Irwin Greenstein

Irwin Greenstein

Irwin Greenstein is Publisher of Shotgun Life. Please send your comments to letters@shotgunlife.com.

The itinerary was ambitious – eight days, seven posh sporting clays venues, 13 flats of shells and eight bourbon distilleries. Porsche had loaned us a 2011 Cayenne S SUV powered by a 400-horsepower V8 behemoth, while Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co. supplied one of their marvelous A-10 American sidelock over/under shotguns. This is the final installment.

Zoli is continuing its blistering momentum this year with a new high-rib shotgun that actually combines two models in one.

The shotgun is yet another example of Zoli’s advanced engineering that seems to have found extra traction this year in the US market, exemplified by Zoli’s own record-breaking sales of the revolutionary Bilanx since its formal introduction in January.

After 26 years in the US Army Special Forces as an expert in explosives, demolitions and incendiaries – including a year as instructor of those subjects in the Special Forces schools – it’s time to stand up and pay attention when Jamie McGrew gets behind a brand of shotshell.

The road up to Primland could pass as a crazy dream.

Out of the blue, someone gives you a $93,000 Porsche Cayenne S that you’re driving up a switchback logger’s road dynamited into a mountain side. Stowed in the back among the luggage and flats of 12-gauge shells is the super-cool A-10 American sidelock shotgun. The Porsche Cayenne S is fierce, fearless – 20-inch tires spewing road dust for mile after mile through computer-controlled all-wheel drive.

Exactly how fast is the Ithaca Model 37 pump in 28 gauge?

We decided to find out by taking the shotgun to a 3-bird sporting clays event held at Central Penn Sporting Clays in Wellsville, Pennsylvania. In a 3-bird shoot, three targets are thrown simultaneously – certainly daunting for any experienced shotgunner handling a 12-gauge semi-auto. But we showed up with a highly coveted 28-gauge Ithaca Model 37 Featherlight pump. The shotgun was a Fancy A Grade, with walnut that appeared higher grade.

Blackberry Farm receded at a brisk clip as I drove the Porsche Cayenne S west along the Lamar Alexander Parkway through Tennesse’s Great Smoky Mountains toward our next destination – The Inn on the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.

The Lamar Alexendar Parkway presented a superb stretch of American highway. The Great Smoky Mountains bestowed a warm, benevolent morning with the radio tuned to satellite-radio XM 14, Bluegrass Junction, regaling us through 14-speaker surround sound.

In his long and remarkable career, writer Michael McIntosh eloquently captured the body and soul of the world’s finest shotguns. Yet when it came to his personal choice, he didn’t turn to an English best shotgun but rather to a bespoke Spanish beauty made by Aguirre y Aranzabal. Expressed in his own words…

Until we shot 5-stand at Blackberry Farm, I had not fully appreciated the athleticism of the A-10 American sidelock. But that turning point with this European-inspired over/under was still 24 hours away.

After 48 hours of bourbon tasting, we were more than ready to pick up the A-10 American shotgun and start powdering clays. Jim Beam marked the last distillery on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, and now the Porsche Cayenne S headed due south on I-65 toward Nashville.

The Annual Hunter’s Convention held by Safari Club International is a magnet for power players in big game hunting, but this year marked a departure as leaders in upland shooting announced significant developments with far-reaching implications.

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