Some guns are worth more than their face value

Getting a gun as a gift is about as good as it gets. But it’s even sweeter if that gun comes with some sentimental value.

One of my favorite people in the world was Bill Brohm. Bill was one of my dad’s friends when I was growing up in Riverton. He was an avid outdoorsman, and I vividly recall him showing me how to field dress a sage grouse.

Over the years, Bill went with us on most of our family camping and hunting trips. He was the camp cook, the official storyteller, and just a fun guy to have in camp.

We lost Bill in 2016, but my Christmas present from my brother-in-law will keep Bill’s memory alive in our family for many years to come. I was overcome with emotion when I opened my present from Roger to find a Browning 1885 single-shot falling-block rifle, chambered in .25-06. I knew this gun immediately. Bill had a lot of fine rifles and handguns in his gun collection, but this one was his favorite.

I didn’t get to hunt with Bill as much as my dad did, but I did get to see him drop an antelope with that rifle once. To my young eye, it looked like an incredible shot, but Bill did it easily with that 1885. The goat didn’t even know what had hit him. He went down without a moment of suffering. Dad says every time he hunted deer or antelope with Bill, his friend was just as accurate with that old single-shot Browning. Dad often joked that Bill would be in trouble if he needed a second shot, but Bill’s reply was, “I’ve only ever needed one.”

I hope to be able to be worthy of Bill’s favorite rifle. I’ll practice with it, like he did, and I’ll take it out next year for an antelope hunt.

My only regret is that Bill won’t be with me. But I’m sure I’ll be carrying many fond memories of my friend, along with that rifle.