The L.C. Smith Collectors Association
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Re: Beveled lockplates
Besides making the wrist of Smith stocks (which were American black walnut, a wood more prone to splitting as Jerry noted) thicker, Marlin also changed the color case hardening process from bone charcoal to the cheaper cyanide process; and further, changed the barrel bluing process from the traditional slow rust blue process to a cheaper/faster process they developed call Du-lite (or something to that effect). Marlin also stressed quantity over quality which meant that production was greatly increased during the Marlin era by spending less time on finishing a gun; a fact especially noted in the checkering quality and parts fitment on Field and Ideal Grades. If one studies the Marlin era production period, it will be noted that Marlin produced more than 50k guns during about a 5-year span; and that amount far exceeded any other production number for any five year period in the history of the Smith gun. These are the reasons Smith fanciers have long considered the Marlin era guns inferior; and therefore less valuable, than pre-Marlin era guns. As far as shooting qualities go, there are no period differences; but regardless of production era, each gun should be evaluated and priced based on its own merits.