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  1. #1
    Eagle
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    L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    Gentlemen,
    Having drawn the usual opinions from people who think they know Elsie shotguns, on the 16 Guage thread, I started this thread to help educate anyone who might actually like to learn more about L.C. Smith (Hunter Arms) Shotguns.

    Ititial Recommended educational Reading & Video on the L.C. Shotgun.

    L.C. Smith Shotguns - Lt Col William S. Brophy, USAR Ret. - 1977

    Plans and Specifications of the L.C. Smith Shotgun
    By Lt. Col. William S. Brophy USAR Ret. - 1981

    L.C. Smith "The Legend Lives" - John Houchins - 2006

    The Double Gun Journal - Vol Eleven Issue 2 Summer 2000
    L.C. Smith ~ America's Best ?

    The 20 Plus DGJ Articles down thru the years, by different
    Writes on L.C. Smith Shotguns.

    Double Gun Videos Presents - The L.C. Smith Shotgun
    with Master Gun Maker Nick Makinson - 2001
    IMO The best video every produced on L.C. Smith Shotguns

    Happy reading and viewing gentlemen

    The Plans and specifications book shows in detail the exacting wood to breech and wood to sidelock dimensional fit up for all the original
    L.C. Smith shotguns. The Pre 1913, 12 guage # 4 gun pictured in the other thread meets every original dimension.

    RGD/Dave
    Never worry about what others believe, walk in the way of the Lord.

  2. #2

    Re: L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    Dave, you'll get no argument there . . . except from the fans of the Foxes, the Lefevers, the Ithacas, the Parkers, and the Winchester Model 21's.

  3. #3

    Re: L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    Yawn. What Zutz said. Not smooth. Not reliable.

    Best,
    Ted
    The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.

  4. #4
    Eagle
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    Re: L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    I am certainly no self proclaimed defender of L.C. Smiths, being much more of a Fox fan. However, this worn out line that "they all crack", referring, I assume, to cracks that are seen to the rear of the lock panel and sometimes extend into the wrist area, is the result of ignorance. They most certainly do not ALL crack. Blanket statements like that leave the accuser wide open. Many of the ones that were heavily used without proper attention being paid to the tightness of the screws, particularly the "hand pin", as Nick Makinson calls it, have, and will, crack. This is not so much a design flaw as lack of attention by the owners.

    I spoke with Makinson at length about his video after buying and watching it. I "prodded" him a bit with the question about the cracking. His answer was that "all sidelocks are subject to the exact same cracking when lack of attention to screws allows the action to move ever so slightly against the wood. The rear of the lockplates then act as wedges, causing the wood to split". Makinson has high praise for the design of the Smith. Coming from an English trained gunmaker, I can see no ulterior motive he would have to promote an out- of- production American made gun.

    I have owned three Smiths, none of which have ever cracked. Two of them were acquired without my having examined them for cracks beforehand. One was a damascus O grade ten gauge. I shot 1 1/4 oz. loads in it for years, without any problems, before trading it.

    Stan

  5. #5

    Re: L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    It's my understanding--and I wish I could remember where I first heard it--that at least in some cases, the cracking is due to improper chamferring. Seen far more often on the field grades, but then there are far more of them out there.

    The SKB sxs imported by Ithaca also have a tendency to crack behind the receiver. (Usually the result of a loose through-bolt.) But I think they're good guns in spite of that.

  6. #6
    Eagle
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    Re: L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    Very well said, Stan.
    These "blanket" statements are the "life blood" of some of these accusers.
    Ole Cowboy

  7. #7
    Eagle
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    Re: L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    Don & Stan,
    I never have listened much to gun writers excepting Mike who I did respect, usually they were payed by certain companies
    for very favorable write ups. Master Gun Makers on the other hand
    are much more reliable about weapons engineering, Don Zutz was
    merely a man who wrote about how he felt about guns, Nick Makinson is an English trained Master Gun Maker who actually
    knows weapons engineering. I leave it to each individuals judgement as to which man knows more about weapons.
    Larry everyone of the Box lock guns you mentioned is a good gun but not a side lock double gun, and the Fox does have an L.C. Smith
    history behind it, with a modified Brown Rotary bolt, with Tom & John Hunters blessings. Mike and I had lively discusions about this
    just about every time we talked to each other. Mike understood that the Fox gun was really a box lock Elsie, made by a hand full of
    Hunter Arms employees that wanted to start their own box lock double gun business. I have great admiration for these business men and ladies, they created a box lock double gun to challenge Parker at their own game, and most years sold more guns than the Parker company, with the Hunter brothers blessing to enable them to use the modified Brown Rotary Bolt, it put Fox in a Gun making positions no other company ever enjoyed, from the very start, producing a world class weapon from inception.
    Now I must admit there is one double gun that withstood better
    breech failure testing than the Elsie, that gun is the M21 and its one of the reasons Don Moody teases me about letting my 16 Guage M21 Skeet Gun get away, young men do make foolish mistakes.
    Today that gun would be worth another small fortune, and I believe Don still owns one. Ole Cowboys seldom make foolish mistakes.
    RGD/Dave
    Never worry about what others believe, walk in the way of the Lord.

  8. #8
    Eagle
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
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    182

    Re: L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    Old men make foolish mistakes too. There are a number of master gunmakers who hold more clout than Nick Mackinson who won't even let an L.C. Smith in their shops. Paul Hodgins is one, another would be Abe Chaber, there's more out there. Give Abe or Paul a call and discuss L.C's. Bloody foolish design is what they'd say. Just because Fox's use a variation of the top fastener, rotary bolt, that be all that they share with a L.C. The Fox is a better gun...the NID is a better gun. Its my opinion that the Lefever is the best American gun, from several different points (engineering, aesthetics, simplicity, etc). No, none are side locks, but all are better, safer and more appealing than the LC smith design. If fact...I like Bakers much more than L.C's.

  9. #9
    Eagle
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    Re: L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    Draught,
    If the Elsie would have been made in London these same gun makers would think it was the greatest gun design ever invented,
    and you know it. Tying to compare simple Box Lock engineering to side lock engineering is not even in the same engineering realm. However you are welcome to your opinion and I
    would take Makinsons opinion over any of the Gun Makers you have listed, that is for darn sure. Got to admit Uncle Dan did make a real nice Box lock gun, I do believe he even tried to produce a side lock at one time or another, what ever happend to that, I wonder. Takes a lot more engineering skill to produce a side lock double gun,
    Uncle Dan found that out. Still his box lock guns with side plates did look very nice and were good reliable guns.
    The Fox had a lot more in common with the Elsie than you might expect, being that the most of the same master gun makers made them and most of the same master engravers, engraved them.
    Because of the Brown rotary bolt, I still prefer the Fox over any of Uncle Dans engineering, now if Uncle Dan would have been able to use the Rotary bolt, it might have been different.

    RGD/Dave
    Never worry about what others believe, walk in the way of the Lord.

  10. #10
    Eagle
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    Re: L.C. Smith Shotguns - America's Best

    We all know "The Finest Gun in the World" was built in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia, and continues to be built by Tony today.

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