Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 24

Thread: Evolution of an everyday duck double

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Moncks Corner
    Posts
    12,041

    Default Evolution of an everyday duck double

    Despite it being a lifetime desire I have only had a side-by-side shotgun as an everyday duck gun for two seasons. Between 1985 and early 1987 I hunted ducks with a Savage Fox B gun with 28” M/F barrels, double triggers and extractors. I shot 1 ounces of #5 magnum lead shot hand-loaded into Remington-Peters “blue magic” hulls. It was a wonderful couple of years. I went from shooting poorly, at best, with a Remington 1100 to shooting my first ever dead-in-the-air double on the first day I carried the cheap double on a duck hunt. It was when we still had the experimental October season and I hammered a pair of wood ducks that decoyed to a pair of Victors. I had my boat hidden under a fallen cypress tree that still sits, basically unchanged, after more than 30 years.

    I learned a lot about hunting with a double from that gun. I learned about a cut and bruised trigger finger when shooting a heavy load from the left barrel. I learned about the panic of trying to free an empty hull from a stubborn chamber while a crippled duck is swimming off. I learned to not trust a “snap-on” forearm and realized there had to be something better than pressed checking.

    It was only a brief affair but I loved that cheap gun and saw past its flaws even the rather oblong, odd-angled and offset pattern of the full choke barrel. Before the third season rolled around, the federal government conspired with the SCDNR to force me to switch to steel shot starting with the 1987-88 duck season. The brief but torrid affair with the Savage was over. Without a steel-compatible duck hunt I had some gun shopping to do.

    The 1986 Browning catalog pointed to only one gun that was both a double and steel-shot capable but…it was an over and under. I must admit that I had been fascinated by O/Us ever since a man named Stafford had the audacity to bring a Christmas Superposed on a deer hunt in the lower Santee swamp. Fascination or not I had no choice so I bit the bullet. I found out that I was a decent shot with the Citori and now, 33 years later it’s still my go-to gun. I’ve killed 30 species of waterfowl with that gun along with woodcock, snipe, rail, winning some skins money in a clays tournament, a lot of dove, a few wild quail and a very memorable sharptail grouse. Even with that I still couldn’t shake the image of my Papa with his G-grade Parker and a post-depression turkey. I was haunted by my great-uncle’s unexpected gift of a side-by-side popgun when I was just five. Those impressionable years left a mark that I just couldn’t shake.



    I bought a Parker Brothers VHE 20 years ago and tried to fall in love but I just couldn’t. The then affordable Kent Impact loads were easy on the Full and Fuller chokes but deadly in ducks. Don’t be fooled – Kent Impacts are the equivalent of lead but at nearly $50 for a box of 10, my pragmatic senses just won’t let me enjoy a modern morning out with the Parker. Besides the old VHE has horrible dimensions. I don’t think I ever seen the barrels when swinging the gun. It has never felt right and the sight picture is atrocious. There is no magic with that gun even after killing a fine black drake on an upstate duck hunt. It’s been a safe queen ever since and I probably need to sell it.



    In keeping with my once-a-decade attempt to remedy the lack of an everyday duck double I bought a 12 gauge Browning BSS Hunter in 2009. I got a really good deal because it was a Frankengun – made up from the barrels from one BSS gun and the receiver and fore end from another. The previous owner had taken it to a hack gunsmith in an attempt to fit the barrels and forearm. The gun’s fit and finish is as perfect as new but the hack left or maybe created a more serious problem that I would find out about later.

    Over that summer I bought a flat of Bis-maxx, a bismuth-based soft non-toxic waterfowl load that is safe for use in old and tight choked guns, and a case each of two densities of Fiocchi soft tungsten. These new loads plus some Kent Impact loads that I had been hoarding for use in the Parker were all a good match with the gun’s modified and full barrels. I dedicated the entire 2009-10 duck season to killing every duck with a side-by-side. It was a somewhat frustrating season. As much as I like the look and feel of the big BSS, I don’t seem to always shoot it well and it would occasionally shoot itself open and knock the forearm off. The real but infrequent problem showed itself at the worst possible times. I don’t think it ever cost me a duck but I just can’t tolerate a waterfowl gun that’s not reliable.

    Even with the occasional problem, I managed a couple of good days in 2009-10 including a dead-in-the-air double on redheads, a very dead swan, and a last day limit. I killed a banded woody with the BSS and made one of my favorite dead duck pictures with the gun and some Bismaxx loads. Still there were a lot of misses and some cripples that haunt me so bad that I still don’t want to talk about it. I learned about soft non-toxic loads too.





