Case: Winchester Model 37 memories and the beauty of a single-barrel shotgun

Photo contributed by Larry Case / The Stevens Model 301 .410 shotgun, top, and the Rossi Tuffy .410 both make great inexpensive shooters for the kids (or Dad).

I grew up on a single-barrel shotgun. I don't claim to be the only one, but I am among those ranks.

In my neck of the woods, kids usually graduated from a BB gun to a .22 rifle (open sights) and then to some form of shotgun, usually a single-shot model. We shot squirrels and sitting rabbits and whatever else we needed to with the rifle, but when we moved on to running rabbits, grouse and crows buzzing the cornfield, we needed a shotgun.

No doubt there were a lot of different brands of single-barrel shotguns around that you could hand a kid back then. It might have been a Harrington & Richardson 12-gauge that kicked like a rented mule or just as likely an Iver Johnson, (named for its Norwegian-born founder), and in my part of the world it was usually called an "Ivy Johnson."