Lefever Shotgun

Discussion in 'The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum' started by CountryGunsmith, Mar 2, 2003.

  1. CountryGunsmith

    CountryGunsmith New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2003
    Messages:
    5,115
    Location:
    Deep Piney Woods of East Texas
    mckheean
    Member
    Posts: 34
    (9/23/02 8:01:55 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del All Lepever Double
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Just purchased a 28 in Double barrel shotgun from a friend that is marked Lepever Arms Co. Is this supposed to be Lefever Arms Co. or am I looking wrong because of the rust.What else can I look for to identify this shotgun?Thanks Benny

    AntiqueDr
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3116
    (9/23/02 9:47:06 am)
    Reply | Edit | De
    Re: Lepever Double
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    'Lepever' would be a cruel joke. What other markings are on the shotgun, serial number, and what markings are on the water table?
    We Buy Guns! 1 - 100, Antique or Modern!
    www.apaxenterprises.com
    Master Dealer for Kimber, Wilson Combat and Dan Wesson

    dksdks
    Member
    Posts: 16
    (9/23/02 10:18:49 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del marks
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Check for any marks on the monoblock, the back end of the barells and the reciever, where the barells fit into the rest of the gun. These dont usually get rusty.

    mckheean
    Member
    Posts: 35
    (9/23/02 2:05:59 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    After cleaning the shotgun today I found a serial no.43079,there is a Patent date on the triger guard that reads patent date 1872 ,78,80,85,86,87.The forarm is checkered and the stock is pistol grip without checkering.The end plate has the Lefever emblem on it.Any help on the grade or price would be helpful. Benny

    AntiqueDr
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3118
    (9/24/02 6:13:32 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del
    Re: Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sounds like one of the plainer grade Lefevers. Impossible to determine grade without knowing the markings on the water table. Even so, with all this talk of rust I am imagining the condition to be fairly poor so value will be low.
    We Buy Guns! 1 - 100, Antique or Modern!
    www.apaxenterprises.com
    Master Dealer for Kimber, Wilson Combat and Dan Wesson

    mckheean
    Member
    Posts: 36
    (9/24/02 7:17:57 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The gun looks great since it was cleaned,light surface rust on one side of the receiver and on the barrel above the foretip.I would rate the gun a 70%.I am new to shotguns just what is the water table? Thanks for all the help. Benny

    AntiqueDr
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3119
    (9/24/02 8:03:11 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del
    Re: Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Open the action, better yet, remove the barrels from the receiver. Look on the flats where the barrels and receivers join.




    mckheean
    Member
    Posts: 37
    (9/24/02 4:38:20 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I took the barrel off the receiver and all that was there was the serial no.43079 which dates the Lefever at 1902 acording to a site I found on the web,There was also the letter I.How do you tell if it is a Damarcus barrel or regular barrel? Benny

    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 4880
    (10/1/02 11:22:55 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del
    Re: Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Damascus will have patterns in the steel. They really look nice and no two are the same. If it is damascus it is not safe to shoot with modern ammo.


    also known as a "laminated" or "twist" barrel. Made of two or more rods or wires of iron and steel, called skelp, welded together, then rolled to form a ribbon and twisted about a mandrel with the abutting edges of the ribbon welded together. After withdrawing the mandrel the welded tube was finished inside and out to form the finished barrel. This method of making gun barrels appears to have started in the 16th century in the Near East.





    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 4881
    (10/1/02 12:06:33 pm)
    Reply | Edit | Del
    Re: Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    you can really see the damascus pattern here





    mckheean
    Member
    Posts: 38
    (10/2/02 7:15:35 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del Re: Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thanks warpig883 and Antique Doc.Mine does not look like a Damarcus barrel.


    AntiqueDr
    *TFF Senior Staff*
    Posts: 3137
    (10/2/02 9:36:07 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del
    Re: Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Let's draw a distinction here. The term "Damascus" steel is very commonly used to describe any barrels not made of 'fluid' steel. This has come to include, erroneously, the lower grades of twist-steel barrels offerred on inexpensive shotguns in the late 1800's.

    Fine Damascus barrels such as produced by the great American shotgun companies like Parker, LC Smith, Fox and Lefever as well as the great European gunmakers like Westley Richards, Purdey and Bonehill CAN and often ARE proofed for use with smokeless powder (Nitro-Proof). With appropriate loadings, they shoot just as well as any modern barrels. In their day, fine Damascus was considered superior to fluid steel although metallurgy still had a long way to come.





    warpig883
    *TFF Staff*
    Posts: 4904
    (10/2/02 9:53:32 am)
    Reply | Edit | Del
    Re: Lefever
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Right AD. It is the lower grades of twist steel that are responsible for the bad rap the term damascus gets for bowing up fingers.

