384 of them — 38,678 in 16-gauge alone.
If I had a $1 for every time someone said to me “I would like find a nice, original Fox Sterlingworth”, I’d have enough money to buy nice, original 16g Sterlie you see here.
It’s on Gunbroker.com now and the online auction ends 2/21/2021 @ 8:33 PM.
While Fox Sterlingworths are far from rare (more than 150,000 were built), ones in solid, original condition are hard to find, especially in 16 gauge.
A. H. Fox Sterlingworth 16 ga SxS Shotgun: This is a A.H. Fox Sterlingworth 16 ga and this gun is a jewel. Weighing in at 6 lbs (feels like a lot less) the LOP is 14 1/“ DOC 2” and DAH is “3 this little gun comes up like a dream! It has on little tiny chip on the edge of the forearm but other than that this is a super ALL ORIGINAL gun. The case color is 95% and the wood 85+ Only bc of the chip. The barrels are 28” imp modified/ Full.
Nice grouse gun, nice price. That’s what I thought of when I saw this 20g Orvis Arrieta Uplander. New England Custom Gun in Claremont, NH, has it, and this true sidelock shotgun looks fairly priced at $2,795.
I remember seeing these shotguns in Orvis’s catalogs years ago. Their no-frills looks just feels right for upland hunting in New England. They’re basically 557’s with a plain, blacked finish, which I prefer over the engraving and color-case hardening Arrieta applies to their other guns.
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.
Here’s what I call a can’t-go-wrong double. It’s a Renato Gamba Principessa 28 gauge built on a rugged Anson & Deeley action. It weighs six pounds and it looks pretty much new. Price — a very reasonable $1599.
Renato Gamba is Italian maker better known in the US for their Daytona OU target guns than their SxS game guns. I’ve seen a few of their boxlock SxSs. Each one has been a nice double, and I’m sure this one would be a great upland gun.
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 one of the finest double-barrel shotguns you’re going to find. These Beretta 686s handle like OUs costing many times more. They’re also reliable, easy to fix, and with this kind of Onyx finish, just plain sexy. For grouse, woodcock, and quail, they’re just about ideal.
With two set of barrels, 26.5″ and 29.5″, and a price tag of just $1699.99, this one is extra special. That’s why I’m saying someone needs to buy this gun. If someone else doesn’t snatch it up soon, I just might be the one to do it.
Beretta 686 Onyx 20 Gauge Over Under 2 Barrel Set: This is a very nice Beretta 686 Onyx 2 barrel set. The pictured barrels are 26.5 inch matte black and the second set are 29.5 inch blue, both have vent ribs. The walnut stock and matching forearm are a nice grade of wood with a small hairline crack on the left side of the forearm. All in all a very nice shotgun at a very nice price. Price:$1699.99
Caliber: 20 Gauge.
Chambers: 2 3/4 and 3 inch Over/Under with ejectors.
Metal Condition: Excellent.
Wood Condition: Very good with a small crack on the left side of the forearm.
Bore Condition: All are bright and shiny.
Barrels: 26.5 inch matte black and the second set are 29.5 inch blue.
Triggers: Single silver color.
Stock: Nice mid-grade walut with a checkered pistol grip.
15 inch LOP
Fore End: Matching checkered walnut with finger grooves.
Butt Pad: Replacement black rubber butt pad.
Weight: 6 Lbs 3 Oz with the 26.5 inch barrels.
Sights: Vent ribs with single front beads.
Chokes: Screw in, comes with 9 total chokes.
Extras: Comes with the second barrel and extra chokes.
I’ll be hunting the last two weeks of the month for sure, and then any other days & weekends I can fit in.
After a disappointing 2015, I’m shifting away from central Maine. There are birds there, but I’m having a harder time finding them. I also have less free time to look for them, too. And when you have limited time to hunt, one birdless day’s is a big deal — and not something I want to experience again.
Anyway, here are some pics of hunts and memories from seasons past. I hope you enjoy them.
A breeder I used to know was a blunt SOB. Within 30 minutes of our first meeting he cut me off mid sentence and said this: “Someday you’ll grow up and be done with that.”
We had been talking about pheasant hunting in South Dakota, and I had mentioned the numbers of birds we were killing out there. This was back in ’03, when we were seeing 4-500 pheasants a day on the ground we hunted. Limiting out wasn’t the problem. Limiting out before noon was.
But this arrogant breeder wasn’t impressed. He looked down on anyone who gauged success by the number of bird killed — especially if the birds were wild.
Back then, his attitude pissed me off. I get it now, though.
These days, even though I love to upland hunt, killing birds is far from my top priority. Feathers in hand are nice, and a dead bird every now and then does a lot to keep a bird dog interested in the game. but there’s a lot more that
Here’s another one of these awesome OUs. These doubles are magic wands in the grouse woods. Most of the ones I see have pretty poor wood — but not this one. The 28″ barrels and straight grip are also hard to find.
This over-under is on Gunbroker.com now with No Reserve. The listing ends 7/24/2016 @ 9:18 PM.
Ruger Red Label 28g, 28″ bbls, Straigh English Grip, 1997: This is an early gRed Label in a hard to find configuration. It comes with an english stock, 28″ barrels, 2 1/2″ drop and a 14 1/4″ LOP. Gun is about as nice as it gets. It comes with a very nice leather case with accessories and wooden cleaning rod as seen. Comes with 5 choke tubes.
Right now, the American Woodcock is migrating back from its wintering grounds in the southern United States. Many of these softball-sized birds will travel 1000+ miles as they return to their breeding grounds, some from Louisiana all the way to Maine and Canada. They make this trip twice a year. Just think about that. Amazing.
