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Scott Rall: Out with the old and in with the newer

With the rain and the sleet expected over the weekend, my transitioning to spearing might very well be delayed.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t mind above average temperatures over Christmas and the New Year. I had my old faithful gun go down on me this week. Guns are a lot like trucks. There is the Ford guy, the Chevy guy and the Dodge guy.  They are all good trucks, but their owners are as loyal to them as most gun owners are to the manufacturer of the favorite gun they carry season after season.

I have been and old faithful purchaser of Beretta Shotguns. I won one at the Ducks Unlimited banquet in Worthington back when it was still held in the Coliseum on Humiston Avenue in Worthington.  It was a model A303. The thing I remember most about it is that it was the same gun the U.S. Olympic team used.

I thought I was on top of the world. It sat under my bed for 10 years because I thought it was too valuable to actually use. I had it appraised after 10 years and it was worth exactly the same as any other A303 of the same condition.

I took it out from under the bed and used it to shoot pheasants, ducks and even a deer or two as the years went by. It got the majority of its wear and tear shooting several thousand rounds on the sporting clay range every year.

When it was completely worn out, I sent it back to Beretta and after many weeks it was sent back to me in mint condition for a mere $65. I was amazed. Over time the stock cracked and it finally hit the rack in the gun safe, never to use except to relive the memories of carrying it.

It was replaced with a Beretta 391. I picked out the gun and my wife gave me the first $300 toward it as a Christmas gift almost 15 years ago. My wife passed almost three years ago of breast cancer, but you should know for sure this gun will never leave my possession.

My kids will have to sell after I am gone. I chose a pretty ugly gun as guns go. The action was top notch but the stock and forearm were black synthetic composite. My guns are meat guns.  They get used often and carried through the brush and sticks with regularity.

Pretty guns get all scratched up, and many hunters will leave their pretty guns and home and shoot a poor second choice because they can’t scratch the No. 1 gun.

I am sure this one has had over 10,000 rounds shot through it, too.  The trigger mechanism is so worn out that it won’t function properly any more. I am trying to find a replacement trigger assembly, and if I can find one, I might get a little more use out of it.

I don’t know of anybody who actually wears out a gun besides me. Browning came out with a new A-5 shotgun and it has a 5,000-round warrantee. The average pheasant hunter won’t shoot 5,000 rounds in 20 years.  I bought a slightly used Beretta 391 from a friend that had a ladies’ shortened stock on it. He had shot it often and, even after trying to lengthen the stock with a spacer, he still could not hit anything with it.

These guns are at least 10 years different in age, and the stock and forearm off my old one fits like a glove on the newer one. Same fit with the same stock, it just has a new mechanism on the inside. It worked out OK for him and great for me. Now I have two old dead sleds taking up space in the gun safe and one reliable shooter.  I am still in the need for a decent back-up gun in case a gun would fail on an out-of-state hunting trip.

Anyone with a Beretta 391 that wants to play let’s make a deal should send me an email at

It took me a long time to finally figure out the No. 1 rule of gun ownership.  That is that a new gun should always be in addition to, and not instead of, when making a gun purchase. Guns don’t lose value, and if you need a different one you should keep the one you have and buy an additional one.

As a kid when I had no money, I always had to trade the one I had for the one I wanted and always ended up with only one gun. I don’t have many guns compared to many gun owners. What I do know is that ones I have I use as they were designed, and they get used often.

Guns and trucks are close to the heart of outdoors folks. I am no exception.