Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Daddy's Guns - II

The second gun that Pop used most often was his duck gun. This shotgun was his favorite, the default gun when shotgunning. It is a Model 12 Winchester in 16 gauge. Manufactured in 1958, it came from the factory with a full choke barrel. Daddy didn't like the full choke, so he added a Poly-Choke to the gun.

There are a couple of interesting things about this shotgun, the least of which is the poly-choke. During my early childhood, Dad kept a pull-over butt pad on the shotgun. Sometime during the mid 60s, he removed the pad and found that the stock had rotted under that pad. He ordered a matching stock and forearm from Herters and spent the summer fitting the stock to the action. While he was at it, he added the forearm. While fitting the stock to the action, he spent considerable time fitting the stock to his hand. The wrist of the stock has a more severe bend than a factory stock and the wrist is narrower. The pistol grip is wider at the base than a factory stock. Dad wanted his hand locked into the stock at that point.

Ten years later, I read Rudy Etchen's book on stocks and was surprised to read that Etchen made his stocks the same way. Etchen liked a tight pistol grip on stocks. Go figure.

When Daddy got the stock to suit his tastes he finished it, then put it in the closet.

My brother Malcolm decided to have the stock customized and enlisted the aid of the rest of the family. He "stole" the gun out of Daddy's closet and took it to a local artist, who carved a duck in the offside stock.

We all spent a month on pins-and-needles, hoping Dad wouldn't discover that his shotgun was missing. When the work was done, Malcolm unveiled the project to Daddy, who wholeheartedly endorsed the effort.

Dad and his friend, Max, maintained a blind in the Catahoula swamp on a part of the river called French Fork until two years ago. I offered Dad any of my 12's for hunting ducks in that swamp, but he always took the 16. It fit him.

This one stays at my house for now, and I'll probably not shoot it, simply because I prefer the 20 ga for some work and the 12 for others. It'll be passed to one of the grandkids later. Whether they shoot it will be up to them.


Matt G said...

Shoot that old 16 once in a while. It doesn't hurt the gun to shoot it some, and it's a fine tribute to your daddy.

Drop a duck and smile at the occasion of you and your father sharing it again.

I enjoy shooting dove with an old 1148 16 ga. that was my granddad's. I never met the gent, but the connection is right there when dove folds up.

George said...

I remember this gun also, riding down the river in the dark heading to "Catfish Prairie", the walk through the trees to the lake (watch out for the cypress knees in the dark, cold morning). I even remember pulling a flat bottom boat he made to pull you out because of knee surgeory...I also remember riding the boat back down the river after the season was over...
I have very fond memories of your Dad...he was like my second father...