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My favorite gun isn’t even my own gun. Technically, it belongs to my dad. But since he converted to a new slug gun a few years back, I permanently commandeered the Remington 1100 for our shotgun-only deer season. He bought the 12 gauge new in 1980 for ducks and doves, and meticulous care has kept it shooting smoothly ever since.
I take full advantage of the 1100’s versatility, and use it for everything I can get away with. This is partly because I’m attached to it, and partly because building a respectable gun collection takes more years and money than I’ve got to my name. Regardless, the interchangeable barrels change with the seasons, from deer to turkey to birds and back again, and I have no complaints.
Now, it’s not a particularly sentimental gun. It’s simply familiar, and it fits me well. Nor is it especially lucky—I’ve missed a few deer with it, and a few birds. But I can’t blame the gun. So instead, I’ve come to think of the Remington as my learning gun.
I killed my first pheasant with the 1100, a low-flying rooster that tumbled out of the air before I realized I had shouldered the shotgun. I’ll admit that was partially luck though, and I remember being grateful for the semi-auto when the next bird made a break for it. My grandpa was with me on that hunt, just as he coached me with the 1100 when he taught me to shoot clays as a kid. He’s an over-under man though, and gives me plenty of good-natured flak for favoring a semi-auto.
Snapping a double-barrel closed is agreeable, true. But there’s nothing quite so satisfying as pressing that worn silver release button and feeling a shell chunk snuggly into place, the engraved breech bolt streaking up to tuck it out of sight. I’ve never noticed the kick and my shoulder never gets sore, no matter how many shells I burn through. And every time I clear the chamber and return My Favorite Gun to its tattered leather case, I walk away a little wiser.