First Shotguns, Blown Inheritance and Money Well Spent

posted on October 7, 2013
dogs_ah2015_fs.jpg (34)

My wife and I welcomed our first child recently, and soon found ourselves pondering little Jack's future. For my wife, this consists largely of planning the college fund. But I've focused on more practical matters: At what age should my boy get his first dog? What might he like for his first shotgun? And when will he adopt the circadian rhythm of a human being rather than a canvasback on a full moon?

Of these priorities, the first shotgun looms largest for me. Jack is, of course, many years from cracking his first sporting clay, but there's something about the initial cradling of a shotgun that affects us. It teaches the worthy lessons of discipline, practice, and firearm responsibility and maintenance—but I refer to something deeper. The blued steel and glossed walnut of a first shotgun changes who we are, in a sense, instilling in us a passion that will remain essential to our lives forever. That can't exactly be said of a kid's first football.

And, while I cherish all the shotguns in my collection, those gifted or handed down to me by my father and grandfathers ... well, let's just say their worth to me defies their monetary values. There's the Winchester 101 over/under 20 gauge my father surprised me with at age 8. I shot my first dove with that gun. Alongside it in the safe is my grandfather's Franchi, a tightly choked, long-barreled number that wallops ducks when paired with soft, non-toxic shot. Point is, if I do my job right, Jack will forever cherish his first shotgun.

My father and I have apparently been on the same wavelength. Within minutes of meeting his grandson, he asked whether I thought Jack would like a Beretta 687 EELL and, if so, whether he'd prefer 28-inch barrels or something longer.

Certainly such a fine Italian over/under is more than I intended to spend, my wife's college planning notwithstanding. However, if Jack's grandfather intends to blow my inheritance, it may as well be on shotguns.


Tips For Hunting Pre Rut Mule Deer Lead
Tips For Hunting Pre Rut Mule Deer Lead

Tips for Hunting Pre-Rut Mule Deer

Just before the breeding season bucks make seemingly random decisions, forcing us to analyze their habitat’s food, water and cover and how each factor influences their behavior.

#SundayGunday: Winchester SX4 Left Hand Waterfowl Hunter

Get a closer look at the Winchester SX4 Left Hand Waterfowl Hunter, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.

Recipe: Venison Top Sirloin and Chimichurri Sauce

A recent trip to Hawaii inspired contributor Brad Fenson to create a chimichurri sauce variation, where cilantro, cumin and lime juice produce a new twist on the traditional blend.

DIY Skull Cleaning on the Road

Awareness of chronic wasting disease has spread across the country and today includes regulations regarding the transport of ungulate skulls taken by traveling hunters. Follow these suggestions to clean your skulls while on the road to avoid running afoul of any game laws.

Apex Ammunition Introduces Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat Waterfowl Blend

Apex Ammunition, makers of ultra-high-density Tungsten Super Shot (TSS) shotshells, has introduced a limited-edition, Mossy Oak Shadow Grass Habitat Waterfowl Blend.

Field Tested: Browning Trail Cameras

Contributor Frank Melloni tests out two trail cameras from Browning, with both scouting and property security in mind.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.