Rare American classics: 12g L.C. Smith Long Range Water Fowl SxSs….

Scarce L.C.. Smith Specialty grade 12ga "Long Range" 32" fantastic duck gun!
Scarce L.C.. Smith Specialty grade 12ga “Long Range” 32″ fantastic duck gun!

Power and range have always been obsessions with shooters, and as long as people have been using shotguns, they’ve tried to build ones that can reach out further and take game at longer ranges.

In the early ’20s, Fox introduced its contribution to this tradition: the A.H. Fox HE-grade SxSs. These guns were built to take ducks at long ranges using Western’s new12-gauge Super-X shotgun shells.

Western Super X ammo
Western Super X ammo

Around the same time as Fox, L.C. Smith got into the long-range game with its Long Range Wild Fowl Guns. These Smiths were also made to shoot Western’s new ammo and the company claimed “The killing range of this gun is from 70 to 85 yards, and the gun is capable of killing at even longer distances.”

The L.C. Smith Long Range Wild Fowl Guns were big 12 gauges built with wide, heavy actions and barrels built to withstand the recoil from heavy loads. They weighed 8 – 8 1/2 lbs and had 30″ or 32″ barrels with 3″ chambers and were designed to handle 1 3/8-oz of shot. Chokes, as you can imagine, were tight.

Scarce L.C.. Smith Specialty grade 12ga "Long Range" 32" fantastic duck gun!
Scarce L.C.. Smith Specialty grade 12ga “Long Range” 32″ fantastic duck gun!

Scarce L.C. Smith Specialty Grade 12ga “LONG RANGE” 32″ – FANTASTIC Duck Gun: Exceedingly rare configuration with ONLY 2 made in this configuration!!  Matches the LCSCA letter as found today! 12ga L.C. Smith Specialty Grade Long Range gun made with 32″ barrels.  Gun with large original beavertail forend, capped pistol grip buttstock and made with Hunter One SST.  Very scarce gun.  The tip of the beavertail on this gun with a bone inlay that appears it could be original. This gun remains in fine condition overall.  Barrels show most of an older restored blue with an area of light pinprick pitting at the breech end of the left tube on top. Action retains about 35% light original color.  Stocks are sound and retain most of a restored finish. There is a small repair to the bottom left stock finger as seen in the photos. Mechanics are crisp and bores are bright and shiny. These Long Range Guns don’t come up very often and this is a particularly useful and popular configuration. Price: $5950  

L.C. Smith 12 Gauge - LONG RANGE, 3", STRAIGHT GRIP, SST, SxS SHOTGUN
L.C. Smith 12 Gauge – LONG RANGE, 3″, STRAIGHT GRIP, SST, SxS SHOTGUN

This Field grade Long Range Water Fowl Gun was made in 1922, a few years before L.C. Smith had fully developed the features of these guns and come up with a consistent way to designate them. I’ll let the seller tell you all about it:

L.C. Smith 12 Gauge – LONG RANGE, 3″, STRAIGHT GRIP, SST, SxS SHOTGUN:

Description:
General Specs: L.C. Smith, Year 1922, 12 Gauge, 7lbs 12oz, Chokes F/F, LOP 14″ rear trigger, DAH 2 7/8″, DAC 1 13/16″
Serial Number: RE51777

L.C. Smith 12 Gauge - LONG RANGE, 3", STRAIGHT GRIP, SST, SxS SHOTGUN
L.C. Smith 12 Gauge – LONG RANGE, 3″, STRAIGHT GRIP, SST, SxS SHOTGUN

Anyone who has studied L.C. Smith is aware of their famous “LONG RANGE” waterfowler.  Made to shoot a heavy 1 3/8oz. load while keeping patterns 90% 40 yards, the Long Range is very sought after and in high condition like this one, nearly impossible to find.  Special attention to chamber, bore, and chokes from the finest barrel men in the business is what made the L.C. Smith Long Range gun a legend.  The Long Range had heavy barrels with reinforced forend lug, standard frame, 3” chambers, long barrels, and tight chokes.  Those are the features that make a L.C. Smith a Long Range gun.  The Long Range was not officially introduced to the public until 1923 and most (definitely not all) were marked with “LONG RANGE” on the bottom of the barrel lug visible on the underside of the action.  This Field Grade Long Range, snRE51777, was built and shipped in 1922 and does not have the “LONG RANGE” marking on the barrel lug.  It does have all the features of a Long Range and we have the L.C. Smith Collectors Association letter and the Cody Firearms Museum letter documenting it is a Long Range, one of about 2000 ever made.  Not so “Rare”, but only 343 had ejectors, and only 66 had single selective triggers.  Now that is RARE!  Now consider the factory English stock (only found on about 10% of the total production of L.C. Smith guns) and you have A VERY RARE COMBINATION INDEED. NOW, FOR THE FINAL CLAIM TO AN EXTREMELY RARE FIND…THIS GUN HAS 98% FACTORY CONDITION TO GO WITH ALL THE REST!

