Francotte: “… an imported hand made gun at an American price.”

Francotte Shotguns, from 1938 Abercrombie & Fitch catalog
Francotte Shotguns, from 1938 Abercrombie & Fitch catalog

For most of the 20th century, Abercrombie & Fitch was the most famous name in American sporting goods. From a retail store on NYC’s Madison Avenue, and through catalogs sent out across North American, A&F sold everything from firearms to fishing lures.

In 1938, the first spread of their Rifle-Shotgun catalog opened with the following copy:

“In our opinion the Francotte, famous Belgian gun adapted by us to the American Sportsman and improved over a period of 50 years, represents real gun value second to none. It is, in fact, an imported hand made gun at an American price.”

Three pages of Francottes followed: From the top of the line Eagle Grade Hammerless Ejector No. 45 Quality to the Knockabout Ejector. All these guns featured Siemen-Martin ‘Special’ fluid steel barrels and could be ordered with Greener-crossbolts or doll’s head extensions. They were made made on what A&F called a “Francotte lock action”, said to be an improvement on Anson & Deeley-type boxlock action, and featured Francotte-patent ejectors.

Francotte (Abercrombie & Fitch) 28 gauge SXS Shotgun
Francotte (Abercrombie & Fitch) Quality 30E 28 gauge SXS Shotgun

Price wise, Francottes weren’t cheap. But they weren’t super expensive, either. At a time when a Parker Quality A-1 Special Quality with ejectors was $890, a Parker Quality B.H.E. was $375 and a Fox X.E. was $165, Francotte’s Eagle Grade Hammerless Ejector No. 45 Quality was $550. Their most affordable double — the Francotte Knockabout Ejector — was $175. In between were models like the No. 30 Quality (30E) at $400 and a No. 20 Quality (20E) at $275.

Compared to their American competitors, all these Francotte’s were built on superior designs, featured better finishing and proper scaling, and were more aesthetically pleasing overall. If you had stopped into A&F’s Madison Avenue store and placed a Parker, Fox, and Francotte side by side, it would have been plain to you which one was superior.

Francotte (Abercrombie & Fitch) 28 gague SXS Shotgun
Francotte (Abercrombie & Fitch) Quality 30E 28 gauge SXS Shotgun

Francotte (Abercrombie & Fitch) “30E” 28 gauge SXS ShotgunFrancotte Pre-war (Abercrombie & Fitch) SXS Shotgun. Side plated 28 GA. Ejectors, side clips, 26 inch BBL, Full and Full, Double triggers, 14 1/2 inch pull to horn butt plate with Abercrombie and Fitch Leather case. Bores like new. Price: $17,995

FRANCOTTE MODEL “20E” DOUBLE 20 GAUGE SIDE-BY-SIDE SHOTGUN RETAILED BY ABERCROMBIE & FITCH28″ barrels choked  R: .009″   L: .030″.   Engraved sideplate action with auto ejectors, side clips, hiddend third bite (crossbolt with rib extension), double triggers, top lever.  Checkered splinter forend and semi-pistol grip buttstock.  Stock measurements:   Comb: 1 1/2″  Heel: 2 1/2″  LOP: 14 1/4″ to a horn buttplate.  Weight 5lbs 13oz.   In beautiful original condition retaining nearly all of the casehardened finish on the action and sideplates.   Trigger guard and top lever have all of the high polish charcoal blue remaining.  Barrels showing 98% original blue with the maker’s  and A&F’s names engraved on top.  “A FRANCOTTE MAKER” and patent info on the left  sideplate at the bottom.  Excellent wood and checkering. 1949 mfg. Price: $8,750

FRANCOTTE MODEL "20E" DOUBLE 20 GAUGE SIDE-BY-SIDE SHOTGUN RETAILED BY ABERCROMBIE & FITCH
FRANCOTTE MODEL “20E” DOUBLE 20 GAUGE SIDE-BY-SIDE SHOTGUN RETAILED BY ABERCROMBIE & FITCH

EARLY FRANCOTTE 12 GAUGE DOUBLE EJECTOR GUN: 26″ damascus steel barrels, auto ejecgtors, beautiful scroll engraved sideplates and relief engraved fences.  Double triggers, top lever, double underlocking lugs with Greener type third bite.  Bores measure .729″ both barrels with walls over .030″   Chokes:  R: .003″  L: .033″   Weight: 6lbs 7oz.    Stock measures   Comb: 1 1/2″   Heel: 2″  LOP: 14 1/2″ over a thin English hardrubber pad.  The barrels retain all of the beautiful damascus pattern,  The action showing lovely subdued case colors.  Mint bores, excellent checkering and varnish.  This would make a perfect bird gun. Price: $5,950

EARLY FRANCOTTE 12 GAUGE DOUBLE EJECTOR GUN
EARLY FRANCOTTE 12 GAUGE DOUBLE EJECTOR GUN

This week’s good guns: Powered by Gunsinternational.com …

MANTON 8 BORE EXPRESS- 17 Lbs. 7 Oz. of REAL TURN of the CENTURY SPORT- 24" FULLY RIFLED STEEL Bbls.- EXC PLUS BORES- CASES & ALL LOADING DATA
MANTON 8 BORE EXPRESS- 17 Lbs. 7 Oz. of REAL TURN of the CENTURY SPORT- 24″ FULLY RIFLED STEEL Bbls.- EXC PLUS BORES- CASES & ALL LOADING DATA

