It’s true: if I weren’t the father of sons I would have little interest in firearms. Give me a garden, a dozen fruit trees, and a good library and I’m a happy man. But some boys ought to have guns in their lives, and my 13 year old is one such boy. We gave him an inherited Savage Model 24 for his birthday. It had been sitting in my mother’s garage for years, and probably belonged to my step-father. This is a very unique firearm: a dual-barrel .22 rifle on the top and .410 shotgun on the bottom. These have been out of production since 1988.
We broke it in this afternoon, out in the pasture on a stunningly beautiful day. The gunsmith had it sighted perfectly. I had never shot a .410 before, but somehow I had this idea that it was probably a weak, toy-like teenager’s shotgun. Well, it turns out that the .410 has a powerful kick to it and can shoot clay pigeons for as far as I can throw them. And Christopher’s a good shot, too, once he gets warmed up!
The advantage of the Model 24 is that you can quickly shift from rifle to shotgun mode, or the reverse, without having to switch firearms or even load the ammunition. Perhaps you’re hunting for pheasants, but then you spot that coyote that’s been after your chickens: all you have to do is flip a switch and fire the .22 bullet. The disadvantage is that the Model 24 is loaded one bullet or cartridge at a time – no magazines accepted – so I suppose one needs to be adept at re-loading quickly when necessary.