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Hunting Pheasants with an Heirloom SKB 500

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December 27, 2012

Hunting Pheasants with an Heirloom SKB 500

By Phil Bourjaily

Many of us have guns passed down from our fathers. My friend Peter hunts pheasants with his father’s SKB 500. It’s a 12 gauge quite similar to the one I used to have. The SKBs were an excellent value—strong, well made guns—from a Japanese factory which unfortunately now makes, I believe, golf clubs.

Anyway, Peter’s heirloom gun is very special. His father bought it used and rusty a few years ago. He  carefully cleaned it up and got it ready for pheasant season. He liked it so much he declared it would be his official pheasant gun from then on—before he ever shot it at a pheasant. He never did shoot it at a pheasant. He died in a farming accident on opening day while Peter was in high school.

I took this picture just after we finished hunting Peter’s farm earlier this year. Peter supplied the ground, I brought the dog power, and Jed had one of his very good days.  We shot two limits in an hour and a half, a pheasant hunt the likes of which I have seen only a couple in the last four or five years.

“When was the last time you shot a limit of roosters?” I asked as I was taking this picture.

Peter thought.

“Back in 2008 I shot two and shot at another one,” he said.

“You mean you never shot a limit of pheasants until today and now you have done it with your dad’s pheasant gun?”

“That’s right.”

I had to stop taking pictures from a second and regain my composure. I have been on some very good hunts this year but I am very grateful I was along on that one.

Comments (11)

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Nice story. My dad decided before he died which of his four boys would get what guns. I got back the A-5 I bought when I was in the US Army in Korea. My youngest brother received Dad's old Remington Model 11. It had a cracked stock and I picked up another one on line a few years back. Not sure if Phill ever has got around to refinishing them. When I was back home in September I picked up Dad's old canvas hunting coat. It was way too small for any of us to wear. However, just before I returned to Montana for pheasants in October I gave my daughter her 21st birthday presents early (she was born a week before my dad in November). She was thrilled to receive the 16 gauge Model 12 Dad gave me for my 12th birthday back in 1964. It was my first gun. I also gave her Dad's hunting coat and it fits her fine. While we were examining it I noticed a couple of rooster hackles in the game pocket. Made me cry. I told Jessie that I was with Dad the day he shot those birds. I remember it well. Opening day 1970. Then I told her the story of that hunt. I hope she never forgets it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Another good story, Phil, and thanks for sharing. May Peter see that day when he can pass thie heirloom along to his daughter or son, along with the family farm. Come January 1, 2013, the "death tax" drops from five million per individual back to one million; unless, of course, our senators and representatives in Washington come to their senses.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I hunted for years with my dad provided Belgium Browning 0/U, and like O/U's so much after that experience of swinging a great balanced shotgun that I now carry a lighter Beretta O/U in 20 ga. but luv the looks, efficiency of O/U shotguns. And I also have fond memories of hunting that stubble corn as shown. I don't see that anymore because of modern farming practices.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Great story. An SKB sxs or o/u has been on my list for a while. Shamefully and some time ago, I let a nice early '70's Ithaca SKB side-by get away. I'm still tormented by my foolishness.Shotguns like that are what I look for instead of the new stuff.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Now, that is a great story. Thank you for sharing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from woodsdog wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

The absolute Best Story I've read in a long time for certain. Thanks for sharing this. In my opinion, that SKB is MORE than worth its weight in gold or platinum. Like a fool, the first gun my Dad ever bought me I sold or traded for something stupid, I regret it to this day. I am lucky enough to have other guns my Dad bought or gave me, but the first was one he picked out completely with no "input" or suggestions by anybody. That's the one I covet the most. His birthday would have been tomorrow! This is great stuff Phil!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Half-of-two wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Awesome story...in my mind, this is what hunting is about. Sure, shooting your limit is great, but being able to experience something like that is the true reward. I'll never forget the first pheasant hunt I took my son on. He fired the gun 5 times, brought home 3 birds. Now he's hooked. Thanks for sharing, and congrats to Peter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BarkeyVA wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Great story. I'm sure you appreciated being a part of it. My dad sold his 16 ga. Springfield-Stevens No. 215 sxs hammer gun that he bought new for $15 in the early 1930's to his friend in 1948 or 1949. Dad's friend said he never hunted with it because he cut off the barrels to 20" to shoot rats at the local grain elevator where he worked. A few years ago I told dad's friend (then in his 80's) that if he still had the gun I'd like to buy it. He wouldn't sell it to me. Instead, he gave it to me! I took it out to the farm to show Dad (now 95) and shoot some clays. Dad said it was the only gun he killed his limit of quail and a pheasant on the same day. I took it to Kansas last year and killed three pheasants with it. They were the first birds taken with it in over 60 years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I have a couple of Ithaca-SKBs. A 500 I purchased new in 1975 and a previously owned (recently purchased), 280E; both 20's. Few pheasants have been taken with either, but 100's of doves and quail (and numerous Wood ducks) have been shot with the 500. Both point like an extension of my arm - both wonderful shooters.

