One of top double barrel shotgun collectors in the US just sent me some pics of his latest find: a pristine 1901 L.C. Smith Pigeon grade with ejectors. Take a look at the pics below to see for yourself what a 100+ year old American side by side shotgun with most of its original condition looks like.
In this first pic, check out the overall condition of the gun. The butt stock looks new, with no dents, dings, or scratches. The pad is a bit deteriorated, but rubber does that after 100+ years. What matters is that it’s original to the gun. The blueing on the bbls also looks great, as does the color case harding on the action. Overall, this is a very bright, crisp gun.
LC Smith made Pigeon Grades from 1895 to 1912. They cost about $150 in 1901. They built 1,214 of them in all and most came with straight-grip stocks. This gun’s Monte Carlo, pistol grip was an option available at the time.
The Pigeon Grade fell between LC Smith’s Grade 3s and Grade 4s in the pre-1913 lineup, making it a medium-grade gun. For a mid-range gun, the wood is exceptional. The manufacturer bragged that they used “…a choice piece of French walnut, beautifully figured. The richness of the color in these finer stocks is superb…”
In these next pics you can see the bright, vivid the color-case harding on the action. Those milky greens, yellows, and blues are the signs of vintage Smith case coloring. I think their cloudy, opaque tone comes from time and I don’t think it can be reproduced. Along with the colors, check out how sharp and crisp the wood is around and behind locks. Obviously, this gun wasn’t used much.
The checkering on this gun is also interesting. See how it wraps up and around the stock? This is hard and time consuming to do, so you see it on few American guns. I think it looks very nice and it’s one of the features I like about pre-1913 L.C. Smiths.