ne day in the summer of 1985, I wandered into a bookshop and found, tucked away on a shelf marked “Sports,” a book by Michael McIntosh. It was The Best Shotguns Ever Made in America, published in 1981, and it told the story of the legendary American side-by-sides: Parker, A.H. Fox, Ithaca, L.C. Smith, Lefever, and the Winchester 21. The book was drawn from a series of magazine articles written in the 1970s, when McIntosh worked for the Missouri Conservationist. At that time, all but the Winchester 21 were out of production. For such a slim volume (just 185 pages), the book had an enormous impact. By recounting the stories of seminal, forgotten guns, it reignited interest in the American side-by-side in the hearts of many more. My own semi-dormant love of side-by-sides was rekindled. Almost 20 years later, I was shooting at a skeet club with a friend who was also a lover of side-by-sides, when another member showed up carrying a Stevens 311, a long-barreled brute of a gun intended originally for geese at long range, or maybe grizzlies up close. A skeet gun it was not.