    Over the course of the 2009-10 season, I killed ducks with the Parker, the then new BSS and my “bird” gun, a 20 gauge BSS. All of these guns require soft non-toxic loads. The Kent Impacts in 12 or 20 gauge are trustworthy and deadly but the bismuth and Fiocchi tungsten loads, even the “high density” Fiocchis, lack knock down power.



    At the end of the 2009-10 season I had to face the hard reality that I had an untrustworthy gun that shoots expensive and ineffective loads. For nine years I had two side-by-side safe queens sitting side-by-side in my safe as reminders that I still didn’t have the everyday duck double.

    I decided to change that last summer. I pulled the big Browning out of the safe and filed a cheap screwdriver’s blade to perfectly fit the screws in the gun’s forearm. I removed the wood and reassembled the gun. I could finally see the problem – the barrel lugs where too short to fit properly in the latch. Rather than risk another hatchet job I took the barrels to a welder and had him lengthen the lugs. It was a very course welding job so I had to spend some time on the bench with a hacksaw, Dremel, and some jewelers files. It is a fine piece of gunsmithing, if I do say so myself, and only served to extend my fondness for the gun – kind of like killing ducks over homepainted decoys. More importantly it worked. I took the gun out and shot some 3” turkey loads and the latch stayed tight but I still had two problems – I can’t shoot it and the necessary loads are either prohibitively expensive or expensive and inefficient.

    I approached the “can’t shoot” problem first. I took the gun and the BisMaxx loads on a wood duck hunt. If morning woodies can’t test a shooting problem, nothing can. I shot three times and killed three ducks including a dead-in-the-air double on woodies with a banded hen. I made it four-for-4 with a late morning, mach-2 bufflehead. I have confidence in the gun but regardless of the morning’s performance of bismuth, I still don’t trust the soft stuff.



    I solved that problem too. I just got the gun back from Briley after having steel-capable VX tubes installed in the gun making it ready to shoot my favorite #2 Fasteel loads. The 2019-20 season can’t get here soon enough.

    Last edited by Rubberhead*; 04-18-2019 at 06:46 PM. Reason: Spelling
    Ephesians 2 : 8-9



    Charles Barkley: Nobody doesn't like meat.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    5,643

    Default

    Good read as always. Looking forward to the 2019-20 pictures.


    Also, it would be kind of cool if we still hunted in ties. I bet if quail were still around, we would still wear ties and sport coats. Maybe the world wouldn't be so messed up.
    "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." John 15:12

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2,996

    Default

    Quit. There is still one tag to fill and a fish to catch. I cant start thinking of ducks yet!

    Thanks for the write up sir.
    "Think A Guy Like Me Worries About Percentages?" Tin Cup

    "Some get spiritual cause they see the light, and some cause they feel the heat" Ray Wylie Hubbard

    "P.S. I love turkeys. Mostly just hate those who hunt em." Glenn

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Wateree, South Carolina
    Posts
    34,079

    Default

    Nice blackduck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Charleston
    Posts
    1,275

    Default

    I have some blue blooded friends that like to get all dolled up in ties while they hunt.

    And I give them loads of shit for it too!
    DILLIGAF

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Moncks Corner
    Posts
    12,041

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by JABIII View Post
    Nice blackduck.
    Thanks. There's nothing quite like a true, red-legged black.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hogg View Post
    I have some blue blooded friends that like to get all dolled up in ties while they hunt.

    And I give them loads of shit for it too!
    Ha ha - my Papa was as old school lowcountry as you can imagine. That side of my family goes back in Berkeley county as far as we can trace it. He probably shot that jake before work.
    Ephesians 2 : 8-9



    Charles Barkley: Nobody doesn't like meat.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Petaluma CA / Moncks Corner SC
    Posts
    3,370

    Default

    Fantastic read!! Thank you very much sir!! I'm a long way from home right now. Been gone more than a month and won't be home for almost two more. It's nice to have a little distraction from the life at sea out here and you have such a way of painting a perfect picture with words. The pics to go along with the story are just the icing on the cake!
    Living in Moncks Corner but looking forward to moving back to the West Coast in 2020 where there are more ducks and less duck hunters!! LOL

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Southern LC
    Posts
    5,341

