I inherited a gun that was designed in the era of lead shot. Francis Sell was a proponent of the 20 gauge 3” magnum for ducks and geese, adjusting his loads to suit the situation. He had a hand in marketing the wares that the Prandelli and Gasperini company produced to his specs, circa mid to late 1960s.
These are well made Italian boxlock non ejector guns, produced with 3” chambers and requisite Italian proof, long chokes, extended forcing cones, a bit of a back bore, and well polished tubes. My version is choked Mod and Imp Mod.
Let me be frank. The gun was free, and they are not expensive guns to this day, priced far less as used guns then a new gun built by guys who kneel and pray five time a day are at the moment. I think they are all double trigger and extractor, a plus to me. Nice cut scroll engraving, bone charcoal color case hardening, and well cut checkering. The rib is flat, fairly wide for a 20, and file cut.
Catalog page from the era the gun was produced, shown.
I don’t hunt ducks or geese. I killed my last duck, a mallard, with a Remington model 17 when I was about 18, using lead 6s ( I turned 60 yesterday, and lead was legal) and walked away from waterfowl shortly after that, when steel came along, and my pops was leaving a perfectly good Irish Setter show dog, that would hunt, at home to pursue geese in western Minnesota. If I was a waterfowler, then or now, I’d use a 12. To my thinking, the 20 gauge waterfowl gun was made obsolete when steel was legislated as mandatory. Even with some other, expensive, non toxic shot, I’d still use a 12 before a 20.
The 20 is pretty much unused, and as I hunt grouse and pheasants, the 3” part of the gun won’t be a huge factor. The gun weighs just over 6 1/2 pounds, and since I have been learning to shoot off my right shoulder, I have come to the conclusion that for hunting, I still prefer a straight stock and a splinter, versus the full pistol grip and beavertail the gun came with. I wouldn’t miss the chance to eliminate the white line spacers, but, the recoil pad could stay, as it is still pliable after all these years. Maybe replace it with a plate. Not sure on that just yet.
My thought would be new front wood, a splinter, elimination of the pistol grip, disabling the auto safety, refinish the wood to match and a rechecker of both pieces of wood. Yes, the white line spacers would go, lest I throw up a bit in my mouth every time I look at it.
I’d have the ‘Smith inspect, debur, clean and lube the innards. I know everyone gets all dewey eyed over oil finishes, but, I’m going to use it, and would specify poly of some sort. Chokes would be left as is. The barrels are 28”, good 20 gauge bird gun length.
Then I’d use it in the uplands. Not concerned about resale or originality, obviously. The previous owner never got around to shooting it. I’m thinking I want to correct that, and use it in his memory.
What say ye?
Gun on the scale. I’d expect about 6 1/4 lbs when the job was done.
Nice old gun picture. Of late, I’ve been practicing on a trap field with a M1 safety Browning A5. My clay guns are typically 12s, as well.