As I’ve said before, the Fox Sterlingworth is the gateway drug for a lot of people who become addicted to vintage shotguns. These side-by-sides were rugged, reliable, and great deals when they were introduced and they still are today — especially when they’re in this kind of condition.
Even though there are lots of 12g Sterlingworths on the market today, few of them are as nice, or as unique, as the one you see here.
This is a 12-gauge Fox Sterlingworth Deluxe Brush with automatic ejectors and it appears to be in excellent original condition.
Back in the day, standard Sterlingworths came in four models: Trap (32″ bbls), Standard (30″ bbls), Field (28″ bbls) and Brush (26″ bbs). “Brush” guns were the lightest Sterlingworths available and they came standard with the most open chokes (Cylinder & Mod). I’ve always thought of them as the perfect Sterlingworths for upland hunting, especially if you’re into grouse and woodcock.
In addition, because this one is a “Deluxe” model Sterlingworth, this gun came with twin ivory beads and an original pad. Automatic ejectors were added as another feature.
More info about this one from the seller: My personal benchmark gun. Decided after it being in the safe for several years that someone else needs to own it. Will start it out here for a week and see what happens. Specs are 26″ barrels choked .013 and .020 and bores of .729 per my Skeets, and 2 3/4″ chambers and ejectors. LOP to end of wood 13 1/4″. To end of Antiflinch Pad 14 1/4″. DAC 1 5/8″, DAH 2 7/8″. Weight and this is downright lovely is 6 lb 9 oz. A 12 bore made for bird hunting as they say. Serial Number. is 122114. Call this my benchmark gun because the case colors are just about mint. Slight fading on the underside, but they are all there. Blueing is 100 percent except for some small spot right around the top rib where Dan Rossiter from Custom Stocks and Steel, believed there may have been a bit oil or whatever missed when the factory did the barrels. Gun has been apart one time and that was by Dan when he checked the internals. He added the Antiflinch pad (forgot what was on it). Bought this at a small in Va from a collector. Gun’s bores were covered in cosmoline and per the house the gun had not been fired for over 50 years (who knows). Wasn’t fired much if at all. Some flaking on the finish in spots. I’ve done nothing to the gun and its time to move it on. Serial Number: 122114, Barrel Length: 26″, Chambers: 2 3/4″, Ejectors: Yes, Condition: Excellent, Metal Condition: Excellent, Wood Condition: Small bit of flaking, Bore Condition: Mint, Gauge: 12, Butt Pad: Jostam Anti flinch, Weight: 6 lb 9 oz, Choke Left: Mod, Choke Right: IC. PS. This is a Savage marked gun with all the best Philly Fox features. Also had twin Ivory beads (front and rear).
Francotte 20E 20 Gauge – 1950, 99% CASE COLOR, MINTY!, vintage firearms inc: General Specs: Francotte, Year 1950, 20 gauge, 5lbs 12oz, IC/M, LOP 14 7/16″, DAH 2 3/8″, DAC 1 1/2″, Serial Number: 89933. Auguste Francotte is world famous as a high-quality firearms maker from the gun making center of Leige, Belgium dating back as far as 1805. Still making fine shotguns with price tags starting at $18,000, Francotte is a brand recognized and used by heads of state, business tycoons, and in some cases, the fortunate “Average Joe”. Search long and hard, you will not find another Auguste Francotte like this one. First, this is the Model 20E, one of the higher grades A. Francotte offered in the boxlock ejector format and it has the sideplated action allowing for beautiful scroll engraving. Second, the gun is 70 years old and RETAINS 99% OF THE FACTORY FINISH, INCLUDING ALL OF THE BOLD, VIVID, ORIGINAL BONE AND CHARCOAL CASE COLORS. I HAVE NEVER SEEN A HIGHER CONDITION FRANCOTTE 20E! Francotte guns are nicely built side by sides with a solid reputation for graceful looks and handling characteristics as well as rock solid dependability. This fine Francotte, sn89933 built in 1950, has seen little use. Beautifully hand engraved with FINE SCROLL ENGRAVING AND FOLIATE SCROLL BREECH BALLS, this is a very high-end side by side. The wood is nicely figured European walnut showing lots of fiddleback figure and rich dark streaking, with most of the factory finish still there and the factory 28LPI hand-cut checkering in excellent condition. There are field use marks in the buttstock wood, but all are superficial and there are no cracks or gouges in the wood. We can restore the wood for you if you wish in a short period of time for an added cost; just ask about this in-house service we provide. The gun weighs in at an ultra-light 5 3/4lbs. with its 26” Siemens Martin fluid steel barrels that are choked IC/M and have mirror perfect bores. It is a very dynamic shotgun with the balance