Every gun nut has THE shotgun they’re trying to find. For a friend of mine, it’s 2o gauge Lindner-made Charles Daly with damascus barrels. Another guy I know is searching everywhere for an all original, color-case hardened Belgian-made 20g sidelock with 28″+ tubes.
My holy-grail used to be a 16 gauge L.C. Smith No.2 with a straight grip and double triggers. I spent years trying to track one down. When you look at the gunmaker’s production numbers, it’s easy to see why.
According to the L.C. Smith Collector’s Association, the folks in Fulton made just seven-hundred and ninety-three 16-gauge No. 2s. I bet at least 90% of these had pistol grips, and that’s why one with this configuration are easy hard to find (I’ve owned at least 3).
But swap in a straight grip, ask for double triggers, and now you’ve got a tough gun to track down. L.C. Smith probably set up fewer than thirty 16g No. 2s like this, and I’ve spent a decade looking for one.
In the past few month — bang! — two of them have popped up on the market. When I found the first one, I shocked by the condition – 90%+ all original – and stunned by the price – $8,0000. This one has less of that condition, but the price is still steep. Of course, it may be the last one you every see:
16 gauge L.C. Smith 2E with an original straight grip and double triggers: Nice, original condition LC Smith 16 GA, grade 2E. 28″ barrels choked .021 modified right and .032 left. Both bores are .661. Barrels retain 75-80% original blue. Engraving is sharp and clear, original case color remains at 50% or so. Straight hand stock with splinter fore-end. Checkering is sharp and un-damaged. Butt stock has an extension added that is so good that is hard to see.(see photos). LOP is 14 7/8″ to a 1/2″ pad. DAC 1 5/8, DAH 2 3/4, Cast is neutral. Mechanically perfect, this one is ready for some action in the field or on the range. Price: $5,495.00
SALE PENDING – that’s what the listing on this fantastic little Beretta said just a few hours after the little O/U gun on the market. It’s easy to see why. Of all the configurations that Beretta’s ASE over-under shotguns came in, this one has to be the rarest. I wish I hadn’t missed it.
BERETTA ASEL EELL 20 GAUGE O/U WITH 27 1/2″ BARRELS – GREAT ENGRAVING: Lovely deep cut floral engraving. Solid rib. Ejectors. Straight grip with long trigger guard. High condition. Plugged swivel holes – typical of ASEL guns. Barrel weight of 1,190. Mirror bores. Bottom barrel measures at .625 with 20/1000 choke (Mod) while top barrel is .623 with 28/1000 Choke (Full). Bottom barrel firing pin need replacement. Weight of gun is 5 LBS 11 1/8″ OZ. Shipping is $35. Stock dimensions follow. LOP – 14 5/8″ Drop at Comb – 1 3/8″ Drop at Heel – 2 1/8″ Price: SALE PENDING
I’ve written about these great little doubles a number of time before. They’re such great shotguns that very time I see one I feel obligated to let people know.
Back in 1949, Beretta introduced a line of O/Us that would become legends. The ASs were boxlock O/Us and Beretta built them as lightweight hunting guns. The shotguns came in 2 gauges (12g and 20g) and 3 grades (ASE, ASEL, and ASEELL).
Today, a lot of Beretta fanatics consider the AS-grades to be the best boxlock shotguns made by the Italian company. If you’re looking for a fantastic upland gun, the one you see here is hard to beat.
The Baltimore Arms Co. was one of America’s didn’t-make-it gunmakers. From 1900 to 1904, they manufactured side-by-side shotguns based on a patent designed by Frank Hollenbeck. this Sunday, June 2, @ 8am, one of these shotguns is coming up at Redding Auction Service in Gettysburg, PA.
A fantastic O/U at a fair price — that’s what you see here. Beretta started making their AS-line of boxlock over & under shotguns in 1949 and they continued turning them out into the 1960s.
These were made for hunting (i.e., light weight compared to the later ASE target models introduced in the late ’80s). The ASELs were hand engraved and hand fitted. They eventually were replaced in the early 60s by the S5x series of beretta boxlock over/unders. The S5x series was manufactured to allow parts interchangeability without hand-fitting.