This woodcock decided to stop off in New York City during his trip. It was spotted in Bryant Park, a 4-acre enclave of green in the center of growling Manhattan. I wonder what the little bird made of the place? I do hope he made it out of there. I’ve been to Bryant Park, and while I love visiting, I’m alway glad to get back home.
BTW: Click on the image to go to Youtube and watch the video.
Lexi and I headed out last Friday afternoon to see if we could find some woodcock. The little guys are migrating north now, and I’ve heard they’re as far up Massachusetts and even into Maine.
We had had warm weather most of last week with a couple days in the 60s, but on Thursday temps dropped and then on Friday a snowstorm rolled in. By the time Lexi and I reached the cover we were going to check out, a couple inches of snow had fallen.
Woodock are ground feeders and worms make up most their diet. So these birds need to find clear areas of frost-free ground to eat. In these pics, you can see how a couple woodcock found this type of cover in a wet seep. They were waddling around in the snow, feeding. The holes and from their beaks, probing into the soft ground for earthworms.
Like grouse hunting? Then you’ll really like these short films. They’re part of the Project Upland Film: Bird Hunting Film Series a ” film initiative to help promote the future of upland bird hunting and the non-profit The Ruffed Grouse Society.” Check them out now.
The Experience: Follow veteran Grouse hunter and New Hampshire native Harry Rowell into the Grouse woods. While Hunting New Hampshire, Harry reflects on his passion for Grouse hunting and the experience as a whole. A humbling short film that will inspire future and current bird hunters alike.
Because They’re Wild: Follow Northeast Regional Director of The Ruffed Grouse Society, Tripp Way into the Grouse Woods. Tripp reflects on his enjoyment of the woods, his passion for the Ruffed Grouse and the precious time spent afield with friends. As a dedicated conservationist and experienced upland hunter Tripp delivers the powerful line of “Its our responsibility to get these folks in the woods”.
It finally happened: Yesterday, I killed my first wild bird over Lexi.
It was a woodcock, and I shot it after she gave me a nice, solid point. The one I shot turned out to be part of a 3-bird cluster. They were all together in an alder tangle, and after I shot the first birds (it took me two shots), the other birds went up.
Today we hit some other alder covers, but it was real cold last night and everything was frosted up. We hit another spot on higher ground and found several woodcock and a grouse. Lexi did her job, but I didn’t.
We have another week to hunt and the grouse are starting to move, to I hope to kill one of those for her soon.
I never set out to be a Pointer guy. Back before I got Puck (my first pointer), I had never even seen one, except for in books and magazines. Then one day I was flipping through an issue of the Pointing Dog Journal, and I noticed an add from a Pointer breeder near me.
“Perhaps no other breed of bird dog has had more selective breeding based solely on their performance in the field than pointers. Even so, pointers are also excellent hunting companions and house pets.
In addition to our English setters, Jerry and I always have owned pointers. We’ve bred, trained, competed and lived with them for more than 20 years and are now producing our fifth generation.”
So far, it’s been several days of ups and days. We’ve been finding birds, but not many. Some of the woodcock have been holding for points, but the grouse have been flushing wild.I saw these birds flush on their own, so I know Lexi was not pushing them up. I’ve never seen such skittish grouse.
It wasn’t until today that we got into a significant number of woodcock. They were right where they should be this time of year – in an stand of Alders – and in about 30 minutes we put up 12 birds. Lexi had solid points on three of them. I missed them all. On the others, a couple flushed wild and Lexi bumped the rest.
Bumped birds are one of the frustrations of breaking in a dog, and it’s hard for me to remain calm and patient when I see Lexi pushing birds into the sky. She’s also had her share of long pauses/false points. After a while, these things drive me mad.
I strapped my pointer cam on her so I could get a better look at what she was doing in the woods. The videos below are what we shot. There’s a long and short version. Take a look and let me know your thoughts.
You can’t hunt on Sundays in Maine, but you can run a bird dog. So Lexi and I made it out this AM for a little photo safari/training run. Lexi hit birds the first place we stopped, and in about 45 minutes she pointed 2 grouse and 2 woodcock.
I saw the grouse flush wild before I could get all the way to Lexi’s point. The same thing happened with one of the woodcock. I flushed the second woodcock out from under a perfect point. Talk about proud.
I can tell Lexi is still figuring out how to handle these birds, and she may have pressured the first three a bit too much. Compared to how she did yesterday, she’s learning fast. With a little luck, I should kill her first wild bird for her tomorrow.
If you live to hunt grouse & woodcock (like me), the first two weekends of October are horrible teases. I always high hope for them, but I never have an equal amount of luck. For me, the upland season doesn’t really get started until the last two weeks of the month. And today was the first day of those last weeks.
Lexi and I hit a few covers in central Maine today. We found a 7-8 woodcock and, surprisingly, a bunch of grouse — in one spot, 5 in about 15 minutes. Three of those grouse flushed wild out of an apple tree. In this video, you can see moments leading up to the wild flush. Look at that tail! Even though Lexi’s pointing old scent, she’s pretty thrilled. The birds must have been on the ground, and then hopped into the tree when we got close.
Today is the second day of fall – and one day into the best time of the year. Here’s a bit of what I’m looking forward to: Fresh apples, pumpkins, poplar leaves shimmering like gold coins, wool jackets — and of course — bird hunting.
Maine & NH’s grouse season opens in October 1, and the woodcock should start moving through northern New England after Columbus Day. I’ll be in Maine for two weeks this year, and I’m hoping for a great season. Lexi is ready to go, and I’ve heard the bird numbers are looking good.