Favorite Firearms: The ‘Little Twenty’ Bought By Dad

posted on May 16, 2023
Winchester Model 37

I started with BB guns at an early age, but my passion for firearms really began the day my dad bought me a 20-ga. Winchester Model 37 single-shot at a gun show in 1962. My dad was able to negotiate with the dealer from a $20 asking price to $18. I can still remember walking to the truck, proudly displaying my gun to everyone walking by. I’ve still got that little gun, and although it’s now worth probably 10 times what we paid for it, no amount of money could get it away from me.

All of my firsts were taken with that little twenty, from squirrels to rabbits to doves. I learned to depend on that one shot, and I give it credit on those days that I shine in the field. I tried to be careful with it, but along the way it has picked up its share of character marks; it was never abused, just used. As I got to an age where I could feed my passion for guns, I acquired many other firearms. Then, one day, as I was going through the many guns in my safe, I came across that little 20 gauge, which hadn’t been fired since my oldest son was 10. I picked up that little gun, and it took me back to the many hunts my dad and I shared and the hunts I shared with my son.

My dad has since passed on, and I miss him dearly. But every time I pick up that little twenty, I see him kicking on a brush pile, trying to send a rabbit my way. I hear him yelling “Over!” to me in a dove field. And I see him bargaining with that poor gun dealer over an $18 gun that’s worth a million to me.

—Dennis B. Rhea


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