My dad worked for a Ford dealership in southeast Iowa during an era when new car showings in September of each year were a big deal. He went to Peoria, Ill., for a secret, dealer-only showing in 1963 of the new 1964 models, and at the end of the meeting, he won the door prize—a 12-ga. Remington 870 Wingmaster. Up until that time, my brother and I had hunted with a Winchester Model 1906 pump-action rimfire and a well-used, single-shot, 20-ga. Winchester Model 37.
When dad brought home that Remington, my brother and I could hardly believe our eyes. High-gloss checkered walnut, deep bluing, a vent rib and an action that rang like a church bell when it was cycled. Over the years, we shot countless pheasant, quail, rabbits and clays with that 870, and it always cycled flawlessly with everything we could put through it. At the end of a hunt or clays session, the Wingmaster was cleaned and put away before anything else happened.
That Model 870 taught numerous friends and relatives the fine art of wingshooting and busting clays, and it has been held in high esteem by our family over the past 50 years. The shotgun now resides with a nephew who is still putting it to good use. When he mentioned hearing that “bell” sound as he worked the pump action, I smiled from ear to ear, as I knew my favorite firearm had found a good home and would still be used to harvest game and clays for many more years to come.
Paul Scranton, Iowa