Monday, April 13, 2009

A Tale of Two Shotguns

And this tale, decidedly not by Dickens, but a little story of how two fine shotguns for a specialized purpose can fall out of favor, and into disuse.. And how Yin and Yang applies to all.. about how one man's meat can be another man's poison...

The first... A Beretta ASE 90.
A friend used a Beretta 682 for many years for virtually all his shooting. Trap, Skeep, Sporting, not to mention walk-up birds and tower shoots. The gun served him well, and had many thousand rounds through it, but the 68X series are nice guns, but in my opinion, are compromised by a questionable lock-up.
My friend is a self made man, in commercial real estate. While I wouldn't call him rich, he's well off and wants for nothing, but to his credit, he does not spend his money wastefully, at least not until he consumes too much alcohol.. but that is a story for another day.
So, the time came when he wanted a gun more durable, and a bit more fitting to his station in life. I recommended the ASE 90, a shotgun that I had always admired for it's strength, beauty and utility. He bought one. A beautiful piece with two drop-out trigger groups. A 28 inch gun, when all the rage in Sporting was 30 inch tubes and heading for 32".
At the guns unveiling at the club, everyone gathered around for oooh's and aaah's.. all except for another of our group that holds alot of sway with our new owner.. He immediately proclaimed the gun would be sold off within the month!
His words were somewhat prophetic, as I knew they would be after putting such a hex on a brand new gun.
My friend shot his new gun.. not well. He being left handed, needed some cast-on, and the gun was sent to a prominent NY gunsmith for bending. Upon it's return, it was still not producing the scores it's owner would have liked, but there was a big difference in between the hands feel between the ASE and the 682, so my advice was give it some time..
The gun got sporadic use, never really given the chance to see what it could actually do, and after about a year, went down the road to another buddy... A right handed shooter who proceeded to shoot it with a stock bent for a leftie... The gun moved to another home. Another right hander who doesn't shoot it, and may not even be aware that it is cast for a southpaw!
So, it's a closet queen, resigned to a life of darkness in a gun cae.. and all because of some bad breaks, and owners that wouldn't give it a chance.

The second.. A Perazzi MX-3 set.

The original MX-3 I might add. The gun without the side lugs of today's MX-3 Special.. The gun without the trademark bank vault lock-up (to borrow a term from our friends at Cold Duck)
A little background.. This gun, a 12 and 20 gauge set with, again, two trigger groups because the MX-3's were set to fire the top barrel first for cost concessions, was owned by the same gentleman as Tale #1, and also was unused for similar reasons... He just didn't like it and felt he couldn't shoot it.
I had always lusted after a Perazzi Comp 1 (Competezion #1) Light Game gun from the Ithaca era, but they're about as rare as hen's teeth, and due to much "fudging" with Perazzi's, one is never really sure he has found an original "Light Game" or a modified Comp 1.
So, I lusted after this set for many years, but the owner any I could never arrive and a price... mainly because he paid too much for it at the outset, and it was never worth it. I took the set for a period of months to get the feel of it. Even with light 20 ga. loads, the gun would "pop open." The old MX-3's were noted for their weakness, but with light twenty gauge loads, it would be a nice little upland gun. But, tthe owner had better have comparably kight 12 gauge loads also!
So, this gun languishes in ambiguity. Unused, and probably will remain so. The "red headed stepchild" of a proud name. A gun that may never find it's "niche"..

Sad in a way, that some otherwise good guns, like people, just never make the cut...

1 comment:

  1. Interesting piece, Bill. Someday I'm going to write a generalized buyer beware story about guns like the ones you mention. The story reduced to a thought is that owners prefer to sell their turkeys unimproved, and crap gets passed along to unsuspecting or unsavvy buyers.

    Cold Duck is improved by your two neologism contributions. Thanks!