point on the hinge pin. With the Prince of Wales style stock, it is lightning fast to the shoulder and puts a smile on your face when you handle her. The gun is mechanically excellent with strong, well timed ejectors, barrels tight on the hinge pin and breech face like a new gun, perfect screws, crisp triggers…all in perfect working order and in need of no work at all. THERE ARE 5 LOCKING POINTS ON THIS FRANCOTTE; A HIDDEN GREENER CROSS BOLT AT THE TOP RIB, DOUBLE UNDERLUG LOCKING BOLTS, SIDECLIPS, AND A THROUGH RECEIVER BARREL LUG, making sure the barrels are locked to the breech face laterally and vertically. It just doesn’t get any better than that! What a great gun for your upland pursuits, especially for the grouse and woodcock coverts and hunting over fine dogs. She will represent well at the vintage sporting events too. Francotte built some of the highest quality guns ever made and they are surprisingly affordable as this gun demonstrates. Thanks for looking! Price:$8,950
Beretta – SO4 – 30″ m / f – quality sidelock OU – completely refurbished: 12ga, 2-3/4″, 29-1/2″ M / F (.724 – .030 / .039) – Hand Filed Vent Rib, Ejectors, Single Non-Selective Trigger, LOP 14-7/8″, Drop 1-1/2 to 1-3/4″, Neutral Cast, Weight 8 lbs 4 oz. Completely refurbished gun, and used little – if any – since. Bores are perfect, and at factory original specs. This gun was reproofed in 1993, and possibly refurbished at that time. The gun is ready to shoot, but you can detect slight movement in the barrels. Price:$3950
A. H. Fox/Savage Sterlingworth Deluxe Brush Model: My personal benchmark gun. Decided after it being in the safe for several years that someone else needs to own it. Will start it out here for a week and see what happens. Specs are 26″ barrels choked .013 and .020 and bores of .729 per my Skeets, and 2 3/4″ chambers and ejectors. LOP to end of wood 13 1/4″. To end of Antiflinch Pad 14 1/4″. DAC 1 5/8″, DAH 2 7/8″. Weight and this is downright lovely is 6 lb 9 oz. A 12 bore made for bird hunting as they say. Serial Number. is 122114. Call this my benchmark gun because the case colors are just about mint. Slight fading on the underside, but they are all there. Blueing is 100 percent except for some small spot right around the top rib where Dan Rossiter from Custom Stocks and Steel, believed there may have been a bit oil or whatever missed when the factory did the barrels. Gun has been apart one time and that was by Dan when he checked the internals. He added the Antiflinch pad (forgot what was on it). Bought this at a small in Va from a collector. Gun’s bores were covered in cosmoline and per the house the gun had not been fired for over 50 years (who knows). Wasn’t fired much if at all. Some flaking on the finish in spots. I’ve done nothing to the gun and its time to move it on. Pictures when the sun comes up. Serial Number: 122114, Barrel Length: 26″, Chambers: 2 3/4″, Ejectors: Yes, Condition: Excellent, Metal Condition: Excellent, Wood Condition: Small bit of flaking, Bore Condition: Mint, Triggers: 2, Gauge: 12, Butt Pad: Jostam Anti flinch, Weight: 6 lb 9 oz, Choke Left: Mod, Choke Right: IC. PS. This is a Savage marked gun with all the best Philly Fox features. Also had twin Ivory beads (front and rear). Price:$1,950
The gun you see here is one of the legends of American gunmaking. The FE was Fox’s finest shotgun. Few of them were built, and just six of those were twenty gauges. Morphy Auctions sold it this spring for $159,900 ($130,000+ buyer’s premium)!
Brand new in 1939, a twenty-gauge FE cost $525 — about the same as a Parker AHE and half what Abercrombie & Fitch wanted for a new Purdey. A Fox Sterlingworth with ejectors cost $57.75.
Several of the other FE Grade 20 bore guns are known to collectors and this gun, previously rumored but not before offered publicly, has recently surfaced in Colorado where its current owner consigned it with our firm. The gun was made with #3 weight 28″ Chromox barrels which have a low profile raised ventilated matted rib with twin ivory beads. Barrels with chain border at muzzles and hand engraved “CHROMOX FLUID STEEL” / SAVAGE ARMS CORP., UTICA, N.Y. U.S.A.” on tops. Barrels also engraved with 2 – 3/4″ wedge of engraving at breech ends with gold lightning bolts – the signature on a FE Grade Fox! Made with beavertail forend which is finely checkered in point and tear drop pattern and also carved in fleur-de-lis towards action. The case hardened Deeley release is fully engraved as is forend iron, which is also hand engraved with serial number and simple scroll on the inside. Action is full coverage engraved, signed by W.H. Gough twice, once in front of the nickel plated trigger “ENG. BY W.H.G.” and once on the right side of the action on top of the game scene “Gough”.
