1929 Ithaca Made Lefever 12 gauge

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by mpars0032, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. mpars0032

    mpars0032 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    El Paso, Texas
    I inherited a 1929 Ithaca made Lefever, Nitro Special, 12 gauge double barrel shotgun. The barrel length is 30 inches and appears to be “fluid steel”. I don’t think it’s a Damascus. Serial number is 290458, which puts its production in 1929.

    This piece I know is not worth a lot of money, but as my grandfather’s shotgun and a family heirloom it’s priceless in my eyes. I would like to know the approximate value of this shotgun. I got most of the history off the internet.

    I would like to know if it would be safe to shoot. I know that a gunsmith would be the best option to determine its safety, but have read that the “Nitro Special” of this era is a heavy duty barrel and should be safe to shoot. Does anyone think shooting “magnum” loads through the barrels is a good idea? I do know not to run “steel shot” through it. I’ve made an attempt to upload numerous pictures to give everyone an idea of its condition. I do not know how to classify bluing on this piece. It looks like it has none.

    There is a dent on each barrel’s exterior of which I’ve taken a picture of. Would this in itself preclude this gun from being fired?
    When I was cleaning the gun, I noticed what appears to be a “patch” on the left side of the stock in front of the safety lever. If it is a patch, it was a very good one as I cannot feel the separation or joint between the patch and the stock.

    The recoil butt plate is an after market piece and would reduce the price of this shotgun as I have read. I know where I can pick up an original Lefever butt plate to increase the value, but would leave the recoil pad on it as it was how my grandfather used it.

    I hope I have given enough attention to detail to give the reader an accurate assessment. I can take more pictures of any area of the gun that anyone needs. I have taken several shots of the “stampings” on the shotgun. Thanks for any help.

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    Dent on left barrel:

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    Dent on right barrel:

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    Patch on stock:

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    Last edited: Jun 28, 2009
  2. Contenderizer

    Contenderizer New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2007
    Messages:
    603
    Location:
    North-Central Florida, USA
    Welcome to TFF mpars,

    Below are answers to some of your questions:

    appears to be “fluid steel”. I don’t think it’s a Damascus
    I agree - it is not Damascus.

    I do not know how to classify bluing on this piece. It looks like it has none.
    I agree, it has none.

    I would like to know if it would be safe to shoot.
    While no one wants to stick their neck out on this question, I suspect it is OK to shoot this gun (see why below).

    I noticed what appears to be a “patch” on the left side of the stock
    It is a patch. Older shotguns often will be found with a chip of wood missing from just this location. The cause is usually because modern shot shells have repeatedly been fired through the gun. Even though your gun was proved using smokeless powder, modern shells generate more pressure than shot shells did in 1929. The result is what you see. If there is a up-side to all of this, it is that your gun has been "re-proved" and has passed the test for modern pressures. After all, the gun is still in one piece. Personally, I would have no fear firing TARGET LOADS through this gun.

    Does anyone think shooting “magnum” loads through the barrels is a good idea?
    No, Target loads only.

    There is a dent on each barrel’s exterior of which I’ve taken a picture of. Would this in itself preclude this gun from being fired?
    It depends upon where the dents are located. Dents too close to the breech may cause a spike in pressure. This is where a gunsmith's advice will help. Removing the dents, by the way, is easy and cost effective. Talk to a gunsmith familiar with older shotgun repair and one who has previously removed barrel dents.

    where I can pick up an original Lefever butt plate to increase the value
    I wouldn't hold much hope for finding one; it would be dumb luck if you did. Try gun shows and internet sites that specialize in older shotguns. By the way, if the butt-stock was altered to add the recoil pad, the original butt-plate won't fit anyway.

    Good luck, you have a great old gun.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2009
  3. 45nut

    45nut Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    3,462
    Location:
    Dallas, TX
    All that's left for me to say is great shotgun man! :D

    Shoot target loads through it and go kill some game for the table. I would like to have a SXS from that era. They aren't too expensive and are good shooters as well as nice pieces of Americana.
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