Daniel Myron Lefever started the Lefever Arms Co. in 1883 and guns were made under that name until around 1921. Over those 38 years, the company built around 73,000 SxS. Of those, twenty gauges were among the rarest
C-grades were middle-grade guns and several steps away from the company’s finest doubles — the $1000 Grade, the Optimus, and came after Lefever AAs, A, & B. According to the book Uncle Dan Lefever: Master Gunmakers by Robert Elliott, around 3,000 C-grades were built. How many of these were 20s? Maybe 30 – probably less. Because the records for Lefever Arms Co. firearms were lost, no one knows for sure.
Lefever CE Grade 20 ga. Shotgun: Outstanding and Rare Lefever CE Grade 20 bore in excellent condition with 26” steel barrels choked 1/4 and modified, twin beads, beautiful stock figure, Lefever butt plate, gold initial medallion, ejectors, double triggers, automatic safety, outstanding engraving, 72xxx s/n, some case colors, but mostly silver frame, excellent barrel blue, 14 x 1 9/16 x 2 3/4, 6.2 lbs., 2 3/4” chambers. Price:$12,500
Daniel Myron Lefever was an American inventor and gunmaker. In his lifetime, he patented a number of gun designs, including the one you see here, which was built by the Lefever Arms Company from 1883 until 1916.
I love this gun for several reasons: First, there’s the design. Not only is it great looking (maybe the best looking of all American doubles), it’s also clever as hell. Not only does it have an adjustable action (so it’s easy to fix when it goes off the face), it also has an adjustable forend (so if it comes loose, it’s easy to tighten). Nest, this appears to be in excellent original condition. Considering this gun is 100+ years old, that’s special. Finally, there’s its gauge and barrel length. Sixteen-gauges with 28″ barrels from the Lefever Arms Co. are not that common.
Fine original Lefever GE 16ga with 28″ Dam bbls: Fine original Lefever GE 16ga. 28″ Damascus barrels with bold pattern. Made with double triggers, splinter forend, capped pistol grip buttstock, and auto-safety. Weighing in at 6lbs 10oz. the gun retains a solid 40% original case color, 90%++ original Damascus pattern, 40% original trigger guard blue and most of the original stock finishes. The wood is nicely figured and measures 1-11/16″ DAC, 2-15/16 DAH, and 14-3/8″ LOP over the original Lefever Arms. Co monogrammed buttplate. Barrels, with original 2-1/2″ chambers measure .674(right) with .018 choke, and .667 (left) with .020 choke and minimum wall thickness is .027(right) and .032(left) making this a great shooting gun! The gun is priced at $2295 plus shipping to your FFL. This gun will make a fine shooting small bore Lefever that will also be comfortable in a collection of American doubles. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions via PM on this site or at (704) 280-2382. Thanks for looking!
Of all the classic American shotgun makers, the Lefever Arms Co. made the fewest dobules. From 1880 to 1919, the company turned out around 65,000 side by sides. Of these, 20 gauge Lefevers are on of the hardest gauges to find, and nice 20 gauge Lefevers like this with original 28″ barrels are super hard to come by.
If you really want one of these, you may to snatch it up. Even though the price is steep, the chances of you finding a better one are pretty slim.
20 gauge Lefever H grade side by side shotgun: Made in 1914, 28 inch barrels I/c & I/m the perfect combo. gun weight is a tad over 6 lbs 14 1/8 lenght of pull to makers pad,1 1/2 drop at the comb and 2 5/8 at heel,great shooting dimensions.All the bluing of the steel barrels, at least 80 percent of original case color and all the varnish with a few handling makes.Bottom of receiver and left side lock has a little specking show in picture along with trigger guard common of Lefevers.ALL original gun very hard to find in ANY condition.
Factory records are great ways to double check the original specs on a vintage shotgun, and referring to these records is a must do if you’re thinking about buying any big-money double. Fortunately, collector’s clubs make it easy to check the records on doubles like L.C. Smiths, Parkers, Foxes. But if you’re into Lefevers, you’re out of luck. Those factory records disappeared years ago.