    I was just reading an article about a set of damascus barrels that were double proofed and held up fine. At one time the quality damascus barrel was stronger than a steel barrel. That was one of the reasons they were built that way. The quality of the hard and soft wires when welded together correctly tended to make a very strong barrel.

    The problem with damascus barrels is that if when they were made the wires were all welded together with hammer and forge. If just one tiny spot was not welded completly what happens is that as that barrel gets old that tiny spot will corrode causing a weak spot that might blow up.

    The only way to be sure about this is have them inspected by magnaflux,eddy current or other type of nondestructive inspection. There are gunsmiths who specialize in damascus barrel guns and proof houses in England where they can be sent if be reproffed and inspected ifthey are a collectible and expensive set of barrels.

    Not all barrells marked NITRO are safe to shoot with smokeless powders. Any twist steel or damascus barrel should be inspected by a competent gunsmith before firing only with the shells for which it was designed.

    The modern powders used generate very high high presure. With smokeless powder even a factory light trap load or a reloaded one can have dangerously high pressure for a twist steel barrel that is in excellent condition.

    Here are some links to damascus info that I have had on my computer wasting away.
    damascus.free.fr/f_damas/.../liege.htm


    pub44.ezboard.com/bdamasc...discussion

    pub49.ezboard.com/fthefir...=336.topic

    www.gunshop.com/gunther1.htm

    www.gunshop.com/cgi-bin/u...=forum&f=1

    This last one if for a website that specializes in fine shotguns new and old. They have some members who know more about shotgunning and old shotguns than most people will ever know.
  2. J.K.

    J.K. New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1
    I have a 20 ga. Lefever side by side s/n 17 7222 which I believe was manufactured in the 1930's. Can anyone confirm that and give an estimated value of this good condition gun?
  3. Reed Malone

    Reed Malone New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2011
    Messages:
    1
    I have a double barrel Lefever shotgun that was owned by my grandfather.
    The serial number is S262618. Can you tell me when and where this
    gun was made, and the value.
    Thanks.
    RMalone
  4. Jolly Bill

    Jolly Bill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Reed,

    Welcome to the forum.

    With SN 262618, Your Ithaca Lefever shotgun would have been made around 1928 in Ithaca NY

    Will need much more info if you want an idea of its value.

    You did not mention what gauge it was. Ithaca Lefever doubles were made in 12, 16, 20 and .410 gauge. What gauge is yours.

    We'll need real detailed info and pictures if you want any kind of an estimate of value. Like asking, what's my Ford truck worth.

    Jolly
  5. Sakebomber001

    Sakebomber001 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    I have a 12 guage Lefever double barrel shot gun but cannot find the serial number marking anywhere on the gun? It has Lefever Arms Co, Ithaca NY on one barrel and Leferver Nitro special on the other barrel and water fowl on each side of the plating part. The butt stalk has a diamond like designs on both side and the hand rest has it on the under portion!

    I was just wondering what year it was built and what type of barrel it would have by the description I gave!

    Thanks
  6. Jolly Bill

    Jolly Bill Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2008
    Messages:
    233
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    Sakebomber001,

    Welcome to the forum.

    If you pull the fore end off, the serial number will be visibly stamped on the fore end iron. If you separate the barrels from the receiver, you should see the same serial number visibly stamped on each part.

    If you give us the SN, we can tell you about when it was made.

    Pictures are nice too.

    Hope this helps.

    Jolly
  7. Sakebomber001

    Sakebomber001 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2011
    Messages:
    2
    Very good thanks for the info I will try and have them both up by the weekend!


    Thanks,

    Sake
  8. Tom Archer

    Tom Archer Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Watkinsville, GA
    "I took the barrel off the receiver and all that was there was the serial no.43079 which dates the Lefever at 1902 acording to a site I found on the web,There was also the letter I.How do you tell if it is a Damarcus barrel or regular barrel? Benny"

