Our family was always a bit sniffy about over-and-unders and believed that side-byside was the gentleman’s way. However, following heart surgery I realised that my beloved 12-bore was too big and heavy for me to shoot – certainly for a few
weeks afterwards anyway, so I went out and bought myself a 20-bore. When I got home the family asked what I had acquired. I replied that I had purchased a Missionary gun. (At this point I have to admit that I love it and will not go back to my old gun – already snaffled by one of my sons.)
Three years later, all is well and I am very happy to own and shoot this modern gun. Last week I had a bit of luck and had an ‘over and under’ on a drive. It’s easy for a side-by-side as a ‘left and right’ rolls off the tongue (ignoring the fact that most guns fire their open barrel before the choke barrel, which would make it a right-and-left) but an underand-over (the choke being the top barrel) just does not sound right. Then it came to me: it’s called a Missionary.
Ian Vere Nicoll, by email