|Hunting a leg of the Mer-Decygne River that brought water into one of several marsh pot holes, Gus set us up on a permanent bunker style blind with about one hundred mallard blocks arranged on each side of the gunning setup. On the first day in the field Gus elected to shoot a BSA 200 series semi- auto that was of Turkish construction, and retained design features that Gus had requested of the manufacturer. According to Gus, the Turkish shotguns tended to be a bit on the generic side of the design standard, and as such, he requested that changes be made regarding the BSA offerings in every gun within the product line. |
As a second test sample of the BSA line I elected to shoot a Classic side by side that was built for BSA by a Spanish company (Egeta Eibar, Spain). I had shot Eibar guns for better than 40 years starting off with a 10 gauge 3 1/2" S/ S that I used for geese and load development across a decade or more. This BSA Classic was in some ways very reminiscent of that old Spanish 10 gauge right down to its box lock action, forend design, and overall fit. In terms of exact fit, however, the gun was a cast off stock design, that while it took on the look of being bent to one side, it fit like a glove and pointed like few others I have shouldered of late. Chambering a pair of Federal Ultra Shok #2"s into the 3" chambers I was now more then ready to take on some overhead incoming mallards.
Day one in the field was a bit windy, but pleasant in terms of temperature. It didn’t take very long for a pair of mallards to descend on the blocks coaxed by some calling from Gus and myself. As the pair crossed into our kill zone Gus indicated that I should try for the green head, and with that request expressed by my partner I rolled the big duck out of the sky, and away from his now departing hen mallard partner.
Federal’s new loads were no surprise to me in that I had hunted several different events using them up to that point in time. However, Gus just about went nuts at the sight of such a complete and thorough thrashing. Gus had been a real follower of several other brands of non-toxic shot, but indicated clearly that he was more then willing to give this new comer in iron pellets a good deal of time over the decoys.
Alan Corzine Federal Cartridge, left, and Ted Hatfield Benelli, right, with upland field results at Harpoles.
In terms of the BSA shotguns, I was becoming very attached to the slick side by side, in that the next three targets all went the way of the first. Shooting very smoothly with great pointing characteristics, the Spanish Eibar constructed BSA Classic S/ S was earning my complete approval.
Mounting Multi-Choke tubes, being the same system that is used on Beretta shotguns, the BSA line of smooth bores are clearly capable of making use of both after market and numerous Multi-Choke designed payload control systems. Since the hunt at Hill Crest, KS, I have been using the BSA S/S for load testing and changing out choke tubes almost every day on the pattern range. I have found that this system is trouble free and easy to use.
By the second day in the field the air temperature had dropped about 40 degrees F, and winds had built out of the north to a vicious velocity. Overnight the water had turned to solid ice and with the help of a second hunter, Larry Evanoff, fire axes were used to cut open water holes in the decoy sets so as to draw in ducks.
Now we had a real gun test and load evaluation exercise taking place. What was learned quickly was that the BSA guns in even the auto loader kept right on working, and the Federal fodder didn’t miss a step when it came to dropping ducks cleanly out of the air.
If there was a problem element discovered it was that during the shooting of some #6 shot in the new Hevi-Steel offered by Enviornmetal Inc, being the second loads under test on this hunt, we found some glitches. Being the small pellet size runs close to hitting the low end edge in performance even in warm weather (refer to the last Hevi-Steel #6 table reviewed in Gundogs Online) it was quickly discovered that in winter conditions and high winds it is best to leave this shot size on the shelf, and move directly to a larger pellet size , say #4"s in Hevi-Steel at the least. Several birds were lost to the #6 Hevi-Steel and we quickly pulled back our gunning range, and in fact dropped the use of the #6 Hevi-Steel shot altogether a bit later in the day.