SOLD FOR: $3,035
Make: Francaise d’Armes et Cycles de St. Etienne
Model: Underlever Ideal Number 3
Serial Number: 55524
Year of Manufacture: 1920s (?)
Gauge: 12 Gauge, 2 5/8″ Chambers
Action Type: Side By Side, Hammerless Underlever Shotgun
Markings: The breech face is marked “55524” and the water table is marked with the Manufrance logo twice and “PT”. The underside of the frame is marked “IDEAL”. The underside of the forearm lever is marked “55524”. The underside of the forward lug is marked “77” and the rear lug is marked “No 3”. The left side of the barrels are marked “FUSIL IDEAL BREVETTE DANS TOUSLES PAYS” and the right side is marked “MANUFACTURE FRANCAISE D’ARMES ET CYCLES DE ST ETIENNE”. The underside of the barrels show many proof, manufacturer and choke markings. All of these have been photographed.
Barrel Length: 27 ½”
Choke: The Right Barrel: Demi choke aka Modified. The Left Barrel: Choke aka Improved Cylinder.
Sights / Optics: This shotgun is mounted with a matted center rib and a single bead at the muzzle.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are beautiful walnut, with hand cut fine checkering, the original finish, incredible fit and a unique integral belly mounted sling. The sling pulls out from and retracts back into the belly of the stock. Again, the fit is great and leaves no doubt that this is the original finish. The checkering has worn just a bit and there are a handful of scattered drags and marks in the smooth surfaces. There are two dings in the checkering at the left side of the wrist and another on the underside of the forearm by the lever. The LOP measures about 14 1/16″ from the front of the forward trigger to the back of the Manufrance buttplate, which is apparently horn or a light hard rubber. Drop at Comb is 1 ½” and Drop at Heel is 2 ¼”. There is some loss on the inside edge of the left side and the plate is otherwise in Very Good condition. The stocks rate in about Excellent overall condition.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Colored
Finish Originality: Factory Original
Bore Condition: The bores are bright. There is no erosion.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 95% of its ORIGINAL metal finish. The left side of the barrel, at the chamber and at about mid-length are slightly scuffed on the surface. There are two more marks on the underside of the left barrel about 3” behind the muzzle. None of marks have dented the barrel. There is some wear along the edge of the right muzzle. The frame retains a shocking amount of case color, which remains bright and can only be explained by years of careful storage in a dark place. There is a tiny bit of thinning on the lower tang, but almost all of the case coloring is present. The breech face shows almost no wear, nor does the water table. We would venture a guess that this is as close to unfired as you could ever find one of these. The screw heads are very sharp. The markings are crisp. Overall, this shotgun rates in Excellent condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly, as does the safety. We have not fired this shotgun.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: This is a desired shotgun in spectacular condition. We bet there are few, if any, nicer Ideal Manufrance shotguns out there and this one is as original as could be asked for. We have seen these in 16 Gauge, but this is the first in 12 Gauge, making it far more desirable for us Americans, shootable and probably considerably rarer. This gun is a Grade 3 and appears as though it was test fired upon purchase and then put away for 80 years. The wood fitting, metal prep and quality of construction is consistent with their contemporary competition in England and Belgium, but the action is certainly more unique. For the shooter with a taste for the eclectic, for double gun collectors or high end European gun collectors – everyone should take another look at this one.
SOLD FOR: $3,035