The Lore of the American Hardware Store Shotgun

The American Hardware Store Shotgun holds a unique position at the intersection of history, culture, and law in the United States. It’s a symbol of self-reliance, a tool for self-defense, and an artifact of America’s rural and frontier heritage. This article will explore the story of the ubiquitous American hardware store shotgun, tracing its history, significance, and future outlook.

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Top 5 American Vintage Shotguns to Collect

The story of American shotguns starts in the colonial era, with the flintlock fowling pieces used by settlers for hunting and home defense. As technology advanced, so too did the design of shotguns. The mid-19th century saw the introduction of the modern shotgun with the advent of breech-loading mechanisms and later the invention of the pump-action shotgun by Christopher Spencer in 1882. These innovations made shotguns easier to load, shoot, and maintain, leading to their widespread use in hunting, sport, and law enforcement.

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The Legacy of Hunter Arms Shotguns

In the late 19th century, the small town of Fulton, New York, became the birthplace of Hunter Arms Company. Created by a pair of ambitious individuals, John and Andrew Hunter, the company started its operation in a modest foundry. The brothers’ vision was to craft a line of shotguns that would be unrivaled in quality and craftsmanship, making the name “Hunter Arms” synonymous with excellence in the field of firearm manufacturing.

By the late 1930s Hunter Arms’ survival was in question. It filed for bankruptcy as World War II was coming to an end. The business was subsequently sold to Marlin Firearms in 1945, and management ran it as the L. C. Smith Gun Company. By 1950 the Fulton plant was closed and the L.C. Smith Gun Company was fully integrated into the Marlin factory in Connecticut.

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