A Half Century......

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Dave McCracken, Oct 10, 2008.

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  1. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    50 years ago today, an excited and happy boy received his first hunting license as part of his 12th birthday present. The rest included a brand new hunting vest, a couple boxes of shells, and a brown Jones style hunting hat.

    Pop and I went after dove that day, and more the following days after school and work. We took some, Mom cooked them up, and a few life habits began well.

    Of course, I had shot shotguns before. We did for sport and for keeping pigeons out of the barn and starlings out of the cherry tree. A 16 gauge H&R was kept behind the kitchen door, for pests and protection. I learned early that a load of sixes through a full choke at 20 yards was good for anchoring a groundhog. And groundhogs taste good but are rough to skin.

    I bought a hunting license last week. I've no major plans to hunt, recognizing reality and that all flesh gives way to Time.

    But, I like the idea of giving back to something that for decades nurtured me, healed me and to an extent defined me.

    I am or have been a husband, a father, a firefighter, a teacher, a damn good Correctional Officer, a shooter,a musician, a citizen, a role model and many other things.

    But I've been a hunter for 50 years and more. It's a family tradition. We've hunted for more than a million years, and been molded by it. Everything about us from our stereoscopic vision to our adaptability to our wonderful ability to co-operate in time of need has predatory roots.

    Doubt that? Watch small boys of any culture play chase down and ambush games that mimic the play of lion or wolf cubs. Lions and wolves are also social predators.

    But back to shotguns.

    There's been lots of them over the decades, and I've liked most of them. With a couple exceptions I can now trace to bad fit, I shot them all acceptably and enjoyed doing so. I've come to a few conclusions about them.

    Thanks to good friends and a generous helping of Chutzpah, I've handled and shot lots of shotguns, ranging from Purdeys to H/S bullpups.

    There's been....

    Berettas,Benellis, Kolars, Kreighofs, Mossbergs, Winchesters, Remingtons, Parkers, Elsies, Savages, Stevens's, Ithacas,Purdeys,H&Rs, NEFs, Woodwards, Churchills, W&C Scotts, and more past memory and measure.

    I've enjoyed them all, and feel that fit and balance are much more important than the names on them.

    I'd rather have a Mossberg that fits to shoot than a Purdey that doesn't.

    Your comments are welcome.

    Just don't call them "Shotties".

    After all, it's my birthday.....
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2008
  2. rswartsell

    rswartsell Member

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    Have a happy one Dave.[​IMG][/IMG]:D
     
  3. crackhead

    crackhead Member

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    What no Benelis?
     
  4. kingpin008

    kingpin008 Member

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    Happy Birthday Dave!

    I keep meaning to finally pick up a shotgun of my own and arrange to meet you and learn how to shoot the dang thing, but it never seems to happen. Maybe one day soon I'll get off my butt and take you up on the offer you extended awhile back to show me the ropes.

    Always enjoy your posts, you're one of the members here who really make this place a fantastic base of knowledge. Please, take today off and enjoy the rest of the world, but do come back soon and keep us all learning!
     
  5. BruceRDucer

    BruceRDucer Member

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    la la la....happy birthday to you......Dave McCracken :):):):what::what::what:
     
  6. oletymer

    oletymer Member

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    Happy birthday youngster.
     
  7. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Thanks, guys.

    Yes, crackhead, Benellis too. I amended the list.

    008, the offer is still on the table.
     
  8. BruceRDucer

    BruceRDucer Member

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    /
    Well, er....Dave, didja get presents?

    Come on....I mean......:what:
     
  9. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Yes, Bruce. A round of Sporting Clays, a set of Angle Port chokes for the B Gun, and a great seafood dinner with a Margarita the size of my hat.
     
  10. Milkmaster

    Milkmaster Member

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    +1 on the margarita!

    Happy Birthday again Dave!

    I agree that most modern shotguns shoot well and depend more upon their owner for reliablility than an already proven construction design. I am in industrial maintenance. Shotguns are similar in many ways to the machines I see daily. Do the necessary maintenance on a well engineered machine, and it will bring a smile to your face watching it perform. Works kinda like that with people too! Congrats on your knee replacement recovery as well.
     
  11. bobotech

    bobotech Member

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    Happy birthday and go out and have some fun with your shotties today. Go to the range and blast off a bunch of rounds with your favorite shottie. Your shottie will thank you for it.

    Then come home and clean your shottie and gently put the cleaned and lubed shottie back into the safe.

    :)
     
  12. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Thanks. Today was kids again. 13 new shooters blasting evil rabbits and a gnarly looping battue....
     
  13. Ben Shepherd

    Ben Shepherd Member

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    Still no Saiga-12, I see. We have GOT to fix that.....

    Wether or not you end up liking them doesn't matter. You have got to put a magazine through one.
     
  14. JImbothefiveth

    JImbothefiveth Member

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    Happy birthday!
    Have you been hunting since?
     
  15. sm

    sm member

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    Dave,
    Happy Birthday my friend.

    Fifty years ago I was three years old.
    I did not have a "real" hunting license, but I had a real .22 revolver, one I had owned since birth.

    Grandma wanted some shooting and hunting lessons from me at age 3, so being the southern boy raised as I was, not to mention a grandson, I assisted Grandma in shooting my .22 revolver.
    *wink*

    They don't make shotguns to fit a 3 year old worth a flip...

    Age 4 I shot my first .22 rifle and shotguns began at age 5.

    There was always a single shot shotgun behind the door when I was coming up.
    Everyone had a shotgun behind the door, and many were Youth Size in 20ga.
    Anyone in the family from kid, teenager, parents, grandparents, and physically limited could use that Youth shotgun.