Action with gold inlaid stars on hinge pin, gold inlaid setter on right, pointer on left, all surrounded by perfectly executed shaded floral scroll. Top lever and top tang are fully engraved and “SAFE” in gold in front of engraved safety button. One large quail and five chicks are found on the bottom ahead of the trigger plate in game scene. Trigger plate is fully engraved in floral scroll pattern. Trigger guard is fully engraved in floral scroll and gold inlaid “E.A. GRIM MD” on bow and serial number in gold on tang. Beautifully figured fiddleback European Walnut buttstock is of capped pistol grip configuration and terminates with its original skeleton buttplate which is case hardened and fully engraved. The butt is beautifully checkered in fleur-de-lis through the wrist with ribbands and checkered side panels with fleur-de-lis pattern. Housed in a beautiful Huey oak and leather case no. 194 made for this gun. Made with single selective trigger, auto ejectors and auto safety. According to the factory records, this gun was ordered new by Dr. E.A. Grim in the exact same configuration and nearly exact same condition as today.
The gun was special ordered with the skeleton buttplate, large forend, ventilated rib, gold name on trigger guard single trigger, and two ivory beads. Of note, the gun was requested to be proofed with black powder loads for 2 – 3/4″ chambers – a very late black powder proofing! According to our consignor, Dr. Grim died before taking possession of the gun. His widow then gave the gun to his physician partner who had it until the time of his passing in the 1970s. From there the gun was sold to a private collector in Colorado until being consigned to our firm earlier this year. CONDITION: Extremely fine and near mint. It would be hard to imagine a gun of this age and quality remaining in a finer state of preservation than this gun. It retains virtually all of its bold original barrel blue and case colors with almost no sign of any wear at all. The gun appears to have been test fired only with only the very faintest of shell ring on the right side of the standing breech. There are a couple of very minor handling marks and impressions in the stock but it is overall near mint. The case is very good with some rubs and scratches in the leather and outer straps are missing. Simply put, when it comes to Fox shotguns, truly there are none finer than this offering. This gun is suited for the most discriminating buyer of sporting arms and is a treasure in American Gun collecting and American Gun Art at its highest form. JSL Accessories: Case Barrel Length: 28″ Barrel Wall Thickness: (L) .023 (R) .026 Chamber: 2 – 3/4″ Choke: (L) .014 (R) .028 Drop at Comb: 1 – 11/16″ Drop at Heel: 3″ FFL Status: Curio & Relic Gauge: 20 Bore Internal Bore Diameter: (BOTH) .625 Length of Pull: 13 – 1/2″ From rear position single selective trigger Manufacturer: A.H. Fox Model: FE Grade SxS Serial Number: 203760 Weight: 6 lbs 6 oz. SOLD FOR: $159,900
For as long as I can remember, the Fox Sterlingworth has been the go-to shotgun for bird hunters looking to jump into the world of vintage American side-by-sides.
Typically, these guns cost less than comparable Parkers and weigh less than comparable L.C. Smiths and Ithacas.
The Sterlingworth is also a great looking gun built on a solid, dependable design. In its day, it was marketed as “… a plain, staunch, trustworthy gun, at a reasonable price, that will make good all the time and under all conditions.” That’s still true now.
This one’s on Gunbroker.com now. It looks like a good, honest gun that has seen plenty of field use and been well taken care of its entire life. The online auction for it ends 5/31/2020 @ 8:08 PM.
FOX STERLINGWORTH by SAVAGE 16 Gauge Side by Side Shotgun: This auction features the pictured 16 Gauge Fox Sterlingworth Shotgun built while under Savage ownership. This gun has 28-inch barrels choked Full and Modified. The length of pull measures 14 and 1/8 inches. The bores are bright and shiny. The front bead will be replaced before the gun is shipped.
Stone walls. Grown-over apple orchards. English setters.
If you’re a sucker for all the trappings of traditional grouse hunting, you’ll probably like the classic American shotguns posted here.
I’ve called the Fox Sterlingworth the gateway drug of doubles. It has been the first side-by-side for a lot of guys (including me), and it has initiated a passion that has taken over many a life.
