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  #1  
Old 02-23-2009, 12:48 AM
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Question Question on 1800's Double Barrel Shotgun?????

I have this 1800's 12 gauge double barrel hammer shotgun with Damascus barrel. On it, it says John A. Nichols - Maker & pantentee, Syracuse, NY; The Serial number is only at 6434! extensive engraving – almost all metal finely engraved, all numbers match. Very Good Condition. ( I havnt given it a thorough cleaning yet, but soon). The butt plate says l.c. Smith.

Does anyone know the history of this Shotgun?
make/model/year?
Value?
Ive looked all around and cannot find the same one on the internet!

Any help would be Greatly Appreciated!

Here is a album to a bunch of pics

http://s731.photobucket.com/albums/w...uble%20barrel/






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  #2  
Old 02-23-2009, 1:33 AM
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I've seen L.C.Smiths quite a bit for sale, but I don't know much about them. I've heard they were an off shot of a name brand, but I can't remember which (I want to say they eventually were bought out by or eventually became Ithaca but again, I'm not sure). I've seen some that range in the several thousand range down to ones that run for $100. It's more condition than anything for these types of firearms, and I'm no expert so I don't even want to pretend that I could quote a price.

Two things to keep in mind though:

1800s had no computers and the concept of interchangable parts hadn't come about yet. That's 6434 shotguns fit with EVERY part made for each specific gun, and EVERY part hand fitted by a gunsmith. It's not like today where they can crank out 100+ guns in a month for the smaller shops. That serial probably equates to almost a decade of work.

The second thing is, and it's the main reason I created this post, is do NOT shoot modern ammo in it. This may be a no brainer to some, it may be a life saver to others. That thing will most likely not handle the pressure of modern smokeless powder ammo. Damascus barrels in particular have a nasty habbit of failing with modern ammo.

Just be safe, and good look finding out what you need/want to know.
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Old 02-23-2009, 2:44 AM
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The Buffalo Bill museum in Cody, WY has an extensive collection of "Elsie's" and can research your serial # and give you some history. It'll cost you though. There are many styles and grades of L.C. Smith shotguns and some are worth quite a bit. Several companies made L.C. Smiths and it all started with a man by the name of Baker (maker of the Baker three barrel shotgun). He joined up with a couple of other fellows, one of which was Mr. L. C. Smith back in the late 1800's. Baker and the other partner left shortly after and Mr. Smith took over the company known as Baker Firearms. He ran the company for about eight years and went on to make typewriters, but his guns were made for years and years after that. Mr. Smith was very innovative and made several improvements and invented new components for his shotguns. Ownership of the company changed hands a number of times and the latest was Marlin, back in the late 60's. They stopped production in 1971 I think, and that is the $.02 history lesson as I know it.

ETA: As NeoWeird said, DO NOT shoot modern ammo through it. The damascus barrel will not handle it. If you must shoot it, have it X-ray'd first. If the barrel is not cracked or coming apart (common in old damascus barrels), find some reduced loads made with black powder which is made for damascus barrels.
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Last edited by rod; 02-23-2009 at 2:49 AM..
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Old 02-23-2009, 6:38 AM
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Go to this forum, they will be able to answer your questions.

Steve

http://www.doublegunshop.com/
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Old 02-23-2009, 7:02 AM
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John Nichols made shotguns with Daniel Lefever from 1876 until 1878 when Lefever left. Nichols continued making shoguns under that name until 1885. Your gun should not have an LC Smith buttplate on it.
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Old 02-23-2009, 2:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fjold View Post
John Nichols made shotguns with Daniel Lefever from 1876 until 1878 when Lefever left. Nichols continued making shoguns under that name until 1885. Your gun should not have an LC Smith buttplate on it.
I was told he was a designer with l.c smith..