    Default

    Nice read as always.
    Private Land Rubberhead # 1

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Posts
    437

    Default

    I thought those double barrels couldnt handle any steel shot in them due to the pressure?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Moncks Corner
    Posts
    12,041

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Ring King View Post
    Fantastic read!! Thank you very much sir!! I'm a long way from home right now. Been gone more than a month and won't be home for almost two more. It's nice to have a little distraction from the life at sea out here and you have such a way of painting a perfect picture with words. The pics to go along with the story are just the icing on the cake!
    I didn't have many ducks this past season but I'm kicking myself for not calling you and at least offering you a cold boat ride or putting you up a tree with a reasonable chance of killing a nice deer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Coot_Commander View Post
    I thought those double barrels couldnt handle any steel shot in them due to the pressure?
    I think that's for damascus barrels. The BSS guns have fluid steel barrels but fixed chokes. Shooting steel shot through a fixed choked gun can bulge a barrel. A barrel bulge is only cosmetic on a single barreled gun but ruins a double because it causes the barrels to seperate.
    Ephesians 2 : 8-9



    Charles Barkley: Nobody doesn't like meat.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    York Co
    Posts
    4,091

    Default

    like it. good stuff as always

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Hack Swamp
    Posts
    1,910

    Default

    Excellent read and pictures.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    In the middle of it
    Posts
    2,954

    Default

    Superb write up and photos. Thanks for posting.
    Last edited by wskinner; 04-19-2019 at 10:11 AM.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    God's Country
    Posts
    3,344

    Default

    I am admittedly not a reader, but I always open your threads with eagerness because I know my mind's eye will have me right there in the moment. Luck be with you this season!

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Clarendon County
    Posts
    6,493

    Default

    Great stuff RH.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Scumter
    Posts
    17,810

    Default

    Two of my older guns have Briley thin wall tubes. That's money well spent!

    RH, while you're talking about things that come in twos, you got many scotch doubles under your belt?

    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

    Delta in a nutshell: Breeding grounds + small wetlands + big blocks of grass cover + predator removal + nesting structures + enough money to do the job= plenty of ducks to keep everyone smiling!

    "For those that will fight for it...FREEDOM...has a flavor the protected shall never know."
    -L/Cpl Edwin L. "Tim" Craft

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Moncks Corner
    Posts
    12,041

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by willyworm View Post
    ...you got many scotch doubles under your belt?
    Funny you mention that...I've killed 51 web-footed birds as a result of a one-shot double (or triple)...

    The first time was a greenhead and a USFWS banded hen. The guy I was hunting with was giving me a hard time about being a "hen shootin' b..." until I showed him the shiny shin.

    I did it once on a giant Canada goose with a cackler (Richardson's race) that was trying to hid behind the big bird.

    I learned early on about looking for opportunities to do it on purpose especially since I usually hunt with a double. The first time on purpose was a pair of Lake Moultrie wigeon that decoyed nicely but I missed with the under barrel. The pair lifted into a stiff wind. I realized the hen was going to cross behind the drake so I held my shot for just a moment then shot and both "dish ragged".

    Hunting alone helps a lot because I get to pick when the first shot happens so I can try to time it when a couple birds cross. I've taken Scotch doubles on mallards, bwt, gwt, blue bill, redheads, ringneck, woodies, gadwall, wigeon, wigeon/gadwall, and the geese mention above.

    I've even managed to kill a handful of triples with a double gun by starting with a scotch double then killing another with the second shot but I'm usually a bad shot so stringing two hits in a row is unusual. I did manage one "scotch triple" on North Carolina blue-wing.

    As much as I love doing it on purpose, there are times when it has happened when I was trying not to scotch...but I really need to shut up now...
    Ephesians 2 : 8-9



    Charles Barkley: Nobody doesn't like meat.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Posts
    6,719

    Default

    Nice read!
    If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, give it Narcan.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Summerville
    Posts
    5,695

    Default

    Cool
    Member of the Tenth Legion Since 2004

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Moncks Corner
    Posts
    12,041

    Default

    I shot clays with it this weekend. I stayed with Sk/LM for the whole "green" course at Backwoods...LR kicked my butt with a Citori...

    The gun kicks harder than the Citori. I think it's a combination of being about a half pound lighter and the slight, off-center, moment arm for the recoil.
    Ephesians 2 : 8-9



    Charles Barkley: Nobody doesn't like meat.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •