Age is rarely kind to old double barrel shotguns. That’s why this 12 gauge L.C. Smith 3E is impressive. For a SxS that’s 113+ years old, it’s in awesome original condition. Check out all the color-case hardening on the action and the finish on the barrels and wood. Those are the things that collector’s love to see.
The Hunter Arms Co., of Fulton, NY, made L.C. Smiths No. 3s from 1894-1912, and they turned a total of 2,592 of them in 12 gauge. Most of the ones I’ve seen have featured the Hunter One Single Trigger, the design Allan Lard patented in 1899 and Smith adopted as their own. The Lard/Hunter One Trigger can be troublesome, so it’s good that this shotgun doesn’t have it.
When this shotgun was new, it cost right around $100 — a chunk of money. In Sear’s 1909 Fall Consumer Guide, that $100 would buy a solid gold ring with a 7/8 carat diamond. If you’ve shopped for an engagement ring lately, you know how much one of those costs (easily $6000+ with a nice quality stone).
L.C. Smith shotguns get bad raps. Cracked stocks – that’s the most common criticism you’ll here about them. Finicky single triggers – that’s the other complaint people bring up all the time. While there’s some truth to these charges, the really only apply the post-1913 LCs.
In the 1900 Hunter Arms / L.C. Smith catalog, the makers claimed that the No. 3 Grade’s “…Nitro Steel barrels is considered by many to be the finest medium-grade on the market,” and that “This grade always pleases as in it we give so much of value.” I don’t know about the Nitro Steel, but their statement about value is right on. Here’s the rest of the story on the one you see here:
LC SMITH GRADE 3 12 GAUGE EJECTOR GUN: FINE ORIGINAL CONDITION. 30″ FLUID STEEL BARRELS ARE CHOKED IMP MOD AND IMP MOD. 2 3/4″ CHAMBERS WITH EXCELLENT BRIGHT BORES. AUTOMATIC EJECTORS. SINGLE SELECTIVE TRIGGER. PISTOL GRIP STOCK. 14 1/8″ LENGTH OF PULL. WEIGHS 7 3/4POUNDS. SERIAL #208XXX. VERY NICE HIGH GRADE SMITH. INCLUDED IS ORIGINAL LEG O MUTTON CASE IN GOOD CONDITION. SHIP TO FFL OR C&R. Price: $2,295.00