Old age is one of the drawbacks of American side by sides. This country’s golden age of side-by-sides was pretty much over by the mid 1920s. By the time prohibition was repealed in ’33, our shotguns of choice had single barrels and pump-style actions. This means most of the doubles we come across today by Parker, Fox, and L.C. Smith are old – like 75 years + old. That’s why this 16 gauge L.C. Smith caught my eye. Made in 1946, it’s just a kid by vintage double standards:
L.C. Smith Ideal 16E gauge S/S – Excellent condition: LOP: 14″, Drop: 2-1/2″ – 1-1/2″, Barrel length: 28″, F/M, Weight: 6lb 11oz. Lots of dark color & blue, mirror bores, very tight, super nice! 2-3/4″ chambers, chokes – R)663-021, L)664-029
The Hunter Arms Company redesigned the L.C. Smith shotgun in 1913. While they kept the mechanics on the guns the same, they renamed the grades (except for the Monogram) and developed new engraving patterns for each one. The Ideal Grade was introduced as a “general purpose” shotgun with “just enough engraving to make it attractive.”
When Marlin acquired the Hunter Arms Company in 1945, they continued making Ideal Grade shotguns. But as you can read in this description from a Marlin/L.C. Smith Gun Company catalog, they had a higher opinion of the model: “Sportsmen who want a real custom-built gun without the additional expense that is usually involved…”
“General purpose” or “Custom built”, this 16 gauge Ideal from 1946 is almost new. And with 2 3/4″ chambers, 28″ bbls, and high stock dimensions, it’s very modern for a vintage shotgun.