Put That Gun Through "The Randy Test"
In a recent Instagram post, I talked about my favorite gun being the Remington SP-10. The SP-10 is an improved version of the old Ithaca Mag-10. I say improved because Remington used stronger springs in the SP-10, which improved its reliability.
Some comments on Instagram were made about the longer range of 10 gauges. While it is true that you will make longer shots with ten gauges, but it not because the actual pellets are traveling farther. The larger bore of the ten gauge allows it to hold a better pattern for a longer distance. Since there are more pellets in the 10-gauge load, it keeps its pattern with more pellets and that is golden. More pellets kept in pattern means a clean kill at longer ranges. I shoot the ten for that reason – it makes clean kills: one shot one kill.
This is the instagram post that got me thinking about shotguns. Follow us on Instagram at www.instagram.com/thirdcoastoutfitters
My friends and hunting buddies will tell you that I could be the “crash test dummy” for any brand of shotgun. I will test a gun’s limits in about 100 different ways. I have been known to not clean a gun for days on end. I hunt every single day during the season, and a clean gun isn’t always feasible. On a clear day, the birds fly high in the sky. Having a reliable gun that will still get a bird straight up in the air matters. The weather is never perfect in goose hunting. An ideal foggy day with close range shots isn’t always possible. I shoot differently, between jokes that can’t be told to your mother-in-law, depending on the conditions of the hunt that day. The kind of gun that will make it through the “Randy” test matters.
Top picture: A little mud on Randy's Remington never hurt its ability to shoot, not jam, and be accurate every day of the season. Bottom picture: Perfect conditions for shooting geese - cold, foggy and wet. This is ideal but not always possible when you hunt every day of the season.
I bought my first SP-10 in 1989. The serial number was LE0099 – so it was only the 99th one sold. I literally wore it out. That was the heyday of goose hunting in Texas. I would shoot 10 cases, or 2500 rounds, a season. I’ve owned five more SP-10s since 1989. I’m older now and I don’t shoot as much as I used to.
The first Remington SP-10s had a 26-inch barrel, but Remington started putting 30-inch barrels on them after that first batch. I grew up shooting an old reliable 870 with a 30-inch barrel, so the SP-10 had the same sight plane. I prefer a 30" barrel. I now soup it up with a Mag-10 spring kit from Wolfe Spring. It shortens the cycle and will shut the chamber even if its dirty. I love it – geese hate it.
Top picture is the SP10 10 gauge gun by Remington Randy shoot currently. Bottom image is his very first 10 gauge shotgun. It's an Ithaca 10 gauge, with a 32" barrel.
I also got into reloading steel shot and have a load now that propels a 1.5-ounce load of steel BBBs at 1,550 feet per second. The hyper-velocity transfers its energy into a dead goose. Yes, I can kill geese higher, but the main reason I aim to do that is so I will not waste time crippling a goose – I can drop a goose and then move to shoot another. On decoying geese, I routinely kill three birds.
There are many fine guns sold. I have observed my clients’ guns over the years, and I have noticed that the Benneli SBE-2 is jamming much less, and I think the new version of the Browning A5 seems to be a nice gun.
Use the gun that feels the most comfortable to you – confidence and karma are a big part of good shooting.