Here’s one of the rarest I’ve come across. It’s a Manufrance Ideal, model Ideal D’Art. Dorleac & Dorleac L’Atelier de Chasse in Perpignan, France has it on their site.
Manufrance introduced their Ideal-model shotguns in the 1880s, around the same time that British gunmakers like James Purdey & Sons, W. & C. Scott, and Westley Richards were transitioning from hammerguns to modern hammerless designs.
Ideals are built on a simple, rugged design, and they’re extremely intuitive to use. After firing, you simply drop your finger and lift the lever behind the triggers to open and cock the gun. It’s a very slick system. You can see more Ideals and learn more about them here and here.
BTW: The Manufrance Ideal is not a “Round Action”. While it shares some of the looks of a MacNaughton and a Dickson, it’s a different design and an entirely different type of gun.
Ideal d’Art – Type 356 “Ace of Spades” MANUFRANCE 12-70mm/2¾”:* Considered by many enthusiasts to be one of the most beautiful shotgun ever produced, the Manufrance Ideal is presented here in its most exceptional version: the “Ideal d’Art Type 356 Tir au Pigeon” model. This 1937 gun is fitted with chopper lump, five palms, “Hercules” hardened steel 30″ barrels, originally chambered 12-2¾” Gauge, choked Full / Full. The specificity of their chopper lump dovetail assembly is typical of the high-end manufacture of Manufrance. The rollers on the cartridge extractors, the sliding ejectors and the 1st articulated trigger bear witness to the meticulous care taken in manufacturing. The system is equipped with automatic double safety sears and no longer includes a conventional manual safety blocking the triggers.
The rounded action, finished in French gray, with special detonators and “Ace of Spades” reinforcements has been superbly engraved with an ornamentation mixing foliated chiseling and scrolls, an exceptional execution modestly signed BURELLIER in the left “Ace of Spades”.
The English type straight stock, made of beautiful French walnut, traditional stamp varnished, dispenses with the sling and the usual wood engravings, giving way here to a traditional flat checkering, as on the wood butt while the forend is locked by a Purdey type latch.
With a 14½” LOP this extraordinarily balanced side-by-side gun weights 6lb 15oz. This Ideal seems to have been sparely used, the locking remains tight and the barrel bores are perfectly glass smooth, without any alteration. No traces of disassembly have marked any screws and the tubes slow rust blue is the original one.
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