Craft Gunmaking, No compromises, No corners cut, EVER

Saturday, August 13, 2016

L.C. Smith Resto, The Right Way To Do It...

But don't get your hopes up, I'm still not working on L.C. Smith guns.  To those who would think that my feelings toward a particular "brand" of gun would somehow negatively affect the quality of my work, sorry to disappoint you.  This was a past project (it was in fact the very last Smith to ever befoul my bench) that I had documented completely and I had debated about posting it (because it's a Smith) but decided that it had value in describing proper repair procedures and workmanship.  It was (is) a Specialty grade, 12 gauge with ejectors and Hunter One Trigger.  The gun was off the face, had loose ribs (big surprise), a broken ejector guide pin (the broken segment still stuck in the barrel), the obligatory damaged stock (at the head), damaged screw slots (all of them), the lump had been peened to "tighten the action", the hand screw hole in the top strap had been stripped and "repaired" by brazing, buffed and reblued barrels and triggerguard, malfunctioning trigger and there was little finish left anywhere with quite a bit of pitting.  Overall, a fine specimen of typical American gunsmithing on the quintessential American double.  Below is the itemized list of repairs.  Every facet of the job was performed in-house, by me, including engraving and finishing of the wood and metal.

- disassembled
- cleaned, inspected
- rejointed action:
     removed hingepin locks
     removed hingepin
     reamed hingepin hole and barrel hook
     fabricated, fit, installed new hingepin and locks
     drilled cocking lever tunnels
     blacked barrels down on face
- engraved hingepin ends
- removed improperly repaired tang
- rebuilt tang:
     welded new material in place
     machined outside contours
     machined safety slot
     drilled and tapped hand pin hole
- engraved tang
- fabricated and fit:
     safety slide retaining pin
     safety detent pin
- fabricated, fit, indexed, engraved:
     breech screw
     triggerplate screw
     hand screw
     left and right forward lockplate screws
     rear lockplate screw
     toplever spindle screw
     triggerguard screw
- filed, polished, prepped:
     forend iron
- recut engraving on above parts
- fabricated, fit, heat-treated:
     left and right firing pins
- removed broken and stuck extractor guide pin from barrels
- machined extractor segment for replacement guide pin
- stripped and relaid ribs
- recut engraving on barrel breeches
- polished, prepped barrels for rust bluing
- rust blued barrels
- detail polished barrels
- color case hardened:
     forend iron
     associated screws
- nitre blued:
     guard screw
     bbl. selector
     forend latch
     forend latch escutcheon and screw
     safety slide
- chemically removed finish and oil from buttstock and forend
- repaired structural damage at head of stock
- repaired cracked and stripped screwholes in forend wood
- installed reproduction No-Shoc recoil pad
- refinished buttstock and forend
- recut checkering on buttstock and forend
- repaired damaged left sear tail
- corrected sear engagement (left and right)
- corrected sear tail heights
- reassembled, lubed
- function checked
- test fired

Now, on to the photos.

Here are some photos of the finished job.  All finishes are done in-house, both wood and metal (yes, that includes the case hardening).  The barrels are rust blued.  The trigger, triggerguard, barrel selector, safety slide, forend latch and escutcheon are nitre blued.  The balance is color case-hardened.
There you have it, counting the repair costs and purchase price, undoubtedly the world's most expensive 12 gauge Specialty grade Smith.


  1. Did you perform the case-hardening yourself or did you send it out?

  2. EVERYTHING, just as stated in the text, was done in house. That includes the case hardening.

  3. You may not have enjoyed it, but the results are stunningly beautiful!