Diabolically Good Lefever Optimus Upgrade

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August 29, 2023

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Diabolically Good Lefever Optimus Upgrade

Cal. 12 Ga. 2 3/4″
S# 051142

The Optimus grade Lefever is avidly sought after. Original examples are very rare. Probably more upgrades have been created than originals were ever made by the Lefever Arms Co. Most upgrades are easily spotted. In the case of this gun only a few minor issues exist giving a clue that it is not factory work.

The 30″ steel barrels with slightly raised flat matted rib are newly engraved “Lefever Arms Co.” “Whitworth Fluid Steel” on tops. The area in which engraving has been done shows removal of metal to obliterate original markings. (Clue #1). Gold bands are around breech ends and 1 1/2″ triangles of geometric and scroll engraving are in front of bands. Barrels do have correct high grade Lefever style raised ogee decorations as found on most Lefever guns above grade “E”. Bottoms of barrels are stamped with Whitworth trademarks. (Lettering fonts don’t match known examples and wheat sheafs have incorrect proportions. Clue #2). S# has lazy “0” stamped in front, as do most Optimus grade guns. Case hardened action has watertable stamped with S# including “0”. Watertable is also engraved “Optimus” in script. (This engraving is sharp and easily felt with ones finger. Clue #3). Action with automatic safety “S” inlaid in gold, features usual pin type cocking indicators, high grade adjustable sears and gold plated double triggers with checkered finger blades. Action also features three cloverleaf relief carved fences, rebated lockplate tails and file decorated top lever as found on most Optimus guns. Action is engraved with near full coverage very well cut open shaded scroll within line and geometric borders and some foliate accents. Central ovals are embellished with flush gold inlaid dogs (pointing pointer on left and setter on right). Tips of lockplate are also gold inlaid with flying woodcock on left and quail on right. This engraving is a perfect match for Optimus grade S# 533XX as illustrated in “LEFEVER: GUNS OF LASTING FAME” by Bob Elliott on page 71. The gold inlay of pointing pointer and flying woodcock are also identical including background of dog scene. The gold woodcock on the bottom of the action and the flying pigeon on top lever are also nearly identical to those illustrated on page 78. (There is almost always some notable difference in engraving between high grade guns. Clue #4). Trigger guard is decorated with more scroll and gold inlaid setter bitch with pups. S# is on trigger guard tang. Straight grip buttstock of lightly marbled and streaked European walnut measures 14″ over red open sided “HAWKINS” pad.

Ebony clockhand drop points are inset with two white dots in usual high grade Lefever fashion. Fancy Optimus style checkering pattern has ribbons through fields and flourishes toward comb. A very convincing touch is the relief cast large silver oval on toeline engraved “SEAN MuLONEY’S” “1902 (engraved setter head) 1904” “Midnight Lady” “Field Champion”. Medallion is affixed with two brass screws. Matching splinter forend has engraved “clamshell” release as only found on late Lefevers of grade “E” and above along with shaped horn forend tip. MEASUREMENTS: BBLS: Bore Diameter: L 728. R 728. Restriction: L .037 (full). R .030 (IMod) Wall thickness: L .033. R .035. STOCK: DAH: 2 5/8″. DAC: 1 1/2″. CAST: neutral. LOP: 14″. WEIGHT: 7 lb. 9 oz.


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