UNPRECEDENTED FIND! EXCEPTIONALLY RARE, FIRST VARIATION LC SMITH A2 10 GA. IN HIGH ORIGINAL, “AS FOUND” CONDITION.
Cal. 10 Ga 2 7/8”. S# 35555. Bbl. 32″.
Often described as the most beautiful shotgun ever made in America, the A2 was the highest grade offered by LC Smith in Syracuse or Hunter Arms in Fulton, New York, before the introduction of the A3. It was made in four variations, differing mostly in engraving style and degree of decoration. The first variation being the highest grade offered at the time had the most detail and finish. The grade was offered until 1913. The first variation guns were offered either with ejectors or not and were produced until 1895. Of the approximately 213 A2s produced, only six were made in 10 Ga., making this particular example exceptionally scarce.
The 32″ bbls. are of the highest quality three stripe damascus and are fitted with a slightly concave, matted rib. Tops of bbls. are engraved: “THE L. C. SMITH. GUN BUILT BY”, “the HUNTER ARMS CO. FULTON, N.Y.”. There are bands of geometric engraving around breeches and muzzles. Bbl. flats are stamped with serial number and bottoms of bbls. are stamped with “XXX”, a small “PAT” and with Birmingham provisional proofs. Large sized, case hardened side lock action is stamped with 1883 and 1886 patent dates along with serial number on water table. Firing pins are of early bushed type. Action also features non-automatic safety (safe inlaid in gold) ad gold plated double triggers. Action is beautifully filed with fluted beads around fences and deep concave channels around ends of lock mortices. Lock plate tails are relieved and the step is filed to match beads around fences. Engraving is of the highest order with over 80% coverage, exceptionally well cut and shaded, varying sized scroll within geometric borders on action. Lock plates have sprays of matching scroll at front which surround “L. C. SMITH”. Matching scroll is on rebated tails. All this fine scroll highlights superb semi-relief oval scenes of bird dogs in field environments. A pair of pointers, one pointing and the other honoring point are in open woodlands on left lock plate. Right lock plate has pair of alert setters in marshlands. The detail is very fine and background is nicely stippled. Above and to the fore of each of these scenes is a small, circular rendition of a game bird with snipe on left and woodcock on right. Trigger guard has scroll on bow surrounding relief engraved “H” in circle. Serial number is on tang. Capped long pistol grip buttstock is of a superb piece of nicely mottled and well figured European (probably Circassian) walnut measuring 14 1/4″ over early style checkered and embossed “double dog” buttplate. Flutes on the lock plates extend into the surrounding stock and area around lock plates have early type raised panels in “swallowtail” pattern.
Closely spaced checkering is of fleur-de-lis style with fleur-de-lis extensions into butt below narrow fluted comb. Fancy grip cap of hard rubber is decorated with notches. There is a recess in toe line for gold oval (missing). Matching splinter forend has shaped inlet ebony tip and hard rubber dogs head central medallion. Checkering is also of fleur-de-lis style. This early gun only uses the simple J spring release. Forend iron is stamped with 1880 patent date and serial number and is line border engraved. MEASUREMENTS: Bore Dia. Left .795. Right .795. Restrictions Left .044 (Full). Right .050 (Full). Min. Wall Thickness Left .028. Right .030. DAH 3 1/2″. DAC 1 15/16″. LOP 14 1/4″. Cast approximately 1/4″ on. Weight 9lbs 10oz.