L.C. Smith 12 Gauge - LONG RANGE, 3", STRAIGHT GRIP, SST, SxS SHOTGUN
L.C. Smith 12 Gauge – LONG RANGE, 3″, STRAIGHT GRIP, SST, SxS SHOTGUN

For those of you that admire the famous Elsie LONG RANGE, and the magic and skills of some of the best bore and choke men that ever lived, this is the “Holy Grail”.  Truly a fine example of an untouched, factory original, 98% condition in case color, blue, and stock finish in a waterfowler from the heydays.  You can still see jeweling on the breech face of the barrel and all the original trigger blue remains on the trigger blade. The 32” F/F choked barrels match to perfection from left to right.  Of the last 1000 barrels I have measured up, this is the only set that has the same bore diameter, barrel wall thickness, and choke constriction.  It is simply unheard of.  And it is all untouched barrel work as it left the factory.  This gun even has a LONG STOCK WITH EXCELLENT SHOOTING DIMENSIONS and a 14” LOP measured from a single trigger in the rear position to the end of the butt plate.  Add a vintage pad and you will have 14 ¾” LOP.  This gun has everything the modern collector/shooter is looking for and is almost impossible to find.  You can tell this will be an amazing gun in the field.  A gun sure to increase in value as you enjoy its use.  A classic waterfowler at home in the blind or whacking turkey, blocking for pheasants, or blasting long range doves, this is a chance to own a very nice Elsie! Price: $5,750

4-gauges: See what are they and what they’re like to shoot…

What’s it’s like to shoot a 4-gauge shotgun? And what’s the story behind these guns? Find out in this video featuring big-bore enthusiast Nick Horton at The Gun Shop in the UK. These shoulder-fired 4-bore shotguns shoot case up to 4.25″ long and pushing up to 4 1/2 oz of lead, and they can knock down game out to100 yards capable.

Ouch! The 4 Bore Test, a new video from The Gun Shop
Ouch! The 4 Bore Test, a new video from The Gun Shop

 

An big 8 gauge from a mysterious American maker..

P. Mullin New York SxS 8 Gauge Hammer Shotgun
P. Mullin New York SxS 8 Gauge Hammer Shotgun

Here’s a tough shotgun to find. It’s an 8 gauge waterfowler by an American “maker” named Patrick Mullin, and it’s on a Henry-Jones Patent action. It was probably built in 1870s.

In its day, this big-bore shotgun was far too expensive to be used by a commercial hunter as a “market gun”. Instead, a wealthy sportsman would have specially ordered it and used it in marshes, shorelines and flyways to pass shoot waterfowl at long ranges (80+ yards) and knock down big birds like geese and swans.

P. Mullin New York SxS 8 Gauge Hammer Shotgun
P. Mullin New York SxS 8 Gauge Hammer Shotgun

Patrick Mullin made guns in New York City from around 1850-1870. He was born in Donegal, Ireland, in 1814 and trained in Dublin and London before moving to the U.S.

On his death in 1895, the New York Times published his obituary and wrote “He turned out guns of his own handiwork that were unsurpassed in excellence.” Here’s a Mullin 8 bore muzzeloader that shows just how beautiful his work could be.

But while we know who Mullin was, the mysterious part of his legacy is just how much of his guns he actually built. On this 8 gauge,  I’m calling Mullin the “maker” because he didn’t make that much of it. Even though his name is on the locks and barrels, all of those, plus the action and leverwork, came from the UK. Mullin may have stocked the gun and finished it off. But that’s it.

Regardless, though, it’s beautifully made. Too bad it isn’t in better shape like the one you see here.

P. Mullin New York SxS 8 Gauge Hammer Shotgun

8 gauge Mullin shotgun, top-quality British locks
8 gauge Mullin shotgun, top-quality British locks
8 gauge Mullin shotgun, first-rate inletting for locks
8 gauge Mullin shotgun, first-rate inletting for locks
Stock Dimensions 13 3/4″ LOP
Status available
Metal Condition Fair, Finish Wear Nicks and Scratches, Areas of Light Corrosion
Trigger Double Triggers, Side Hammers
Gun Library LaVista, NE
Barrel 38 1/2″
Fore End Checkered
Butt Metal Butt Plate
Sights Single Gold Bead
Wood Condition Stock is Fair, Small Nicks, Scratches and Dents and Large Split Left Side
Weight 14 Lbs 12 ozs

Two beasts: An American 8 gauge, a British 4 gauge …

Big & beautiful. E. M. Reilly 4 gauge SxS Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun
Big & beautiful. E. M. Reilly 4 gauge SxS Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun

If you collect big bore, waterfowling shotguns, or want to start, you’re in luck: Two of finest you’ll ever find are coming up in James D. Julia’s April, 2017, auction. In their day, big bores like these were far too expensive to be used by commercial hunters as “market guns.”

