This year I decided I was tired of shooting doves with plastic-stocked guns and went looking for something a little classier. I found a used Browning Gold at a good price. After I pointed out a dent in the vent rib and whined, I got an even better price on it. It’s a 12 gauge with a 26-inch barrel. It shoots where I look. Although this one is unadorned, like all Brownings it is nicely finished and a definite aesthetic upgrade over the all-black 391 I am now relegating to ducks only. Once I add a sling to the Gold I will have my ideal dove gun.
I always thought the Gold (1994-2007)* was underappreciated. It’s a soft-shooting, easy-cleaning gun that begat the Winchester Super X2/Super X3/Browning Silver family, all of which use its gas system. For a time it was the only semiauto that wasn’t a Beretta that anyone used for serious sporting clays. Browning made and sold a bunch of them but the Gold didn’t quite get its due. For one thing, it was the gun that replaced a legend, the great Auto 5, which had been Browning’s mainstay for over 90 years. The other problem was that while the 3-inch Gold always worked, the 3 1/2-inch version had serious birthing pains.