Friday, June 3, 2011


Although a rifle or shotgun is not technically a kit gun, in reality it's a big part of the "Kit" or gear that folks like me would be carrying on a fishing trip through or into the woods. As I've been expounding on for the past few months, the combination rifle/shotgun like the venerable Stevens guns and Savage 24 guns are a great thing to have on any woods or water adventure. 

As I've mentioned, the availability of different cartridges and shotgun shells/slugs makes the combo gun a very versatile gun for various hunting and fishing endeavors.

But I've got a long delayed project that has gotten my interest lately for a "fishing gun", in addition to a handgun, to take out on various lakes, ponds and creeks in a jonboat and for bank fishing expeditions in this, Texas My Texas, the land of many poisonous snakes.

As anyone who has done any kind of fishing in places that have snake populations of any note, the worth of any fishing hole is directly proportionate to it's remoteness (generally) and thus common sense tells us there are more snakes in more remote, less visited by human beings, places.

To me, it's just a fact of life that many of the places I fish, I get near snakes. Of course, some snakes live near the water, which coincidentally is where I fish when I'm bankfishing. In fact, the gnarly and mean tempered water moccasin and the copperhead are the two snakes I've encountered and shot most in my life of being outdoors. 

Here's an example. Many years ago, our Boy Scout troup was on a canoe expedition in what was and maybe still is called "The Jungle" of Lake Livingston in deep East Texas. Gators ABOUND in the the entire Lake Livingston area, as do LARGE POISONOUS SNAKES. Lots of both of them, so much so that there is a significant amount of signage devoted to warning folks of both all around this large lake and the communities in it's area.

I was young, but had already spent much time in that area fishing and hunting with my parents. My folks had several friends that had places and lake houses in that area and we visited the area often. I was well aware of the GATOR AND SNAKE issues, as was pretty much everyone else.

What I didn't know at age 13 or so was that water moccasins like to climb in trees to catch various prey. So as we were about to get back into our canoes after a shore lunch, I watched my normally mild mannered Scout Leader literally jump about 10 feet back when a moccasin fell out of a tree and landed in his canoe as he was just about to step into said canoe.

A large water moccasin. Did I mention it was large?

The snake was ultimately dispatched but never forgotten. It made me think about another dimension other than the ground or the water where a snake could come from in my fishing trips, and I always try to look up in the treetops since then.

Which brings us to the Gator Gun. Here's the disclaimer: I don't hunt gators. I've never shot a gator. I hope I never have to shoot a gator, but if I did it would only be in a dire self defense situation where there was no other alternative. But seeing as how I live in gator country, and I fish a lot, and so me and gators tend to be in some of the same places at the same time, it's a good idea to be like a Boy Scout and be prepared, as I have mentioned before, not so much for gators but for the ever present snakes at the places I fish.

So I've mentioned before that an Uncle of mine had a bolt action 20 gauge shotgun with a tube magazine in his teens. At some point in time in the 40's or 50's, it got slammed in a car trunk and broke the back end of the stock off. My uncle cut it into a pistol grip and then cut the barrel down to about 19".

Although my Uncle didn't consult the lawbooks to check what a legal length would be, fortunately it's legal by several inches under today's Texas and Federal law.

The problem is, it was crudely done. The barrel cut is at an angle, and the cut at the pistol grip could be less janky and jagged and have been finished a little better. I've shot the gun, not in a few years, but back when he gave it to me in a state of very lightly surface rust on the barrel exterior, it shot well and I shot it a lot. I cleaned the rust off of it and lubed it down and basically have stored it and occasionally lubed it and cleaned it but have done nothing to it otherwise over the years except to shoot it and clean it once every five years or so.

And that's gonna change. My plan is this. Have a gunsmith who lives down the road fix the uneven barrel cut and polish it, have some sort of front sight put on the gun, clean up the uneven stock cut with a file and sanding and have the gun refinished in something durable like parkerization.

Everything will be done by the gunsmith except for the stock, which I can do. I want to put a short leather sling on it with ten loops for shells and slugs. The magazine with the plug removed holds five shells with the chamber empty, more than plenty. Because of the age of this gun, and although it has a safety that appears to function properly, I've always carried it chamber empty until ready for firing. 

I want to add a flashlight mount. There is plenty of room between the end of the tube magazine and the end of the barrel for a mount and flashlight to fit, and a cheap and tiny green daytime laser sight wouldn't be a bad addition either.

It's gonna be a fishing camp gun, a daytime as well as nighttime fishing gun, and a good flashlight and aimed laser sight would be good things to add for not a lot of money.

Note that most of my guns are not outfitted with lasers and lights and rails, but I think this gun would be a fitting candidate for both laser and a good flashlight.

I had a friend who once said they preferred cheap cigarettes and expensive beer. To make my analogy, I have a friend who bought a cheap teeny tiny green laser sight that works extremely well and it's from a reputable maker. I was amazed at the brightness of the laser spot in the broad daylight, and want to get one. Chances are, it would get moved around from gun to gun like the flashlight, but a nice cheap laser and a good more expensive flashlight would be a great addition to a Gator Gun.

I've also found a few used stocks online for this gun, and when I find one for a bargain I'll be buying it as well. Probably transform it to a stocked 18.5" barreled gun. It's been waiting for many decades for some action and perhaps a complete stock, and I'm going to get going on this project for this summer.

When I was talking to Billy Ray about this project, without me mentioning the Gator Gun name I'd given it, well he up and calls it the Gator Gun too, proving that great minds do think alike. And El Fisho Jr. mentioned it sounded like a "Tactical Pistol Gripped Bolt-Action Shotgun". Hmmmm...

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