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GUNS Magazine February 2010 - Page 22

SHOTGUNNER • HOLT BODINSON • ONE AT A TIME Start them off with a single-shot. Makinggoodwithonlyoneshotisanessential lessoninpatienceandmarksmanship. ately, there has been a flock of semi-auto and pump guns L introduced, designed and marketed specifically for the young or beginning shooter. Anything we can do to recruit young men and women into the shooting sports is a definite plus, and it’s great to see the manufacturers serving that market. Yet, a semi-auto or pump may not be the best “first” shotgun for our youth. I say, “start them off with a single-shot.” The single-shot system is a simple and safe system for young minds to master. Leave the semi-autos and pumps for later, after a degree of gun-handling proficiency has been achieved by your young student. My father had a rather unusual way of teaching his youngsters gun safety. Oh, how I lusted for a BB gun around age eight. ‘Twas not to be. Dad insisted I first prove my firearms safety consciousness with a “real” gun. Instead of a BB gun, which he was utterly convinced encouraged irresponsible, boyish gun-handling, I was tutored on a Winchester Model 67—a petite, bolt action, single-shot .22 LR one of dad’s hunting partners had given him after it had served its training purposes for his own son. The Model 67 was doubly safe. After loading a round in the chamber and closing the bolt, you had to pull back the striker to cock it and then flip up a Mauser-like wing safety, which blocked your line-of-sight until it was shoved down and to the right. 22 It was the perfect teaching gun because it was uncomplicated. You loaded one round, closed the action, cocked the striker and applied the safety. It was an excellent system for teaching safety, patience in the field, respect for the game being pursued and exacting marksmanship, plus a box of .22 shorts lasted a long, long time. Singleshotshelpyounghunterslearn.Note thebeautifulcasehardeningonthepre-WWII vintageIverJohnsonChampion. Proved A year later, having now spent two years as a brush-busting driver for the adult hunters of the community and proving I could be trusted with a firearm, it was time for a shotgun. In those days, there weren’t any gun stores as we know them today. Guns were sold by the local hardware store, Sears, Wards, or if you were lucky to have one nearby, a gunsmith. Our provider of arms and ammunition was the local hardware store. Rimfire ammunition was stored there in wooden drawers that were pulled out from one long wall of the store. Boys bought .22 shorts. Men bought .22 longs. Behind the main counter shelves held stacks of green boxed, Remington centerfire ammunition and a wide assortment of BudCecil’s1941IverJohnson16-gaugeisstill onactiveduty68yearslater.Complexforgings andmachiningwerequalitiesinherentinprewarAmericanfirearms. paper shotgun shells. Slug and buckshot loads were priced per shell and could be purchased on that basis—one shell or a 100. Finally, on the main floor an open gun rack always held 15 or 20 new rifles and shotguns. The hardware store was heaven for a boy of nine. Before the opening of the next small game season, dad and I looked through the meager rack of shotgun models on WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • FEBRUARY 2010

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