    Benny
    Based on the responses I've read here, I'm not sure you got the right answers to your question Friend. The "I" you referenced as being found on the frame water table is the Lefever grade Grade stamp. Lefever guns produced in Syracuse, NY were made in the following grades which, in ascending order, were grades DS (short for "Durston Special" after the name of the family who owned the company), I. H, G, F, E, D, C, B, A, AA, Optimus, 1000 Dollar Grade, and Presentation Grades in all manner of price ranges. In the case of your gun, the Grade I was the second lowest priced grade; and was only offered with fluid steel barrels, so your barrels should be a lower quality fluid steel. But these guns were largely made by hand, and the maker would accommodate reasonable customer requests; so the best thing to do is have the gun inspected by a qualified double gunsmith to actually determine the barrel steel used on this gun; and also to determine if these barrels are still sound (tight ribs, correct wall thickness, etc.) If sound, the gun can be safely fired with era appropriate shells such as those made by Polywad, or low-pressure (below 8,000PSI) hand-loads. I would never recommend shooting modern loads, even "lite" loads in a vintage double, as even light loads are loaded to higher pressures than these old guns were designed to handle. Also remember that, assuming those barrels are unmolested originals; the standard chamber length for a 12-bore Syracuse Lefever gun was 2 5/8". Shooting longer shells such as a 2 3/4" shell further raises chamber pressures.
    To those other posters asking questions about guns marked Lefever/Lefever Nitro Special; those guns will all have 6-digit serial numbers, were produced by the Ithaca Arms Co of Ithaca, NY, and are not to be confused with the Syracuse, NY produced Lefever gun which has side-plates and serial numbers that max out in the low 7XXXX range. Ithaca purchased rights to the Lefever name from the Durston family in 1917; then used that great name, beginning in 1921-22, to market a cheap version of the Ithaca double gun called the "Lefever Nitro Special". Other than the fact that both these models have twin barrel tubes, they have virtually nothing in common.
  9. Pete Z

    Pete Z New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    @ Tom Archer;
    I have a "DS" 20 ga. sn. 70232, which from the LACA web-site I have detemined was manufactured in 1914. On the LH watertable there are 2 marks, that I can best descibe as a square comprised of 4 triangles, 1 in each corner, and a diamond in the middle. these marks are side by side and identicle to each other. What are these marks ? As a teenager, back in the '70's, I fired many 2 3/4" field loads through this gun with no visible damage. Of course, they were lead shot, most 6 - 7 1/2 shot. I realize that without pictures you are limited to what you can tell me but, reading previous post you appear to be knowledgeable about older double guns. Is it possible to measure chamber depth without specialty tools ? What are the odds that this gun has a 2-1/2 or 2-5/8 chamber and I was just fortunate to not destroy the gun (and myself) ? To the best of my knowledge there is not a gunsmith in my area that specializes in antique firearms that can check the exact dim's and the gun seems very solid. I would love to get back to using it but, certainly do not want to cause any harm. Any insight is appreciated.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2011
  10. Tom Archer

    Tom Archer Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2011
    Messages:
    98
    Location:
    Watkinsville, GA
    If the stamped marks you note above are "XX"; then that is Lefevers frame stamp mark thought to indicate a light weight, or small bore frame. That double XX stamp has been observed on every 20-bore Syracuse Lefever gun I've seen; and is also seen on a few light weight 16's. But these early Lefever guns can also be confusing, as I've owned a light-weight 12-bore Syracuse Lefever that had this same XX frame stamp; so the XX stamp was not always reserved only for Lefever small bores, and I've met no one who can explain why this stamp that was thought to be just for small-bore Lefevers would be on a 12-bore.
    As to loads, with vintage guns it is always best to err on the side of caution; so if you can't find a gunsmith to verify chamber length, it would be best shoot some of the new "modern" 2 1/2" shot shells loaded to the same pressures these vintage guns were engineered to shoot. Go on line and check out vintage loads offered by Polywad, Gamebore, RST, and others; but if you do a search for shot shell makers offering 2 1/2 inch shells, I'm sure you'll get several hits. Best regards, and I hope you take your Lefever back to the field; as these are really excellent guns.
  11. perrowjs

    perrowjs New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2009
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Columbia, SC
    Most Lefevers, especially D.M. Lefevers have Damascus barrels. I am currently cleaning one in 16 ga., and when measured by gauge and caliper, had 2.375 inch chambers. This is the first time I encountered that length, although 2.5625 is what is usual in American 16 ga. guns. It weighs only 5.5 pounds, and the stock is uncut. Also, it is an "early" F grade, that looks a lot like a G grade. It does not have the "XX" stamp. I think that was a later development.

    Damacus barrels of good quality were superior to non-Damascus back then because most cheap barrels weren't bored from bar stock, they were made of sheet steel, and seem welded , with the weld placed under the rib. Welding then was not like modern, but heating and hammer forging. Are there any parts sources at all?
Similar Threads
Forum Title Date
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Lefever Shotgun Jul 16, 2013
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Lefever Shotgun Jul 2, 2013
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum Lefever Shotgun Sep 14, 2011
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum lefever 12 guage shotgun Nov 29, 2010
The Ask the Pros & What's It Worth? Forum LeFever 16 ga Shotgun Jun 26, 2010