Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Location: Endless Mountains of Pa
Vicknair opinion on L.C. Smith double guns has been around for a long time, unfortunately his opinion is not fact. If you want to actually know more about the L.C. Smith design engineering, pick up both Bill Brophy's Parts and Specifications book and a copy of the Double Gun Videos presents The L.C. Smith Sidelock Shotgun, with Master Gun Maker Nick Makinson.
View the engineering for yourself as a real Master Gun Make explains the L.C. Smith Shotgun design engineering as he disassembles and reassembles the A2 L.C. Smith Shotgun right in front of your eyes on the video for all to see. Nick explains that it take a true Master Gun Smith to work on these guns, few regular Gun Smith are talented enough to work on them.
Vicknar needs to spend more time learning from Nick Makinson before he voices his opinion on any American double gun.
I recommend two Master Gun Makers that do incredible work on L.C. Smith Double guns, Rich Painter, in Economy Pa and Freddie Brunner in Escondido, Ca They both do excellent professional work on Elsie guns. Never take America's Best to a regular guns smith, especially if that gun smith bad mouths L.C. Smith Double Guns.
_________________ "L.C. Smith America's Best" - John Houchins
I've had two Elsie's...a 20 ga featherweight and a 16 gauge Ideal...sold them both...I never could understand why folks thought these were such wonderful guns. A very high % of Elsies crack behind the plates into the grip...had trouble with triggers and firing mechanics....I took my money and ran. For what I got for the Ideal, I bought a 16 gauge Suhl boxlock and have never had to do anything but clean it for the last 20 years.
The only domestic I would consider would be a Fox.
Whether or not one agrees with Dewey's observations on American doubles, the man has rightfully earned the right to those opinions. He's well regarded by many in the double gun community as one of the top tier double gun smiths in this country. His custom builds on AH Fox doubles are nothing short of phenomenal. The man is not the typical scope installer/ parts changer at the local gun shop.
Dewey's an opinionated guy (not only in regards to guns). Nothing wrong with that. You don't have to agree with him to enjoy the guns you like. His views on LC Smiths hasn't inhibited the pleasure I get shooting and hunting with the ones I own (and he's had a few of mine on his workbench).
Shoot what you like. Life's too short for anything else.
_________________ "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man" - Vito Corleone
Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Location: Kansas High Plains
This piece gets posted every now and then, and fans of one gun or another get stirred up about it.
Dewey's opinions won't dissuade any Elsie lovers, not will their arguments in favor of the guns change his mind.
Upland's got it right: shoot what you like, and don't worry about what anybody else thinks about it. As someone said, "Opinions are like a$$holes - everybody's got one and most of them stink."
_________________ I feel a warm spot in my heart when I meet a man whiling away an afternoon...and stopping to chat with him, hear the sleek lines of his double gun whisper "Sixteen." - Gene Hill, Shotgunner's Notebook
Joined: 14 Jan 2006
Location: Lancaster county, Pa
Dewey has restored 2 Smiths for me and 2 fox's for me. He has made parts several times for my AYA. His talent and work is impeccable. He has strong opinions based upon experience and design. I am not offended that he doesn't think much of my Smiths and it didn't detract from his effort or results. He knows that I like American 16 gauge SxS for nostalgic reasons and respects that. I know there are better guns and designs but I'm satisfied with American guns. I also know he likes English hammer guns and it doesn't offend me that he does. The man does everything in house 1 man and the results are astounding a hack he is not his metal work, case coloring and bluing would stand with anything you could find in this country. I handled a custom side lock Fox he built with crystal cocking indicators that was just breath taking. He is a good man, gun and dogs lover I am proud to call him my friend and neighbor and trust him with any gun I own. If anyone wants to see the results of his work PM me I will send you photo's.
Joined: 15 Jun 2010
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Feel free to post picks on this website - whether 16 gauge or not! Dewey's makeover of an LC into a gun with intercepting safety sears, crystal cocking indicators, hinged front trigger, take down lever and complete reshaping of the metal is one of the finest pieces of custom gunsmithing I've ever seen.
I'm an LC Smith fan, but fully admit their flaws which are significant. I'm down to one Smith. I don't refer to him as Elsie. This gun is Mr. Smith!
