Rare gun alert: 16g A.H. Fox SPE Skeet and Upland Game Gun …

16 Gauge Fox Special SPE SXS
16 Gauge Fox Special SPE SXS

Here’s one of the rarest American SxSs you’ll see. It’s a 16g A.H. Fox SPE, Skeet and Upland Game.  Introduced in 1932, the SPs (SPecials) were designed to be streamlined versions of regular Fox shotguns. They came in two models: standards ones that were unengraved and had pistol grips and Skeet & Upland Game Guns like you see here, which had a straight grip, a beavertail forend, and a bit of scroll engraving on the action. Both models came with ejectors or without ejectors (SPE or SP).

From an A.H. Fox catalog, 1935
From an A.H. Fox catalog, 1935

From 1935 catalog: SP Grade Skeet and Upland Game Gun 12, 16, 20 gauge

“The Fox SP Grade Skeet and Upland Game Gun is an arm with black gun-metal finish frame, handsomely engraved; imported walnut stock and forend with fine mesh checkering. The length and boring of barrels are correct for use on quail, partridge, woodcock, and other upland game birds at ranges up to 35 yards. These specifications are also correct for skeet shooting.”

16 Gauge Fox Special SPE SXS
16 Gauge Fox Special SPE SXS

16 Gauge Fox Special SPE SXS: Extremely rare Fox 16 gauge SPE. I am told only about 48 SPE Foxes were made in 16 gauge. This gun SN 303359 has 26″ barrels with very good original blue and excellent bores. There is one minor ding on the left barrel near the muzzle. Straight grip stock with a 14 1/8″ LOP to the end of a worn leather covered pad. This Fox weighs 6.48 lbs on my digital scale with a DAC of 1 5/8″ and a DAH of 2 3/4″. The single trigger and BTF ejectors all function properly. This is a very nice gun. Price: $6500 

Extremely rare Fox 16 gauge SPE.
Extremely rare Fox 16 gauge SPE.
Copy of the order tag for an extremely rare Fox 16 gauge SPE.
Copy of the order tag for an extremely rare Fox 16 gauge SPE.

Is this 16 gauge really an A.H. Fox?

A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun
A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun

Take a close at this double. What do you think — Fox or not a Fox? The answer’s  “all Fox, absolutely.”

This shotgun is an A.H. Fox SP grade. Introduced in 1932, SPs (SPecials) were designed streamlined versions of regular Fox shotguns. While they look a lot like a Winchester M21 on the outside, their mechanics are the same as every other Fox shotgun.

Fox SPs came in two models: standards like the one shown here and the Skeet & Upland Game Gun, which had a straight grip, a beavertail forend, and a bit of scroll engraving on the action. Both models came with or without ejectors (SPE or SP).

Fox SP Grade, from a 1938 A.H. Fox shotgun catalog
Fox SP Grade, from a 1938 A.H. Fox shotgun catalog

I’m not sure how many 16 gauge SP Fox made, but it’s safe to say the numbers are low.

A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun: This is a very nice example of the rare SP grade Fox. 26″ barrels and chokes I believe to be imp/mod. Double triggers with automatic safety. LOP: 14″ DAC: 1 1/2″ DAH: 2 5/8″. Very shootable dimensions. The gun weighs 6 lbs 2 oz. The barrels are uncut and there is a mid bead also. The barrels are on the face and the gun locks up tight. The wood to metal fit is still rigid and there are no cracks. The checkering is in fine shape. The screws have not been buggered. The widows-peak buttplate is excellent with no cracks or chips. The wood does have some stains and small dents. The wood finish is mostly intact. This shotgun appears to have been carried more than shot. The bores are bright and shiny. There is some carry wear in the receiver bluing on the upper and lower tangs, safety, top lever. The serial number is 303436. All the serial numbers match. The barrels appear to have an old reblue which I compared to another all original high condition Fox of the 1930s. They match perfectly in color and tone. (if Julia’s Fall 2017 auction results are a market indication, this shouldn’t be much of a detractor. Several of their American doubles had been partially or completely refinished and still brought prices in line with original finish guns.) This small frame 16 gauge is a delight to carry and swing. It would make a great upland bird gun suitable for Bobwhites up to Ringnecks. These SP Foxes (Utica Savage) do not come up for sale often. The time to buy one is when you see it. Price: $3,850