A good friend bought a 12 ga. Ithaca-SKB 280E at the same time I purchased the 500. We both reloaded shot shells. He apparently double charged a shell. When he touched it off the stock shattered at the wrist and the fore-end was ripped off the barrels - but the action held solid. He bought a new stock and fore-end and had the complete repair done. The firearm's locks, flats, hinge and fences were undamaged and the SxS shot just fine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

In January 1971 just out of college and working in a Sporting Goods store I bought a used Winchester Model 101 O&U 12 gauge. It was a 1967 model and I have been hunting with the gun for over 41 years. I mostly hunt doves with it now and occasionally pheasants. It's been a great gun and I couldn't imagine hunting with anything else other than a light 20 gauge O&U I used during the early dove season.
One of the younger members of our dove club has owned 3 different Browning O&U's and has decided he wanted a Winchester Model 101 of the same vintage year to hunt with. He was able to find one in Aiken, SC recently and has been happy as a clam in mud hunting with it. Something about old, well made guns that just makes the joy of hunting that much more pleasurable. I'm currently trying to find a matching Winchester 20 gauge O & U of the same vintage years of 65, 66 or 67; the first 3 years the Model 101 was made.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from moxiaomi88629 wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Thank you everyone focusing Home www.lilydating.com I friends

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Nice story. My dad decided before he died which of his four boys would get what guns. I got back the A-5 I bought when I was in the US Army in Korea. My youngest brother received Dad's old Remington Model 11. It had a cracked stock and I picked up another one on line a few years back. Not sure if Phill ever has got around to refinishing them. When I was back home in September I picked up Dad's old canvas hunting coat. It was way too small for any of us to wear. However, just before I returned to Montana for pheasants in October I gave my daughter her 21st birthday presents early (she was born a week before my dad in November). She was thrilled to receive the 16 gauge Model 12 Dad gave me for my 12th birthday back in 1964. It was my first gun. I also gave her Dad's hunting coat and it fits her fine. While we were examining it I noticed a couple of rooster hackles in the game pocket. Made me cry. I told Jessie that I was with Dad the day he shot those birds. I remember it well. Opening day 1970. Then I told her the story of that hunt. I hope she never forgets it.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tom-Tom wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Another good story, Phil, and thanks for sharing. May Peter see that day when he can pass thie heirloom along to his daughter or son, along with the family farm. Come January 1, 2013, the "death tax" drops from five million per individual back to one million; unless, of course, our senators and representatives in Washington come to their senses.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from clinchknot wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I hunted for years with my dad provided Belgium Browning 0/U, and like O/U's so much after that experience of swinging a great balanced shotgun that I now carry a lighter Beretta O/U in 20 ga. but luv the looks, efficiency of O/U shotguns. And I also have fond memories of hunting that stubble corn as shown. I don't see that anymore because of modern farming practices.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from ITHACASXS wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Great story. An SKB sxs or o/u has been on my list for a while. Shamefully and some time ago, I let a nice early '70's Ithaca SKB side-by get away. I'm still tormented by my foolishness.Shotguns like that are what I look for instead of the new stuff.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Now, that is a great story. Thank you for sharing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from woodsdog wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

The absolute Best Story I've read in a long time for certain. Thanks for sharing this. In my opinion, that SKB is MORE than worth its weight in gold or platinum. Like a fool, the first gun my Dad ever bought me I sold or traded for something stupid, I regret it to this day. I am lucky enough to have other guns my Dad bought or gave me, but the first was one he picked out completely with no "input" or suggestions by anybody. That's the one I covet the most. His birthday would have been tomorrow! This is great stuff Phil!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Half-of-two wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Awesome story...in my mind, this is what hunting is about. Sure, shooting your limit is great, but being able to experience something like that is the true reward. I'll never forget the first pheasant hunt I took my son on. He fired the gun 5 times, brought home 3 birds. Now he's hooked. Thanks for sharing, and congrats to Peter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from BarkeyVA wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

Great story. I'm sure you appreciated being a part of it. My dad sold his 16 ga. Springfield-Stevens No. 215 sxs hammer gun that he bought new for $15 in the early 1930's to his friend in 1948 or 1949. Dad's friend said he never hunted with it because he cut off the barrels to 20" to shoot rats at the local grain elevator where he worked. A few years ago I told dad's friend (then in his 80's) that if he still had the gun I'd like to buy it. He wouldn't sell it to me. Instead, he gave it to me! I took it out to the farm to show Dad (now 95) and shoot some clays. Dad said it was the only gun he killed his limit of quail and a pheasant on the same day. I took it to Kansas last year and killed three pheasants with it. They were the first birds taken with it in over 60 years.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Anhinga wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

I have a couple of Ithaca-SKBs. A 500 I purchased new in 1975 and a previously owned (recently purchased), 280E; both 20's. Few pheasants have been taken with either, but 100's of doves and quail (and numerous Wood ducks) have been shot with the 500. Both point like an extension of my arm - both wonderful shooters.

A good friend bought a 12 ga. Ithaca-SKB 280E at the same time I purchased the 500. We both reloaded shot shells. He apparently double charged a shell. When he touched it off the stock shattered at the wrist and the fore-end was ripped off the barrels - but the action held solid. He bought a new stock and fore-end and had the complete repair done. The firearm's locks, flats, hinge and fences were undamaged and the SxS shot just fine.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 1 year 15 weeks ago

In January 1971 just out of college and working in a Sporting Goods store I bought a used Winchester Model 101 O&U 12 gauge. It was a 1967 model and I have been hunting with the gun for over 41 years. I mostly hunt doves with it now and occasionally pheasants. It's been a great gun and I couldn't imagine hunting with anything else other than a light 20 gauge O&U I used during the early dove season.
One of the younger members of our dove club has owned 3 different Browning O&U's and has decided he wanted a Winchester Model 101 of the same vintage year to hunt with. He was able to find one in Aiken, SC recently and has been happy as a clam in mud hunting with it. Something about old, well made guns that just makes the joy of hunting that much more pleasurable. I'm currently trying to find a matching Winchester 20 gauge O & U of the same vintage years of 65, 66 or 67; the first 3 years the Model 101 was made.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from moxiaomi88629 wrote 1 year 13 weeks ago

Thank you everyone focusing Home www.lilydating.com I friends

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