28 Gauge Morning

Tommy recently got a CZ Mini Ringneck in 28 gauge that is identical to mine.

I’ve been shooting a 5 1/2 pound 28 gauge CZ Mini Ringneck for a number of years.  Tommy has tried it out a number of times and always shot it well.  There has been a lot of controversy over the 28 gauge this fall as one person that I hunt with a lot has no faith in the ability of the smaller gauge gun to kill birds.  He also thinks I shoot my old 6 1/2 pound 20 gauge Winchester 101 better than I do the 28.  He’s wrong about the 28’s killing power.  He might have a case about my ability to shoot the 101.  I’ve shot it for over 20 years and its fixed choke skeet and skeet barrels are pretty deadly on both grouse and woodcock.  The extra pound of weight also makes it a little easier to swing the 20 smoothly but it’s a load for an old man to carry.  I have to concentrate a little harder with the 28 but it has killed many birds and 3/4 of an ounce of 7 1/2s is plenty for both grouse and woodcock.  If you’re on them they die.  This week I had switched back to the 20 for the late season grouse shooting where the ranges are longer and the 1 ounce high-brass Remington 20 gauge shells are our standard load.  So I carried it Saturday and shot a grouse for the Little Thudster.  Yesterday, the Big Thudd brought a really sweet European-market Beretta 20 with double triggers that tips the scale at 5 pounds 13 ounces and is easy to carry.  It’s been a long time since I shot a gun with double triggers regularly except for occasionally shooting a 2 1/2 inch 12 gauge hammer gun. But today when it was just Tommy and I, I pulled the 28 back out of the cupboard.  There’s a few minor changes (the barrel selector and the opening lever) I thought mine had 28″ barrels but has only 26″.  Tommy’s has the 28″ barrels and a little more grain in the stock.

We went to a cover that seems to hold a lot of birds late in the season and put Veronica down first.  We moved 10 grouse that were often in islands of evergreens which made the shooting a little tough but Tommy managed to knock one down.  We ran LJ in a cut we hadn’t tried before and decided it was still a little young to be holding birds at this time of year.  He did point one bird that almost outsmarted us.  Tommy and I both walked out in front of the dog and nothing happened.  When I released him he made a big swing around and then came back through the ground right between Tommy and I.  The bird flushed, LJ stopped to flush and I folded the bird with my 28.  When we got back to the truck it was already getting warm so we cleaned the birds.  Both crops were full of Cinquefoil leaves and ferns.

Ferns like these are part of the diet of grouse here at this time of year.

Cinquefoil is another green that is often in the crops of late season grouse here in the North Country.
Posted in Current News.

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