Memories and Beginnings

As the summer winds down and the hunting seasons begin I thought I would talk a little about how the summer was for me in getting ready and improving my wanderings in the Uplands this fall.
To start with, I had a landmark birthday this year. So with this knowledge my loving wife started asking what I would like for my birthday. I hinted that I would like to upgrade my shotgun. I have been hunting for a few years with a Stevens 512 Gold Wing in 28 gauge. I got this for Father’s Day a few years ago. I love this gun and I have been doing well with it. However I wanted to upgrade to a gun that would be a gun I could hunt with and not worry about wearing out over the years.
Another reason for the particular gun that I wanted is that my son has the same model in 20 gauge. I wanted to have this gun in 28 gauge and then one day pass it on to him. Then he would have a matching, not matched, unfortunately, pair and he could pass them along to his kids one day. So this was my biggest driving force behind my persuasion to get this gun.
So what did my loving wife get me for my birthday you ask? She got me a Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon in 28 gauge. She surprised me and left me speechless when I actually put my hands on it.

This particular gun has 28 inch barrels, and is chambered for 2 and ¾ inch shells. Other features are Walnut stock and for end. This is not the Walnut of the premium grade guns, but it is a nice piece of wood. The receiver and frame are scaled to be a 28 gauge, not a 28 on a 20 frame. Scroll engraving embellishes the metal surfaces and makes for an elegant gun without being too over the top. The barrels are cold hammer forged and the quality of Beretta can be seen here the most, in my opinion. These barrels are thicker than my other gun but they are not overweight to make the gun front heavy.
The package also comes with five chokes that range from cylinder to full, a plastic hard take down case, a choke wrench, a bottle of Beretta oil and some sling swivels if you want to install them. The 686 has ejectors that are strong and reliable, and a tang safety and barrel selector. All these features make for a gun that is enjoyable to shoot and pleasing to look at. This is what I would expect from Beretta. I am looking forward to many years of carrying this gun in the Uplands.
After getting the gun I have been to the skeet range to get proficient and hitting reliably before the season begins. This gun fits me better than my other gun. It feels more solidly built and it is nice to carry because it is not a heavy gun. I am not sure of the weight because I have not put it on a scale, but I would guess somewhere around six pounds. Each trip to the range I am getting better and I expect to continue to improve and feel confident when the season begins.
Also this summer I had a mount come back from the taxidermist. This is the Woodcock that I shot on Christmas Eve, 2018, that I mentioned in the “Looking Back” article. I took it in to Woods to Walls Taxidermy in Jacksonville, North Carolina. This business is run by Donna Naughton and I will tell you that if are in the area and want a mount done right then this is the place to go. Donna is a Master Taxidermist that has won many awards and produces quality work that makes your mount not just a trophy but a real piece of art.

I took my bird to Donna and told her that I would like it flushing, you know the typical mount. The mount people such as myself with no artistic vision asks for. What I wasn’t expecting was what I got back. Donna put the bird in a scene for me and has it flushing over some grass and a wagon wheel. When I got this back I was left speechless again this summer. I am extremely happy with the mount and thoroughly impressed with the artistic vision that is displayed in this piece. I am looking forward to getting another bird done in the near future.
This has been a great off season for me and I am thoroughly excited about the upcoming season. I also look forward to sharing the new locations and hunts with everyone.

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