    It "fit" a lot a folks for tasks.
    Still does.

    I am 3 years old and being passed forward to by Mentors & Elders. I was helping, with not only with Political stuff, also Game & Fish, Conservation and other things responsible firearm owners do.

    Mentors would type letters on manual typewriters, or use beautiful penmanship with a fountain pen to correspond, and communicate, about Guns, Hunting, Fishing, Conservation and Politics.

    I had a PhD in messing up a manual typewriter ribbon before I learned to walk.
    That PhD was a lot more "funner" than the one I got for Licking Stamps, and placing them on envelopes.

    I figured out if you say one of them bad words you are not supposed to say after licking stamps, getting your mouth washed with wash rag and bar soap got that nasty, icky stamp taste all gone.
    *smart huh*

    Mentors were concerned about all firearm ownership, and worked hard to preserve it, so kids like me would have them in the future.
    Oh I recall all the concerns of Gun Control Act of 1968.
    I was right there with Mentors & Elders being passed forward to, and assisting in the fight.

    Three years old and I want to be like the Big People. It didn't matter I did not need a Hunting License, I wanted one.
    Any excuse to get a wallet and put stuff in it like Big People.
    I had a "driver's license" too.

    Well. I was sitting on the laps of drivers going down the road doing the steering wheel, or "three-on-the-tree", going hunting...
    I had me a gun, wallet and licenses. I was set!

    The shotgun was then and is still, a very versatile tool. They work from "right here" to "out yonder a bit".
    Easy to choose a load from slugs for deer, to light loads for quail.
    Keeping the property safe, was just a matter of changing loads too.

    Food.
    I did not like my stomach to grumble. Neither did other folks, so hunting for food was common.
    Predator control was important, such as hunting feral cats and while these feral cats are bad in so many ways, the most important one to me coming up, was protecting Quail from feral cats.


    My heart is heavy and my soul is bruised now-a-days.
    Dave was raised right, I was raised right, and others around here were raised right too.

    Folks are not being raised right now-a-days.

    Many are not being born and raised into homes with guns...
    Then we have those that shotguns are all about owning one, and how much crap they can hang off it.

    Folks trying to buy skill and targets and never spending one dime, or 10 minutes to Preserve Freedom , Hunting, Fishing, and Conservation efforts for healthy habitat.

    Then...
    Oh I can go on making a list.

    Just me, still some folks don't need to be breathing my air, and some folks are not fit to have a shotgun.

    Would it hurt, even if one does not hunt, to buy a hunting license instead of another worthless item to hang of a shotgun that does not get shot - except with a digital camera, to post pictures on the Internet?


    To keep it - give it away.
     
  16. BruceRDucer

    BruceRDucer Member

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    Dave,

    Appears to have been a wonderful birthday for you. Cheers!:)
     
  17. jpatterson

    jpatterson Member

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    In a couple weeks it will be 10 years since I got my Kansas Hunter's Certificate and first shot my old man's 11-87 on my 10th birthday. I can only comprehend what that memory will be like to be in 40 years.

    Good reflection Mr. McCracken, I will do my best to try to have my kids be able to look back and do the same.
     
  18. COK

    COK Member

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    Hope you have had a great Birthday, next week I mark my 40th year of getting a license. I still remember getting my first one with my dad at my side. I too do not get to hunt much any more do to time and location but every time I get a license it brings back fond memories.
     
  19. gp911

    gp911 Member

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    Happy birthday Dave, great story too... I have a 28" Full choke 16ga barrel for my NEF that hits nicely from that range with lead #6s. You've inspired me to get it back out next trip. Lightweight, kicks like a mule, no surprises, gotta love it.

    Cheers to the hat-size margerita! Make mine a 7-3/4!

    gp911
     
  20. anapex

    anapex Member

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    Happy Birthday Dave! Now I could remind you that I was -21 50 years ago but I'll settle for owing you lunch next time I'm down in your area.
     
  21. Jst1mr

    Jst1mr Member

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    38 years here of paying the piper for the privilege of taking to the field. It all started with an H&R 16 ga. Topper that conveniently broke open upon shooting...made for faster follow-ups if you remembered to flinch away from the ejecting empty! (Coincidentally, that same Jones hat was involved!) It has progressed thru various Rem's, Mossbergs, Brownings, etc., but here, too, it seems those days in the field are further between and of shorter duration...though no less appreciated.

    Happy birthday, Dave - your experience, knowledge, and guidance are appreciated by many! Hope you are appropriately thankful for the opportunity to own and handle so many fine guns! Hope your vast experience was also enough to keep the Margarita count to 1!!!!
     
  22. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

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    Thanks,folks.

    Ben, one of these days I will. I am intrigued with the concept of a Kalishnikov shotgun.

    Jimbo, I may slide through a little section of hardwoods next weekend for squirrels, shoot a couple and have them for lunch. No major plans at this time.

    Amen, Steve. Most of the troubles of this era can be traced to lack of good parenting. And Mentoring. That's one of the reasons I do the kid shooter program when I can. I'm part of the solution not part of the problem. So are you....

    Bruce, one of my best.

    j, I pray you get the chance.

    COK, hunting gets in the blood like Hep C. We hunt because we are hunters.

    gp, my hat size is 7 3/4. That drink was about that.

    anapex, you're on for lunch.

    Jst1mr, I take a drink on occasion. A drink. That's been my limit since Daughter was born in 1980. Role model and all that....
     
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