When it comes to family heirlooms, there are many types. In my family, guns are one of the most sacred heirlooms passed on through generations. These aren’t just any gun or guns; but guns with stories, a history, and something to be remembered. Some people keep things like this locked up or under glass, but in our family we like to take them afield. This keeps the stories going and adds to the history. In our family, a particular heirloom is a Winchester 30/30 that my grandfather had. He was a guy who loved Winchester, and was so proud of this particular gun. It was then passed on to my father, and now my brother and I both get to use it.
For me, it’s a little less about the gun itself but more about hearing the stories of how it came into our family, the hunts it’s been on, and the memories this gun has created. Everyone in our family has used it on a hunt, and we’ve also spent time at the range shooting it and learning all the proper safety measures.
My point of all this isn’t to necessarily tell you about our family heirloom but to invoke some curiosity as to what heirlooms may exist in your family. Sometimes all it takes is a few questions to grandma, grandpa, or even your parents. They may have thought of it as something old, but the memories and stories are truly priceless. Take a moment to sit down with your elders, ask questions about hunting, guns, heirlooms, or just your own family heritage. It may surprise you what you learn and you may just realize that by asking a couple questions you can learn about things you ever knew existed.
For those of you who have guns that have been passed on through generations, remember to take them out in the field if possible. What better time to sit down with your kids and tell all the stories you remember and help them create their own. One of the most important things of all is to go over the safe handling of these guns as many have safes that are very different than the modern guns we are used to.
My dad and I spent a lot of time out shooting his 30/30 and I was lucky enough to take it on a spot and stalk hog hunt in Texas where I was able to add my little piece of history to this cherished family gun that I hope can continue to be passed on for generations to come.