A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun
A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun

A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun

A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun
A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun
A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun
A.H. Fox SP (Special) Grade 16 gauge SxS Shotgun

Good gun alert: Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game…

 

A.H. Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS Shotgun
A.H. Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS Shotgun

The A.H. Fox Sterlingworth is about as basic a shotgun as you’ll find. Introduced in 1910, Sterlingworths were great deals in their day. Hunters recognized this and bought thousands of them.

Fox added the Skeet and Upland Game Gun to the Sterlingworth lineup in 1935. it was designed to “…meet the demand for a moderately priced skeet and upland game double gun”.  Skeet was new then, having been invented in 1920 by a grouse hunter from Andover, MA. The game boomed and by the ’1930s, makers offered shotguns tailored for the sport.

 

A.H. Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS Shotgun
A.H. Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS Shotgun

A.H. Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS ShotgunVery nice scare Fox Upland Skeet model Sterlingworth Utica, NY manufacture. 12 bore with .005 & .012 chokes in the original 26″ barrels. Bright shiny bores. 2 3/4″ chambers. Solid rib with ivory front and center bead. Extractor & double triggers. Case color in the protected areas with the balance of the receiver faded bright.  Very nice original straight grip buttstock and semi-beavertail forend. Good checking and finish and less than normal nicks and dings. 14 1/4″ LOP 1 1/2″ DAC and 2 1/8″ DAH. Lever falls to the center and has a tight lock up and is on the face. Excellent original blue on the barrels and trigger guard showing only a few scattered freckles. Matching numbers. An excellent scarce Fox for the shooter or collector. Price: $2,350

A.H. Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS Shotgun
A.H. Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS Shotgun

Scarce: A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game…

Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS
Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS

I bet we would have liked Charles Davis. A dog breeder and grouse hunter, Mr Davis created “Shooting Around the Clock” back in 1920s to improve his shotgun skills and kill time between hunting seasons. By the ’30s, this game had evolved into Skeet and become the hottest shooting sport in the country. It had also become a sales opportunity many gunmakers were aiming to take advantage of.

The Sterlingworth Skeet and Upland Game Gun, was the SxS the A.H. Fox Co. made to target this new market. This model debut in company’s 1935 catalog. Here’s some info about these shotguns from the AH Fox Collectors Association website:

Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS
Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxS

To meet the demand for a moderately priced skeet and upland game double gun we have produced the famous Fox-Sterlingworth gun in this new straight grip model with 26″ barrels bored: right skeet, cylinder, left quarter choke. This is a standard stock model possessing the features of skeet boring and stock design heretofore available only in custom-built guns

  • Barrels– Fluid compressed steel, 26″ length bored right skeet cylinder and left quarter choke
  • Action– Two trigger, extractor type
  • Stock– American walnut straight grip, length 14″, drop at comb 1 1/2″, drop at heel 2 1/2″
  • Engraving– Ornamented with line engraving on frame and guard
  • Weight– 12 gauge about 7 lbs, 16 gauge about 6 lbs, 20 gauge about 5 3/4 lbs

The following extras are furnished to order: Automatic ejectors, Fox-Kautzky Selective single trigger, Beavertail forend, recoil pad, Ivory sights

Of course, the one you see here is for sale. Here’s the listing for it from Gunsinternational.com:

