It was a Mossberg .22 cal., semi. I don't know where it really came from, Dad just gave it to me one day...I was about 4, but not shooting it for several years. As he'd just been sheriff, in my mind I decided he'd taken it from some bad guy. In reality, one of his friends probably gave it to him for me...it was made the year I was born. It had a safety and funky peep site, both of which were not suited for a novice shooter, but I made due. We hunted squirrels and went to the dump and shot rats...a favorite past-time in those days. My first shotgun was a H&R .410, single shot, full choke...with a recoil pad! I think I was about 8 when I got that. I shot a ton of squirrels, rabbits, quail, pheasants and ducks with that gun...at least in my mind. Maybe I shot a ton of shot TRYING. Rick Hall's post about the single shot 16 ga., brought back memories. When Dad's friends first started taking me duck hunting, I knew the .410 left me woefully under gunned. For a time, one of Dad's friends loaned me a Model 12, mag., which was so long for me that it was a single shot as I had to bring it down from my shoulder to pump it. I also borrowed my cousins Winchester 16 ga. single shot, cracked at the pistol grip, glued and wrapped with about 300 yards of electrical tape. Like Rick said, you had to be serious about killing when you busted a cap. Routinely, my right shoulder blade would end up bruising my left ear. After all that, I did kill my first duck, a drake mallard, with my .410... but I WAS using the big magnum(?) 3" shells, not those wimpy 2 1/2."