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six4 #31489 03/19/07 09:20 AM
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I believe this is an early gun. The opening lever appears to follow the Westley Richards pre-Scott spindle pattern. Even the 1890's/early 1900's is late for this pattern. Sideplated boxlock?

SWAG based on photos so far. Brand Value five (BV5) for unknown Continental maker. Original Quality grade five (OQ5) for a best quality boxlock - this strikes me as a top 'o the heap boxlock of its day. Current Condition level looks to be about four (heavily used, but not abused = CC4). BV5-OQ5-CC4 = $600. Knock off a couple of hundred if it is an extractor gun (no ejectors). Add a couple of hundred it it is in better condition than I see from the photos or if it is of higher grade than I see. Add $400 if it is both higher grade and better condition.

L. Brown #31497 03/19/07 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted By: L. Brown
Definitely 1924 or earlier, otherwise you would not have 12 over a C in a diamond. It would be 12-65 inside a sort of capital C if it were later than 1924.

L'abeille means "bee" in French; reve is dream. So somebody had 5 dreams about bees???

I've seen guns marked L'abeille before but don't know anything about the maker. Not at all unusual to find Belgian guns sold by French shops, even though France had its own very active gun industry. I've currently got a Belgian 16 that has a Paris address (C. Mode) on the barrels.


Larry,

An earlier date would make sense because of the chamber. However, if the C is really a 1924 date stamp, then we have 2 controller's stamps that are undocumented. Is this common? The early 1900's controller stamps I have seen have all been things like *AE, ie double letters. There is no evidence in the proof marks of a later reproofing that I can see.

I do find what is missing interesting. Mainly the barrel weight is not seen anywhere that I can tell.

Pete

PeteM #31509 03/19/07 12:30 PM
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Pete, I don't believe our list of controllers is complete. If you have the same one that I have from the Viola website it doesn't list any controllers before 1924. I have a Belgian sidelock that I am pretty sure was made before WW1. It has a * over S contollers mark and no date stamp. I would think the smallcase c date stamp pretty much dates this gun to 1924.


I learn something every day, and a lot of times it's that what I learned the day before was wrong

james-l #31588 03/19/07 07:57 PM
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Pete, I trust the controller's marks and the date stamps far less than I trust the proofmarks. From everything I've read, you simply would not see the 12 over C in a diamond on a post-1924 Belgian gun. I've seen conflicts on other Belgian guns between what's listed either for controller's stamp or date stamp and the gauge over C versus gauge-chamber length mark, the latter of which was adopted on June 30, 1924, and is in use right up to the present.

L. Brown #32519 03/25/07 11:57 AM
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If your L'Abielle grade 5 is like mine, and it looks like mine, it's probably sideplated, as is mine. Side plated doubles are very misunderstood on this side of the pond. Americans tend to only associate side plates as "fake sidelocks" designed to snare the unwary. Perhaps there is some truth to that, but the French artisans in particular, used the sideplated double design to further reduce weight and further tweak that extra bit of handling characteristics. The French had proved that a sideplated double can be made lighter, smaller, and stronger in the wrist than an equivelent boxlock. Mine has the very same engraving pattern though it is straight grip.(16ga). I was told 20 yrs back that my L'Abielle is considered a "penny weight". a word that I have not heard since. The explanation that I was given for the term, was that the gun was designed to shoot a load 1/100th the weight of the gun, but I have never been able to cross reference that. I have however paid much closer attention to French sideplated guns. Even though they have the thinnest wrist in the industry, I have yet to see a cracked one. I was also told that Rouchoux produced many of the sideplated actions that were finished off by St Etienne artisans, which turned out to be correct, as another sideplated Frenchy that I have marked L Sicot, Chateau Briant...is clearly shown in the Rouchaux catalogs of the period with the same exact game scene engraving and highly unusual checkering pattern. Seems to me there is a recently published book that covers L'Abielle guns that is in French. I have also seen a L'Abielle double marked "REVE 3" and read about another L'Abielle with plume barrels. Because of the highly unusual lock up and the way the whole bottom of the gun hinges to become one massive cocking lever, I doubt that L'Abielle was just another finishing house, but rather true gun makers in thier own right. There are also Manufrance made actions finished off marked L'Abielle, but they are not sideplated. Hope this helps...no time to check spelling

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"our" list of controler's marks is not complete. Allmost every controler' mark belonged not to one, but to several controlers, but in different periods of time.


Geno.
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