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A Timely Reminder to Prep Your Hunting Gear

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July 16, 2013

A Timely Reminder to Prep Your Hunting Gear

By Phil Bourjaily

I looked at the calendar and realized, as it always happens this time of year, that hunting season is sneaking up on me and the endless off-season will be over soon. It’s hard to really believe that fall is coming when it’s humid and over 90 degrees out, but the calendar is clear on the fact that there are only six weeks until hunting seasons open.

It’s time to get ready, and especially time to get guns that need work off to the gunsmith. Wait too long like everyone else does and your gun may not be done when you need it. I am practicing what I preach and getting my battery readied for fall.

I got a great deal on an older Browning Gold earlier this year which I intend to use as my dove gun. It had a dent in the rib which I straightened myself, and it is currently at my local gunsmith getting its trigger lightened from a heavy 7- or 8-pound pull down to 4.

The Beretta 391 I use for waterfowl cycles sluggishly. I have tried shooting it clean, dirty, wet and dry and nothing seems to change. I replaced the action spring, which helped a little, but it is off to the Beretta experts at Cole Gun in Maine. They will find whatever small demon has possessed the gun and exorcise it in time for me to shoot September teal with it.

If you haven’t started shooting already, it’s time to do that, too. Buy a flat of target loads and shoot two rounds of skeet a week between now and Sept. 1. You’ll be surprised and pleased at how much difference that makes when the real birds start flying.

Comments (18)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Steve in Virginia wrote 39 weeks 1 day ago

Good advice Phil. I have to say that as much as I love hunting season, the anticipation of hunting season that starts this time of year only adds to the experience.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 39 weeks 1 day ago

I just love my Old Browning 12Ga Mod 2000, Its one of my Fun Guns for Doves and Woodcocks, and when Switching Bbl's it becomes a Trap,Duck Gun and Switch Bbl to becomes a Slug Gun.
I do love Mr.Bob hunting over GSP with my Antonio Zoli 28Ga SxS 26" Bbl, It makes for a Fun outing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 39 weeks 1 day ago

Do you keep your pointer in a pen Treestand? All of them I have known like to hunt a little too much.

Trigger jobs on a shotgun? Wow, now I have a whole new batch of guns that need work. Thanks Phil...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GrandSlamDreamer wrote 39 weeks 23 hours ago

I've had several losing sessions in a row now and I was wondering if I would still have the same enthusiasm I used to muster as the season approaches. All I can say is that the first big buck in the trail cam had me giddy as a school girl. I just sent my gun out for a refinishing on the stalk and my bow is getting all sorts of work done.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 39 weeks 21 hours ago

My 870 goose gun is getting tired. It's not ejecting 3" shells half the time and the let shell latch has been discombobulated for years (trigger pin will hold it in but it takes three hands to get everything back in place when the gun is gutted for cleaning). That stuff is all peened or riveted to the receiver so a gunsmith has to do the repairs. I'm not sure I trust the local guy with something like that. The docs say I should be shooting something less severe because of my eye issues, but acquiring another gun up here is complicated. And damned expensive. Much worse than anything you guys can imagine! Not sure what to do but I guess I better get off the pot or poop. Thanks for the reminder, Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 39 weeks 19 hours ago

I went to the trap club 2 weeks ago and turned in a miserable performance with my 3 best shooting 12's. Went back to the 'Burban and pulled out my 870 Super Mag with the Wambo hand-painted camo job with the early 25" barrel with the sling still attached. A few sneers from some of the regulars. Screwed in a Mod choke and started busting birds! That wiped the grin off their mugs. I've already cleaned up my shotguns for the early goose hunt and rifles are cleaned and ready for a little more range time. I had a little surgical procedure that has put a crimp in my style for the past week, but the dawgs are ready to roll anyway. Wife has been running them every day. Gear boxes are getting a going over for deer and elk hunt. The big question is what rifles to take on the hunt?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MReeder wrote 39 weeks 18 hours ago

We actually had some nice rain showers blow through S. Texas today that dropped the high temperature from what had been a fairly steady 100 down to 75. I ended up dragging out my deer hunting backpack and putting everything in order and started searching hunting outfitters on the internet. I don't think I even made the connection between the cool weather and what I was doing until I saw Phil's new post. The lower mammals aren't the only ones driven by conditioned response...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Island_Time wrote 39 weeks 11 hours ago

I've had issues with my Urika 391 cycling slower as well. Cole has done some work on it in the past. I'd love to hear how they resolve the problem. Every year pre-season I keep looking at new shotguns. I always come back to the 391 for waterfowl. Hard to cough up $1,600 for the A400!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 39 weeks 10 hours ago