Instead, they were bought by well-off sportsmen and used to pass shoot ducks, geese and even swans. From what I’ve read, as hunting pressure along the Eastern flyways increased,  waterfowl became warier (and scarcer). To bring them down, hunters needed guns that could reach out further. With their big loads and heavy charges, big bores were able to do this.

Big & beautiful. E. M. Reilly 4 gauge SxS Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun
Big & beautiful. E. M. Reilly 4 gauge SxS Double Barrel Hammer Shotgun

A monstrous & fabulous E.M. Reilly 4 gauge Side-by-Side hammer shotgun. I’ve had this double in my hands, and it’s incredible. To help it resist corrosion, it was nickel-plated and it features no engraving. It was probably made in England in the 1870s, and it remains in incredible — and to my eye — all original condition. Interestingly, it has stalking safeties on it – a feature normally reserved for hammer rifles.

An awesome 8 gauge L.C, Smith Quality 2. Stunning original condition.
An awesome 8 gauge L.C, Smith Quality 2. Stunning original condition.

An L.C. Smith 8 gauge Quality No. 2 Side-by-Side hammerless shotgun. I’m pretty sure this shotgun popped up on the market a few years ago. If it’s the same gun, it’s in incredible original condition and pretty much new. L.C. Smith probably made fewer than 50 eight gauges. This one has to be the finest one in existence. The Quality No. 2 was L.C. Smith’s lower middle grade. The company built them from 1890-1914 and made 12,483 total. Of those, just 38 were 8 gauges.

An awesome 8 gauge L.C, Smith Quality 2. Stunning original condition.
An awesome 8 gauge L.C, Smith Quality 2. Stunning original condition.

A quick post: Rare Browning 12g BSS Sporter, 28″ bbls, straight grip…

Browning BSS Sporter, Staight grip, 12 gauge, 28" barrels
Browning BSS Sporter, Staight grip, 12 gauge, 28″ barrels

OK, so I’m still buried at work. But I saw this Browning pop up and I wanted to get it up for everyone to check out. It’s a 12 gauge Browning BSS Sporter with 28″ barrels.

Browning BSS shotguns were made in that period when every American want short barrels. So 98% of the ones you see out there have 26″ barrels – especially the Sporters (the ones with straight stocks, rather than pistol grips). BSS are modern guns, and they’re made with moderns steel and meant to be used with modern ammo. So this one here is pretty worry free. The only thing you might want to do is open the chokes a bit for steel ammo. Other than that, it’s ready for the field, and just about anything that flies you way.

Browning BSS Sporter, Staight grip, 12 gauge, 28" barrels
Browning BSS Sporter, Staight grip, 12 gauge, 28″ barrels

Browning BSS Sporter, Staight grip: Price: $1,899.99

Manufacturer: 1984
Caliber: 12 Gauge
Chambers: 3
Metal Condition: Very Good
Wood Condition: Very Good
Bore Condition: Very Good
Barrels: 28
Triggers: Single Selective
Stock Dimensions: 1 5/8″ DAC, 2 1/2″ DAH, 14 1/4″ LOP
Butt Pad: Factory Butt Plate
Weight: 7 lb. 10 oz.
Chokes: Full/Modified
Extras: Box

Great duck gun alert: a 12 gauge Browning BSS with 28″ barrels…

12 gauge Browning BSS, Double Barrel Shotgun, 28" barrels
12 gauge Browning BSS, Double Barrel Shotgun, 28″ barrels

When it comes to duck hunting, pumps and autoloaders are the shotguns you’re most likely to share space with in a blind. If you do see a double, it’s probably an O/U working. So if you prefer side-bys-sides, you may think you don’t have any options.

Fortunately you do, and  this Browning BSS is one of them. It’s also about as good a duck gun as you’ll ever find. With 28″ barrels, a reliable single trigger, and enough beef to soak up heavy rounds, it can deliver the medicine to just about anything you can decoy in.

12 gauge Browning BSS, Double Barrel Shotgun, 28" barrels
12 gauge Browning BSS, Double Barrel Shotgun, 28″ barrels

Wondering about steel shot? Don’t worry. From what I’ve been told, the barrels on a Browning BSS should be fine with steel loads in the smaller shot sizes. Just be sure the chokes are open enough to handle it (I’ve been told that Modified is as tight as you should go).

