The L.C. Smith Collectors Association
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Re: Transitional ejectors from the 1st type to the Banjo type
This may just add confusion, but I have a Pigeon Grade, PE 5479, with a rectangular escutcheon plate. The forend iron is numbered to the gun and has the wider base. It is not marked "Patent Pending." I have not taken off the escutcheon plate itself to see if it has a number. (I am not accomplished enough to attempt such without risking damage). According to the LCSCA records (as of June, 2009), serial number 5479 was used twice: in Book 17, as a OOE with 30 inch barrels (April 10, 1901), and in Book 5 as a 5E with 28 inch barrels (March 4, 1908). However, my gun is clearly a Pigeon Grade with 30 inch barrels. In communication some years ago with Tom Archer, he advised that he had a photocopy of a page (p.156) from the LCS (Cody) records which reflected that 5479 was a 12 gauge with 30 inch barrels shipped on April 10, 1901. The writing on the page was not fully legible, and he could not determine the grade from his copy. I'm aware that the rectangular escutcheon is not normally seen on pre-1913 guns, although I have seen it on at least one other Pigeon Grade and one O Grade. Given the comments about early banjo escutcheons coming loose, that might suggest that the gun was retro-fitted with another, sounder (rectangular) escutcheon at a later date. Or, I suppose, the rectangular escutcheon could be a contemporaneous experiment in 1901, not widely adopted until some years later. The gun is in very good condition for a gun that is well over 100 years old, which might suggest the former explanation. Nevertheless, I find this topic very interesting. Thanks for raising it.