The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Gough Thomas's Gun Book

An original (shot)gun guru

I am not going to apologize again for not writing in over a month, but should say that I've been relatively busy during these weeks, including doing a small amount of shooting around beautiful Traverse City in this somewhat mild summer and trying to catch up on my reading, since i had the opportunity to acquire a large number of books on hunting and shooting and now have a backlog of around twenty titles.

The pleasant surprise for the season's shooting was that my son Daniel and son-in-law Zak have joined me in a lot of it and both demonstrated good improvement in their form and their scores. Daniel decided to move from his Beretta A-3901 to my Browning Lightining Sporting Clays and Zak is using his Remington 1100, while except for the side-by-side shotgun event decided for once to sitck to one gun, my Caesar Guerini Summit Limited. As bird season approaches I will have to change guns, and it will either be my Browning BSS 20 gauge that I sho very well last year or a Beretta A-400 Xplor Light that has been much neglected.

But let's get back to books and the subject of this posting. Just minutes ago I finished reading Gough Thomas's GUN BOOK which I acquired along some other titles at Landmark Books, a fantastic used book shop here in Traverse City.

I believe that I was first "introduced" to Mr. Gough Thomas Garwood reading Michael McIntosh, especially while discussing the subject of shotgun chokes as both authors believed that with modern shot shells almost any choke was too much, with Mr. Garwood being a stronf advocate of the "true cylinder" bore for almost all shotgunning conditions, except Trap and waterfowl under certain conditions.

"Gough Thomas's GUN BOOK: Shotgun lore for the sportsman" is a collection of articles published in the Shooting Times and Country Magazine during the 1960's discussing shotgun design and its use and presenting conclusions based on both his experience and testing, and his discussion on maximum shotgun range is particular interesting, presenting sensible argument and data to justify the conclusions, considering both pattern density to ensure required number of hits and minimum pellet energy to ensure proper penetration.

As expected the book revolves around the British Game Gun ("The normal gun is fairly represented by a side-by-side hammerless ejector, boref improved cylinder in the right barrel and half to three-quarters choke in the left. It has 2 1/2 inch chambers an 28-inch barrels, and weights, say 6 lb. 6 oz. to 6lb. 8 oz." - and who could argue the point?), but especially in the opening chapters there is good discussion on "repeaters, both recoil and gas-operated as well as the pump-gun" the later being described to my surprise as "one of the best, if you can handle it."

Repeaters or semi-automatic shotguns surface again during the discussion on recoil, bot as the ultimate solution, but as an alternative. However, the author deeply objects their mechanical noises as really disturbing and conductive to "recoil headache."

Other interesting points are the discussions on damascus barrels, gun-fitting (which in Mr. Garwood's opinion should not be used as a solution for improper shooter form), and the quality and affordability of "best" Spanish guns.

A brief search showed that most of Mr. Garwood's books are available at on-line book sellers at affordable prices, but on-line shoping is not nearly as interesting as visiting real book stores and uncovering lost treasures.

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