For most of the 20th century, Abercrombie & Fitch was the most famous name in American sporting goods. From a retail store on NYC’s Madison Avenue, and through catalogs sent out across North American, A&F sold everything from firearms to fishing lures.
In 1938, the first spread of their Rifle-Shotgun catalog opened with the following copy:
“In our opinion the Francotte, famous Belgian gun adapted by us to the American Sportsman and improved over a period of 50 years, represents real gun value second to none. It is, in fact, an imported hand made gun at an American price.”
Three pages of Francottes followed: From the top of the line Eagle Grade Hammerless Ejector No. 45 Quality to the Knockabout Ejector. All these guns featured Siemen-Martin ‘Special’ fluid steel barrels and could be ordered with Greener-crossbolts or doll’s head extensions. They were made made on what A&F called a “Francotte lock action”, said to be an improvement on Anson & Deeley-type boxlock action, and featured Francotte-patent ejectors.
Price wise, Francottes weren’t cheap. But they weren’t super expensive, either. At a time when a Parker Quality A-1 Special Quality with ejectors was $890, a Parker Quality B.H.E. was $375 and a Fox X.E. was $165, Francotte’s Eagle Grade Hammerless Ejector No. 45 Quality was $550. Their most affordable double — the Francotte Knockabout Ejector — was $175. In between were models like the No. 30 Quality (30E) at $400 and a No. 20 Quality (20E) at $275.
Compared to their American competitors, all these Francotte’s were built on superior designs, featured better finishing and proper scaling, and were more aesthetically pleasing overall. If you had stopped into A&F’s Madison Avenue store and placed a Parker, Fox, and Francotte side by side, it would have been plain to you which one was superior.
Francotte (Abercrombie & Fitch) “30E” 28 gauge SXS Shotgun: Francotte Pre-war (Abercrombie & Fitch) SXS Shotgun. Side plated 28 GA. Ejectors, side clips, 26 inch BBL, Full and Full, Double triggers, 14 1/2 inch pull to horn butt plate with Abercrombie and Fitch Leather case. Bores like new. Price:$17,995
FRANCOTTE MODEL “20E” DOUBLE 20 GAUGE SIDE-BY-SIDE SHOTGUN RETAILED BY ABERCROMBIE & FITCH: 28″ barrels choked R: .009″ L: .030″. Engraved sideplate action with auto ejectors, side clips, hiddend third bite (crossbolt with rib extension), double triggers, top lever. Checkered splinter forend and semi-pistol grip buttstock. Stock measurements: Comb: 1 1/2″ Heel: 2 1/2″ LOP: 14 1/4″ to a horn buttplate. Weight 5lbs 13oz. In beautiful original condition retaining nearly all of the casehardened finish on the action and sideplates. Trigger guard and top lever have all of the high polish charcoal blue remaining. Barrels showing 98% original blue with the maker’s and A&F’s names engraved on top. “A FRANCOTTE MAKER” and patent info on the left sideplate at the bottom. Excellent wood and checkering. 1949 mfg. Price:$8,750
EARLY FRANCOTTE 12 GAUGE DOUBLE EJECTOR GUN: 26″ damascus steel barrels, auto ejecgtors, beautiful scroll engraved sideplates and relief engraved fences. Double triggers, top lever, double underlocking lugs with Greener type third bite. Bores measure .729″ both barrels with walls over .030″ Chokes: R: .003″ L: .033″ Weight: 6lbs 7oz. Stock measures Comb: 1 1/2″ Heel: 2″ LOP: 14 1/2″ over a thin English hardrubber pad. The barrels retain all of the beautiful damascus pattern, The action showing lovely subdued case colors. Mint bores, excellent checkering and varnish. This would make a perfect bird gun. Price:$5,950
Here’s a great deal on a very nice little double. Abercrombie & Fitch imported these Anson & Deeley style boxlocks in the 1960s and maybe in the ’50s, too. These guns were made in Italy by Guido Rizzini, his brothers, and another Italian gunmaker named Rinaldo Zoli. They’re simple, solid doubles, built on one of the finest side-by-side actions ever created.
This one is in the most versatile gauge ever (12), it’s the perfect weight for upland hunting (6 1/2lbs), it has nice, modern dimentions (14.25″ LOP, 1 1/2 DAC, 2 1/4″ DAH), and it’s cheap — just $749.99. Oh – and it also has 28″ bbls, 2 3/4″ chambers, and great chokes (IC & M). Honestly, I don’t know why I’m telling you guys about it. I should just buy it for myself.
Caliber: 12 Gauge
Chambers: 2 3/4″
Metal Condition: Good case colors and blued finishes
Wood Condition: A small repair on the right side of the butt stock
Bore Condition: Bright
Barrels: 28″ Solid rib with extractors
Triggers: Double triggers
Stock: Checkered round knob
14.25″ LOP, 1 1/2 DAC, 2 1/4″ DAH
Fore End: Checkered splinter with Anson release
Butt Pad: Checkered hard plastic
Weight: 6 lbs 8
Sights: Brass bead front
Chokes: Fixed Modified & Improved Cylinder
JOSEPH MANTON 16 BORE PERCUSSION BALL & SHOTGUN. 16 bore, 32″ twist steel barrels, stepped at 22 1/2″ from the muzzle and intended for ball as well as shot. The barrel legend reads “JOSEPH MANTON & SON, 6 HOLLES STREET, CAVENDISH SQUARE, LONDON”. Serial number 10651 and listed in the Manton book with a full description including the stepped barrel. Cased in a magnificent pigskin lined oak box by John Dickson & Son’s for Charles Gordon around 1890. It is now in mint condition with all of the accessories that include both shot flask and mold. Price: $24,500.00
Beautiful Belgium Browning Superposed Midas 20 Gauge RKLT: Very desirable 28″ bbl, 3″ chambers, f/f, 14 1/4″ LOP. 100% factory original, original Browning pad. Vranken engraved, and signed 3 times! 1960 gun, RKLT. 1960 was the first year of the named Brownings, before that they were grades. Vranken was the engraver who designed the new Midas engraving, this is his work, possibly even one of the first. Conservative 95% condition. Cased. Price: $17,950
Westley Richards Droplock 12ga Single Trigger 27″: The nicest Westley I have seen weighs only 6lbs 9oz , has a factory single trigger, ejectors, 27in barrels,choked imp. cyl./ full ,unbelievable wood, 14 1/2 in LOP to a checkered butt, straight english stock gun is marked # 1 in gold. Price:$13,450.00