32" Wildfowl with factory 3" chambers, custom POW stock in California English walnut and original case colors. The head of this stock is glass bedded and the back of the lock plates carefully relieved. Finest gun I have for shooting birds at a tower shoot. Definitely not a sleek upland gun, but it excels at its job.
Shoot what you like, but try not to say unkind things about someone else's favorite. I'm glad we have choices.
Joined: 17 Mar 2017
Location: Endless Mountains of Pa
My prior post gives you reference material for the true facts about L.C. Smith double guns, however you are welcome to believe anything you want from anyone you want.
I will add one more fact. The Hunter Arms Co - L.C. Smith produced many many more Side-Lock guns than any other American Gun Manufacturer. Quality wood stocks on Side-lock double guns no matter the maker, crack at a certain percentage rate. Hunter Arms/L.C. Smith was no different than any other maker. Because Hunter Arms produced a vast amount of guns, people see more of the old guns with cracked stocks. Many Field Grade Elsie guns were also abused badly by their owners early in the 1900's. In reality this has nothing to due with the engineering design of the L.C. Smith guns.
Further there is no way to compare the simple Box Lock engineering of the Fox double gun to the engineering of the L.C. Smith Side-Lock double gun, vastly different engineering. The one thing they do have in common is the fantastic Rotary Bolt Engineering design, of Alexander T. Brown who worked for Hunter Arms.
I like both guns and our family has owned many of both down thru the years. Both are fantastic American Classic double guns. Further as kgb indicates there is another Box Lock double gun that more than gives Fox a run for it's money. The LeFever in fact maybe the better engineered Box Lock double gun. Without the Brown Rotary Bolt engineering, granted by Hunter Arms to the employees that worked for both companies, a Fox gun could not compare to the LeFever's incredible gun designs. He was in fact an original, true Master Gun Maker.
1926 LeFever with Custom Stocks and Spangler/Kraus Engraving
A Lefever seems to always have a little sumpthin', sumpthin' extra....perhaps arising from scarcity, gun particulars or, design.
Which or mix, matters little.
A plain, bruteish and respectable Nitro Special seldom fails as a canvas for custom work by someone like Vicknair.
Not sure who did the aftermarket engraving and stock carving on PC Dave's 1926 Nitro Special but I suspect the fella or his customer were well-pleased.
And, they should have been.
It's nice to read a professional's opinion on all things shotgun as opposed to the home-cooking opinions of others but, really, opinions are what they remain...regardless of the depth of experience upon which they stand.
Interesting indeed but....most of us find shotgun satisfaction well short of best or one-off or even, when cobbled together with an element of wished-for fantasy.
Add in that even the most basic shotgun works a treat when afield, odds on.
While Clays work may demand more in several ways.....knocking down a bird or rabbit requires precious little of the equipment....precious more of us in realizing that the shot is the smallest portion of the whole endeavor.
Joined: 12 Aug 2007
Location: Northern Illinois
A few guns from across the pond. You donít have to like them to admire them. I am no gunsmith but in my experience stocks crack from abuse. Dropped or too much pressure over a long period of time. The top two are my guns and they are 100+ years old and the wood is still solid and the wrists are petite. The last one is a 16 I simply admire and can not afford.
My Grandfather loved the old Foxes and he had several that I grew up shooting. At some point in my youth they vanished.
Joined: 14 Jan 2006
Location: Lancaster county, Pa
The LC stock splitting behind the lock plates is easily solved. The rear edge of the lock plate need to angled back removing the square edge then the wood needs to be relieved and glass bedded. I understand marketing and price points you can't make the greatest gun in the world and sell it for peanuts. American SxS were well made by skilled craftsmen at affordable prices I think they were a great value. I also know that they are not the greatest guns ever made. I accept them for what they are and appreciate the history, looks and feel of them. Ascetically I like the big canvas of the LC side lock to show off the case color for feel and function I like my Fox's. For simple engineering genius and beauty I love Dan Lefever's side lock. I appreciate the NID for it's rugged design and functionality. All are not close to being the best guns ever made but they suit my taste and style and are true pieces of Americana. I have an AYA and Germans guns that are great guns but they don't whisper to me way out in the country side following the dogs like a Fox or LC. Dewey isn't influenced by the history and nostalgia he simply appreciates a gun for design and function he attaches no emotion to it except pride in his workmanship and quality control all in house.
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