By Ralph P. Stuart
One of the great pleasures of attending gatherings like the Vintage Cup, the Southern Side by Side Championship and our Readers & Writers Adventures is seeing all of the wonderful guns. I’m not talking about the guns propped up in racks or laid out neatly on dealers’ tables (although those are wonderful to peruse) but rather those that are cradled in attendees’ arms or resting in gun slips over shooters’ shoulders. These are the sources of pride and joy—sometimes collectible, but more often “shooters” that owners would not be willing to part with at any price.
The unfortunate thing is that many of these guns go underappreciated. They spend most of the time in gun cabinets or safes, often being trotted out only for show & tell or to be exercised occasionally on clays courses or in bird fields. Only the owners’ close friends and those lucky enough to share a hunt or shoot with them typically see these great guns. We are hoping to change that.
In celebration of all of the interesting, unusual and beautiful shotguns out there, we have added a new department to the magazine called Readers’ Guns. The idea is to each issue shine a light on a select gun(s) that deserves special attention. We actually launched the column in September/October, with Douglas Tate’s piece on a stunning Purdey known as The Imperial Dragon Gun. Now we are inviting readers to send their ideas for potential subjects.
Keep in mind that this column is more than about sexy wood and special engraving. It is about quality craftsmanship, interesting mechanisms and/or fascinating provenance. Witness this issue’s installment by David Baker about an English-made “Parker” muzzleloading shotgun (p. 130). The gun isn’t a “looker,” per se, but speculation around its origins and intended purpose makes for an interesting story.
Obviously, with six issues annually, we are limited in the number of guns that we can showcase. If it turns out that we are unable to feature a particular gun, we do have other avenues of display, such as Sporting Shot or the Image Gallery on our Website.
The bottom line: If you have a gun that you would like to share details about, we will do all that we can to give it its due. Just send us a letter or e-mail ([email protected]) describing the gun and why you feel it would be of interest. And please don’t forget to include photos (a critical part of the equation). If it turns out to be something we feel could work, we will be in touch about a more in-depth write-up—either by you or one of our writers.
Together let’s pay tribute to some of gunmaking’s treasures.
In September/October I discussed a couple of new releases from our books division: The Gun Book for Boys and The Gun Book for Parents. What I neglected to mention is another project we recently completed: our first-ever calendar, Fine Guns 2013 (see ad on p. 110). Featuring images by Terry Allen, whose work appears regularly in Shooting Sportsman, we like to think that our limited-run effort is the shotgunner’s equivalent of the Pirelli calendar. Twelve months’ worth of beautiful smoothbores—including guns from Winchester, McKay Brown, Fabbri, L.C. Smith, Holland & Holland, Bosis, Purdey, Parker, Westley Richards, Charles Boswell, Arrizabalaga and Boss—with detailed descriptions and close-ups of each, grace the pages. Stunning images to keep you dreaming about shotguns year-round.
To order a copy for yourself or for holiday gift-giving, call us at 800-685-7962 or visit www.shootingsportsmanbooks.com.