Fox Skeet and Upland Game 12 bore SxSVery nice, scare Fox Upland Skeet model Sterlingworth Utica, NY manufacture. 12 bore with .005 & .012 chokes in the original 26″ barrels. Bright shiny bores. 2 3/4″ chambers. Solid rib with ivory front and center bead. Extractor & double triggers. Case color in the protected areas with the balance of the receiver faded bright.  Very nice original straight grip butt stock and semi beavertail for end. Good checking and finish and less than normal nicks and dings. 14 1/4″ LOP 1 1/2″ DAC and 2 1/8″ DAH. Lever falls to the center and has a tight lock up and is on face. Excellent original blue on the barrels and trigger guard showing only a few scattered freckles.
?matching numbers.  An excellent scarce Fox for the shooter or collector. Price: $2,350

If this 20g A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS is legit, it’s a steal …

A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4", Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4″, Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?

I’m not sure what we’re seeing here. Is this a rare, 20 gauge A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game gun? Or is it just regular 20g Sterlingworth someone has messed with?

This gun is serial number — 270421 — which puts it around 1938. That’s near the end of the line for A.H. Fox, and three years into the period when the company was building their straight-gripped, high-stocked Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game guns. So there’s a chance this is one of those guns. If that’s the case, it’s a great deal.

A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4", Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4″, Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?

But here’s the thing: The stocks on Sterly S&UGs didn’t have the checkered sidepanels — or at least none of the ones I’ve seen, and the none ones Fox advertised in their literature,  had stocks with checkered sidepanels. That detail was reserved for Foxes in B-grade and up.

So did the person who ordered this gun also ask for the panels? Did a stocker at the company add them as a way to kill the last few hours of a work week? Or was the stock a leftover intended for a higher-grade gun, and since A.H. Fox was nearing its end, the company  wanted to use it up?

Of course, the other possible answers to this riddle are a restock — maybe by Savage at a later date or by someone else — or maybe even little custom work to the wood after the gun after it was delivered (I doubt this, though). But even if one of those are the case, this side-by-side is still a nice little double.

Fox Sterlingworth 20GA. NICE! Straight Stock!

A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4", Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4″, Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?

Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4″
Action tight Bluing 85%. Case color 12%
Desirable 26” barrels
Straight Stock! Wood shows handling wear. Has recoil pad installed
Acouple shallow dings in the barrels from over the years
LOP – 15 1/8 DAC – 1 1/4” DAH – 2 3/8”
Great light weight gun weighing in at 6lbs 2oz
Middle barrel bead, double triggers, extractors, box lock

Price: $1,850

A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4", Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4″, Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4", Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth SxS 20ga 2 3/4″, Straight Stock, Skeet & Upland Game?

Good gun alert: a 12g Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game gun…

12g Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game gun
12g Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game gun

Like the Federal Income Tax, skeet is one of those things I assume has always been around. Of course, that’s not true. Skeet was invented in 1920 by Charles Davis, a grouse hunter from Andover, MA (I can’t imagine grouse in Andover, MA).  In 1926, William Harnden Foster introduced the sport to America in the February issue of National Sportsman and Hunting and Fishing magazine. The game took off, and by the ’30s makers  offers shotguns tailored for the sport.

12g Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game gun
12g Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game gun

To meet this demand, Fox introduced the Skeet & Upland Game Gun in 1935 to “…meet the demand for a moderately priced skeet and upland game double gun”. The double you see here is one of those guns. It’s on Gunbroker.com and the listing ends on  2/8/2014 2:10:29 PM ET

Fox Sterlingworth Skeet and Upland  Game: Straight grip and 26″ barrels choked skeet and modified. Barrels are in great condition with no dents or dings. Bores are bright and shiney and I would rate the bluing at 98%. Action locks up tight and lever is right of center. Stock has hairline crack in head (shown in picture) that could be repaired easily. Finish is nice and looks original with a few light scratches and handling marks. Gun weighs 6 lbs. 9 oz., Stock dimensions are 14 1/4″ LOP, 1 1/2″ DAC, 2 1/2″ DAH.

