The gun I most often carry in the field is a Browning BPS 12 gauge. It wasn’t very expensive, and it’s no longer the gorgeous piece of art I once thought it was.
But it’s my favorite of the guns I own for bird hunting. It was the first new gun I ever bought, and it took a whole summer of mowing lawns and saving up to buy it. When I take it out of the safe, I can almost smell the grass clippings.
I don’t know how many boxes of shells I’ve sent down that barrel. And I lost count of how many birds it’s helped me bring home. The combination of the hard work it took to buy it and the payoff it’s provided in the way of meat for the pot have given it a special status.
I have a favorite rifle, too. It’s my old, battered Winchester model 94 .30-30. It’s not my favorite because it has brought down a lot of animals. Maybe it has, but since I’ve owned it, it’s only harvested one critter.
No, part of what makes this one special is its age. It was built before World War II, and judging by the scars on the action, barrel and stock, it had seen plenty of use before I acquired it.
The big reason it’s my favorite rifle is that it was the first gun I ever bought. I had saved up a hundred bucks, and Dad took me to an auction. I paid $95 for it, and despite its age, that was probably more than it was worth. Like I said, it’s seen its fair share of use and abuse.
But it still shoots straight, and it’s easy to pack. And there’s just something about an old iron-sighted rifle that feels right.
Every gun in my safe has a story. Even my .22 has a history. I think that’s part of the thrill of hunting – just holding a gun and remembering earlier adventures.
So go get one of your own guns and make some memories to cherish years from now.