As a kid in Los Angeles, my exposure to guns was pretty specialized – ever hear of a Zip Gun? Now, ex-altar boy that I am, we only made them for fun, like shooting at lizards (shooting at is intentional phrasing; never hit one), but I’m really lucky to have all my fingers and both eyes.
We moved to the eastern shore of Maryland in 1996 and at the ripe old age of 57, never having owned a gun (other than the Zip), I quickly learned that ‘ol eastern shore maxim, “ if you got a d**k, you gotta h**t”.
After a couple of not so successful hunting seasons wrestling with an old Remington 870 12 gauge that resulted in very few dinners on the table, the geese and ducks were flocking to my place – they knew they were as safe as under their momma’s wing.
Jean and the kids decided that my lousy track record had to do with that old male standby, the “E” word …. Equipment. I needed a better gun.
Knowing my absolute passion for almost anything antique, the boys talked Jean into springing for a 1930’s LC Smith 12 gauge, side by side, for my 60th birthday. What a gorgeous piece of mechanics; everything locked precisely in place with a satisfying click, the engraving was a perfect shade of blue with gold and yellow highlights. The English walnut stock had the warm, soft patina that only years of skin oil can produce. From September until the early season in late October, I cleaned, polished and caressed (a stupid visual, but that’s what I did) that beautiful piece of workmanship. Old LC and I tackled the sporting clays a couple of times with less than spectacular results – I chalked it up to “having to get used to the gun”.
Finally, opening day of goose season. The other guys had their limit in short order and the geese actually started cackling as they swooped over my blind. They knew, as I did, that I couldn’t hit a thing! This went on for a several years, me rarely hitting anything, and suffering unbelievable abuse from my hunting friends.
Finally, one cold January day, I was so frustrated after missing my 9th shot (that is 9 shells after everyone else had their limit) that I threw the LC Smith down, grabbed the old 870 and nailed 2 geese with 3 shells, all in a few seconds. Mike and Rodney were awe struck and chalked it up to luck, but we know better, don’t we?
Several years too late, I took ol’ LC to the pro at the sporting clays range. He fired several shells, missing every single clay at first, but then hitting them consistently. He handed LC back to me saying “it’s simple Mike, just aim 5’ low and 3’ to the left”.
Hell’s bells, I can hardly stay focused 1’ ahead of a slow moving goose; how in the world could I aim 5’ low and 3’ to the left? Needless to say, LC and I parted company shortly thereafter; some marriages just ain’t worth saving.