A Manufrance Ideal 16 gauge double barrel shotgun…

The French have always been inventive gunmakers. Pauly, Lefecheaux and Darne gave the world some unique ideas on how double barrel shotguns could be made. Manufacture d’ Armes de Saint Etienne did the same thing. Their Ideal shotguns was another unique contribution to history of side by sides.

16 gauge Manufrance Ideal Double Barrel Shotgun
16 gauge Manufrance Ideal Double Barrel Shotgun

Ideal-model shotguns were introduced in 1887 and I think they were made into the 1960s. I think this one one was made around 1940. It’s a 16 gauge Gr. 2 with a straight grip, 28″ barrels, and the traditional double triggers. In the slideshow below you’ll also a higher grade Ideal with the monocle-style triggers.

The little lever behind the triggerguard opens & cocks the gun, and the little button on the triggerplate operates the gun’s safety mechanism. This gun weighs about 6lbs. You can see more Ideals and learn more about them here and here.

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8 thoughts on “A Manufrance Ideal 16 gauge double barrel shotgun…

  1. The Citroen of shotguns – very cool gun, Gregg. I would be curious to hear how it handles, it certainly looks sleek What are the second set of discs on the breech face? That dolls-head lock up look very substantial.

    Nice reminder that the A&D boxlock is not the only design that can work for a nice shotgun.

  2. Yeah, it’s just as quirky. The safety may have to be modified a bit to work right. The rest of the gun is neat.

    That second set on the outside is a loaded-indicator. It pushes out a little snail-eye on the corner of the fences when the gun is loaded. You can see the little stub in one of the pics.


  3. Hi Gregg

    Nice little grade 2 gun there. A couple minor things. The Ideals were last made in 1985. It was a long run, from 1887. The “Lunette” style trigger guard was last used in 1909, an easy way to date very early guns from later guns. Another key year for identification and dating was 1931, the year they switched from describing grades as 1, 2, 3 etc and switched to 302, 308, 314 etc.

    The action is both very simple and incredibly strong. The trigger guard lever, for opening the action, is very ergonomic and I found I got used to mine very quickly.

    I like to think of these guns not as quirky, but as extremely well thought out and the design was not tied to convention. They just made a great gun!

  4. How is the stock attached to the action?
    I have a #2 with the lunette trigger and very plain metal work. Pistol grip. But my stock is in need of tightening.

  5. I’m not sure. There may be a bolt through the butt of the stock, or there may be a screw that runs from the top strap down to the triggerguard.


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