Daniel Myron Lefever was one of the geniuses of American gunmaking. Born in 1835, he started making firearms under his own name in 1857. Fifteen years later he was working with machinist Francis Dangerfield. Together they patented a doll’s head, thumb lift locking mechanism for breechloading shotguns.
In 1883, Lefever used part of this design on his new barrel-cocking hammerless shotgun, the first of its kind created in the US. The 16 gauge Lefever Arms Co. E grade you see here is built on those two patents. Made around 1886, it’s one of the first sixteens that the Lefever Arms Co. produced. From what I can see, it looks like it’s in pretty original condition. The only issue I can see with it is with the bbls: They’re short (26″) and possibly cut. Other than that, this125+ years old side-by-side looks like it in excellent shape.
With just a bit more finish than the F grade, and less detailing than upper grades like this B, Lefever’s E grade is where the styling is just right. In 1904 it cost $100 without ejectors, $115 with – expensive, but $300 cheaper than Lefever’s top gun – the Optimus.
BTW: If you have a 16 gauge Lefevers for sale, contact me right away. I’m interested in purchasing it.
Cabelas Gun Library just posted this real nice Lefever EE 12 gauge double barrel shotgun on their site. It has 28″ damascus bbls, ejectors, lots of color and nice pistol grip stock. Even though it has the condition to be a collector’s piece, it’s stock dimensions would also make it a good shooter : 14.24″ LOP, 2.25″ D @ Heel. Cabelas is asking $4,000 for this gun.
E-grades are Lefever’s middle quality guns. Above them are the Thousand-Dollar Grades, Optimuses, AAs, As, Bs, Cs, and Ds. The grades below E-grade Lefevers are Fs, Gs, Hs, DSs (Durston Specials) & Is.
The E grades were introduced in 1883 and Lefever made around 11,000 of them, mostly in 12 gauge. They were also offered in 8, 10, 14, 16, & 20 gauges. E-grade’s guns came with three types of barrels: laminated steel, Damascus, and Krupp fluid steel.
If $4,000 is too much for you $2,999, Cabelas has a few other E-grade Lefevers in stock. This one is $3,399 and it has damascus bbls and ejectors (even though they don’t mention the ejectors in the listing). At $2,999, this EE is a later gun with a lot less color. It does have a straight-gripped stock – something I prefer on my guns.