SOLD FOR: $2585
Make: Lefever Arms Company
Model: Sideplate Hammerless, we believe this is a C-Grade based on the engraving, but it is not marked with a grade letter.
Serial Number: 22560
Year of Manufacture: 1894 (https://www.lefevercollectors.com/resources/production-dates/)
Gauge: 12 Gauge, 2 1/2? Shells, Black Powder Only
Action Type: Break-Open Boxlock Side by Side Shotgun with Ejectors and Cocking Indicators
Markings: The top of the right barrel is marked “FINE”, the right “DAMASCUS”. The sideplates are each marked “LEFEVER / ARMS CO.,”, the bottom tang in front of the trigger guard is marked “Patented 1872 / 78. 80. 85. 86. 87.” and behind the trigger guard is marked “22560”. The water table is marked “22560”. The forearm bracket is marked “22560”. The underside of the right barrel is marked “22560 x”. The inside of the trigger guard is marked “22560”. The receiver has border and scroll engraving with borders around hunting dog scenes on the sideplates and clover-leaf accents on the fences.
Barrel Length: 30”
Choke: Left: Modified, Right: Full, Both Fixed
Sights / Optics: There is a brass bead at the front of the rib. The rib is checkered for glare reduction.
Weight: 7 lb., 11.2 oz.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece checkered walnut with splinter forend, capped pistol grip, straight comb, initial plate inlaid in the belly (not marked) and rubber buttpad. The forend has an inlaid steel tip. The forend has a small loss at the left-front and a few dings around the edges. The stocks have some scattered more minor nicks and scuffs. The checkering shows wear, but is visible. There are no cracks. The LOP measures 14 1/8? and 13 1/8? from the fronts of the triggers to the back of the pad, 13 3/8″ and 12 3/8″ to the back of the wood. Drop at comb is approximately 1 3/8″, drop at heel 2 1/2″. The stock is cast on for a left-handed shooter. The pad is deformed and crushed, hardened with age and showing surface cracking. Overall, the stocks are in Very Good condition as refinished Antique.
Type of Finish: Damascus & Case Color
Finish Originality: Original
Bore Condition: The bores are mostly bright with infrequent minor erosion and a little bit of more notable erosion in the chambers. In this writer’s opinion, the bores rate an 8 out of 10.
Most antique firearms have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the use of black powder. When fired, black powder reacts corrosively. NRA Antique Firearm Conditions Standards are quite lenient for bores. In some cases the NRA standards disregarded the bore’s condition for collectors firearms.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 70% of its metal finish. The barrels have generally strong damascus patterning with light handling wear over the forend, some wear from the forend which is concealed when assembled, and there is some scattered minor discoloration from oxidation. The receiver’s case color has mostly muted with some color visible in protected areas. There are infrequent light nicks and handling marks. The action shows operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings range from clear to worn, but legible. Overall, this shotgun is in Fair-Good condition as Antique (see Mechanics).
Mechanics: The lever does not return to the closed position when the barrels are pushed to the closed position, the lever must be pushed back into place manually. The safety is intended to be three-position with the middle position “Safe”, the front returning to safe when the action is opened, and the rear requiring to be moved to “Safe” manually. When in the front position, opening the action moves the safety to the rear position, rather than the middle. The firing pins both appear to be missing or broken. We were not able to get the right barrel to fire at all, preventing proper testing of the right ejector. The left ejector functions properly. Please note, on this gun the front trigger fires the left barrel, the rear trigger would fire the right barrel. The barrels lock up to the receiver with no play. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: Daniel Lefever created the first commercially successful hammerless double barreled shotgun in the United States spawning a new array of models from the burgeoning manufacturing industry in New York which included Ithaca, L.C. Smith, and his own Lefever Arms Company. This is an example of the Hammerless Sideplate model which is a boxlock but also has sideplates giving it an appealing look to those who prefer sidelocks. Based on the engraving, we believe it is a C-Grade, but it is not marked with a grade letter. The gun looks beautiful, especially for its age, though it has some mechanical issues which would need to be addressed if you wish to actually fire the gun. The gun is in pretty good shape for a nearly 130 year old shotgun. Whether you’re looking to add to an American shotgun collection or just want a nice double-barrel with some old American quality design and craftsmanship, this is a great shotgun to pick up. Please see our photos and good luck!
Please forgive any typos, I was educated in California. -Bud