Double-gun gatherings have grown well beyond their novelty beginnings as excuses to dress in tweeds and shoot old side-by-sides. While the Vintage Cup still leads the fall’s full dance card for shooting with fine guns and good friends, the double-gun culture has spread far and wide, growing past Anglophilia and taking root in distinctly American regional aesthetics as disparate as the warmth of Southern hospitality and the self-effacing good humor of the Yooper.
So put the snow, ice and mud behind you, make a road-trip weekend of one of these shoots, get out in the fresh air again and call for a target . . . .
The Southern: April 23 to 25
Bill Kempffer is in his 11th year welcoming spring and a passel of winter-weary shooters to his Southern Side by Side Championship & Exhibition at Deep River Shooting School, in Sanford, North Carolina. Not only is Deep River handy to the population centers of Raleigh and Durham (and the airport), but admission is free. Lots of locals turn out to peruse the many tables of guns in the vendors’ tents or to watch the Parker and L.C. Smith collectors vie for the Challenge Cup. Atkin Grant & Lang sponsors the main event, and Shooting Sportsman sponsors the Have-A-Go stand so you can test-drive vendors’ wares.
For more information contact Deep River Shooting School, 919-774-7080; www.deepriver.net.
CSMC All-American: May 20 to 23
Not a double-gun shoot or show, strictly speaking, this sporting clays and FITASC shoot does have strong ties to our little niche of the shotgun world. As the name says, Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Co. sponsors the event, and it is putting forth a new A-10 over/under for the combined-score winner of the 200-target sporting clays and FITASC events and a second A-10 for a random drawing among shooters. The venue is the Northbrook Sports Club, in Hainesville, Illinois, about an hour from O’Hare.
For more information, contact Northbrook Sports Club, 847-223-5700; www.northbrooksportsclub.org.
Great Northeast Side x Side Classic: June 4 to 6
Ernie Hausmann hosts this well-loved shooting weekend at his Hausmann’s Hidden Hollow Sporting Clays, in the mountains of northeast Pennsylvania. Classic Shotshell Co., RST, Ltd., is the lead sponsor and offers flats of shells for prizes in the many competitions. This year’s gathering features the eighth annual American Side by Side Classic, a team event scored by tallying the efforts of the five best shooters representing American gun brands; there also will be the main event and gauge-specific competitions. The collectors’ groups for both A.H. Fox and Lefever guns offer their own trophies and are also exhibitors, as is the L.C. Smith Collectors Association. The beautiful location and congenial crowd draws a full complement of fine-gun and related exhibitors and vendors.
For more information, contact Hidden Hollow Sporting Clays, 908-719-9797; www.hiddenhollowsportingclays.com.
The Nimrod Classic: June 5 & 6
The sixth annual Nimrod Classic will attract shotgunners for the 100-target main event for side-by-sides plus opening-day events for side-bys, sub-gauge pumpguns and vintage guns of all action types. Hosted at Gallatin Sporting Clays, outside Bozeman (instead of in Polson as in previous years), the event informally is bringing together two shoots, as the Billings Rod & Gun Club will suspend its annual Field Gun Classic this year. The Nimrod is organized by Charlie Pfleger of Hill Rod & Gun Co., in Bozeman, and registration is through him.
For more information, contact Hill Rod & Gun, 406-585-2228; www.hillrodandgun.com.
The Yooper: June 19 to 21
The Upper Peninsula Side-by-Side Classic, presented by the Sagola Township Sportsmen’s Club, rises above the overused “classic.” It is legendary for fun. The multi-disciplinary main event includes 120 sporting clays targets, two “pigeon ring” competitions of 20 birds each, and a flurry of 76 targets thrown in 2H minutes. The winners in five Lewis classes choose from vintage side-by-side prizes. Jack Jansma of Wingshooting Adventures brings up a custom Arrieta every year, which is awarded by drawing to one of the 120 registered shooters. The list of fine-gun dealers is long, so they must see the value in bringing all of their wares to the U.P. about 125 miles north of Green Bay.
For more information, contact the Sagola Township Sportsmen’s Club, 906-396-4029; www.stsportsmen.com.
Visit our online Event Calendar at www.shootingsportsman.com for links to these and other upcoming double-gun shoots.