Earlier in the week, I had a long lunch with the Son&Heir, during which we discussed our usual breadth of topics — we have long lunches together — and among the common topics of career advice, lifestyle updates and so on, we spent considerable time talking about guns.
He admitted that he wants / needs a 1911, and despairing of my good health and (for the moment) unlikely demise, realized that his chances of inheriting mine anytime soon were not good. So he’s going to get one soon on his own account, and being his father’s son, most likely a no-frills version like the Springfield Mil-Surp:
But that’s not what I wanted to talk about here. This is.
We discussed the impetus behind yesterday’s post, on the kind of rifle that I would want to own, given my failing eyesight and disenchantment with hunting, and he summed up my situation thus:
“Exactly what shooting are you planning to do from now on?”
It’s a good question. Obviously, there’s the self-defense issue (quite adequately addressed by the current selection between my Springfield 1911, High Power and S&W 637 Airweight), and the extension thereof, delicately labeled “street occasions” (AK-47 and M1 Carbine). All that’s a settled situation, with maybe a .357 revolver as the final addition, at some point.
As far as plinking is concerned, my needs are few — the Taurus pump .22 for fun, and the Marlin 880SQ and its .22 WMR counterpart for targets.
Then came the crunch question:
“If you’re not going to go hunting again, why get a new bolt-action rifle at all?”
I have to admit that it stumped me. For starters, the very thought of my life not including a hunting rifle is like contemplating a life without, say, books. That kind of gun has been part of my persona for so long that being without one quite literally makes me feel nervous.
But there it is. I’m unlikely ever to go out into the field again or, more likely, go to the rooftops for one of those “social” occasions, because I’m too old for both activities. I do have a few older bolt-action rifles that could be pressed into service, in a pinch, for an emergencies of either kind. And the followup question:
“Other than plinking and handguns, what kind of shooting would you be likely to do?”
And the answer is: clay pigeons, e.g. as I have done on a number of occasions Over There:
Which of course begs the question:
“If you love it so much, why don’t you do that Over Here?”
I have no answer for that. I regularly visit more than a few indoor ranges scattered around Dallas and the Plano area, but there are far from that many opportunities for shotgunning.
But there is Elm Fork Shooting Sports a few miles southwest of where I live, which caters for just such a pastime:
It’s an expensive place to shoot, but so what.
Which leads me, at long last, to the question of equipment.
While I yield to no man in terms of the quality of my other guns, I will admit that my shotgun (note: singular) is, to put it mildly, not fit for purpose.
It’s a Spanish-made no-name brand side-by-side of dubious quality, and I think I last fired it in the single-digit 2000s. Maybe 2004. Worse yet, it’s in 16ga [okay, you can quit that derisive laughter] but all is not yet lost. Because when tidying up Ye Olde Ammoe Locquer prior to leaving the flooded apartment, I happened to come across a couple hundred rounds of 20ga (don’t ask, I don’t know either).
So: instead of replacing the stolen CZ 550 6.5 Swede with a rifle, might I… get a decent shotgun instead? (I will give you all a few minutes for the smelling salts to take effect.)
Now I know that in no other part of the Gun Thing can one’s bank account be emptied more quickly than in the world of shotguns: That’s an A.H. Fox FE, and I put it up here not to consider buying it ($28,500 second-hand, uh huh), but to show the essentials any prospective purchase would have to have: 20ga chambering, side-by-side barrels at least 28″ long, double triggers, splinter fore-end and a straight (a.k.a. “English”) grip stock.
And I want it new. The problem with sporting shotguns like the above is that they’ve generally been used hard — not that this is a Bad Thing, of course — but I don’t want to buy the thing and have the action fall apart because after 200,000 rounds, well, that could happen. (Mr. Free Market, for example, has “shot out” not one but two Berettas in his time.) And a shotgun rebuild / repair is expensive, bubba.
So after some fairly extensive research, there are really only two shotguns which satisfy all my criteria.
But that’s right at the top of what I want to spend — actually, quite a bit over the top — so is there anything else of similar features and quality?
Ho yuss there is and, surprise surprise, it’s made by CZ — okay, actually made by Huglu in Turkey but distributed by CZ-USA.
It’s the second-generation (G2) Bobwhite, and it retails for about $650 (where you can get it — I might have to wait awhile…).
Now granted, the Bobwhite’s finish is not exactly ornate, but that’s fine by me: fancy engraving and carving is what really drives up a shotgun’s price, and as those who know me can attest, I’m not the kind of guy who cares for ornamentation. But I have to tell you, the G2 model with the case-hardened finish has me fondling Ye Olde Credytte Carde:
Even though it’s brand new, it looks old… it could have been made for me. Hell, I might just consider getting two, because at that price ($1,300 ) it’s about the same as I’d spend getting a decent rifle plus scope. Because it’s going to get well used, so to speak. And the ammo cost doesn’t look too bad, either.
Don’t blame me; blame the Son&Heir.