I had a slow beretta also. There is a plunger at the front of the recoil spring, that the bolt link fits into. It had worn, on one side only, I could tell because it was shinny. when the gun cycled that plunger would be very slightly canted in the tube due to the wear. Because of that cant, it would bind up. Put a shurcycle system in it, $155.00 and fixed it

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 39 weeks 9 hours ago

One other thing, the tube that holds the recoil spring, and plunger also had wear on one side, so just replacing the worn plunger would not fix the gun. The A400 guns have put the bolt closing system under the forarm in line with the bolt, a better system I think.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 39 weeks 8 hours ago

Hmmm. My youngest brother has a Beretta auto he hasn't used in years and he was thinking about selling it to me. Maybe I'll get my 870 fixed instead.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 39 weeks 4 hours ago

Phil good article. Anytime I spot and article with a picture of a dove and shotgun I tend to zero in on it. Dove season in South Carolina starts off with a lot of doves and a lot of shooting, so having my 20 ga O/U in good shape is something I don't take for granted. I use my 12 ga O/U the second and third portions of the dove season. I start shooting clays around early July and try to go every few weeks. At my age 66, my #1 hunting gear priority is me. I start doing my yard work in the mid day toward afternoon to get conditioned to the heat. Last years opening day was high blue sky's, 95 and a heat index of 102. You don't get much of a breeze and very little shade down in a corn row or sunflower field so you have to be able to take the heat. Especially when there is a lot of action. I usually take care of my gun right after hunting season is over and make sure any issues are taken care of as I shoot through the off season. Putting my guns aways is not a long period of time so I know what I have, what my issues are what needs to be fixed.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

Good advise Phil, and let's not forget our healthy hunting prep as well! Take the summer to start living a more healthy life style; eat better foods, excersise, and stop putting off that check up!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

Good advice from all, especially about getting in shape. I often find that my favorite hunting clothes have shrunk over the summer months.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

OH --
I wouldn't be afraid of a Beretta semiauto if I were you just because we're discussing a few problems with them. They are excellent guns on the whole. I haven't yet had a malfunction in the field with the 391 I sent to Cole but it doesn't shoot target loads very well. My other Beretta semiauto hunting gun, a 3901, cycles everything perfectly.
Ralph -- good advice, and possibly even a topic worth its own post sometime.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Island_Time wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

Agreed. I've put my 391 through over 8,000 rounds, countless storms and dropped it in the bayou a multitude of times. I believe mine is more a need to replace some worn out springs and cleaning the recoil spring tube. I did have an issue with Federal shells misfiring. It was a weakened firing pin spring or hard primers. I sent it to Cole and they could not find anything wrong, so primers it is! Winchester shells have never given me an issue.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

I won't be selling any of my Beretta auto's either, my Beretta problem, was hard to find, but once found, easy to fix. I have a 303 skeet gun with well over 100,000 shells through it, I also have some unfired 303's. If I close my eye's and run the actions, I can't tell them apart.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 38 weeks 1 day ago

bought my a400 unico last summer...have put a few thousand rounds through it in the past year. functions flawlessly, an absolute perfect all around shotgun for all things clay and feathered.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from Steve in Virginia wrote 39 weeks 1 day ago

Good advice Phil. I have to say that as much as I love hunting season, the anticipation of hunting season that starts this time of year only adds to the experience.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ralph the Rifleman wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

Good advise Phil, and let's not forget our healthy hunting prep as well! Take the summer to start living a more healthy life style; eat better foods, excersise, and stop putting off that check up!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from PbHead wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

Good advice from all, especially about getting in shape. I often find that my favorite hunting clothes have shrunk over the summer months.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 39 weeks 1 day ago

I just love my Old Browning 12Ga Mod 2000, Its one of my Fun Guns for Doves and Woodcocks, and when Switching Bbl's it becomes a Trap,Duck Gun and Switch Bbl to becomes a Slug Gun.
I do love Mr.Bob hunting over GSP with my Antonio Zoli 28Ga SxS 26" Bbl, It makes for a Fun outing.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tim Platt wrote 39 weeks 1 day ago

Do you keep your pointer in a pen Treestand? All of them I have known like to hunt a little too much.

Trigger jobs on a shotgun? Wow, now I have a whole new batch of guns that need work. Thanks Phil...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from GrandSlamDreamer wrote 39 weeks 23 hours ago

I've had several losing sessions in a row now and I was wondering if I would still have the same enthusiasm I used to muster as the season approaches. All I can say is that the first big buck in the trail cam had me giddy as a school girl. I just sent my gun out for a refinishing on the stalk and my bow is getting all sorts of work done.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 39 weeks 21 hours ago