UPDATE: I just heard there’s some question about this gun being a true Skeet & Upland Game model. Before writing the check, you may want to verify the serial number through the Fox Collector’s Association.

12g Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game gun
12g Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game gun

Good gun alert: 12 gauge Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland game…

12 gauge Savage - Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Savage – Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game Double Barrel Shotgun

Here’s another 12 gauge Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game that just hit the market.  Fox added the Skeet & Upland Game Gun to their line in 1935 to “…meet the demand for a moderately priced skeet and upland game double gun”. They were offered in 12, 16 & 20 gauge, and with 26″ & 28″ barrels.

This was delivered in 1935, so it’s one of the first Skeet & Upland Game Guns that Fox/Savage Arms made. It looks pretty used, and the price seems high. But I bet it will be done in a few days.  Guys really want these doubles, and there aren’t that many of them out there.

Here are the details on it from the seller:

12 gauge Savage - Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Savage – Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game Double Barrel Shotgun

FOX STERLINGWORTH RARE SKEET AND UPLAND GAME 12GA:  26″ SKEET AMD 1/4 CHOKE, STRAIGHT GRIP. THIS GUN MODEL WAS ONLY MADE 1935 – 1945. THIS ONE WAS MADE IN 1935. 95+% BARREL BLUE WITH SOME FRECKLING, TRACES OF CASE IN PROTECTED AREAS, TIGHT ACTION WITH LEVER TO THE RIGHT, EXC. BORES, NICE WOOD SHOWING SOME HUNTING USE, RARE STERLINGWORTH WITH LETTER. Price: $3,250.00

12 gauge Savage - Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game Double Barrel Shotgun
12 gauge Savage – Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game Double Barrel Shotgun

Auction Alert–20g Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland game…

Of all the guns A.H. Fox made the Sterlingworth Skeet and Upland Game is one of the hardest to find. For collectors, finding a Skeet & Upland Game double barrel shotgun is quite a discovery.

A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game, 20g, double barrel, side-by-side shotgun
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game, 20g, double barrel, side-by-side shotgun

Well, one in 20 gauge is coming up to auction tomorrow, 4/2, at Wright’s Auction in Newport, VT. I don’t know much about the gun, but it looks solid and clean. All the pics I have of the gun are below. I’m not sure how original the gun is, though. It’s hard to tell from the pics, but the blueing looks too good and the wood awfully clean. The same auction also has a 20 gauge RBL and some Winchesters.

Introduced in 1935, the Skeet & Upland Game was basically a lightweight, straight-gripped version of the regular Sterlingworth. It was offered in 12g, 16g, and 20, and all gauges had open choked, 26″ barrels. The guns also had pretty high stock dimensions, which makes them especially nice for shooters (unlike most Sterlingworths).

If you like Winchsester M21, be sure to check out the upcoming sale at South Bay Auction in East Moriches, L.I., NY. They have  Winchester M21 Skeet gun in20 gauge coming up on Saturday, April 9th. There are also some nice decoys there, all well as some nice antiques and sporting art.

More pics of the A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game:

A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game, 20g, double barrel, side-by-side shotgun
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game, 20g, double barrel, side-by-side shotgun

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game, 20g, double barrel, side-by-side shotgun
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game, 20g, double barrel, side-by-side shotgun
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game, 20g, double barrel, side-by-side shotgun

Good Gun Alert-Foxes 20g SP, 12g Skeet & Upland Game & more…

Rock Island Auctions
Rock Island Auctions

Rock Island Auctions has a few rare A.H. Fox double barrel shotguns coming up at their regional auction this weekend.

One is this 20 gauge SP. A.H. Fox made introduced the SP grade in 1935. You can read all about them here.

This 12 gauge Skeet & Upland Game is the other rare Fox. This is another grade that A.H. Fox introduced in 1935. You can read more about it here.

There are also a bunch of Sterlingworths at this auction, like this 20 gauge and this one in 16. There’s also this real clean looking 16 gauge in A grade.

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