I am frequently asked how many guns I really have, and when I tell them, they are very surprised. As an outdoors writer, I have an obligation to keep my readers abreast of what’s new in the outdoors, and this applies especially to firearms.
At least this is the disguise/excuse I have used to “test guns,” but the truth is the majority spend very little time in my gun cabinet.
Yes, I have just one, and right now, it is less than half full. I admit I have never held a gun that I didn’t like; but the truth is, I am fickle when it comes to firearms.
The majority of the firearms I get are loaned for testing and evaluation, and returned. Those that I keep, I buy. But far too often, these so-called “keepers” don’t last too long.
The oldest gun in my cabinet now is a 12-gauge Benelli Vinci, which has traveled all over the country with me chasing turkeys. I have shot at 26 turkeys with this shotgun, and have harvested 26 turkeys.
My first turkey with the Benelli was a stubborn big old tom that decided to go to the “real” thing rather than my calling. It hung up in some small saplings that turned out to be 75 paces from where I was sitting. When he turned toward the real hen, I put him down.
As for the other guns that have passed through the Noonan house I really had some good shooters, but really do not miss them — with one exception.
While cruising through a local gun shop in 2009 with my friend Dave Rooney of Saratoga Springs, he picked up a 20-gauge Browning BPS that was scoped with a Cabela’s 3-9x40 Slug Shotgun scope and “made” me buy it.
The next day at the range, I thanked him. It took very little adjusting to tighten a group of Remington Premier AccuTip 260 grain Bonded Sabot slugs into a 1.5- to 2-inch three-shot group at 50 and 100 yards.
All my guns are hunting guns, and I am always looking for something a bit different, and that fall, this Browning was on its way to Canada and a bear hunt with the Hermann Stroeher of Ontario Bear Outfitters.
It was here, on the second day of the hunt, that I found out that the Browning Remington Premier AccuTip slugs were a deadly combination. It was my sixth Canadian black bear with Hermann. I shot the bear at about 60 yards, and it dropped immediately.
When dressing and skinning the bear, we found both shoulders were destroyed.
I was very impressed with both the shotgun and the slug. As soon as I got home, I ordered a regular barrel from Browning and planned to use it for small game and turkeys.
It never happened because several months later, it found a new home in a friend’s gun cabinet.
I think it was less than a year later, during my first rabbit hunt, that I regretted giving away the Browning, and contacted its new owner about getting it back, but he did not want to part with it.
However, with a lot of begging, I got him to change his mind. And in case you are wondering, this all took place prior to Jan. 15, 2013, and the passage of the NY Safe Act. It will see action in bunny woods this month and next month in Florida’s bunny/squirrel woods.
There is also a chance that an Osceola tom and a Florida hog might also be introduced to the Browning.