View Full Version : Crescent "New Empire" 20ga.

December 4, 2007, 06:58 PM
Okay..from the start let me state that I know how many old shotgun inquiries start with "I have Grandpa's old shotgun". A large proportion of these turn out to involve Crescent Arms guns. They are usually whipped old beaters that served the same function as any other tool of the depression era. I admit to viewing the name with disdain. BUT...On lunch break from jury duty today I had an hour to kill, and found a gun shop. On the rack was a Crescent "New Empire" 20ga. 2 3/4", sxs, 26"bbls., i/c & mod, original butt plate, 90% case, 95% blue, 98% original stock finish. Don't get me wrong....you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. BUT... this gun was NICE! Light, great condition, tight as a drum, perfect bores, clean handling. The case colors shine through original varnish. Price? $400.00. I hemmed and hawed...$400.00 is ALOT for a lipstick covered pig. BUT... it's a really nice 20 ga. AMERICAN sxs in very unusual upland configuration in great condition, dating fom the early thirties. I have a twelve year old son who shot his first woodcock in October who needs a gun.....yeah..you guessed it..I bought it. Upon closer examination when I got home, I am even more impressed. Yes..the manufacturing is crude. File marks all over the place. Barrel soldering that looks like a bad plumbing job. BUT...where it counts, fit and finish is extraordinary. The breechface fit is amazing. Forend snaps on like a Mercedes door closing. Stock to lock plate fit is as good as any field grade L.C.Smith or Ithaca Nitro Special. It weighs 6.5 lb. It looks like a Lefever or an L.C. Smith. Case colors that would approach (but not equal) a nice 1893 Marlin rifle. I would challenge any modern gun company to produce an equivalent gun at a similar price level. I recently examined a modern 12 ga. "Marlin L.C.Smith". It made my pig look like a leopard. I am rambling I realize...but the end point is that I have a new respect for hardware store doubles. When new, these were eminently serviceable guns (Crescent New Empires anyway) that could withstand year upon year of abuse..as most did. Where else can you buy such a gun for $400.00? I am proud to give this lovely old piece of American shotgun history to my twelve year old for Christmas this year, and have no doubt that it will account for many Vermont Grouse and Woodcock for years to come!

December 4, 2007, 08:38 PM
I for one have never stated that Crescents were bad guns. They were very good " working guns" I have stated that they were common and inexpensive when question by someone who is convinced that granddads old shotgun has got to be valuable because its old.:)

December 5, 2007, 10:54 AM
From the little I've read, the New Empire may be one of the few Crescents that is somewhat collectible. John


"You have to use the standard model prices, but he's a tad low on the small bores. Your gun? will fall between $200 and $600, depending on condition ad originallity. . Cheers.. Bushrod" [from 2004. JT]

And from doublegun.com, although it is only an asking price...

"#4 410 sidexside double shotgun. "New Empire" model Crescent shotgun from Norwich, Conn. 26" blued barrels with 95% original bluing remaining. Full sidelock type frame with strong bright case-hardening. Double triggers. 14 3/8ths" LOP. Very good overall condition. One small oblique crack in splinter style fore-arm starting at knuckle, about 2" long. Checkered, grip cap. $950"

December 5, 2007, 05:13 PM
Thanks for the input johnbt! i think the $950.00 on the .410 New Empire a tad extreme...but who can fault a guy for fishing. I bought a "Lefever" Nitro Special in .410 two years ago for $375.00 and thought that price was high. Now I see them for $1200.00. The market has been distorted by the 410 frenzy...if it's a 410, it must be valuable. I will admit that the Nitro special is my favorite bird gun, but it is still a hardware store gun. Gone are the days when one could find great guns gathering dust in the back of gunshops because they were damascus barreled, or find nice hardware grade doubles for under $100.00. Ohhhh if I had been smarter in those days..but 20/20 hindsight is a disease in itself. Now I keep EVERY gun I buy. That way, when I kick off my wife can sell them for a fraction of their value and buy a new sofa. With luck and a little education, my son will save a few for himself!!!

December 5, 2007, 08:12 PM
I have an American arms.another Crescent brand.I believe Marlin bought them out.

December 5, 2007, 08:20 PM
I believe Marlin bought them out.

Actually it was Savage.

J F Cooper
December 7, 2007, 10:25 AM
The Crescent Firearms Company , had 5 or 6 Different model shotguns, of these models, there have been foun with over 100 different names found.. I believe that an order for 10 or more guns and payment for the roll die, would get you any mame you desired It seems to be the model that governs price, rather than th brand name,, From what you describe the $400 wqas a fair price..JFC