Written by Sierra Bullets Chief Ballistician Tommy Todd
I grew up in a household in rural Missouri that participated in hunting. When I was a youngster and too little to go hunting with my dad, uncles, an occasional guest, or my older brothers I still wanted to go. I admired all the guns they used when they went hunting.
In Missouri in the early to mid 1970’s small game was abundant. Often the group was hunting squirrels and rabbits with 22 rimfires. If they came across any quail the shotgun carrying hunters were put to the point in order to have a chance at the birds. Eventually I was allowed to tag along and was even allowed to bring my BB gun along as long as proper safety was observed. As I grew older I was able to carry a rifle or shotgun just like the rest of the group. Occasionally I borrowed one of Dad’s guns, or an older brother’s, or sometimes an uncle would offer to let me use one of his guns.
When I got old enough, I was given a 22 rifle by my loving parents. After making enough money through part-time jobs I bought myself a shotgun. There were many good times had with these firearms and during these hunts, and I wish I had pictures of all these good times.
Now, about 30 years later, Dad has long since passed away, all of my uncles are gone, and many of those old guns that I remember looking at and wishing I could shoot and hunt with have been scattered to family members or were sold to a stranger and lost forever.
I do however have a couple of Dad’s old guns that are at the top of my list of prized possessions. One of them is a Browning HiPower 9mm that he kept in a dresser drawer, occasionally we would get it out and shoot it a bit. Unfortunately for years everyone thought it was “shot out” because it shot so poorly. After I started working at Sierra Bullets and became educated in the ways of guns and bullets, I talked Dad into giving that gun a proper cleaning and provided him some loaded ammunition. With much satisfaction I can say that the old pistol can hold its own in the accuracy department.
The other gun I have that was my dad’s is an old (made in 1908) Ithaca side-by-side 12 gauge. For as long as I can remember, this gun had a broken stock (complete with a radiator hose clamp and some grey tape holding it together). It was actually the first shotgun I ever shot. I was about age nine. To this day I and can clearly remember the noise, recoil, and Dad catching me as I was stumbling backwards after firing it, but that tin can I was shooting at sure took a beating! This old shotgun was beat up and a cousin of mine had it for many years. He restocked it and inlaid a silver dollar into the stock for some reason. I was able to get this gun a few months ago.
I just HAD to take it hunting one more time before retiring it, so one fine morning I took it to the duck blind with me. The old Ithaca performed quite well and more fond memories were made with it.
It is my hope that you too have both the memories and the guns they were made with. And I hope you have someone that will appreciate them that you can pass both the guns and memories down to in the future.