If this were 2005, I would be scheming to buy this 16 gauge Lefever FE. I used to love Lefevers. Of all the American SxSs, they’re sleekest and best looking. They’re also unique designs — a taster of the fruit that fell from the brain of they’re creator, Daniel Myron Lefever.
D.M. Lefever was one of America’s most inventive gunmakers. Born in upstate New York in 1835, he opened his first gunshop in 1857. Over the next two decades, he formed partnerships with a number men — Ellis, Dangerfield, Barber & Nichols — and built a wide range of muzzle- and breech-loading firearms.
In 1880 he formed the Lefever Arms Co in Syracuse, NY. The company was only around until 1919, and they only built around 65,000 shotguns (Parker made 200,000+ SxSs, Ithaca made many, many more). I’m not sure how many of Lefever’s guns were 16s, but estimates say fewer than 15%.
The 16 gauge you here is an F grade with ejectors (the E in F-E). Lefevers came in range of grades (see more about them here), and the F was a lower middle, comparable to Parker GH or a Fox B. I’ve owned several 16g F-grade Lefevers. They were all nice guns, and I’ve been looking at this one again and again, wondering if needs to be in my safe.
BTW: If you have a Lefever and you would like to know more about it, I’m happy to help. Just email me at email@example.com
LEFEVER SYRACUSE, FE GRADE, 16 GAUGE: ON A 20 GAUGE FRAME, 28″ DAMASCUS BARRELS, GOOD PATTERN. AUTOMATIC EJECTORS, MIRROR BRIGHT BORES, TWIN IVORY SIGHTS. LOTS OF LIGHT CASE COLOR, COCKING INDICATORS, EXCELLENT ENGRAVED SCREWS, MALLARD ON RIGHT LOCK, SNIPE ON LEFT PPLUS FINE SCROLL AND BORDERS. TOP LEVER TO THE RIGHT, TIGHT ON FACE. PISTOL GRIP STOCK, SPPLINTER FOREARM, VERY GOOD WOOD AND CHECKERING, 1 1/2″ X 2 1/2″ X 14″, SOLID SILVERS PAD. 6 1/2 POUNDS. Price: $3,500
6 thoughts on “A hard to find Lefever Arms FE SxS in 16 gauge…”
When I first started collecting doubles the only thing I “knew” was that “Parker is the best.” Like someone who only buys known labels at wine shops because other people say they are “the best,” I just accepted that to be true. I didn’t know how naive I was. But I can tell you I never bought another Parker…EVER…after I held a Lefever and saw the fit and finish, the engraving quality, and the innovations. Even lots of advanced collectors don’t know their Lefevers, as only 20% of all the guns which say “Lefever” on the side are REAL Lefevers. All the rest were Ithaca Gun Co products made long after Uncle Dan’s death. Dan has 60+ patents to his name…only John Browning has more (70+).
I tell you, Lefever sxs’s are HANDS DOWN, the finest American made doubles. I would burn my Parkers (CHE/DHE/U) as firewood, and use my Fox CE as a fence post, before letting go of my rare and prized Lefevers.
– Nick D.
They’re great guns. Glad you love yours. Do you have any higher-grade ones – E-grade and up?
Good to hear from you, thanks for the comment.
Yes Gregg, I do. Of “Lefever Arms” guns, I own C,C,D,E,G.
My preference, having owned each, is for the earlier cocking mechanism types. Two of my higher grade ones have fore end ejectors, one of each of the 2 patent types, and they are a marvel of engineering.
My personal opinion is that the Nichols & Lefever guns, and the early LAC guns (say…serials 23,000 and under) are the very best of the best. Before the Nichols partnership Dan’s work wasn’t yet his best, and the cross bolts, while inventive and beautifully engraved, don’t have the same manufacturing quality. This was probably because they were on the rocks.
I thought I responded to this but it didn’t seem to go through, so here’s a 2nd attempt.
Of “Lefever Arms Co” guns, I own C,C,D,E,G,G. My personal favorites among these are the early guns, of which my C,C, and D are. I tend to favor pre-23,000 serial guns for their cocking mechanism. And I very much like fore end ejectors for their rarity and uniqueness. Guns I own have both patent types of fore end ejectors, the 2nd pattern being extremely rare, and only in production for about 9 months before he introduced the in-frame ejectors which remained in used for the entire remaining years.
Having owned them all, my opinion is that the Nichols & Lefever guns, and the earlier LAC guns, are Dan’s best work. The cross bolts, while unique in design, and bearing some incredible engraving, lack the manufacturing finish of his other guns. My guess is this is because he and his sons were really under the gun financially at that point, moving around, etc.
– Nick D.
Sounds like you have some nice Lefevers. Cs, Ds and Es are fantastic doubles. I’ve always wanted one in 16g.
I agree with you on the early ones being very nice. Some of the late ones are nice, too.
I hope you’re getting out and shooting some birds with your doubles.
Thanks for your comment — and sorry for my tardy response.
No worries Gregg. I have one 16ga, and they are indeed sweet, built on 20ga frames. They are more common than many people think, though. On my list they comprise about 10% of production, whereas 20ga’s only comprise about 4%.
Thus far, a mid/high grade 20ga has eluded me…
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