Guess how many?
In the Slough of Despond, the Lost Time Between Worlds, during the dog-days between Christmas and New Years Resolutions, I came across a nice little, used, .20-gauge Wingmaster that gave me considerable pause to think.
I wanted it in one single flash of recognition – and it came with a slug-barrel, besides I have a box of AA .20ga target loads that I accidentally bought in haste, now they could be used…
The voices in my head grew loud while the Christmas Money in my pocket jangled like a Salvation Army bell-ringer on crack. I was like a trout on a Mepps. I needed a time-out, so I emailed a buddy back in the Frozen Upper Midwest who knows a bit about shotguns, quite a bit.
Awaiting his reply I took a deep breath and went to a few other places where smallbore scatterguns exist. I had to think strategy, not gimmee. At one Emporium-of-Exotica-and-Militaria there were some fine samples; a Browning A-5, in 20-gauge with a fitted box-case for $750, or a fine old Ithaca M37 in 16-gauge for half-that, or a Winchester Model 12 in 20…. I wrote down sizes and numbers in a little notebook.
What to do? I’ve never hunted and don’t even know any hunters. Yeh my cousin duck-hunts with some buddies off the levees up north, but he’s an hour and a half across the Bay through the worst Liberal BMW and Lexus traffic you can imagine. Haven’t seen him in a couple years. Hell, I don’t even see my brother very much and he’s up there too.
Then came the Pushback. It was Newish-New and all my stuff is old. I’m not sure what to do with a slug-barrel. I have little space for more guns – so with the space it takes-up I have to be sure that The Gun is Happy as much as I’m Happy, it has to see use. We’re at the point where if/when something new comes in, something old or useless has to go out, and we determine that in an instant at this time of year when we clean-out before New Year’s. My friend’s e-mail reply came, and in it he asked me if I was at-one with the Garand? He thought it sounded-so. I thought, but-sorta – I want to be better.
My wife spoke up amid all this deliberation and said, “You want to get-up to the next level, right? Won’t this new gun distract from your concentration? Look, I’ve seen you taking all that time carefully weighing-out the brass and separating all the different measurements, why not spend the same money on components that are already weighed and spec’d and ready to load?” And a light went-on in my tiny cranium. “Just One Thing”
So there’s no little .20-gauge in my closet, but an order from Midway is headed this way instead. On-sale I found premium brass from Nosler and Hornady bullets. There’s still a compositional element involved, bullet and charge weights. But the chubby ladies of Lake City ’66 will have to wait for another damn brass-weighing contest. Not for a while anyhow.