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Retired Moderator & Gunsmith
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
In an effort to generate some interest in all types of guns, I thought I would start a series on some of the guns I have bought over the years. By no means are these the best guns in the world, but at the time I bought them, they seemed to be the best bang for the buck for my intended purposes. Years ago while I was running my gunsmith shop, I learned what guns I didn't want, based on how frequently they showed up for repairs. I decided I would try to buy the best bang for the buck gun in each catagory. To me, BBFTB meant a popular gun that rarely spent time in the shop for repairs, was a good modern design, meets the needs of what it was designed for, "fits" me, and looks good.

While living in Colorado in the late 70's, one of my first quests was for a duck/goose gun. Many of the guns I owned were not up to par with my expectations. I already owned a Remington 1100 and a 870 plus a SKB skeet o/u and a Fox side-by-side. After thinking about all the desirable features, I knew it would have to be a pump gun in 12 gauge 3" mag. Being a handloader, I didn't like chasing empties so I narrowed it down to an Ithaca Mod 37 and Browning BPS-12. Both of these guns are built solid ... load and eject from the bottom and were available with 3" Mag chambers. After handling both guns, I liked the Ithaca a little better for smoothness but the features all went to Browning. The BPS-12 had a steel receiver, tang safety, and a unique magazine cut-off switch. The BPS-12 was the only shotgun on the market in 1977 (1st year out) that was rated for steel shot. It had a fixed modified choke (before screw-in choke tubes) with a steel vent rib and a recoil pad. Besides, the Browning was a much nicer looking gun with deep bluing and a beautiful walnut stock. This started my quest for the BBFTB. Comments on other duck/goose guns are welcome.

 

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the browning is one nice shotgun indeed. I owned one back in the 80's and it was a fine dove gun. Though i have never hunted geese or ducks so i would not be familar with the demands on the guns.

I understand yourself being drawn to an ithaca mdl 37. That is one fine pump gun and as the "story" goes---one of John Browning's last gun designs. I had an ithaca riot model for years but unfortunately sold it when someone offered too much money--wish i would had kept it.

Some ithaca's can be found on today's market at what i call bargin prices---considering the price of a new one.

And another reason i was drawn to the bps and the 37 is the bottom ejection. Side ejection never really bothered this lefty, but the bottom ejection did make it more convient to recover the hulls.

Back then i reloaded for the 12 ga so i always gathered them. And on a few places the land owners did not want hulls left on the ground as well.
 

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My brother has an Ithaca and I have the 870. Both with screw in chokes. As far as BBFTB guns these are hard to beat. I do not reload so saving hulls is not a worry of mine.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
Ruger Blackhawk

After buying the BPS-12, my next decision was to buy a SA revolver sidearm for an upcoming Colorado mule deer hunt (1977). Again, I did all the research and decided to go with a Ruger Blackhawk in 357 Mag. I already owned a Single-Six 22 that I bought a year earlier so I had become proficient with the Ruger New Model design. Turns out the new BH was a Liberty model, just like the 4 5/8" Single-Six only in a 6.5" barrel.

I shot my first muley that year but with my 30-30 Mod 94, not the Ruger. I did make a big mistake and shot a "camp robber", which is a gray colored jay that likes to swoop into camp and pick up little shiny things like a pop-top. The birds would follow you and fly from tree to tree all the while squawking and chasing the deer away. After being squawked at for two days, I took a rest on the Jeep's spare tire, took aim with the 357 Mag, and shot the damn jay. My ears didn't stop ringing for at least a week.

A few years ago, I got restored interest in the Liberty BH. I installed a brass grip frame and a SBH hammer. This is still one of my favorite guns and a tack driver to boot. Both the Ruger BH and Winchester Mod 94 have gained fame as being a BBFTB guns.

Here's the Liberty BH


and the Mod 94
 

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Very nice. I have 2 Mod. 94 Winchesters. I had an old beater that I carried as a Truck gun, and I cut the stock off and made a deer rifle for my Grandson to Deer hunt with. The other is a fairly nice Rifle that I like to brush hunt with. :)
 

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The NEF and H & R Handi-Rifle in any caliber or combo is a realy good BBFTB. Everyone I have seen, including my brothers 45-70, have been good shooters.
 

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bozack i agree ive had several nef rifles , i really like them for varmints the single shot is all i ever needed for ohio piggies , i owned 22mag right on up to 45/70 and all shot way better then the under 200 bucks i paid for them , i had a 357 mag in a nef ..what a blast, 38 spl's were fun and 357mag relaods with a hornady 180 gr made for a great deer round
 
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