Does anyone know where to find comparables?
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Old 02-23-2009, 3:41 PM
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Nice wall hanger............That's about it too.
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Old 02-23-2009, 5:02 PM
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i wouldnt consider this a wall hanger....its in good enough condition to shoot low pressure loads. Although iam just going to sell it .. so i need to know what iam selling.iam still looking for a history on it..

thanks guys
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Old 02-23-2009, 7:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sacjesusfreak View Post
i wouldnt consider this a wall hanger....its in good enough condition to shoot low pressure loads.
How in the world did you determine that the barrels were in good enough condition to shoot low pressure loads? You can't tell just by looking at them.
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Old 02-23-2009, 8:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mssr. Eleganté View Post
How in the world did you determine that the barrels were in good enough condition to shoot low pressure loads? You can't tell just by looking at them.



Because I have X ray vision.... DUH
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Old 02-23-2009, 9:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beelzy View Post
Nice wall hanger............That's about it too.
Wall hanger, no way! I still hunt with my old doubles. Brass shot shells and black powder. They shoot as well as they did a 110+ years ago. BUT, Only use black powder.
Attached Images
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:24 PM
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Beautiful Gun! Thanks for sharing the pics. I just broke it down, getting ready to clean it. Do you use anything special? Its been untouched wrapped up for over 50 years. No pitting, but some old grease build up or something..




Quote:
Originally Posted by stevenjay1 View Post
Wall hanger, no way! I still hunt with my old doubles. Brass shot shells and black powder. They shoot as well as they did a 110+ years ago. BUT, Only use black powder.
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Old 02-24-2009, 6:54 AM
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Initially, I would clean it as you would any other old firearm that has been in storage for a long period of time. I do remove the wood as the finish is usually worn off and it would absorb any solvents used to clean the metal. As for the metal parts, I start with mineral spirits to remove all the old grease and dried oil. I then use acetone to remove the Mineral spirits. I then use modern grease and oil as needed to protect the metal. I take extra care with the wood as it is usually very dry. I clean it gently with Murphy Oil Soap and once it is dry I use a couple coats of Johnson’s paste wax. Be careful if you start to take the action apart. The old doubles are a BEAR to get apart and back together without the correct tools...I know! These old guns are fun to hunt with and a different experience as you need to learn to lead a bird a little more as the shot is slower then modern shells. I use the all brass Mag Tech 12 gauge shell for my loads. Also, be sure that the gun locks up tight and the bores are not rusty or full of pits. Here is a link on loading BP shot shells.

Steve

http://www.tbullock.com/bpsg.html
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:20 PM
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Just because the barrels look like damascus twist does not mean thet are -- In the late 1800's damascus was a sign of quality and less expensive weapons were faked to look damascus -- In any event, lets hope the seller does not pass this off as a shooter without determining what the barrels really are --So many younger enthusiasts have no knowledge of these barrels and could be set up for an unfortunate accident --
As other pointed out, these barrels, if damascus, could look perfect yet be rusted out between the inner and outer surfaces -- It is the process of making damascus twist that creates this phenomenon -- my ha-penny
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Old 02-24-2009, 12:25 PM
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will cleaning it too much devalue it?
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Old 02-24-2009, 1:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by freonr22 View Post
will cleaning it too much devalue it?
No, a clean gun is always a good gun. You run into trouble when you refinish a gun (in most cases). There are professionals that can restore a gun to it's original condition without de-valuing it too much. On the other hand, a few nicks and scratches can add to it's value if the gun has an interesting (and documented) history. I'm not a real collector although, I own a L.C. Smith and a few other old guns. There are others that can recommend, better than I can, how you should care for your collector pieces. I just keep the rust off mine and display them in a nice cabinet.
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Old 02-24-2009, 1:26 PM
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http://www.lcsmith.org/seriallookup.php puts that at 1901 or 1919.
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Old 02-24-2009, 3:53 PM
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I dont think that this gun was intitialized as the l.c. smith...I think it was more of the 1880s.. thats why iam looking for the info on john nichols guns, and then his relationship with lc smith...
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Old 02-24-2009, 11:25 PM
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I found one nichols that sold, but the one i have is super detailed with engravings,, can anyone find one anywhere else????


http://gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewIte...Item=122420094
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