This Sterlingworth caught my eye because it’s a 20g with 28″ and super shootable stock dimensions. It’s also priced very fairly.
Savage Arms Co. Sterlingworth, 20 Gauge Game Gun: Price: $1,499.99
Chambers: 2 3/4
Metal Condition: Very Good
Wood Condition: Very Good
Bore Condition: Very Good
Barrels: 28″ Blued Steel with Tapered Concave Rib
Triggers: Double Triggers with Extractors
Stock: Checkered Walnut Pistol Grip Butt Stock
DAC: 1 3/8″, DAH: 2 3/8″, Cast off: 1/8″, 14″
Fore End: Checkered Walnut Splinter Style
Butt Pad: Synthetic Butt Plate
Weight: 6 lbs. 2 ozs.
Sights: Single Bead
Chokes: Fixed: Full & Modified
Ithaca was one America’s most successful gunmakers, and NID was the final incarnation of their SxSs. These guns are basic and tough– like old-school F150s with crank windows and bench seats. This 16g NID is on Gunbroker.com now, and the listing ends tomorrow, 12/23, @ 8:26:50 AM ET.
Ithaca NID Star Model 16 GA: Up for sale we have a beautiful NID 16 guage, 28″barrels choked M/F, all serial numbers match. This gun was made in 1929, 2 3/4″ chambers and shoots well, the gun is very solid and locks up tight. There is one deep scratch on the forearm, other then that the wood is really nice. The barrels and bores are excellent.
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.
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 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
Here’s a tough shotgun to find, not because of its gauge or grade, but because of its condition. Twenty-gauge Fox Serlingworths are easy to track down. But how often do you see one that’s almost new?
A.H. Fox introduced Sterlingworths in 1910 and made them until 1946. Sterlingworths were the lowest-grade, least expensive double the company offered, and even though they were far from the cheapest side-by-sides on the American market, they were incredible deals. Hunters and shooters realized this, bought up thousands of them, and made the Sterlingworth Fox’s most successful model.
This Sterlingworth is a later gun, with the cyanide-applied case colors on the action and canoe-paddle stock typical of models in A.H. Fox’s later Savage era. The Savage Arms Co. bought A.H. Fox in November of 1929, and they went on to make changes to the Sterlingworths as a way to cut production costs.
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!
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.
Twelve-gauge Fox Sterlingworths are one of the most popular American side-by-side shotguns ever made. The A.H Fox Company started making them in 1910 and by the time Savage Arms ended the line around 1942, over 110,000 Sterlingworths in 12g had been turned out. So today, good ones, and even ones with a lot of original condition, are pretty easy to find.
Here’s some info on the gun from the auctioneer’s website:
Lot 127. A. H. Fox Sterlingworth Double Shotgun With Original Hanging Tags
Serial #66328, 12 ga., 28″ barrels choked light modified and improved modified with bright bores showing some small dents in each near the muzzle area. The barrels retain 90% original blue showing various small scratches and some silvering of the muzzles and edges of the top rib and having a dent in the left barrel five inches back from the muzzle and a couple of tiny dents in the right barrel a few inches back from the muzzle as well. The frame exhibits 20% case colors with scattered areas of surface oxidation and showing wear on both sides and around the bottom.
The top lever and triggerguard are turning silver with remnants of blue on the bottom of the bow. The pistolgrip stock and splinter forearm rate good to very good showing dings and scratches over a mottled and thinning varnish and having slightly worn and soiled checkering. The stock has a hard rubber grip cap and the original grooved buttplate providing a length of 14 1/8″. The gun features double triggers, extractors, and automatic safety. There are two hanging tags, one with the shot charge and guarantee numbered to the gun and a second which is a certificate of proof. This is an original Philadelphia gun in good working condition and having the original hanging tags is very rare indeed. ($800/1200)
Here’s a side-by-side you don’t see every day. It’s a 20 gauge A.H. Fox CE double barrel shotgun and it’s being auctioned off at Little John’s on Wednesday, May 23. The C grade was Fox’s mid-grade gun. From one of their catalogs: “This is the grade that has made good everywhere. In every respect it is a high grade. It’s beauty in looks and finish. No gun will stand up better to hard work. Its every detail is perfect. And at the price it is in a class absolutely by itself.”
Fox introduced 16 & 20 gauge guns around 1911-1912 and the company called their new smallbores “The most perfectly proportioned small-gauge gun ever built.” A lot of Fox collectors would agree with this statement, and because Fox made so few graded 20 gauges, this CE is sure to attract a ton of interest. Add in it’s condition and the presence of the original hang tag and this side-by-side could each go for $10,000+.