My 870 goose gun is getting tired. It's not ejecting 3" shells half the time and the let shell latch has been discombobulated for years (trigger pin will hold it in but it takes three hands to get everything back in place when the gun is gutted for cleaning). That stuff is all peened or riveted to the receiver so a gunsmith has to do the repairs. I'm not sure I trust the local guy with something like that. The docs say I should be shooting something less severe because of my eye issues, but acquiring another gun up here is complicated. And damned expensive. Much worse than anything you guys can imagine! Not sure what to do but I guess I better get off the pot or poop. Thanks for the reminder, Phil.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 39 weeks 19 hours ago

I went to the trap club 2 weeks ago and turned in a miserable performance with my 3 best shooting 12's. Went back to the 'Burban and pulled out my 870 Super Mag with the Wambo hand-painted camo job with the early 25" barrel with the sling still attached. A few sneers from some of the regulars. Screwed in a Mod choke and started busting birds! That wiped the grin off their mugs. I've already cleaned up my shotguns for the early goose hunt and rifles are cleaned and ready for a little more range time. I had a little surgical procedure that has put a crimp in my style for the past week, but the dawgs are ready to roll anyway. Wife has been running them every day. Gear boxes are getting a going over for deer and elk hunt. The big question is what rifles to take on the hunt?

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from MReeder wrote 39 weeks 18 hours ago

We actually had some nice rain showers blow through S. Texas today that dropped the high temperature from what had been a fairly steady 100 down to 75. I ended up dragging out my deer hunting backpack and putting everything in order and started searching hunting outfitters on the internet. I don't think I even made the connection between the cool weather and what I was doing until I saw Phil's new post. The lower mammals aren't the only ones driven by conditioned response...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Island_Time wrote 39 weeks 11 hours ago

I've had issues with my Urika 391 cycling slower as well. Cole has done some work on it in the past. I'd love to hear how they resolve the problem. Every year pre-season I keep looking at new shotguns. I always come back to the 391 for waterfowl. Hard to cough up $1,600 for the A400!

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 39 weeks 10 hours ago

I had a slow beretta also. There is a plunger at the front of the recoil spring, that the bolt link fits into. It had worn, on one side only, I could tell because it was shinny. when the gun cycled that plunger would be very slightly canted in the tube due to the wear. Because of that cant, it would bind up. Put a shurcycle system in it, $155.00 and fixed it

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 39 weeks 9 hours ago

One other thing, the tube that holds the recoil spring, and plunger also had wear on one side, so just replacing the worn plunger would not fix the gun. The A400 guns have put the bolt closing system under the forarm in line with the bolt, a better system I think.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 39 weeks 8 hours ago

Hmmm. My youngest brother has a Beretta auto he hasn't used in years and he was thinking about selling it to me. Maybe I'll get my 870 fixed instead.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from FSU70 wrote 39 weeks 4 hours ago

Phil good article. Anytime I spot and article with a picture of a dove and shotgun I tend to zero in on it. Dove season in South Carolina starts off with a lot of doves and a lot of shooting, so having my 20 ga O/U in good shape is something I don't take for granted. I use my 12 ga O/U the second and third portions of the dove season. I start shooting clays around early July and try to go every few weeks. At my age 66, my #1 hunting gear priority is me. I start doing my yard work in the mid day toward afternoon to get conditioned to the heat. Last years opening day was high blue sky's, 95 and a heat index of 102. You don't get much of a breeze and very little shade down in a corn row or sunflower field so you have to be able to take the heat. Especially when there is a lot of action. I usually take care of my gun right after hunting season is over and make sure any issues are taken care of as I shoot through the off season. Putting my guns aways is not a long period of time so I know what I have, what my issues are what needs to be fixed.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from philbourjaily wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

OH --
I wouldn't be afraid of a Beretta semiauto if I were you just because we're discussing a few problems with them. They are excellent guns on the whole. I haven't yet had a malfunction in the field with the 391 I sent to Cole but it doesn't shoot target loads very well. My other Beretta semiauto hunting gun, a 3901, cycles everything perfectly.
Ralph -- good advice, and possibly even a topic worth its own post sometime.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Island_Time wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

Agreed. I've put my 391 through over 8,000 rounds, countless storms and dropped it in the bayou a multitude of times. I believe mine is more a need to replace some worn out springs and cleaning the recoil spring tube. I did have an issue with Federal shells misfiring. It was a weakened firing pin spring or hard primers. I sent it to Cole and they could not find anything wrong, so primers it is! Winchester shells have never given me an issue.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from sdditchpig wrote 38 weeks 6 days ago

I won't be selling any of my Beretta auto's either, my Beretta problem, was hard to find, but once found, easy to fix. I have a 303 skeet gun with well over 100,000 shells through it, I also have some unfired 303's. If I close my eye's and run the actions, I can't tell them apart.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from scratchgolf72 wrote 38 weeks 1 day ago

bought my a400 unico last summer...have put a few thousand rounds through it in the past year. functions flawlessly, an absolute perfect all around shotgun for all things clay and feathered.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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