MANTON 8 BORE EXPRESS- 17 Lbs. 7 Oz. of REAL TURN of the CENTURY SPORT- 24″ FULLY RIFLED STEEL Bbls.- EXC PLUS BORES- CASES & ALL LOADING DATA#5770, Manton & Co. Gun Makers To H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh. K.G. London & Calcutta: A large Jones Action Underlever Back-Action Rebounding Hammer 8 Bore Black Powder Express Shoulder Double Rifle Made with a 3 1/4″ Case and with 24″ Steel fully rifled barrels with a rib extension dolls head, Full length rib with 1 standing & 3 folding platinum lined rear sights at 50 – 100 & 150, Percussion style fences, Full length trigger guard tang to a steel engraved grip cap, Extremely solid and sound wood with nice color & contrast, Shadowline cheekpiece, Sling eyes, Lever release forend, Great stock length at 14 1/2″ LOP over a 7/8″ Silvers pad, Great weight at 17 Lbs. 7 Oz., This is a full rifled set of barrels and the bores remain excellent plus and I would put them at 92-93% from the day they were cut, All the screws are in very good to excellent shape and nearly everyone lays north & south including the 6 inside the forend, It has been professionally refinished from stem to stern with fresh case colors, The whole is cased in a high quality oak & leather trunk with a trade label. This piece is accurate, comes with the proper head stamped cases, bullets, bullet mold, wads and all the loading data will be provided. It is ready to go hunting and a whole bunch of fun shooting. There are 8 bores and then there are other 8 bores but one would have to go a fair distance to come up with a more solid gun than this Manton with barrels that are in excellent condition inside and out plus it has the proper weight and great length of pull. To quote Mr. Geoffrey Boothroyd “Few people would dispute that the most famous name in the history of British gunmaking is that of Manton”. Manton in this era called the 8, 10 & 12 bores as “Big Game” rifles; the 450, 500 & 577’s were called “Express Rifles” and the 400 & 470 as “High Velocity” rifles. Price: $39,000

Francotte 20E 16 Gauge SxS Shotgun, 1926, FACTORY ORIGINAL HIGH CONDITION
Francotte 20E 16 Gauge SxS Shotgun, 1926, FACTORY ORIGINAL HIGH CONDITION

Francotte 20E 16 Gauge SxS Shotgun, 1926, FACTORY ORIGINAL HIGH CONDITION5lb 12oz, Side by Side, Serial # 81889. his Francotte Model 20E is a sideplated box lock gun that is a mid-grade gun from this maker.  Built in 1926 during the time when quality reigned supreme, this little Francotte retains most of its factory original condition with 85% vivid case color, clear sharp deep chiseled engraving, excellent screws, mirror bores, 98% factory blue, beautifully figured European walnut with excellent checkering…just a beautiful little 16 bore.  Weighing just 5 3/4lbs. and balanced just ahead of the hinge pin with 28″ barrels choked LM/IM (.014/.024 restrictions, can be altered to your specs in our shop within 10 days of purchase), this is the epitome of the upland game gun.  The gun is mechanically excellent in all ways, with strong well timed ejectors, crisp double triggers, tight as new on hinge and breech face, this is the way you like to find them.  The Francotte guns are one of the best buys in the fine gun world and known for strength and durability while being quite refined.  This gun has 5 locking points; Greener cross bolt, double underlug bites, sideclips, and through the frame barrel lug…just as good as you can get and being 90 years old and still tight as new, a testament to its design.  Compare this gun to any other offerings for condition and features and you will agree it is priced to sell. Price: $6,450

ENGLISH DOUBLE BARREL HAMMERGUN BY "JOSEPH HARKOM & SON, EDINBURGH
ENGLISH DOUBLE BARREL HAMMERGUN BY “JOSEPH HARKOM & SON, EDINBURGH

ENGLISH DOUBLE BARREL HAMMERGUN BY “JOSEPH HARKOM & SON, EDINBURGH12 gauge, 30″ damascus steel barrels.  Casehardened and engraved back action locks, carved fences, underlever action.  Three position hammers and extractors.  In lovely condition with very crisp engraving with the action and locks showing much of the case colors fading.  The barrels showing  a nice pattern and have been professionally rebrowned.  Beautiful wood and checkering.   Dimensions:   Barrels measure .728″ in both barrels.  Chokes are cylinder bored.  Walls exceed .028″  Weight: 7lbs 1oz.  LOP: 14 5/8″ to a steel buttplate.   Comb:  1 1/2″  Heel: 2″. Price: $3,950

L.C. SMITH WILDFOWL 3" Chambers 12GA 32" bbls
L.C. SMITH WILDFOWL 3″ Chambers 12GA 32″ bbls

L.C. SMITH WILDFOWL 3″ Chambers 12GA 32″ bblsA Classic American Side-by-Side Water Fowl gun. Price: $1800
Manufacturer: HUNTER ARMS
Model: L.C.SMITH WILDFOWL
Serial Number: R191118
Chambers: 3″
Barrels: 32″
Gauge: 12
Stock Comb: 1 1/2IN
Stock Heel: 2 1/2in
Butt Pad: LONDON STYLE
LOP: 14 1/2IN
Weight: 8.25LBS
Manufacture Date: 1939
Choke Left: FULL
Choke Right: FULL
Proof:Nitro: YES

J.P. Sauer & Sohn Suhl SxS 12 Ga Shotgun with straight stock
J.P. Sauer & Sohn Suhl SxS 12 Ga Shotgun with straight stock

J.P. Sauer & Sohn Suhl SxS 12 Ga Shotgun with straight stockPrice: $1,199.99
Caliber: 12 Ga.
Metal Condition: Excellent.
Wood Condition: Excellent Light handling Marks..
Bore Condition: Excellent.
Barrels: 28 Inches. With a Greener Style cross bolt break.
Triggers: Double Triggers.
Stock: Walnut with diamond pattern on grip.
Fore End: Walnut with diamond.
Butt Pad: Factory with embossed logo.
Weight: 7 Pounds

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