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Encyclopedia > Daniel Myron LeFever

Daniel Myron Lefever, American Gunmaker. Born August 27, 1835 in Hopewell, N.Y. Died October 29, 1906 in Syracuse N.Y. Popularly known as "Uncle Dan LeFever" he is best known as the inventor of the hammerless shotgun, first introduced in 1878.

Daniel Myron LeFever and wife
Daniel Myron LeFever and wife

Uncle Dan LeFever's gunmaking career began as an apprentice in Canandaigua, N.Y. in the early 1850's. He opened his own gunshop in Canadaigua in 1857. His principle business was making muzzle loading rifles. In 1862 he joined with James Ellis to form LeFever & Ellis. They built long range rifles which were used in The Civil War. This partnership broke up in 1867.

Sometime before 1870 D. M. LeFever moved to Auburn N.Y. where he joined with Francis Dangerfield to form Dangerfield & LeFever. This firm made primarily breechloading double shotguns. They also converted muzzle loading guns to breech loading. This firm dissolved in late 1973 or early 1874. Remington pump-action shotgun held by a Florida Highway Patrol cadet shotgun, see: Shotgun (disambiguation). ...

In early 1874 D. M. LeFever moved to Syracuse, N.Y.. Here he joined with Lorenzo Barber to form Barber & LeFever. Again they made breech loading shotguns and rifles. This partnership lasted a short two years.

D. M. LeFever then joined with John Nichols and formed Nichols & LeFever. During this time D. M. LeFever worked on the development of the hammerless shotgun. These guns were cocked with a cocking lever on the side of the breech. In 1878 he won first prize at the St. Louis Bench Show and Sportman's Association for the best breech loading shotgun in America.

By the time D. M. LeFever patented his hammerless shotgun in 1880 he had left Nichols & LeFever and gone into business for himself. In 1883 D. M. LeFever patented the first truly automatic hammerless shotgun. This internalized the cocking mechanism so that the gun was automatically cocked when the breech was closed. He also patented the automatic ejector system which ejected the used shells when the breech was opened. In 1886 D. M. LeFever lost control of his company which by then was called LeFever Arms Company. However, he remained as superintendent until 1902.

In 1902 D. M. LeFever left LeFever Arms Company to form D. M. LeFever, Sons & Company with sons Charles F.(also known as Fred who later invented the Daisy BB rifle), Frank, and George. They continued to make fine hammerless shotguns, but could not compete with the larger LeFever Arms Compnay. In 1904 they moved to Ohio, first in Defiance and within a year in Bowling Green. In 1906 they returned to Syracuse, N.Y.. However, before being able to re-establish a viable company D. M. LeFever died on October 29 of a stomach ulcer.

LeFever Arms Co. Optimus Grade Shotgun

The LeFever Arms Company continued to make fine LeFever designed shotguns in Syracuse until 1916 when they were purchased by the Ithaca Gun Company. The Ithaca Gun Company under the LeFever Arms Company in Ithaca, N. Y. until 1921. These were made using primarily left over parts from the Syracuse operation. Shortly after that the Ithaca Gun Company used the LeFever name to market an inexpensive gun, the LeFever Nitro Special that was of their own design, having nothing to do with D. M. LeFever except to exploit his name. These were manufactured until the early 1940's.

For more LeFever information: [LeFever Arms Company Affiliation]



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