Smith, Maker, Syracuse, New York
to 1888 Qualities
the period of 1880 to 1888, L.C. Smith made the Baker Three-Barrel
Gun and the Baker Double-Barrel Gun. Manufacture of the new
L.C. Smith hammer shotguns began in 1884.
purpose of the Baker Three-Barrel Gun was stated in the 1884
catalog copy: “It is a fact too well known to need mention,
that in going out for the purpose of killing small game with
a shot gun, one is constantly having unexpected chances to
shoot at larger game that a shot gun will either not reach
at all, or fail to kill; and to those who are in the habit
of hunting in localities where there are animals that are dangerous,
and which are liable to be encountered at any moment without
warning, this gun gives the possessor feelings of confidence
and safety that are invaluable, to say nothing of the extra
amount and actual value of the game that can be obtained by
its use . . .”
regard to the sights, after much experimenting, we have adopted
the hinge sight on the stock, which turns down entirely out
of the way while shooting the shot barrels, and when turned
up has a slide with a common notch in the top for open or quick
shooting, and when raised has a fine hole or peep sight for
close or target shooting. A buckhorn sight can be placed on
the rib when desired, but in most cases is unadvisable, as
the rear sight answers all practical purposes.”
Baker Three-Barrel Gun was available in either 10 or 12 gauge.
The third barrel was chambered for the .44-40 cartridge, or
as the catalog said: “The Rifles are chambered to use
the Winchester 44-calibre cartridge, Model ’73.’ Experience
has shown us that the 44-calibre cartridge is the best adapted
to the purpose that this gun is used for.”
rib of the was marked “L.C. Smith Maker of Baker Guns,
Syracuse N.Y. The front trigger was pushed forward to unlock
and open the breech. The hammer for the rifle barrel was located
under the receiver and within the trigger guard, and it was
fired by pulling the rear trigger. It is estimated that about
1,186 Three-Barrel Guns were manufactured by L.C. Smith.
following are the catalog descriptions of the Qualities offered:
Quality No. 1 – Black walnut stock, checkered, English
stub twist shot barrels, $75.
• Quality No. 1 – Pistol grip, black walnut stock,
checkered English stub twist shot barrels, $80.
• Quality No. 2 – Damascus or laminated steel
shot barrels, English walnut stock, checkered, pistol grip,
finer engraved, $100.
• Quality No. 3 – Damascus or laminated steel
shot barrels, English walnut stock, checkered, pistol grip,
checkered, finer engraved, $125.
• Quality No. 4 – Very fine Damascus or laminated
steel shot barrels, fine English walnut stock, full pistol
grip, checkered, finer finish and engraved, $150.
• Quality No. 5 – The finest Damascus or laminated
steel barrels, the finest English walnut stock, elegantly
engraved and finished, $200.
of the Baker Double-Barrel Gun was similar to that of the Three-Barrel
Gun. The rib was marked “L.C. Smith Maker of Baker Guns,
Syracuse, N.Y.” The front trigger was pushed forward
to unlock and open the breech. It was available in 10 and 12
gauges, and it is estimated that 8,305 Double-Barrel Guns were
made by L.C. Smith.
following are the catalog descriptions of the qualities offered:
Quality A – English twist shot barrels, black walnut
stock, plain finish, $40.
• Quality B – Damascus or laminated steel barrels,
black walnut stock, pistol grip, checkered, border engraved,
• Quality C – Damascus or laminated steel barrels,
English or very fine American walnut stock, pistol grip, checked,
finely engraved, $80.
• Quality D – Damascus or laminated steel barrels,
fine English walnut stock, full or half pistol grip, checked,
much better finish and engraved, $100.
• Quality E – Very fine Damascus or laminated steel
barrels, very fine English walnut stock, full or half pistol
grip, checked, finely engraved, $150.
• Qualify F – The finest Damascus or laminated
steel barrels, best English walnut stock, full pistol grip,
elegantly engraved, $200.
Smith Hammer Gun
C. Smith introduced his new hammer gun in the following manner: “In
presenting to the American Sportsman this my Illustrated Catalogue
of July 1, 1884, I beg to call your attention to our new Top-Lever,
Double Cross-Bolted, Breech-Loading Gun. It has been my determination
to defer the manufacture of a top-lever gun until such a time
as I could offer to my customers a gun which should enter the
field as the peer of any arm which the world has ever produced.
We have intended to avoid the common difficulties with which
other manufactures have been met (and a score of purchasers
know to their expense how well they have succeeded) in producing
a gun which would withstand the force of the explosion in the
continued firing of heavy charges without the face of the standing
breech or frame springing away from the barrels, the gun becoming
shaky, and therefore worthless. This fault has been mainly
due to the fact that the metal of the frame has been so cut
away to receive the locks and bolting
mechanism that the remaining metal through the angle of the
breech or frame is not adequate to the strain to which it is
subjected, to obviate this difficulty we use a powerful extension
of the top rib, brazed (not soldered as is usually the case)
between the barrels, which exceeds backward into the standing
breech and is locked by our patent double cross-locking rotary
source of wear and strain which has been foremost in hindering
successful working of the breech-loader had been the hinge
joint, in consequence of the dropping down or tilting of the
barrels for loading. Many manufactured have attempted to remedy
this difficulty, but all of them within our knowledge have
either cut away the metal of the frame or more especially of
the lug, thereby rendering the gun less durable then if made
without them. This objection we effectually overcome by the
use of our patent eccentric joint check working in connection
with the patent automatic self-compensating forend.
Smith hammer gun was available in either 10 or 12 gauge. The
following were the Qualities offered in the 1884 catalog:
Smith Hammerless Gun
Quality F – Best English stub twist barrels, American
walnut stock, pistol grip, checkered and engraved, $55.
• Quality E – Good Damascus steel barrels, good
American walnut stock, checkered and engraved, pistol grip,
• Quality D – Fine Damascus steel barrels, good
imported English walnut stock, nicely checkered and engraved,
pistol grip, $95.
• Quality C – Fine Damascus steel barrels, fine
imported English walnut stock, fine checkering and engraving,
pistol grip, $125.
• Quality B – Extra fine Damascus steel barrels,
finer imported English walnut stock, fine checkering and
engraving, pistol grip, $150.
• Quality A – Very fine Damascus steel barrels,
extra fine imported English walnut stock, extra fine checkering
and engraving, pistol grip, $200.
• Quality AA – Finest Damascus steel barrels made,
finest imported English walnut stock obtainable, finest checkering
and engraving, complete in workmanship, pistol grip, $300.
L.C. Smith Hammerless Gun was made during the period of 1886
through 1888 and offered in Qualities 2 through 7. It is the
same gun as that produced by the Hunter Arms Company prior
to 1913, and more complete descriptions may be found under
the pre-1913 grades.
following photographs of Qualities 3 through 7 are compliments
of Russ Ruppel, St. Louis.
Quality 4 and 5 shotguns in these photographs have sculptured
breech balls and gold dogs on the trigger guards.
of the Quality 6 featured gold inlays while others did
not have gold. They all had sculptured breech balls.
Quality 7 guns had rebated lockplates. No two were totally
alike. Most, but not all, had gold inlays on the lockplates.