Premiere Firearms Auction - May 2, 3, & 4, 2014
May 2, 3, & 4, 2014
Premiere Firearms Auction
|Lot #: 307||Estimated Price: $4,500 - $7,000|
|Extremely Rare Smith-Condit Prototype Semi-Automatic Rifle|
Click on the image(s) above to view a larger version
|Got one to sell|
|Serial #:||NSN||Manufacturer:||Standard Arms Co|
|Barrel Length:||28 inch round||Finish:||blue|
|Class:||Curio & Relic Long Gun|
|Description:||According to consignor notes Morris Smith was granted patent number 814212 in March of 1906 for this gas operated prototype semi-automatic rifle and is possibly the last surviving workshop piece from possibly 7 hand built models made by Smith at his Cherry Street shop in Philadelphia, Pa. The rifle is 30 caliber and according to consignor notes made from available parts and unfinished, however the rifle appears to have been finished blue. Smith paid considerable attention to gas pressure relief on this prototype. There are eight holes drilled into the gas tube under the barrel and there are additional holes in the bolt for the same purpose. There is clear evidence that this rifle was the forerunner to the Standard Arms Model G rifle. The rifle is unmarked and features a dovetailed tall blade front sight, no rear sight (or provisions) and is mounted with a smooth varnished walnut forearm and pistol grip stock with a hard rubber grip cap and buttplate. Comes with copies of drawings of the rifle.|
|Condition:||Good. The metal surfaces have a mottled dark grayish and brown patina with a small amount of minor pitting on the top of the barrel near the breech. The wood has been revarnished and remains good with a crack on each side of the forearm, repaired broken wrist and overall some scattered minor dents, dings and scuffs. The charger works, however the rifle does not cock.|
|Addl Info/FAQ:||A BRIEF HISTORY OF STANDARD ARMS CO. & STANDARD ARMS MFG. CO.|
This little-known and often mis-understood rifle manufacturer was the brainchild of two inventors/entrepreneurs from Philadelphia: Morris Smith and W.D. Condit. With major financial backing from the famous DuPont family, the company began producing rifles in Wilmington, DE in late 1909. Two models initially were built; the manually-operated Model M and the dual action Model G. Later, a third model was introduced; the smoothbore rifle/shotgun combination Camp carbine, but only a few dozen were made.
Although Standard Arms rifles were very well made and aesthetically pleasing, they were panned by many hunters and riflemen for being unreliable. By 1912, the company was in deep financial trouble and ceased operation before the end of the year.
After minor design modifications were made, Standard Arms Mfg. Co. was started in 1913. Unfortunately, rifle malfunctions still occurred and more than a few gunsmiths complained Standard Arms rifles were far too complicated to work on. With interest in Standard Arms guns fading, the re-organized company closed its doors for good in the Spring of 1914. The majority of their inventory was sold to Bannermann, Sedgeley and others which were later made into complete rifles and sold to the public well into the 1920s.
Today, almost any Standard Arms rifle should be considered a rare find. Most serious collectors believe total production (by Standard Arms, Standard Arms Mfg. and third parties) reached only about 7,000 rifles. Sadly, contemporary examination of Standard Arms rifles revealed that although they were complicated and had some minor flaws, suspect manufacturing methods and poor quality control by ammunition makers of the early 20th century created the majority of problems encountered with these fine weapons.