I have a problem: I am addicted to the quality and beauty and incomparable feel of classic English and Scottish bird guns. I love their graceful lines, and I marvel at the countless hours of craftsmanship and artistry that each one represents. These are not guns that rolled off a production line: most were built one at a time, the product of small shops that often turned out no more than a few dozen examples per year. But they are of course much more than just beautiful objects from a bygone era. They are serious hunting tools, designed to be carried afield, crafted for impeccable balance, and built to fire thousands of rounds without malfunction. From early September, when I like to skirt the edges of alpine meadows for blue grouse, to the last day of the Montana bird season on January 1, when you’re likely to find me wading through cattails along a frozen slough, looking for one last dinner of rustic pheasant-and-leek tart, I will be carrying a classic English or Scottish gun. I might be toting an ornate, Damascus-barreled bar-in-wood hammergun from the 1870’s, or the plainest Birmingham boxlock non-ejector from the 1920’s, but I will be confident in the knowledge that it was built by men (and women) who took tremendous pride in their craft – a craft that has all but disappeared from the modern world. I will also be confident that I’m carrying a weapon that will bring down a wild-flushing grouse or pheasant just as neatly today as it did a century or more ago.
Since you have found your way to this website, there’s a good chance you have the same problem as I do. I suppose, as addictions go, it could be worse. In any case, feel free to look around – I won’t tell anyone you were here.
C. W. Scott, Helena, Montana