|03-29-2009, 05:26 AM||#1|
Join Date: Nov 2005
For decades on his 30 acre farm here in southeast central Oklahoma, my grandfather owned two guns, a single shot bolt action J.C. Higgins .22 rifle, and a single shot breaktop Victor 12 gauge shotgun. With these two guns he protected his family, dealt with the odd pest animal, and, most importantly, gathered meat for the table. The entree of many a family meal back then (before my time, but I've heard the stories) was fried squirrel, dove or quail, often brought down by the old Victor single shot twelve.
My grandfather died in 1973, when I was five years old. Often in the years that followed I would go back to the gunrack in what had been his bedroom and gaze at his two orphaned firearms. I liked the .22, but the shotgun fascinated me. I'd watched my older brother shoot it a few times, and I was scared of it as I would've been of a bear. It was small and light, with a "fishtail" barrel release, and full-choked, and it kicked like the proverbial mule. This I gleaned from observing my brother with it -- I never chanced to fire it myself.
A couple-three years ago, because it's fairly similar to what my grandfather used as his "working" shotgun all those years, I bought a H&R Topper 16 gauge (I got the 16 because I already owned a 12 gauge pump and I'd never owned a sixteen). I carry it out in the woods on our old family land every now and then, thinking about how it must have been for Grandpa back then, knowing that if he didn't get a squirrel or rabbit then there wouldn't be any meat to go with the "beans and taters" or cornmeal gravy that day.
My brother has Grandpa's guns now. He keeps them well-preserved and cared for, but doesn't shoot the old Victor anymore. It's enjoying a well-earned retirement.
I'd appreciate any information on Victor shotguns, and especially on their single-shot 12 gauges (what years they were made, where they were made, etc.). From what little I know about them, they weren't fancy or expensive guns, but at least one of their number did its job very well, for a long, long time.
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