The L.C. Smith Collectors Association
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Posted by Tom Archer on March 9, 2021, 6:52 pm, in reply to "Re: Grade?
Yours is an interesting gun, and looking at the pictures; clearly the number you gave Jim is 209949, which is indeed an OOE Grade and a barrel set from a gun shipped in 1909. The number Jim needs would be stamped on the water table of the frame; and if that number matches the number on the fore iron #2566, the original gun would have shipped in 1896. The frame of your gun is clearly engraved in the early Grade 4 style (later Grade 4 guns have the dogs centered in an oval on the lock plates; early examples featured the pointing dog at the rear of the lock plate as we see hear); and on some of these early guns the grade mark is found on the barrels and not on the water table. One way to verify grade is to remove the left side lock plate and look for the grade stamped into the narrow portion of the frame cut beneath the barrel flats. At any rate, the HOT unit was not available in 1896, nor were Type II ejectors; therefore we can be sure the gun was shipped back to Hunter at some point after 1904 when the HOT trigger unit was first cataloged and upgraded to a SST/Type II auto-ejector gun. The barrels may or may not have been replaced at that time (could have been modified for Type II ejectors); but regardless, the barrels were later replaced after-market and not by Hunter Arms. I say that because Hunter would have stamped the barrel flats with the correct serial number (which I believe is 2566) and would also have engraved the exposed face of the barrel lug to match the balance of the gun. Although it was possible for a customer to order a lower-grade and cheaper set of barrels (Armor steel here as opposed to Nitro), the gun would not have shipped from the gun works without the correct serial number being stamped on its barrels. Thanks for sharing.