The only people I know who claim an LC Smith is as good or better than an English gun are those who are unfamiliar with a Lefever.
Ted, you probably don't know Nick Makinson then, tho' you may well have heard of him. Ontario based now, he apprenticed in the English gun trade with B. Wild & Sons, I believe. For years, later, his company supplied barrels, actions and other parts to the trade, including Churchill and Atkin, Grant & Lang.
Nick did a video many years ago, in VHS format, on the L.C. Smith gun, giving it extremely high praise while disassembling one and showing the proper cleaning and maintenance techniques. I called him to talk after buying and watching it. During our conversation I asked him why Smiths were more prone to cracking behind the lockplates than other sidelocks. He replied, rather pointedly, that they are not. He said that any sidelock that the owner allows the pins (screws) to become slack on is just as prone to cracking as the Smith, implying that maybe, just maybe, that problem arose from the lack of maintenance attention given American field guns as compared to the average British sidelock gun.(?)
Do you suppose that Nick, with his vast knowledge of the British gun, is somehow able to rise above the condescending attitude of many Britishers (and Americans obsessed with anything Brit) toward American built guns? Or, is it simply that he spent all that time in the British gun trade and just doesn't know anything about a Lefever?