Daniel Myron Lefever was a gun-making genius, and the great-looking side-by-side you see here was one of his creations. This shotgun is a 10-gauge, D-grade Lefever “Sidecocker”. Check out the video above to see how it earned the “Sidecocker” nickname and how it overcame a “problem” hammerless shotguns had when they were introduced in the late 1870s and 1880s.
Lefever patented his sidecocker design in 1880. According to the Lefever Arms Collectors Association site, it was the first commercially successful American hammerless shotgun.
While there are several interesting features on these guns — the compensating action, the push-up lever on the top that opens the gun, the cocked-indicator nipples on the locks — the most interesting one is the lever on the left side of the action. That’s the “cocker” in sidecocker. When you push it down, it pushes the into the “cocked” position.
OK. But doesn’t it eliminate one of the key advantages of the hammerless design — self cocking? Yes, but back when this gun was introduced, not everyone loved the idea of a shotgun that cocked on its own. Up until the 1870s, almost every firearm had external hammers that shooters manually cocked. People liked the control and sense of security this gave them. The sidecocker design created a hammerless shotgun that retained the hammergun attributes some shooters still wanted in a new gun.
Lefever used his sidecocker design from around 1883-1889 to build approximately 750 firearms, including a handful of double rifles and 3-barrel models (two shotgun barrels, one rifle). The shotguns came in six grades: AA, A, B, C, D, & E.
In 1883, the D-grade shown here cost about $125 — a lot of money back when a $5-$6 a week was good wage.
Extremely rare and fine Lefever D Grade 10 Bore Sidecocker with original Bernard Damascus barrels: Truly a beautiful early sidecocking gun made with original 30″ Bernard Damascus barrels. The gun made with capped pistol grip buttstock which is of very fancy flame grained American Walnut and terminates with an original checkered horn buttplate. The splinter forend with triangular horn tip is nicely and finely checkered. Action is finely engraved, likely by Jacob Glahn with well detailed dogs on both sides as seen in the photos.
The gun remains in fine totally original untouched condition. Barrels retain about 90-95%. Frame has toned to a pleasing gray with perhaps as much as 25% color in the protected areas around the lever on the left side, engraving is crisp throughout. Stocks are excellent, checkering has thinned from handling but is all still present and visible and original. Buttplate is original and excellent. Bores are mostly bright and shiny with a hint of frosting ahead of the chambers but overall excellent. Truly a rare and untouched Sidecocker!
Antique: Yes. Serial Number: 6032. Barrel Length: 30″. Bore: 10 Bore. Chambers: 2-7/8″. Condition: Excellent. Metal Condition: Excellent. Wood Condition: Excellent. Bore Condition: Excellent. Barrel Type: Bernard Damascus. Triggers: Double Triggers. Stock Comb: 2-1/8″. Stock Heel: 3-3/8″. Fore End: Splinter Forend. Butt Pad: Original checkered horn BP. LOP: 14″. Weight: 9lbs 1oz. Choke Left: .776″ with .033″ choke. Choke Right: .767″ with .024″ choke. Minimum Wall Thickness Left: .045″. Minimum Wall Thickness Right: .039″