Manufrance Ideal Number 1 Underlever 20 Gauge Side by Side SxS Shotgun, C&R

SOLD FOR: $2,555

LSB: 231105MF002

Make: Française d’Armes et Cycles de St. Etienne (Manufrance)

Model: Underlever Ideal Number 1

Serial Number: 59297

Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1920s

Gauge: 20 Gauge, 2 5/8? Chambers

Action Type: Side By Side, Hammerless Underlever Shotgun

Markings: The breech face is marked “59297” and the water tables are marked with the Manufrance logo twice and “PT” under an arrow through a target. The underside of the frame is marked “IDEAL” and the Manufrance logo. The underside of the forearm lever is marked “59297” and the base on the forearm lugs is marked “59297”. The underside of the rear lug is marked “No / 1”. The left side of the barrels are marked “FUSIL IDEAL BREVETTE DANS TOUS LES PAYS” and the right side is marked “MANUFACTURE FRANÇAISE 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”

Weight: 6 lbs. 4.2 oz.

Choke: The Right Barrel: Measured Cylinder. The Left Barrel: Measured Modified. Both are fixed.

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, rounded semi-pistol grip, the original finish, horn Manufrance buttplate, 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. There are scattered drags and small compressions in the smooth surfaces. The checkering is generally sharp to the touch. The LOP measures about 13 1/4? & 14 1/4” from the front of the triggers to the back of the Manufrance buttplate, which is horn. The drop at the comb is 1 5/8” and the drop at the heel is 2 3/4”. There is scattered wear and some worm holes on the edge of the toe. The stocks rate in about Fine overall condition.

Type of Finish: Blue & Case Colored

Finish Originality: Original

Bore Condition: The left barrel is bright and the right barrel is mostly bright. There is some faint erosion in the center of the right barrel. In this writer’s opinion, this bores collectively rate a 9 out of 10.

Many military and C&R-eligible weapons have bores that will show erosion. This is not only due to age but to the fact that corrosive primers were commonly used in ammunition worldwide. For example, the U.S. used corrosive ammunition throughout WWII. The U.S. military did not begin to phase out corrosive-primed ammunition until the 1950s.

Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 85% of its original metal finish. There is some wear along the edge of the right muzzle. The majority of the case coloring has gone mute but a decent amount remains at the edges and on the trigger plate. The barrel shows some scattered minor nicks and dings and two notable patches of erosion on the sides of the right barrel. Light oxidation is visible on the bottom of the frame. There are a few light patches of erosion on the breach. The screw heads are very sharp. The markings are crisp. Overall, this shotgun rates in Very Good-Plus condition.

Mechanics: The action functions correctly. We have not fired this shotgun. We have cleaned this firearm and performed a mechanic’s check but expect many will want to clean the firearm again depending on their standards.

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 20 Gauge, making it far more desirable for us Americans, shootable and probably considerably rarer. 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. Please see our photos and good luck!


Manufrance Ideal Number 1 Underlever 20 Gauge Side by Side SxS Shotgun, C&R
Manufrance Ideal Number 1 Underlever 20 Gauge Side by Side SxS Shotgun, C&R