Changing gears: My daily life involves mass-produced polymer and machined steel firearms. This weekend I got to hunt pheasants with the men of my family using a hand-engraved Grade IV Ithaca side-by-side in 16 gauge. It belonged to my great-grandfather, and was given to me by my late grandfather many years ago. Using this hand-made 1920’s gem offers a step back in time for “modern gun” shooters like me. Dual triggers, drop-down cocking indicators, figured pistol-grip walnut stock, antique ivory bead sight, extractors with empty-shell ejectors, it has everything you’d want in a gun from that period — and it’s made by American gunsmiths. It kills birds like the purpose-built machine that it is, but if FEELS totally different than a modern auto or O/U double. I have some excellent modern shotguns, but none is as beautiful or as thought-provoking as this.