So what do you when you see a Lefever like this? The seller is calling it a “Presentation” grade gun. It certainly is beautiful. But is it legit? Without the maker’s records to check the serial number against, it’s hard to say.
Lefever Arms Co. never made an official “Presentation” grade shotgun, so there are no others to compare this one to. This shotgun may have been a special order or a one-off made for an exhibition. The Lefever Arms Co. did make special order guns, and if you had the dough, Uncle Dan would make it. And a lot of companies made up extra ornate guns for events like world fairs and international expos. So it’s possible that this Lefever was made at the factory and is 100% right on.
But it’s also possible that this shotgun is an upgrade, made well after the Lefever Arms Co. went out of business. If that’s the case, whoever did the work was an absolute master. Just check out how nice the carving and gold inlays are on the action. The stock is well done, too.
Whatever the case is with this side by side, it sure it’s a nice looking Lefever.
Here’s more about it from the seller:
Lefever, Presentation, 12ga, 30” barrel, choked M/F: Lefever Arms company. Double trigger, gold washed triggers. Straight grip, AE, Krupp steel barrels, splinter forend, step lock plates, sculptured barrels. We have handled $1000 grade and Uncle Dan grade, but in our opinion we feel this is the most ornate Lefever to come to market. Multiple raised and flat gold inlays, all surrounded with oak leaf engraving. The very finest checkering that we have ever seen performed on a gun. Old ventilated pad, majority of case color remaining. The very finest ever offered. For pricing please e-mail inquiry.
Of the classic American side-by-side makers, the Lefever Arms Co. had one of the shortest runs. They were in business from just 1880-1919, and in that time they built around 65,000 shotguns. Most of these Lefevers were utility grades. So for a collector to see anything else today is a rare. That’s why this Lefever caught my eye:
This D was made around 1901-02. At that time, Lefevers came in 11 grades: Optimus, A.A., A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, and the Durston Special. That means this 12 gauge D would have been middle-grade shotgun: one step down from a C, one step up from an E. It was still expensive, though, ($125 with out ejectors, $140 with), but far cheaper than Lefever’s highest-grade shotgun: the $400 Optimus. (BTW: at the same time, a Winchester 1886 was $14.97 at Sears.)
The factory records for the Lefever Arms Co. are lost, so it’s impossible to say how many D grades were made. I’ve seen a couple over the last decade, so the overall numbers must have been pretty low. So if you’re a Lefever fan, or if you love vintage American side-by-sides, this is a shotgun you might want to pounce on right away. It could be a long time before another one comes your way.
Of all the major American shotgun makers, the Lefever Arms Co. turned out the fewest side-by-sides – right around 70,000 or so in all. The vast majority of these were 12 gauges, followed by 10. Lefever turned out far fewer double barrels in 16 & 20 gauge, and finally any of them today, in any grade, is hard to do.
That makes this little 16 gauge GE grade a scarce gun, and the fact that it appears to be in excellent condition makes it even scarcer. Made around 1901-1902, this guns appears to be awfully original. I love the damascus bbls, and the ejectors are a nice bonus. As another plus, this 16 gauge was built on a 20 gauge frame (the X X marks on the action denote this), so I’m sure it’s a real lively shotgun.
BTW: under no circumstances should you lengthen the chambers on this gun to 2 3/4″. DON’T DO IT.
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.
Sixteen gauge Lefevers are hard to find. Real hard. All together, the Lefever Arms Co. made fewer than 7500 of them (Fox made 30,000+ double barrel shotguns in 16 gauge, Parker and L.C. Smith cranked out far more).
So I get excited when I see a 16 gauge Lefever like this one. At first glance, all that color and original finish gets my heart is racing. But then I take a closer look and my enthusiasm fades…
The problem is the stock. And the price. While the rest of the gun is original and least 100 years old, that butt stock is pretty darn new. The gun has been restocked, and while this isn’t a tragedy (the wood is nice, and the dimsnions are a shootable 14” x 1 5/8” x 2 ½”), it does kill the collectibility of the gun.
If the asking price was right, I would still like the gun. But at $7,300, I’m just not interested. That much would be OK if the stock was original. But since it’s not, the asking price is just too much.