Double Gun Day
by: Tom Armbrust
The Aurora Gun Club was host to the Seventh Annual Double Gun Day Shoot on May 29th. Registered shooters totaled 56 with many others shooting practice targets enjoying a gorgeous afternoon from Mother Nature.
Shooters competed in three different classes. Precision muzzle loaders with Gus Moore taking first place by shattering l4 x l5 with his Gillespie 11 bore shotgun from the l6 yard line. In the black powder cartridge event my good friend George Hartler won this event with a score of 20 x 25 with his beautiful l0 bore Greener hammer shotgun with fine Damascus barrels. An unique top rib marked W.W. Greener "The Tap Gun". George's trap loads used Winchester cut down 2-7/8" shells, with 75 grains of Hodgdon RS Pydrox, a Remington SP-l0 wad, and l-l/4 oz 7-l/2 shot. In the modern smokeless cartridge event Keith Young posted a perfect 25 x 25 shooting his Winchester M-2l from the l6 yard line. It was great fun had by all the trap shooters comparing notes on the various loads used in both the muzzle loading and cartridge shotguns.
I believe Gene Reem had the largest bore shotgun at the Double Gun Shoot. A beautiful English 8 bore precision muzzle loader with 40" Damascus barrels. This gun had back action locks with hammers and a straight English stock with very shootable dimensions. Gene is a retired machinist by trade with well over 30 years experience behind him which enable him to make many of the loading tools for these fine old shotguns. Gene's target load for his big gun was 3-3/4 drams (l02 GRS.) FF black powder behind l-5/8 oz 7-l/2 shot. This big gun really hit targets hard way back at the 27 yard line. I assumed it was not a cylinder bored gun even though it was built in the l860's before choke boring. My assumption was right, Gene had jug choked this gun himself saying, "it had plenty of choke". This big gun was a real thrill to shoot as it handled well, hit targets hard way back at the fence and recoil was very mild due to the gun weight and the mild loads we were shooting.
Besides the thrill of seeing all the fine shotguns shooting clay targets on the trap field, if that was not enough quoting shooting chairman, William Harrod, "A King's ransom worth of fine side by side shotguns was on display in the club house." Many many fine American and English double shotguns were on display such as Parker, L.C. Smith, Fox, Ithaca, W.W. Greener, Thomas Bland, William Evans, Charles Daly, etc. There was just not enough time to shoot trap plus view all the great double guns and visit with old friends and fellow shooters. In fact, this shooter never did get to shoot a registered clay target event with my L.C. Smith 32" barreled specialty grade trap gun as I simply ran out of time.
Dennis Potter, representing the America Custom Gun Makers Guild, had on display a beautiful little 20 GA game gun, a Belgium Browning Superposed with 28 inch barrels, choked modified and full. The metal work was extensively upgraded by Dennis including false side plates, a solid hand matted rib, beaded edge trigger guard, checkered trigger, and gold plated internal working parts. The stock is a fine piece of English walnut with diamond shaped straight grip and detailed moldings around the metalwork. The recoil pad is covered in pigskin leather. Checkering is in a 28 line per inch point pattern having a gold oval fitted in the toe line. Stock work was done by Hugh P. DePentheny O'Kelly. Exquisite game scenes are meticulously framed in fine English scroll and border engraving by Ed Kane. Tickets were being sold for the shotgun to raise money for the Gun Makers Guild. What a very lucky person the winner will be to own this fine shotgun with hundreds of hours of work involved for a twenty dollar ticket. Dennis Potter alone had over 200 hours just in the metal restoration.
Carol Lueder, of Fair Chase Books, was in attendance with her unusually great selection of big game and wing shooting books. To order a catalog or book contact Carol at 800-762-2843. i have had the pleasure over the years of reading many excellent titles of rare and out of print selections due to Carol's hard work in tracking these books down for me.
My good friend, Wayne Wilkins, had his fine little l2 bore William Evan's game gun on display that he has put more hours than he cares to remember in the restoration of this shotgun. The stock finish was just beautiful consisting of a pro-custom oil available from Chem-Pak Inc, call 800-336-9828.
Last but not least, Richard Rucinski had a fine little 20 GA Lefever he had completely restored for a double gun customer. Rust bluing the barrels, case coloring the action, then restocking a most beautiful piece of highly figured wood into a straight English stock configuration. This little double gun handled like a dream as I pictured myself hunting grouse in heavy cover with the little beauty. Contact Richard at 2422 Benderwirt Ave., Rockford, IL 61103 or phone 815-962-5054.
For the person wanting a fine English upland double gun Woodcock Hill's selection may be hard to beat. They are the American owner's of Thomas Bland & Sons Gunmakers Ltd. A shooting school session may be arranged by appointment together with gun fitting by the use of a try gun by British Professional Shooting Coaches. Both new and used double shotguns and rifles are available of the utmost quality. Very much time and care is taken to be sure that these guns meet all safety requirements and are proof tested in England! Lodging and meals are also available at Woodcock Hill, if you decide to make a day of it shooting sporting clays or a gun fitting. Glenn and Christa Bayer, the owners, are working very hard so that their customers are treated fairly and getting a fine gun that is both safe and an excellent investment for the future. Give them a call or stop for a visit at Woodcock Hill Inc., PO Box 363, Benton, PA 17814, phone 570-864-3242. By the way, Christa has been a joy to talk with by phone due to her cheerful nature and excellent English accent.
After all the smoke had cleared and a great lunch was enjoyed by all, prizes were awarded to the double gun shooters. Both the Double Gun Journal and Shooting Sportsman magazine awarded gratis copies of their excellent publications to read and enjoy after the great double gun shoot!