Irwin Greenstein is Publisher of Shotgun Life. Please send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In late March and early April of 2017, Shotgun Life visited the legendary Gardone Val Trompia in the province of Brescia, which is the heart of Italy’s shotgun manufacturing. We spent time with shotgun makers Perazzi, Beretta, FAIR and F. illi Poli as well as master engravers Stephano Pedretti, Creative Art, Francesca Fracassi and Cesare Giovanelli. Here is Part 1 of our eight-part series called Shotgun Life in Gardone Val Trompia.
Beretta has quietly produced the 687 EELL Classic 20 Gauge to support an organization that provides college financial assistance for children of special operations personnel who have died or were severely wounded in combat.
I’m blessed with the professional opportunity to shoot fine shotguns costing upwards of $100,000 and more. Boss, Fabbri, Purdey, Holland & Holland, all exemplars of sporting guns that will pretty much spoil you for life. Inevitably, when discussing these rarified shooting experiences someone pipes up that there’s no difference between using their Caesar Guerini and a Holland & Holland Sporting Deluxe. Both over/unders go bang and knock things out of the air, is their general sentiment.
At first you notice the smoky figuring of the walnut stock and checkered butt that peek out from the leather scabbard on the saddle. The stock suggests a profile that’s straight English and in your mind details compile into a classic uplander from London or Birmingham. You’d be surprised to learn, though, that the shotgun is Spanish and bears the American name of Thomas Ferney & Co.
Henry Hopking’s secret weapon to boosting your clays scores is his brilliant high-tech “Brain Cap.”
Actually, it’s a miniaturized electroencephalography (EEG) recorder, about the size of a .410 shotgun shell, that clips to the side of a ball cap. Along with sensors inside the cap band, it noninvasively charts the voltage fluctuations of your brain and sends the real-time images via Bluetooth to an iPhone or Android app. The catch is that it’s not available for sale without prior training by Mr. Hopking in his “Brain Training Company” program called “Get the Mental Edge.”
Here’s the shot of the day…
Around 90 minutes into our afternoon quail hunt at Backwoods Quail Club in Georgetown, South Carolina we had circled back to a downed pine tree still abundant with branches and green needles. Our guide Ryan thought he saw a quail or two there. The flat-shooting Krieghoff K-20 Parcours fitted with the new 28-gauge Parcours barrels had been fueling my confidence by hammering coveys since stepping down from his truck. Ryan’s dogs, Rosco and Tyson, hoovered up the scents but detected nothing as we inched toward our quarry.
In 1803, London sporting dog expert William Taplin published the first of two volumes titled “The Sportsman’s Cabinet” – an elaborately leather bound and illustrated compendium described as “A correct delineation of the canine race.”
In 2003 Chris Mathan paid homage to Mr. Taplin by starting her own business called The Sportsman’s Cabinet, which brought her highly acclaimed dog photography to an Internet audience. Ms. Mathan’s Sportsman’s Cabinet started when, after seven years as a senior designer and art director at one of Portland, Maine’s most prestigious advertising agency, she opted to become professionally immersed in upland bird hunting and pointing-dog field trials.
A silent auction to promote literacy gave us the occasion to quail hunt on a family farm with the affordable and gratefully light CZ Upland Ultralight Green over/under.
At 5.8 pounds, the sprightly 20-gauge was deeply appreciated on the unseasonably warm day walking Bethel Oaks Farm near the Florida-Georgia state line.
The three Gordy men are opening a lavish new outfitting emporium in Houston, Texas that will be home to some of the finest shotguns on the planet as of May 13th.
The mule-drawn bird wagon trundled through Chokee Plantation in Leesburg, Georgia − a 5,800-acre homage to the vanishing wild-quail hunts that for generations put meat on the table and tendered sporting birds by the good graces of the land.