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The Classic Shotguns and a Great American Side x Side Shoot
by Larry S. Moore
"Classic" - just say the word and a different image will pop into just about every person's mind. Fishermen may think of the Bass Master Classic, classic fly fishing rods or vintage reels. The car enthusiast may think of a split window Corvette. Whatever your definition of classic, say the word around my house and you'll hear about classic shotguns. There are many shotguns from the period of late 19th and early 20th century that many consider the classics. The period was a high point for American craftsmanship. Names like LC Smith, Fox, Parker and many more are classics commonly called side by side or double guns.
I fell in love with LC Smith shotguns thanks to family lore. Family lore indicates that both my grandparents were good shots competing locally at various shooting events including live pigeon shoots. There were also a pair of shotguns in 12 gauge and 20 gauge with my Grandmother using the 20 gauge gun. These were in separate cases. Indications are the shotguns were LC Smith. The guns have long since vanished from the family but the lore intrigued me. Along the way, I've gathered a lot of respect for the history of all the side by side guns of the early to mid-1900s.
I get the most enjoyment from shooting my classic shotguns whether hunting pheasant and rabbits or at the sporting clays course. One of my most anticipated events each year is the LC Smith Collector's Association display at the Ohio Gun Collectors Association (www.ogca.com) show each July. We see a lot of people with LC Smith guns and questions. I'm hoping more of them get their classic, perhaps Grandpa's gun, out of the back of the gun case or closet. The guns were well made. Of course, after all these years, a good inspection is in order before using the guns. Watch out for any with Damascus barrels as they are not safe to shoot with modern high pressure ammunition.
I recently took a LC Smith Skeet Special and headed to Black Wing Shooting Center outside Delaware. I've shot a number of times at Black Wing but it was usually on their outstanding trap line. I had shot the previous five- stand course and really enjoyed it. Black Wing opened the ten station walking course about a year ago. I knew that whatever was done at Black Wing it would be a first-class operation. They quickly got me signed up and out to the sporting clays course.
Judy Stadtlander, Black Wing Event Planner, explains, "Our course is designed for the recreational shooter. Over the past year we have made a few changes and tweaked it a bit. We want to have some challenging targets but the overall goal is to get shooters out to have some fun. You don't have to be experienced with sporting clays to come out and enjoy this day. We will have range officers available for the day". I can verify the course provided some real challenges and great fun. The most important thing I learned that day is this is most definitely not a course for a gun with skeet 1 and skeet 2 chokes.
The LC Smith Collectors Association has partnered with Black Wing for a special Great American Side x Side Shoot on both the sporting clays courses. The shoot will be held on July 20 just prior to the LC Smith display at the Ohio Gun Collectors show. The shoot will begin at 9:00AM and includes coffee, pastry and a catered lunch. Both the ten station walking course and the five stand course are included for 75 total targets. Registration is due by July 10.
Black Wing Shooting Center is the only Five-Star Range in Ohio. They offer a premier shooting experience, fully staffed pro-shop and great range officers. I've shot both tournaments and fund-raising events there. I've found the staff always considers safety first. They are most helpful if there is a novice shooter in the group and work hard to make everyone feel welcome.
Stadtlander concludes, " Black Wing is excited to have the LC Smith Collectors Association at this very special shoot. We are focused on making everyone welcome and having a great event. We have a wonderful sporting clays course, 5-stand course and wobble trap to keep the shooters challenged. This is going to be a great event for Ohio to celebrate the fine double guns and especially the LC Smith guns. The sporting clays course will be a walk in a canopy covered woods."
More classic double guns seem to appear in Ohio all the time. There is a lot of interest generated at the annual Ohio Gun Collectors Show with the fine displays. I'm excited to have a LC Smith event closer to home. I hope shooters will make the trip to Black Wing and experience a great day of shooting sports. If you have interest in the classic side x side guns this shoot is a prime opportunity to learn more and enjoy these great pieces of American history.
Get your registration form submitted before July 10 to have a great day with some classic shotguns. For registration information see the Black Wing website at www.blackwingsc.com/ or the LC Smith Collectors Association website http://www.lcsmith.org/. You may contact Judy Stadtlander at Black Wing at : 740 363-7555 X 208.
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year and the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.