This 16g A.H. Fox A Grade is on Gunbroker.com now. The online auction listing ends this Sunday,10/2/2022, @ 8:26 PM.
This A-grade looks like it has lived its life as a go-to bird gun. While it’s in nice shape, it doesn’t have the color-case hardening and condition collectors want.
That’s great if you’re looking for a classic American bird gun. It will keep the price down on, and it will make you feel like you can take this shotgun into the field without worry.
To me, the A-grade has always been the sweet spot of A.H. Fox shotguns. Sterlingworths are a bit plain. The second-style engraving that sets it apart, plus a round-knob, half-pistol grip stock make it special.
“This FOX grade is a gun that the discriminating sportsman will appreciate as to price and workmanship. It is not a cheap gun, but a more than good gun at a reasonable figure, and can be built to your own specifications without extra charge. The material and fittings are of superior FOX class.” -from an A.H. Fox catalog
Serial Number: 301339 Year of Manufacture: Ca. 1921 Gauge: 16 Gauge, 2 9/16″ Shells
Weight: 5 lb., 13.4 oz. Finish Originality: Original
Action Type: Top Break Side by Side Box Lock Hammerless Shotgun with Extractor
Markings: The top of the right barrel is marked “CHROMOX FLUID COMPRESSED STEEL”, the top of the left “MADE BY A.H. FOX GUN Co. PHILA. PA. U.S.A.”. The barrel flat is marked “A”, “301339” and with a Fox proof. Each side of the receiver is marked “ANSLEY H. FOX” in banner and the receiver and trigger plate have Grade A scroll engraving. The water table is marked “301339” and “A” on the right. The bottom tang is marked “301339” as is the top of the forend iron.
Barrel Length: 28”, Choke: Left: Full, Right: Modified, Both Fixed
Sights / Optics: There is a silver-colored bead mounted to the front of the rib. The top of the rib is finely serrated to reduce glare.
Stock Configuration & Condition: The stocks are two-piece checkered walnut with splinter forend, round-bottom pistol grip, straight comb and ventilated orange rubber Jostham recoil pad. The stocks have some scattered light nicks, scuffs and scratches. The forend has a repaired chip-loss on the top edge on the left-rear with a filled loss below this. There are a few tiny losses around the front edges of the wrist. The checkering is well defined. The LOP measures approximately 14 1/4″ and 13 3/8″ from the fronts of the triggers to the back of the recoil pad, 13 3/8″ and 12 1/2″ to the back of the wood. The drop at comb is approximately 1 3/8″, drop at heel 2 1/2″. The pad is shows wear and discoloration, but is still fairly supple. The stocks rate in about Very Good condition as refinished.
Type of Finish: Blue & Case Color
Bore Condition: The bores are mostly bright. There is no erosion in the bore, but there is some stubborn fouling.
Overall Condition: This shotgun retains about 90% of its metal finish. The finish is thinning at most edges. The barrels’ finish is generally strong with a few light nicks and scuffs, most at the breech-end. The receiver’s case color has muting toward the bottom-front with stronger color toward the top-rear. The guard has light handling wear and some scattered minor surface oxidation. The action shows light operational wear. The screw heads range from sharp to tool marked with strong slots. The markings are clear. Overall, this shotgun is in Very Good condition.
Mechanics: The action functions correctly. The barrels lock up to the receiver with no play. The safety engages automatically when the action is opened. We have not fired this shotgun. As with all used firearms, a thorough cleaning may be necessary to meet your maintenance standards.
Box, Paperwork & Accessories: None
Our Assessment: Ansley Fox was one of the earliest American innovators with internal hammer double guns. In 1894, at the age of 19, he was issued a patent on a system of cocking the internal hammers of a break-action gun using leverage from the barrels with his design actually containing nineteen patentable features, according to the U.S. Patent office. Fox would continue on, making it his life’s work to produce “The finest gun in the world” (as well as the finest car in the world and a few other manufacturing ventures). He even gained the praise of Theodore Roosevelt who wrote to Mr. Fox in a letter “The double-barreled shotgun has come, and I really think it is the most beautiful gun I have ever seen. I am exceedingly proud of it. I am almost ashamed to take it to Africa and expose it to the rough usage it will receive. But now that I have it, I could not possibly make up my mind to leave it behind. I am extremely proud that I am to have such a beautiful bit of American workmanship with me”.
The A.H. Fox Gun Co. would continue producing shotguns of various grades and chambered for various gauges through the late 1920s, when they fell victim to the Great Depression and were acquired by Savage Arms. This example is a 16 gauge A Grade, produced in 1921, the heyday of A.H. Fox, during the Roaring ’20s when post-war America was booming and Fox guns were selling as well as ever. Today, A.H. Fox shotguns are quite collectible. As Fox’s reputation was built on quality, their success didn’t necessarily mean that a huge number of guns were made. For the dedicated Fox collector, this A Grade would make a great addition to a collection. Better still, with its good bores and tight lockup, this shotgun can still serve, more than 100 years later, to take down flesh or clay birds in style. Please see our photos and good luck!