Until my slick bit of quick talking, I’d never owned a 20-gauge so it went along with me that fall and turned out to be a pretty fair little smoothbore. I hadn’t even set up deer camp yet and managed to put two rather large blue grouse in the cooler with two shots. Can’t beat that.

Being a fan of side-by-side doubles, especially those with double triggers, this little shotgun started earning its keep by filling my game bag on subsequent outings. It has never been a display model, having a rather plain hardwood stock, but it didn’t matter.

Finally getting around to doing a bit of research on the Stoeger Uplander family, I discovered there was a .410 bore model in the lineup. It awakened a memory dating back decades to a now-deceased pal from school who, in his youth, had a side-by-side .410 I just found irresistible. I finally talked a magazine editor into allowing me to review this little gem and ordered one up for the field test.

Anybody who thinks the 28-gauge offers more challenge — while maybe feeding a bit of elitism — should set such guns aside and really get down to basics with a .410. My little double gun has two triggers, fixed chokes, 3” chambers and has proven itself a nice little gun for rabbits and upland birds.