The Belgian 12

Friday, January 29th, 2010 | Posted in Gear, Hunting

Round Rock, TX – “Well I just got that Benelli last year, I should just go with it again this year”, I say to myself, holding and looking up and down the possible opening-day-dove-hunt shotgun alternative.

The Belgian 12

A few years ago, my granddad traded someone somewhere for two Belgian guild-made side-by-side (SxS) hammer-guns made around 1930: an English stock 12ga., and a 28ga./7mm shotgun/rifle combo gun.  At the time, I was probably mesmerized with German or Spanish double-guns, and working toward justifying a $4000 expense attempt at entry into the world of fine SxS craftsmanship.  So I hadn’t ever asked to borrow or try these guns, even at the range.  I was also probably scared to fire them.

But now, as my gun wisdom/mantras had cycled over after a few years (note: and are sure to cycle again), I made my way to the gun safe and was imagining taking the old 12ga. out to hit some birds.  I wanted to shoot a dove with a SxS hammergun.  The gun’s action locked up solid, its hammers and triggers had little play.  Overall, the gun felt pretty good, and trustworthy.  It wasn’t my granddad’s trusty shotgun.  In fact, he traded guns often and he simply hadn’t traded this one away yet.  But it was $4000 cheaper than a Merkel, “shot the same shells”, and had enjoyed 70+ years of aging in its wood that gave it a feel and color as warm as some old whiskey.  I asked my granddad if I could borrow it.  Stupid question. (more…)