Here’s more about this shotgun from the seller:

12 gauge Browning BSS Side-by-Side Double-Barrel Shotgun: 28″ Mod & Full 3″ chambers, single select trigger, ejectors, Beavertail, Pistol Grip, Excellent Condition with Light Blue Wear, Light Handling Marks. 7lb 10oz X 2 3/8 X 1 1/2 X 14 1/4. Price: $1,295.00

12 gauge Browning BSS, Double Barrel Shotgun, 28" barrels
12 gauge Browning BSS, Double Barrel Shotgun, 28″ barrels

Good gun alert: a nice J. Dickson & Son boxlock, built for heavy loads…

12 gauge J. Dickson & Sons 2 3/4" Heavy Proof Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge J. Dickson & Sons 2 3/4″ Heavy Proof Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun

British and Scottish gunmakers are famous for their lightweight game guns. But they also made great shotguns for waterfowl and bigger game.

The Dickson boxlock you see here would be perfect in a duck blind, or beside you while you’re calling in a fat turkey. With original 1 3/8″ proofs, it can push enough shot to smack down large birds. Because the gun is built for these load, it’s heavy enough to swallow up all that recoil and keep you from getting hit just as hard.

This one was probably made in Birmingham for Dickson. It’s looks pretty original. If the barrels check out and the rest of the gun is sound, it could be a good deal.

12 gauge J. Dickson & Sons 2 3/4" Heavy Proof Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge J. Dickson & Sons 2 3/4″ Heavy Proof Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun

JOHN DICKSON – 12 GA. BOXLOCK – HEAVY PROOF: EXTRACTORS, 30” M/F, D.T., P.G. STOCK. TRIGGER GUARD TANG EXTENDS TO GRIP CAP. LOP 14 ¼” OVER  PAD.  CASE COLORS 95%, WT. 7 LBS. 15 OZS.  1 3/8 OZ.PROOF, EXCELLENT CLAYS OR WATERFOWL – $3,600. Price: $3,600.00

12 gauge J. Dickson & Sons 2 3/4" Heavy Proof Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun
12 gauge J. Dickson & Sons 2 3/4″ Heavy Proof Double Barrel Side-by-Side Shotgun

An rare 8 gauge by Alexander McComas…

Alexander McComas, Gunmaker, Case Label
Alexander McComas, Gunmaker, Case Label

The Chesapeake Bay used to be one of the greatest places in the world to hunt waterfowl. Massive flocks of ducks, geese, and swans used to settle on its waters every fall, and as the birds passed through, hunters were waiting. These hunters used all sorts of firearms, and the more prosperous ones used fancy 8 gauges like the toplever, breechloading Alexander McComas you see here.

8 gauge Alexander McComas Toplever Double Barrel Shotgun
8 gauge Alexander McComas Toplever Double Barrel Shotgun

Alexander McComas was born on February 27, 1821 and he opened a shop on July 1843, at 51 South Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD. His first firearms were percussion guns, especially big bores for the local waterfowlers. By the time the breechloading era took over in the 1860s, McComas was well known  up and down the eastern seaboard for his high quality firearms.

8 gauge Alexander McComas Toplever Double Barrel Shotgun
8 gauge Alexander McComas Toplever Double Barrel Shotgun

He was especially famous for his duck guns, and on these shotguns McComas preferred to use Jones-patent underlever actions. But as toplever actions started to appear in the 1870s, some shooters wanted them on their new duck guns. To meet this new market, McComas did what every smart business person does: He made what his customers wanted.

The toplever 8 gauge that you see here was probably “made” by Alexander McComas in the 1880s. I say “made” because I’m not sure how much of this shotgun was actually made in America. To my eye, a lot of this side-by-side looks German. I wonder if McComas ordered it complete from Europe, or sourced the barrels and action from the continent and then finished the shotgun in Maryland.

8 gauge Alexander McComas Toplever Double Barrel Shotgun
8 gauge Alexander McComas Toplever Double Barrel Shotgun

This kind of outsourcing was very popular in America at the time and a lot of the early side-by-side shotguns being “made” over here were actually built in England and throughout Europe.

Awesome SxS at the Southern: Reilly 4 gauge Double Barrel….

There were a lot of guns at the Southern SxS, probably over a thousand, and I think I saw most of them. Lots of nice guns, some great guns, but only one awesome gun. It was this E.M. Reilly 4 gauge side-by-side double barrel shotgun. In all original condition and with most of it’s original finish, it was spectacular.

E.M Reilly 4 gauge Double Barrel Shotgun
E.M Reilly 4 gauge Double Barrel Shotgun

Way back when dark clouds of ducks used to fill the sky and game laws didn’t exist, really big bore double barrels were the gun of choice for waterfowlers. All along the east coast, eight gauges, four gauges, and even twos were used to kill large number of ducks, or to bring down geese or even swans at long ranges.

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