Speaking of shooting fun, have you ever shot a side by side? If you have, then you know how much fun it can be. If you haven’t, you definitely should. There are fabulous side by side events each year, where folks get together for a bit of friendly competition and mostly just get out and shoot lots of different guns. There are gauges from the giant 32 gauge to the tiny .410 (really more than that but those are more common), there are hammer guns and hammerless guns, single trigger, double triggers, Damascus barrels and more modern fluid steel, fixed full choke to open choke and everything in between.
This spring the side by side events start up and run through the fall. They are huge fun and the fellowship and camaraderie is as wonderful as all the fabulous guns. People swap great stories, share their guns, from gorgeous to their great grandfather’s beat-up field gun. Many are steeped in history and their provenance is often well-documented. These get-togethers are the place to go to get the age and shape of your guns evaluated and to buy and sell from a couple of hundred Franklins to a hundred thousand Franklins.
Here are just a few offerings of side by side events that are coming up through September.
Hope to see you at one! In the meantime, go away Old Man Winter!
The Spring Southern Side by Side was my first-ever of these events and from that day on I was hooked. I love shooting the different guns and the incredible fellowship is next to none. The shooters are wonderful, the shopping selections, from guns to gear are fantastic and the competition very friendly. This event will be held in Sanford, North Carolina in April. www.southernsidebyside.com
Debbie Clay loves her side by sides better than any other gun. She regularly goes wingshooting with her Model 21s and thoroughly enjoys all the side by side events!
These ladies have as much fun at these events as their husbands, who introduced them to the fun but may be sorry they did. Naw, they love it....means they can buy more guns. Eileen Judah (left) and Carol Long enjoying the Spring Southern Side by Side.
Here are GRITS celebrating the victory of Alyssia Lyles (with trophy) who won High Ladies in the 11th Annual Challenge Cup between the L.C. Smith Gun Collectors Association and the Parker Gun Collectors Association during the Southern Side by Side weekend. From left are myself, Mimi Wingfield, Sue Ross, Alyssia, Joan Matland and Debbie Clay. Alyssia took the honors with her L.C. Smith.
Here’s a sampling of some Vintage American side by sides.The most iconic maker of American side by side shotguns depends solely on who you are talking to (there’s no shortage of opinions about that).
Pictured above is one of the great American side by sides. Under the old L.C. Smith ad is a close-up of an L.C. Smith barrel.
This is a great L.C. Smith Pigeon gun. For more information about L.C. Smiths, visit the web site of the L.C. Smith Collectors Association at www.lcsmith.org .
Another American side by side legend is the Parker. This one is a “D Grade” hammer gun. Loved by many, these guns, like L.C. Smiths, were often sold in local hardware stores. Again, like several of the American side by sides, and those in good shape, Parkers are highly collectable and coveted by enthusiasts.
Another Parker close-up. This is one of the many beautifully engraved vintage side by sides you’ll see at the events. For more information about Parkers including their authentication and history plus the wealth of information available on the forums, visit the web site of The Parker Gun Collectors Association at www.parkerguns.org.
Pictured here is another iconic marque and make, the Winchester Model 21. On top is an example of a side by side and a wonderful case. Now imagine my surprise when I came across this close up of a grip plate on a Model 21, which just happens to be mine. I have no idea when the photo was taken but I am assuming taken by the fantastic engraver Bill Mains.
Here’s some other upcoming side by side events you should consider attending…
The Backwoods Quail Club hosts the Fall Southern by Side. This year’s dates for the event haven’t been posted yet but you can visit their web site at http://www.backwoodsquailclub.com .
For more information about the California State Side by Side Championship and Exhibition visit http://docz.io/doc/3136009/april-3-6--2014---california-side-by-side-society.
Visit the web site for the Rock Mountain Sporting Clays Northern Side by Side Challenge and Expo at http://www.rockmountainclays.com.
Hausmann’s Hidden Hollow Sporting Clays holds the Annual Northeast Side by Side Classic every June. They haven’t updated their web site yet but this year it’s June 4-6. In the meantime check out last year’s web page at http://hhhsc.net/?p=575 .
I sincerely hope you are able to get out and enjoy some fun side by side shooting soon and look forward to seeing you at these wonderful events!
Elizabeth Lanier is a highly regarded shooting instructor based in Virginia. She loves teaching men, women and children and introducing them to all the joys that recreational shooting brings forth! Founder of the G.R.I.T.S. (Girls Really Into Shooting), she is a leading advocate of women in the shotgun sports and this fall will be planning shooting events centered around the G.R.I.T.S. mission of shooting for the pure fun of it as well as planning trips for not only women, but everyone. Visit the Lanier Shooting Sports web site at http://laniershootingsports.com.