If I gave you the impression that you somehow placed me on the defensive, then my apologies as I can assure you that's not the case; nor did I intend to put you on defensive, so my apologies if I've done so. But the fact is that there exists, and is espoused much misinformation about what is contained within what remains of the original Hunter Arms shipping records; and confusion is the obvious result. Thru Dr. Jim's research we now have as complete of an understanding of those records as will ever be possible given that the company ceased to exist 70 years ago; and no one from that era who could enlighten us remains alive.
Clearly there are errors in the original shipping records. The DGJ just recently published a story of one such gun; a 16-bore A-2 Grade two-barrel set. In the records that gun is recorded as having shipped with one set of 16-bore and another 20-bore barrel set, which would made the gun a unique "double gauge" example; but on examination of the gun itself, both barrel sets were 16 gauge. And in researching we find the shipping records document NO Smith gun having shipped with barrels of different gauges or bore sizes; so clearly a mistake. Why or how such a mistake was made we'll never know.
In my opinion, the actual grade of a Smith gun is the grade designation found stamped onto the gun frame itself regardless of the grade entry that may have been entered within the ledgers. That said, collectors pay a premium for a gun that "letters" to the original shipping records as regards grade, gauge, barrel length, etc. Did the dealer who sold you the gun request grades verification from Dr. Jim or Cody? Clearly a question you needed to ask; but this is also a good topic for discussion as it is a most important question all collectors should ask prior to purchase.
I'm not trying to defend Dr. Jim as he can do so much better than me, but Dr. Jim's job as conservator of the original Hunter Arms shipping ledgers is TO REPORT THE EXACT INFORMATION RECORDED IN THOSE RECORDS; HE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE TO RE-WRITE, AND OR "CORRECT" THOSE RECORDS SO THAT THEY CORRESPOND TO WHAT SOMEONE MIGHT WANT THEM TO SAY OR CONFIRM. So whenever a research letter is requested, Dr. Jim responds with a letter revealing exactly what is contained within that ledger entry. It is vitally important that collectors understand his purpose here. If that grades information differs from what is seen on the gun itself, that is unfortunate; but the original record remains the historically correct record and will not be changed or "corrected" by the LCSCA As already noted I've personally observed a fair number of guns with grades that don't correspond to the grade mark on the gun itself. I've also observed a fair number of Smith guns with grade stamps much lower than the features seen on the gun itself, but where the ledger entry matches the grade designation on the gun (the A-1 and Grade 3 guns referenced below are examples). We don't understand why these differences exist, we only know they do; and the reasons given as to why are speculative and remain to be confirmed. Again, I can't speak for Cody but I can assure you whatever Dr. Jim reports is exactly what is recorded in the ledgers; and no one has spent more time studying and analyzing the surviving Hunter Arms records than Dr. Jim.
As to your 10-bore, with a Grade 3 designation stamped onto the gun frame; then I'd certainly call it a Grade 3, and represent the gun as such whether that grade assignment matches the ledger entry or not. The only issue you might have is on a resale and the fact that the gun doesn't letter to the records; but only if that issue was an important factor to the purchaser. And yes, the total production by grades recap will never be entirely correct; they can't possibly be because of what we know from examples we've observed. As to writing "an article on mistakes in the ledger books"; don't see how that would ever be possible without having every gun ever produced and being able to compare each one with the record entry. We/I have, and continue to write about some of these grades anomalies I've encounter because I find them extremely interesting. And in that regard, my experience as a researcher has 1) found that the over whelming majority of the entries in the ledgers are accurate; and 2) thus far, that every ledger grades entry not matching the grade stamped on the gun itself recorded that gun as a lower grade. Isn't that interesting, and why was that so? Clearly we'll never know, but in my opinion the recording of an A-2 Grade, which grade was clearly marked A-2 on the gun, as a PE grade was intentional; and NOT accidental. That gun represents just one of several such anomalies I've personally observed over the years. I hope sharing my personal experience/observations is helpful; but again, everyone is free to have their own opinions.