The Pointer Side by Side in the Fields of Georgia Quail Country

Shooting a bird gun at clay targets only hints at qualities that will spring to life in the field. On a five-stand, the squad’s rhythm, the advantage of lookers, and those soaring teals and long crossers, don’t truly demonstrate snappy field-gun performance – unless of course you’re thrown lots of rabbit targets. But in the field, when a zig-zagging bird dog bumps a covey, and an explosion of birds unexpectedly stuns your eyeballs, handling and precision, driven by adrenalin and instinct, instantly reveal the shotgun’s true DNA.

In May 2023, I had shot the Pointer’s family of shotguns newest member – a side by side – on five-stand at the Oakfield Shooting Range in Thomasville, Georgia, right in the heart of the Red Hills Region famous for wild and released bobwhite quail. At the time, I had formed the opinion that the Pointer Side by Side boxlock possessed the character of Grandpa’s old hardware store gun, but benefiting from modern manufacturing and an inflation-adjusted price from Grandpa’s side by side of $699.00. The Pointer Side by Side was a modern way to the continue the ancestral side-by-side bloodline at an affordable price.

Fast forward to February 2024, peak quail season here in South Georgia, and I took advantage of shooting the latest iteration of the Pointer Side by Side finished in case coloring. While the initial models of the Pointer Side by Side shipped with receivers in gloss black, nickel and Cerakote in matte green, bronze and gray, it was the newest case-colored offering that burnished the old-school personality of the shotgun. And as it turned out, I was able to bring it quail hunting at one of the oldest family-owned preserves in South Georgia quail country. Between the Pointer Side by Side and the hunting venue, I would find myself conjuring an old-school quail hunt.

Today, we all like to talk about finessing a sporting shot on quail with subgauge shotguns. Twenty may still be the go-to gauge for most of us quail hunters, but with the greater killing power of modern 28-gauge and .410 loads, bird hunters are trending down-gauge for the increased challenge and ease-of-carry. Grandpa, however, probably never had the luxury or money for such pretense. Life itself was challenging enough. He needed to feed the family and it was usually the 12 gauge side by side parked by the front door that he grabbed, accompanied by his trusted bird dog, all heading out into the fields to scare up that night’s supper.

And so it was a case-colored 12-gauge Pointer Side by Side that accompanied me to Quailridge Plantation in Norman Park, Georgia. Operating since 1969, the 4,500 acres of wooded habitat often looks unspoiled by the tribulations of modern times. Managed by John Norman and his sister Ellen, there’s that Southern hospitality to be enjoyed in their traditional fried chicken lunch in the unpretentious club house, with possibly a quick cat nap afterwards in one of the rocking chairs on the large front porch before the afternoon hunt started.


For ammo, I brought along some Winchester AA low-recoil, low-noise target loads rated at 980 feet per second packed with 26 grams (0.9 ounces) of #8 shot. It was my retail attempt to harken back to the ammo used by our predecessors back in the day of abundant wild quail.

I was joined by a friend, and at the table over lunch we met the elderly chaplain of a local regional hospital who would be heading out quail hunting with John Norman. Temperatures in the high sixties, a brilliant winter-blue sky, homemade fried chicken with all the fixin’s (sweet- potato pie for dessert) and enjoyable conversation foretold of a memorable hunt.

The Pointer Side by Side 12 gauge that accompanied me had 28-inch, chrome-lined, monobloc barrels with a swamped rib topped by a fluorescent-red bead on the muzzle. They accepted steel shot and shells up to three-inches for waterfowl firepower. The shotgun ships with five, flush steel-proof chokes: cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified and full. A satin finish adorned the black barrels and the mundane Turkish walnut. A pistol grip, neutral cast and parallel comb contributed to a near-perfect fit for an average-built guy like me. I would describe the forend as a hybrid splinter/beavertail in a good way, since it helped shield my fingers from hot barrels better than a splinter type, as well as ergonomically friendlier for snap shooting and quick swings.

The shotguns’ length of pull measured 14¼ inches from the trigger blade. At 7.4 pounds, the Pointer Side by Side was more welterweight than lightweight when it comes to bird guns, although the heft throttled any adrenaline-fueled pray-and-spray shooting in favor of that essential moment of deliberation before triggering a successful shot. Some purists might take exception to the single mechanical trigger instead of traditional double triggers. Personally, I prefer a single trigger, but found the Pointer’s 7.1 pound pull a bit stiff, although it could never be blamed for missing a bird (as usual, that was all on me)

Tiger-striped case coloring of deep gold, peacock blue, milk chocolate brown and black was actually applied a process that combines heat treatment and cyanide. Parts such as the receiver, trigger guard top strap (with its combined safety and barrel selector) and forend hardware were adorned with the case coloring. As of recently, the Pointer Side by Side in case coloring has also become available in 28 gauge and .410 in addition to the 12-gauge and 20-gauge models.

The Pointer Side by Side is made by Kirici Arms in Turkey exclusively for Legacy Sports International. A seven-year warranty is standard.

It was time to climb aboard the Jeep equipped with dog crates and gun boxes. Our young guide, Henry, also a member of the Norman clan, knew the property well. He would make several stops, unloading the dogs that we followed through the pine barons. We started with singles and doubles getting flushed. The Pointer’s top-strap auto-safety was always top of mind, and when a quail or two took wing the gun mounted quickly followed by a smooth swing with a predictable flat-shooting sight picture that bore fruit after flushing several large coveys. Bang, bang and I liked the extractors rather than ejectors to help thwart errant hulls from flying over my shoulder onto the soft ground.

In the spirit of making memories, when I arrived home after the hunt, removing the Pointer Side by Side from the canvas and leather sleeve, a quail feather was stuck to the trigger guard – always a good omen. 

Irwin Greenstein is the publisher of Shotgun Life. You can reach him at the Shotgun Life Facebook page at

Helpful resources:

The Pointer Side by Side page on the Legacy International web site

The web side for Quailridge Plantation



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