1903 Lewis: What to do?

1902-1906

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Copper BB
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:04 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:18 pm
I bought a batch of old guns that mostly look like they sat in a barn for a good long while. Rusted 10/22, gummed up Marlin 60, a Rossi .38 special with an amateur shortened barrel, 12 gauge H&R, and a double barrel shotgun that I could just barely make out "Ithaca" on the side of the receiver.

Get it home, start googling for serial numbers and determine that it is a 1903 Lewis and Nig, serial in the 76XXX range.

Now, I don't really know what to do with it.

Condition:
It is not in amazing shape, but all the parts seem to be there and functioning.
A small piece of stock broke off where it meets the trigger guard.
All the markings/checkerings are worn flat, but you can still read Ithaca on it and see the checker pattern.
It will lock up, wouldn't surprise me if it would go bang, but probably not going to try it out myself.

I know that someone out there would really enjoy owning a 110+ year old gun, but there is probably not a huge market for them.

So, my questions:

This is a C&R gun, correct?
Does that matter in terms of selling it and shipping it?

Any advice on finding a collector who would be interested in it?

What is a fair price for piece like this?

I am very new to the collectible side of things, I bought the other guns because I knew I could restore them as functional firearms, but this SxS is a totally different ballgame. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

.270 WIN
Posts: 397
Joined: Sat Jan 21, 2012 8:50 am
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 4:32 pm
Post pictures, I would bet that if it was decent you could sell it on this forum.

.410
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:42 pm
Location: Tidewater Virginia
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:22 pm
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your post!

Ithaca double serial number 76xxx would have been made in 1903, so it is definitely a C&R gun. The advantage to that is it can be shipped to someone in another state who holds a C&R FFL. Some of us here on this forum (like me) have C&R licenses.

For a shotgun you don't have to go thorough an FFL on your end, but you need to have a signed copy of the recipient's FFL. If you need more information on how this process works you can go to BATF's website.

There are a lot of folks that would enjoy owning a 110+ year-old gun, but most of us are looking for guns in at least decent operable and cosmetic condition. Without detailed photos or seeing the gun in person, I would not want to hazard a guess as to your gun's value.

As 1977cutcher said, with some photos you might be able to sell it here.

.270 WIN
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:38 pm
Location: Dayton, OH
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 5:56 pm
A lot of the "vintagers" like me are always on the lookout for a gun that's in shootable condition, but like the others have said, pictures are a must. Also, more a detailed description.
Does it have:
Damascus barrels
Hammers (a NIG)
Guage
Barrel length

Price will depend on condition. I have paid $100 for one that had a broken stock to $275 for one that I took to the range almost immediately.
A flash in the pan, a puff of smoke, and a prayer to the great Lord on high...

Copper BB
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:04 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:03 pm
Pictures
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Copper BB
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:04 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:05 pm
More pictures
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Copper BB
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:04 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 10:12 pm
There are some pictures. Not great at evaluating condition, so I'd be interested in your opinions.

Other answers:

Damascus barrels: Not an expert, but pretty sure they are damascus. Swirly pattern indicates damascus, right?
Hammers (a NIG): Obviously, hammerless
Guage: 12
Barrel length: Approximately 26.5 inches

Any other pictures I should include?

The picture of the damaged to the stock stock is the only real damage visible. Don't really know about the internals, I have not tried to take it apart or anything to look at the innards.

Copper BB
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:04 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:13 pm
more pics
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Copper BB
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:04 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:14 pm
Last set....
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Copper BB
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:04 pm
PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2014 11:18 pm
I've been doing a bit more research and have some questions.

I know that this gun was NOT designed for modern ammunition. I know a lot of folks who shoot these reload their own BP shells, but I don't reload anything at the moment so that is not an option. Where would I look for commercial ammunition that would be safe to fire in this gun?

Not sure that I am going to and would probably want someone more knowledgeable than I to check it out first, but it would be fun to shoot it once and also to test and see if it fires.

.270 WIN
Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:38 pm
Location: Dayton, OH
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 7:06 am
I have to admit, that one looks a little rough, and the missing wood along the lower tang would mean a complete re-stocking would probably be in order. Not impossible, but expensive. :(
Also, with the lever that far left of center, I would question how tight it locks up.
It would be a good idea to have it checked out by someone knowledgeable with SxS's before you attempt to shoot it. RST makes low pressure shells, but have it checked before you buy the shells, as you might be wasting your money.
A flash in the pan, a puff of smoke, and a prayer to the great Lord on high...

Copper BB
Posts: 8
Joined: Tue Jan 14, 2014 3:04 pm
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 9:19 am
He he... definitely rough. To look good, yes, a restock would definitely be in order. Your observation on the lever also makes sense. Thanks for the input.

So, sounds like this gun is more in the $150 range than the $300, correct?

I am mainly trying to decide if I want to try and take it apart, clean it, ogle the innards, try to get it to lock up tighter and have it checked as a shooter (potentially reducing the value to a collector if I screw up) or if I want to try and sell it to a collector who already knows what to do with it.

If it is valuable as is, I don't want to mess up that value. If the top value isn't that high, then the learning experience is worth the risk of reducing the value.

I looked at RST, seems they sell by the flat of 250, which is more than I need and ALL of which cost more than I paid for the gun. If I decide to get it checked by a gunsmith, I'll probably ask around for someone local who has a few shells I could buy for a couple bucks.

.410
Posts: 63
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:42 pm
Location: Tidewater Virginia
PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2014 6:18 pm
Yes, probably more in the $150 range rather than $300.

As for low pressure shells, you could try Polywad Vintagers. They have a four box minimum per order (100 shells), but I think you can combine any of their shells to meet the requirement.

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