Favorite Firearms: A Rifleman Pedigree

posted on July 18, 2023
Remington Model 11 12-ga. semi-automatic shotgun

engraving plateHad I not stumbled across this little gem in my late father’s collection, I wouldn’t have learned about U.S. Army Capt. K.K.V. Casey and his extraordinary shooting ability in the early 20th century or how he’d won several competitions, one of which earned him this Remington Model 11 12-ga. semi-automatic shotgun. I also wouldn’t have known to appreciate even more my great-grandfather Thomas Garvine Samworth—a former editor for The American Rifleman magazine and an entrepreneur/editor who started the Small Arms Technical Publishing Co.—and his high regard for my father, Lewis Wood, a sport shooter and firearm enthusiast himself.

I’ve been a Life member of the NRA since before I could walk or talk, and this shotgun, still in impeccable condition since being presented to Casey in September 1907 as part of the Palma Trophy Team, must have an incredibly interesting story.

Sadly, I don’t know how this firearm made it into Grandfather Samworth’s ownership. Although, given his stature in the gun world and his rubbing elbows with the likes of Elmer Keith and Townsend Whelen from the early-to-mid 1900s, it is probable that “Mr. Sam” (as folks around the Dirleton Plantation in South Carolina knew him) had befriended Casey at some point and received the Model 11 as a gift.

The gun hobby runs thick, you might say, in my blood, from Thomas Samworth on my mother’s side to my father, Lewis. This shotgun is a testament to a champion shooter’s friendship with the former and the former’s adoration of the latter. A piece of almost obscure but nevertheless rich history, it will stay in my collection, much admired and cared for, until I join my great-grandad and father and leave it to one of my two sons, both of whom are Life members of the NRA themselves!


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