For this week’s Gunfight, it’s o/u vs. side-by-side as two heavyweight classics square off. These guns are heavyweights both in reputation and in heft and stoutness, as anyone who’s ever picked up either gun can attest. The Browning Superposed was John Browning’s last design. He was actually working on the gun when he died in 1926 and his son, Val, finished the job. The Model 21 was the brainchild of Winchester’s John Olin. It debuted in 1931. Olin built the gun to be strong, and to promote it, he devised a proof-load torture test pitting the Model 21 against doubles from around the world. Each gun was fed over-pressure proof loads until it failed. The 21 beat them all, digesting 2,000 proof loads without a hitch.
Harold S’s Winchester
This is my Winchester Model 21. It’s a standard model. The first owner added a Simmons vent rib and a recoil pad to it. Fortunately, all the work was professionally done to a high quality. Since the gun’s collector value is low, I have no problem hunting and shooting with it. Even more fortunate is the fact that it seems the gun was made for me. The fit is perfect, and I’ve shot well with it since day one. Last year it helped me harvest sage grouse, pheasants, and chukars. This year it will be my go-to gun for upland bird hunts
She acquired the nickname Old Thump and was passed down to me before she should have been—at a time when I was too young to handle her excessive recoil or appreciate a Browning Superposed with 28-inch barrels choked Full on top and Modified on the bottom. Dad was forced to stop shooting her because his debilitated shoulder could no longer take the punishment of a 12 gauge. For my first dove shoot, I certainly would have been better off with a youth-size shotgun, but I think the old man couldn’t stand the thought of going afield without his beloved Browning—even if he wasn’t the one shooting it. Old Thump embarrassed me, because all the other kids had semi-automatic shotguns imprinted with camo, and mine was made with wood and only held two shells. At least, that was my first impression of the Belgian. I’m 35 years old now, and I’ve never seen another shotgun match her reach in the field. She’ll always be my favorite possession.
I should point out here that I have been extremely good this year, and if either gun showed up in Christmas stocking that would be fine—although I’d as soon it was the Model 21. What I really want for Christmas, though, are more gun pictures. Send them to FSgunnuts@gmail.com, and vote and comment below.
Which gun do you like more?
Winchester Model 21