Beretta build these as hunting guns, and the company offered 2 gauges (12g and 20g) and three grades (ASE, ASEL, and ASEELL). Each grade featured hand engraving and all models were build with the quality that has made these doubles so great. Toady, a lot of serious Beretta fanatics condider any of the AS-grades to be the finest boxlock O/Us shotguns Beretta ever made.
Here’s more about this one from the seller:
1956 – Beretta ASEL – 12ga, 27-5/8″ bbls: 2-3/4″, Modified / Full (.018 / .041), Double Triggers, Solid Tapered Rib, Prince of Whales Grip, Checkered Butt, LOP 14-1/2″ with Drop 1-3/8″ to 2″, Weight 6 lbs. 13 oz. all Original Super Nice Condition – especially for a 1956 gun. A very lightly used gun that hasn’t been shot much at all. Perfect Bores. Sharp Checkering. Bank Vault Action. A Very Tight Gun! Price: Price: $4900
Cole Gunsmithing in Harpswell, ME, is one of the nation’s leading Beretta gunsmith. For over a 20 years now, this company has been the go-to source for top-quality work on the Italian gunmaker’s full range of shotguns – over-unders, side-by-sides and autoloaders.
Along with repair services, Coles also offers customized shotguns. The Beretta 686 Onyx you see here is one of those doubles. With upgraded wood and a straight-gripped stock, it’s a great looking O/U. Add in the double triggers and the choke tubes and you a very unique, and versatile, shotgun Even though it’s a 12 gauge, it weighs less than a lot of American-made 16 gauges. It also has high, shootable dimensions and a decent length of pull.
I’m always looking for good doubles (as you can probably tell). When I find a bargain, I hate to pass it by. But sometimes I have to, and in the case of this 12 gauge John Harper side-by-side shotgun, passing it up is killing me.
John Harper was a gunmaker in Birmingham, England. He opened a shop in 1902 and his business was in operation until 1975. From what I can tell, most of his trade was in good quality boxlocks, sort of the meat-and-potatoes of the English shotgun business.
The side-by-side you see here was one of those meat-and-potato kind of guns. Built on an Anson & Deeley patent, this side-by-side looks like it’s still in excellent original conditions. It also has ejectors – a nice plus – and some great looking wood. The price is the best part — just $2299. I hate to let it go, but I guess you can’t own them all.
UPDATE: It turns it out this Beretta has 26 3/4″ barrels. It’s still nice gun, though.
I’ve written before about Beretta’s fabulous AS series of over/under shotguns. Handling wise, they’re up there with some of the most expensive O/Us in the world. For the money, they’re one of the best O/Us you can buy.
Most of the ones you see today have pistol grips and single triggers. They’re nice guns, but not perfect (not in my mind, anyway). This one is perfect, though. It’s a 20 gauge with a straight grip, 28″ barrels and double triggers. That’s the holy grail of Beretta’s AS-series shotguns. On top of all this, the price is pretty fair, too. Considering the quality, $5100 is more than fair.
Beretta started making their AS series in 1949 and the company offered them into the 1960s (and maybe later). They came in three models (ASE, ASEL, and ASEELL), the biggest difference being the amount of hand engraving and quality of the wood. They lockup like Beretta SO-series shotguns and ASs made after 1960 or so have Boehler Antinit steel barrels. Basically they’re top quality doubles at low end prices.
I search for shotguns every night. In about 20 minutes I can check all of the major gun website for new double barrels. Most night I see nothing. While there are always new guns, they’re rarely ones I’m interested in. Weeks go by like this, sometimes months. Then one day something nice pops us and all the searching is worth it.
Here’s one of those double barrel shotguns. It’s a 16 gauge A.H. Fox A grade with double triggers and a straight grip. It’s a tough gun to find, especially in all-original condition, and probably one of the best grouse guns ever made in American.
I saw it today Gunsinternational.com. It had been online fewer than 12 hours early, probably less, and as soon as I saw I was on the phone. The seller picked up on the third ring. Sold.