Finished stocking a shotgun for a friend, but he never got to see it

Wapiti1

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Sep 18, 2017
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Location
Indiana
A good friend and hunting partner brought an older pump shotgun over one day with a question. Would I put new wood on it? Sure, no problem, what have you got there?

He opened the case to reveal an old Stevens 520 pump 12 gauge that Montgomery Wards sold as the Ranger Model 30. After his turn in WWII, his grandfather returned from the war and took his last military paycheck to Montgomery Wards to buy everything he needed to go duck hunting. He said it totaled something like $30 dollars for a shotgun, shells, clothes, waders and decoys. We lamented the fact that the decoys aren't still around, especially if they were cork or balsa.

At some point, the original stock and forearm were refinished, but it was done simply. They sanded out the dings, and most of the checkering in the process, then coated it in varnish. But that was good enough for a working shotgun. My friend felt it was time to put new wood on it. He said, nothing fancy, which I can't do, and handed it over. Plain wood is fine for mass production, but it takes the same time and effort for me to do plain or pretty, so I go pretty. I argued for a new stock and forearm from a nice piece of old black walnut. He gave me a budget and I told him to stick his budget, I'd come up with something suitable. At that point, the pork steaks were done on the grill, the beer was still cold, and we enjoyed the evening.

My friend told me a few stories of hunting with this shotgun over the years. A few deer, turkeys and many, many ducks fell to it. He wanted his son to do the same. Mechanically, it is solid only showing the signs of use in the finish, which we elected to leave as is.

Last fall, my friend was taken by cancer. He dropped the shotgun off shortly before his diagnosis, but it was aggressive and he only lasted a couple of months. Then God took him home.

I asked his family what to do with it and they said to finish the work. Here is the result. I think that he would have been well pleased.

So, I offer some photos of the result. I'd say it was my work, but the wood grew beautiful without my help.

Why did I post this? I posted a call for urgency last fall shortly after he passed. My friend had plans. He never got to see them through.

If you want to hunt, or want to do anything, frankly, do it. Plan it, and do it. My friend was looking forward to hunting turkeys again with his grandfathers shotgun and sharing that with his son and daughter. He won't get that chance. Covid has thrown a wrench in many folks plans. I'm not advocating irresponsibility. But, I am reminding everyone that we are only here for an unknown amount of time with lots of uncertainty mixed in. When your final moments are here will you say I did it right, or think of things that could have been?

Don't let adversity stall your life. Make it happen.

Jeremy

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HiRidge

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Joined
Jan 29, 2019
Messages
65
Sorry to hear about your friend. I'm sure he would be very happy with those results. Beautiful craftsmanship on a very special gun!
 

scfreeman66

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Mar 3, 2019
Messages
150
The gun looks fantastic. I am sure that he would have been grateful for the work and effort that you put into it. I am sorry to hear about you loosing him.
"Live like every day is your last". If we could truely do that, we would surely change some things, work less, spend more time with family and friends, etc... We get torn between the doldrums of work and life and sometimes forget to live in the meantime.

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Trr15

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Feb 16, 2014
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PA/WY/TX
Beautiful work and a great message. Its way too easy to lose perspective of what really matters in life.
 

Rob5589

Senior Member
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Sep 6, 2014
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1,987
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W Sac CA
Beautiful story, gun looks amazing. I hate saying or hearing, "someday." Just get out there before there are no more "someday's."
 

Reburn

Site Contributor
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Feb 10, 2019
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847
Location
Central Texas
Beautiful work!!!!! Sorry about your friend but the silver lining is his son will have a beautiful family heirloom to remember him by.
 

Mountainman3

Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2019
Messages
84
Amazingly beautiful work and a better story! Sorry for the loss! My motto is “the closer I am to death the more alive I feel!” You have one life to live but need to live it every second. Thanks for sharing your story.


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rayporter

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Jul 3, 2014
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2,600
Location
arkansas or ohio
by all means do all you can.

i had a friend taken home to scout ahead for me in 09--i still tear up. he had just retired,too. that pattern of just retiring and being called home is way too common.
 
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Wapiti1

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 18, 2017
Messages
1,943
Location
Indiana
Thank you for the comments. I delivered it this evening and we had a good talk along with a nice prayer over the shotgun. Such good people.

Don't let could have become didn't. Take a look at the Elk forum and see the threads from first timers that are doing it. There is also a great thread in Sheep about overcoming a small bicycle accident and getting after it on the mountain.

Folks building rifles that fit the kids, and others seeking info on what to do as a first time parent.

The future is full of great possibilities and all we have to do is try. Fear of failure is an excuse. I've failed many times in many things. But the next time, I got farther, or I did it. The journey makes success so much sweeter.

Jeremy
 
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