Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Cibola, a perfect testing ground for upland shotgun
|A news release sent out by Andy McCormick, Marketing Director for Legacy Sports International based in Reno, was a mid-year introduction of the new Escort Supreme 20 Ga., right or left hand, semi-automatic shotgun. My old over/under 20 Ga. was nearing retirement after many years of service and it was time to look into a new upland game bird shotgun.
Arrangements were made with Legacy to have an Escort shipped to the Turner's Outdoorsman retail store in Orange. There were not a lot of these new shotguns available but one was delivered in early August and the store called to have me come in to do the paperwork necessary for a transfer of the shotgun in California. I didn't get to see the shotgun on the first visit to Turner's, but the gun was unboxed for final inspection on the pick-up date by a very attentive gun associate. The nickel-chromium-molybdenum finish of the barrel was of top quality and this set off a premium walnut with fine checkering on both the stock and fore-end. I had hoped to get out to Raahauge's Shooting Complex to test fire the shotgun prior to dove opener, but deadlines and some off shore fishing trips made it impossible for me to bust a few clays prior to opening morning.
Hunt camp for opening day for Western Outdoor News would be the Cibola Sportsman's Club South Ranch, where there was time to check out the shotgun, read through the instruction manual and make sure the shotgun was loading and cycling properly. Everything felt right and based on McCormick's report that the new Escort hadn't jammed or mis-fired in over a 1000 rounds of testing my confident level in this shotgun was high.
Monsoonal rains had hammered Cibola Valley just prior to opening day and really spread the birds out across the valley and likely sent many birds winging south into Mexico. Scouting the night prior to opening morning didn't show much in the way of any kind of established flyway and the odds of a traditionally hot shoot were not looking very promising.
NEW ESCORT 20 GA. SHOTGUN A BIRD HUNTERS DREAM — Western Outdoor News
hunting editor Jim Niemiec, shows off a game strap of white winged and
mourning dove he shot opening day at Cibola Sportsman's Club South
Ranch. The new shotgun, from Legacy Sports International, is available
at Turner's Outdoorsmen retail stores. The semi-automatic is lightweight
and ideal for upland game bird hunting.
Under a cloudy morning sky, with the shotgun over my shoulder, this hunting editor walked out to a tree line and loaded up with high velocity Federal Premium Upland Load of 1 oz. copper-plated # 8 lead shot that has a muzzle velocity of 1350 FPS. This shotgun shell is extremely effective on passing shots and has enough knock down power to kill dove at an extreme range and also plenty of killing power to bring down tough flying Eurasian collared dove.
The first dove, out of a gray sky, winged in waist high and even though I was able to get on that bird that shot was not safe to take and an easy bird escaped. Then a flock of five white winged dove appeared over a tree line and were coming right at me. Shouldering the Escort as I came up form my camo chair the stock fit right into my shoulder as I swung on the lead bird. That lead dove fell out of the sky and the light-weight Escort moved smoothly though the swing and the second bird of an "honest double" tumbled out of the sky. Not a bad start for opening morning and the breaking in of a new shotgun.
More birds winged over the fallow wheat field, some in range but many too far out to waste ammo. A couple of single white wings were then bagged and my final shots of the day would be at a group of mourning dove that were attracted to a line of decoys set up on a fence. As was the first flock of dove to fly over this shooter these birds were also lined up for a multiple harvest. The Escort again came up smoothly to my shoulder and the barrel swung easily on the first bird as feathers flew off the bird as it dropped out of the flock. Without hesitation and a clean ejection of the spent shell a second bird was blasted out of the sky, but my hopes for a triple on opening day were blown out when the remaining birds headed right into the sun and a third round was never fired. In finishing off a 10-bird limit the last two dove killed that day was a clean double, but at birds coming in from different directions. The lightweight of this shotgun made the swing from one bird to the next seemingly simple.
Based on the performance of this Escort it looks like I will have a new hunting partner in hand when quail season opens in a few weeks. Features that make the Escort very reliable and huntable include: fast cycling gas actuated action, raised rib, SMART valve gas piston, positive trigger guard safety, beautiful Turkish walnut stock and fore-end, magazine cut-off for single round loading, set of five choke tubes, lightweight alloy receiver, 14 inch LOP, adjustable stock spaces and stock drop & cast adjustment shims and also being available in both a right and left hand models at the same retail price make for a fine shooting shotgun. The smooth action, it's very light weight and all the Escort's features make it a good choice for upland game bird hunters.