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  1. #41
    First Class
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    23

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

    This Elsie has a crack.



    But, then again, how many thousand rounds do you suppose it has digested?


  2. #42
    Eagle
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Northeastern Pa.
    Posts
    173

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

    To call any gun "Best" is usually one's own opinion. I for one, including a few others here, do believe that the L.C. Smith is a great gun.
    At one time (1895) the A3 was the highest graded gun made here or anywhere and that includes all British guns. The price then was $740.00 and it topped the "Best Guns" of Britain by quite a few hundred dollors. This gun remained in the line-up until 1913 when the grades were changed from numbers to nouns. (Monogram excluded)
    This was the highest graded "elsie" from 1892-1895, the A2.


    From the Grade 5 up all guns were "Special Ordered, and most were done to the customers specifications as to wood, style of stock, engraving and barrel length and chokes. How many of these guns do you see with cracks in them? Also how many Syracuse built L.C. Smiths do you see with cracks?
    Most of the guns you see with cracks behind the side plates are the Field Grade, the lowest priced hammerless gun made in the L.C. Smith line-up

    The difference between the British guns and most American guns is that the British have the tendency to have their guns looked at after the shooting season. We do not do that over here and guns that are eighty to now over a hundred years old have not been looked at since new. Plus the British didn't abuse their guns like we have, they shoot loads that were built for the gun, can't say that for our guns, why, ignorance on our part, plus the fact, all early pre-1930's, "elsies" were short chambered, and how many 2 3/4" rounds were fired through them from ignorance, again?

    I could go on about the virtues of the L.C. Smith, but most would have an argument about it. I will just say that at least there aren't any "flying turnips" on any "elsie" guns compared to some of the ones you think are better. I know it doesn't made it shoot any better, but I have to look at it.
    I was born at night....but not last night!

  3. #43

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

    Quote Originally Posted by patriot
    This Elsie has a crack.



    But, then again, how many thousand rounds do you suppose it has digested?

    Patriot, given the fact that that gun is stamped with the famous (or infamous) "flaming p*sspot" of the Ordnance Branch, which may well mean it was used to train aerial gunners back in WWII, it may well have had a whole lot of rounds through it.

    Folks always get defensive about their favorite guns. Fact is, you can find flaws with most of them. And, as a gun writer, if I don't mention the warts as well as the positive aspects, what do I hear? "Typical gun writer, never says anything bad about a gun. Probably pimping for the gun company." (Of course that's kinda hard to do, when the gun in question has been out of production for over half a century.) Elsies do crack, and the sidelock design is . . . well, less "refined" than that you'll find on British doubles. The best approach, I think, is to practice objectivity--whether it's your gun or someone else's. But it's hard to do, and I'm completely convinced that gun blindness is about as difficult to cure as kennel blindness.

    Maybe we need to talk to Bill and Melinda Gates and their foundation, and see if we can develop a vaccine.

  4. #44
    Eagle
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Southern Miss
    Posts
    3,094

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

    Last year, I walked into Steve Barnett's shop, and as I came up the hallway from the parking lot out back, he saw me and said "before you come in here, take a look in that safe at those guns I just acquired". There were eight or ten of the most gorgeous American Classics I have ever seen, huddled together in that small space. One was a 20 ga. Optimus Lefever that would make you cry. But the gun that just blew my socks off was a 12 ga. L.C Smith A3 that looked as if it had just come from the factory.

    Completely original, it had 100% case colors, 100% fancy damascus pattern, 100% varnish on a very straight-grained yet beautiful stock. 28" bbls., push-button forend release, checkering that was as nice as can be humanly done, a very ornate buttplate with engraved screws, and modern dimensions that fit me as if it were made for me. It was total sensory overload. Crisp is the word I keep thinking of as I type this.

    I cannot convey the visceral impression this gun made on me. The engraving was of a quality and detail that you just had to see to believe. It was undoubtedly the most stunning, desirable, American, or from perhaps anywhere, shotgun I have ever seen. It still haunts me.
    JR
    Eagle Scout Dad x 2

  5. #45

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

    ???? Dave, I was making no statement, just interjecting a joke!

  6. #46
    Eagle
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Northeastern Pa.
    Posts
    173

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

    John, not many people get to see an A3, there were only 18 made. Of those 18, 16 were 12 ga. and 2 were 20 ga. If that type of condition as you were saying, it is beyond the realm of most.
    Here is a brief description of the gun from an 1906 catalog:
    Specifications:
    Barrels-The very finest Whitworth Fluid Compressed Steel

    Stock-The very finest of Circassian walnut, especially selected from the roots of the oldest trees. Stocks were finished in as many coats of oil as necessary. 32 lines per inch checkering, with uninterrupted ribbons running throughout the checking.

    Locks-Engraved with unsurpassed detail with a setter dog on the left lock and a pointer on the right. The inside of the locks were handmade, elegantly damascened and pollished to a mirror image. The bridles were delicately filigreed. The lock plates were carefullly beveled for a perfect wood to metal fit.

    In my opinion as to not having intercepting sears, I guess the Hunter Bros. thought they didn't need them as we were not that clumsy or unsafe back then.
    I was born at night....but not last night!

  7. #47

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

    I wonder who would be more likely to drop a shotgun: an American pushing the brush for quail, grouse or woodcock; or a Brit on a driven shoot. I suppose, if His Lordship were hung over from the previous evening, or if his loader were a clumsy oaf, one of the matched pair might get dropped in the act of passing. But otherwise, I'd bet on the Yank. I never even came close to dropping my gun shooting driven birds, but I've taken a fair number of tumbles hunting for grouse, woodcock and quail. I don't currently have anything in the inventory with intercepting sears, but I can see that they make a certain amount of sense for the "rough shooter".

  8. #48
    Eagle
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Northeastern Pa.
    Posts
    173

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

    Larry, I just threw that in there as a sarcastic pun. I don't really know why they didn't have intercepting sears, but I have never heard of one going off for the lack of not having them.

    Hunter Arms Co. had to have known about them back then and at some of the big gun expos, I'm sure that question had come up and it would have been interesting to hear their take on it.

    Thank God they didn't copy their Southgate ejector system.
    I was born at night....but not last night!

  9. #49

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

    David, interestingly enough, a solid majority of the Brit guns more likely to be used for "rough shooting" didn't have them either. Very few boxlocks do, although they do show up on some Brit boxlocks, and they're relatively common on higher grade German boxlocks. But any gun not equipped with intercepting sears is likely to go off, even on safe, if dropped or if the shooter takes a tumble. That's the real value of intercepting sears. Personally, I've never had an accidental discharge as a result of a fall or dropping a gun, but I have had it happen a few times when closing the action.

  10. #50
    Eagle
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Northeastern Pa.
    Posts
    173

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

    Larry, that is scary, gun going off closing it.

    I have a Zabala Derby, imported by American Arms that has intercepting sears. It is a 6 pin side lock with the one pin being a "dummy", as this gun has a coil maiinspring. The extra pin (6) could have be when the gun had a flat mainspring, my guess.

    It is interesting the way the intercepting sears are set up. This one is a 12 ga., has the treaded Southgate ejectors, cocking indicators, straight stock, a decent gun.
    Numrich still has/had extra barrels and I bought a set and fitted them to this gun.
    I was born at night....but not last night!

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