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#603704 09/29/21 03:27 PM
Joined: Oct 2014
Posts: 293
gold40 Offline OP
Sidelock
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Attached are photos of my "NEW/OLD" Lefever H Grade 12 gauge sidelock, restored by famed gunsmith Buck Hamlin of Pevely, MO. The serial number indicates it was made in 1898-9. It has the "Dog's Head" insert in the forearm. It has the engraved "Fancy Scroll Circle" on both sideplates (a sometimes thing on H Grades). And it has a large safety, different from some other Lefever's. The 30" Damascus/Twist barrels were FULL & FULL, but have recently been opened to MOD and IC, for bird hunting.

The highly figured walnut stock and forearm are is Hamlin replacements. As is the Pachmayer rubber buttpad.

The serial number is 27296, indicates a probable manufacture date of 1898-9. What is especially interesting is the the serial number on the barrel, handguard, and water table all appear to have a "strikeover" on the "7" digit. I presume that was some type of factory error correction, long ago.

Next month, this 130 year-old Lefever shotgun will journey to South Dakota to hunt wild pheasant. Here are a few photos....

https://i.imgur.com/E6QAbcc.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/izIWq0q.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/EnVqHgw.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/vsxhY5n.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/L5z0opL.jpg

https://i.imgur.com/R6DqW0i.jpg

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Buck was so helpful to me when I was learning to refinish damascus barrels. What a great guy and a wonderful gunsmith. Give him my best regards, Gil Russell Tucson AZ


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Congratulations to Gold40, you have a beautifully restored shotgun. Good luck on the pheasants next month!...Geo

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For gold4o

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Last edited by skeettx; 09/29/21 07:01 PM.


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I hope you enjoy your refinished Lefever H Grade. But I was wondering why you chose to have Buck brown the twist barrels, when they originally would have been black and white? He did get some very nice contrast, and a fine smooth finish.

I was also wondering if this Lefever originally had the dog's head forend escutcheon, or if it had the plain steel escutcheon typically found on H Grades? I assume the dog's head on your gun is a reproduction, because most originals are quite worn. I also assume that Buck Hamlin did the color case hardening? Not many gunsmiths these days have the talent or ability to perform all aspects of gun work, including repairs, stocking, metal finishing, and bone charcoal case hardening. Many farm out much of their work. It would be interesting if you had any "Before" pics to show us what Buck started with.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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I've been a friend of Buck Hamlin since 1985; have visited his Pevely, MO shop twice and spent many hours with him on the telephone. He's been generous with his time and sharing his knowledge; and has been a tremendous mentor when it comes to my double gun knowledge. In regards to the above questions by Keith and barrel browning, Buck can do black and white; he just doesn't want to. He hasn't told me why, but all his barrels are brown and white unless you are perhaps someone he feels he owes a favor and will make a special exception. As to his work, he performs all aspects of double gun restoration and repair EXCEPT engraving which he subs out. I'm not sure who does his engraving work nowadays, as the gentleman from Tennessee he'd used for years met his demise when he fell off his tractor and was run over by a bush hog. Buck tells me that he doesn't like to build stocks anymore; too time consuming, but will still do so on occasion.

Over the years Buck has performed a number of double gun repairs and restorations for me, and Gold40's H Grade brought to mind my G Grade Buck restored years ago; and the gun that lead to my introduction to Buck Hamlin. I had attended a gun show in Gainesville, GA; and while there met a Lefever collector, Garfield Beckstead, who was displaying his great collection of Lefever guns in all grades and gauges to include an Optimus. Up to that point I wouldn't consider any guns other than those marked "Parker Bros."; but that Optimus
forever changed my perspective and I began to appreciate and look for other great American made guns so that my Parker collection went from 12 guns to zero. But while at his table Mr. Beckstead showed me a project Lefever; a G Grade 12-bore extractor gun in the 3XXXX serial number range with 30" Damascus barrels and no forend. Who knows where the forend went, but the gun appeared virtually new with all the Damascus pattern, brilliant case colors, and an English walnut stock with stunning figure and color that should have been on a much higher grade gun. It was probably overpriced at $400 with a missing forend, and I knew absolutely nothing about Lefever shotguns; but my heart said buy it. It was while searching for a forend that I met Buck. He found a complete H Grade forend with wood that matched the color of the buttstock, replaced the original perished and crumbling pad (added the new pad to the base of the old at my request for extra LOP), and refinished and re-checkered both pieces. In 1985 we didn't know as much about Damascus barrel strength as we do today, and my one regret is that I had that mint set of barrels mono-blocked (sleeved ?); but even worse, let Buck talk me into reducing their length to 26" (I'd requested 28"). But I was young and we all live and learn, so I only fault myself for the short barrels decision. As things turned out, Buck finished his experiments with attempts at exploding Damascus barrels shortly after he finished my Lefever; and after concluding that Damascus barrels were stronger than any loads a sane person would shoot, stopped mono-blocking/sleeving barrels altogether (mine could have been the last?)

But regardless of my barrel regrets, this G Grade remains one heck of a looker and a shooter. It's light, fits me well, has been carried many miles, used to take lots of small game; and the original case colors are still as brilliant now and when the gun was acquired. And best of all I've accumulated some great memories with this gun, although one is a bit sad as this was the gun I used to take my last wild Bob White quail almost 20 years ago. That bird was a hen; and with wild quail almost non-existent in the areas I hunted then and now, I resolved never to shoot another.

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So then topgun, we get into the matter of semantics, and the question of whether these guns have been Restored, or Refinished and Refurbished.

I think the definition Restoring implies bringing an item back as close as possible to its' original condition and configuration as humanly possible. For an H Grade Lefever, that would include black and white Damascus barrels, an LAC Monogram buttplate, an appropriately figured English Walnut stock, unaltered chokes, etc.

Of course, we still have a number of people here who should know better who continue to refer to the frame of their double shotguns as a receiver, and quite a few so-called Restorations are actually not very close to original configuration. Might be a good topic for another Thread sometime. I could get Dr. Wanker all fired up by calling action flats a water table.

I could have lived without your story of the engraver who fell off of his tractor and got chopped up by his Brush Hog. My Dad always warned me about a neighbor of my Grandfather who met the same demise. Years ago, when I first bought my property, I was mowing with an old Ford 8N that had an over-running adapter on the PTO that sometimes locked up, and hydraulics that were very slow to lift my very heavy old Brush Hog. Those defects conspired to push me right over a large bloated, and maggot infested deer. The Brush Hog chopped that rotten deer into about a million putrid pieces, on a 90 degree day. One of those Kodak moments you never forget! I am now shutting down my PC and going out to Brush Hog a few acres until it gets dark.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.


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