The L.C. Smith Collectors Association
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Re: When did the blue rock appear on Pigeon Guns?
No, I don't have a copy of the 1895 catalog and perhaps I'm making the waters more muddy: You have established that Gilbert's gun is an 1895 Pigeon and that the earliest reference to Nitro Steel is 1897. I only want to point out that the Hunters had a habit of shipping new additions to their line before publishing in catalogs. Single selective triggers come to mind as earlier shipments besides barrel steels. So I wouldn't be quick to say that the Nitro barrel on Gilbert's gun is a replacement. A case in point is that contrary to Houchin's claim that Nitro and Whitworth Steel first shipped in 1895, I have a documented 1894 A-3 with Whitworth barrels numbered to the gun. That suggests to me that even if, or when, you obtain a copy of the '95 catalog Nitro barrels may very well have shipped before 1895. As mentioned at the outset: all muddy speculation-but with some interesting possibilties.