I can be hard on American shotguns. Parkers, L.C. Smiths. Foxes, Lefevers, Ithacas –I’ve owned them all, and it’s not that I don’t think they’re decent doubles. It’s just that they’re WAY too expensive today.
Once you get over the sentimental thrill of owning an “Old Reliable”, you realize the prices for Parkers and other made-in-the-USA SxSs are more about nostalgia than quality. This 20 gauge Parker A-1 Special is a perfect example. While it sold for$253,000, this 20 gauge, $8.750 Francotte is a better gun.
All that being said, every now and then though I come across an American-made SxS that I see as being true to its heritage. This 12 gauge A.H. Fox Sterlingworth with ejectors is that kind of gun.
Sterlingworths were built to affordable, practical doubles appropriate for all kinds of shooting. And this gun is just that. At this price, it’s just what Fox wanted Sterlingworth to be: A ton of gun for the money (AKA a great deal).
Fox Sterlingworth 12 Gauge SXS Shotgun: With 28″ Barrels, Choked IC/Mod, Double Triggers, Auto Ejectors, Barrels 90% And Thinning, Receiver 20% Case Colors, Wood 60% With Handling Marks, 1927 Philadelphia Gun. Price: $895
I have mixed feeling about ejectors. Part of me appreciates them. Ejectors can satisfy. If you think of breaking a clay or downing a bird as a sentence, hitting your target is the verb and the shells kicking free of the chambers is the exclamation point.
But another part of me thinks ejectors just complicate things and eventually break. Some designs are unreliable, and a lot of them make it a pain to pull unshot shells from the chambers. On top of this, ejectors are absolutely unnecessary for all of shooting I, and most of us, do.
Back in the 19th century, ejectors were brand new. While not revolutionary, they were evolutionary and a sign of how the newest shotgun designs were adapting to the newest shooting craze: driven game.
In 1885, Westley Richards patented their Deeley ejectors (nine years after their Anson & Deeley hammerless shotgun). Self contained in a kind of box and complex, it was difficult to make. But it was also easy to install as a completed unit. This led many makers to buy finished ejectors units and install them on their own SxSs.
In this video, you can see just how complex Deeley ejectors are.
If you like the looks of it, get on it now. It’s online and the auction ends 9/15/13 19:05:0. Here are the spec from the seller:
A.H. Fox Sterlingworth, 20 ga. side by side shotgun. Serial #263097, mfg. 1929. Very good condition. Oh boy, oh boy, we have a Prom Queen here! Go get the crown! Beautiful and elegant 20 ga. Sterlingworth on the small frame with ejectors and CONDITION: 70% fading case colors and 95% blue on the barrels! Yee haw! Nice tight action. 28″ ribbed barrels. Bright bores. Choked M/F. Marked “Savage Arms Corp., Utica, N.Y. USA” on top of left barrel and “Sterlingworth Fluid Compressed Steel” on right top of barrel. Original stock has some hunting marks as expected. Hard buttplate. Ejectors work great! Double triggers. All original and gorgeous!
When it comes to American doubles, it’s hard to beat a A.H. Fox SxS. Simple and rugged, Foxes like this Fox AE Grade 12 Gauge used to be the shotgun of choice for thousands of hunters. Today, they’re just as useful. If you’re looking for a nice vintage double to use and be proud of, this could be it.
Here’s more about it from the seller:
Ansley H. Fox A Grade 12 Gauge With Ejectors: This hard to find A grade has factory ejectors. The case color is still strong for the age of the shotgun. Someone has added a pad to the gun but it is still quite nice. The lever is past center. 2 3/4″ chambers, 30″ bbls, Full 7 Full. 13 3/4″ LOP from front trigger to Jostam pad, 7 1/2lbs. Price: $2,099.99
Fox Sterlingworths are easy to find. That’s because A.H. Fox made a ton of them. Even the small bores — the 16 gauges and the 20 gauges — are pretty common.
Regardless of the gauge, most of the Sterlies you see out there are similar – pistol grips, non-ejectors, 26″ or 28″ barrels. So once you throw in ejectors and squeeze the barrels out to 30″, you’re dealing with a Sterlingworth that’s much harder to find–especially in 16 gauge.
Fox Sterlingworth 16E gauge S/S : 1933 ejector Fox 16 with open chokes, clean bores, tight action, some color & re-blacked barrelsLOP: 13-3/4″ Drop: 2-1/4″ – 1-1/4″ Cast: 0″: Barrel length: 30″ 2-3/4″ chambers, chokes – R)663-007, L)664-007, Choke: IC/IC Weight: 6lb14oz. A good shooter ready for the field! Price: $1,695.00.