The Field - - Opening Shots -

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

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