Monday, January 11, 2021

My Fathers Guns


Last Thursday was my father's birthday. He'd have been 79 years old. But life seldom works the way we'd like, and I inherited these shotguns a little over eight years ago.

This week-end, I took them out to the range to remember him. I brought a box of game loads for each of them and took down a fair number of clays in his memory. 

The 12 gauge Ithaca that I once gifted him was right on, breaking 22 of the 25 clays. It was an old parkerized police dept. gun that came with an 18" barrel but I fitted it with a 28" barrel for him for hunting...and he lost the 18" one somewhere over the years. (If any of you have one that you don't need, I'd love to replace it...)

The little Iver Johnson single shot 16 gauge that he bought as a teen was a little less effective as the bronze bead on the muzzle broke some time ago and requiring me to hold under the clay just right. I don't have it quite down yet, but someday...

It was a great day to be out, a cool and crisp 45 degrees and sunny...just like those fall days in Michigan like we used to go out in together. He'd have right at home here...and he'd have bitched constantly about the cold. But we'd have had fun.

Now the guns are getting a proper cleaning and oiling and I'll consider fixing that Iver Johnson front bead. I haven't decided whether I will or not yet but I probably will. Had he still been here I'd have fixed it for him just to keep him from blaming it every time he missed something.

I do miss him. 

And most of the day as I shot, and traveled to and from the range, I couldn't help but hum this song by the great Elton John. It came out when I was just a kid, not even old enough to ride a bike, but I never heard it until decades later. It has meaning for me now.


  1. Wow. It doesn't seem eight years. Glad you got to get out and break some clays with his 37.

    Oldest son and I went dove hunting in September. No doves were harmed, and due to the lack of feathered bipeds, we spent a portion of the afternoon shooting clays from an electric foot-trap. I used a 20 ga. 1100 my Dad gave me circa 1970-71 - I missed a few, but the gun performed flawlessly, and was a dream to shoot.

    I hope you do restore the bead on the break-open, and look forward to a future post about it.

  2. Hey Murphy;

    That's the good thing about good Dads, they make good memories, and you honor yours.

  3. Great way to remember him! And get the bead put back on.

  4. I have my mom and dad's Model 12's - his is a 12, hers is a 16. They both have very little original blue on them, and both accounted for many doves over the years Like you, many fond memories were generated for all of us hunting in North Texas with his huntin' buddies in September of most every year. And I also think that you should get the bead put back on.

  5. My Dad's guns were a Springfield 1903A3 and a Mossberg bolt 20ga. The Mossberg he bought right after WW2. The Springfield was $17 surplus in 1960. There were also a couple of single shot .22s, one of which he and mu Uncle used to teach me to shoot at the Izaac Walton range. That's the one I treasure. I restored the Springfield to it's military running gear. He was a good woodworker, but his sporter job was not so good.