Fox 20 A forearm question

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Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby quail4jake » Sat Aug 07, 2021 12:53 pm

Hi All,
I recently acquired this 20 bore A from VFI and would like anyone who has knowledge of this type of gun to please chime in; the issue is the forearm which appears more Sterlingworth like based on its checkering pattern and latch. There is also a strange escutcheon which appears to have been filed, this a non ejector gun.
I had the pleasure of chatting with Daryl Corona, Rich Anderson and Mike Smith after the recent Rock Mountain event and this gun was a subject of scrutiny and discussion but none of us could figure out the different forearm. Here's what we know (thanks, Daryl!): mfg Aug. 1914, 28" 3 weight barrels choked M/F, 6lb, LOP 14 1/8", A grade. From VFI: bores R .616 L .617, chokes R .002 L .012. It patterns Skeet and IC. The chambers are bored to 2 3/4" and cones extended, I had the stock extension and pad fitted to bring the LOP out to 14 3/4", DAH 2 3/4", DAC 1 1/2", no cast (extension removable). All serial numbers match.
I can shoot it well and am thinking about a re stock to my dimensions keeping factory appearance....soooo...the question is: is this the original forearm or is there a known length, style, checkering pattern etc that would be more appropriate? The goal is to re stock in my dimensions and maintain a completely 18th & Windrim shape and appearance except improve wood grade. I can only attach 5 photos, so these are the forearm images but I have 20 more if it will help I can send those in a separate correspondence...BTW any help with this computer stuff is always welcome! :D Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance! Russ Burkett
Attachments
Fox 20 24.jpg
Fox 20 17.jpg
Fox 20 16.jpg
Fox 20 15.jpg
Fox 20 14.jpg
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Re: Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby Researcher » Sat Aug 07, 2021 4:41 pm

By that time the small-bores were using that F.T. Russell Patent No. 1,029,229 latch for both the extractor and ejector forearms. Early on for the small-bores they used the J.C. Kremer & A.H. Fox Patent No. 1,029,374 latch on extractor guns.

200158 02.JPG


I have recorded a couple of 20-gauge AE-Grade guns with experimental ejector mechanisms that worked with the J.C. Kremer & A.H. Fox latch.

The short wood screw in your forearm must have lost purchase in the wood and someone retrofitted an escutcheon, like the ejector guns with the F.T. Russell Patent latch. The A.H. Fox Gun Co. began using the J.C. Kremer & A.H. Fox latch on the 12-gauge Sterlingworths in late 1910/early 1911. The Patent was applied for on December 23, 1910, but wasn't issued until June 11, 1912. In 1912, Parker Bros. brought out their Trojan Grade with a forearm latch very similar to the J.C. Kremer & A.H. Fox latch. Decades ago "Babe" Del Grego showed me a file of letters he had between Parker Bros. and A.H. Fox Gun Co. on this issue. What the ultimate resolution was I don't know, but we know the Godshalks quit using the J.C. Kremer & A.H. Fox Patent latch and went to using the F.T. Russell Patent latch for all their snap-on/-off forearms. From my years of observations the last graded 20-gauge I've recorded with the J.C. Kremer & A.H. Fox Patent latch is 200399.
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Re: Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby quail4jake » Sat Aug 07, 2021 5:37 pm

Thank you so much! I'm not familiar with the nomenclature of the latch systems, what would you call mine and what is the one you show? When did Fox go to the "Deely" ? or lever type latch on these graded smallbores?
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Re: Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby Researcher » Sat Aug 07, 2021 9:38 pm

From the beginning in 1905, the A.H. Fox Gun Co. used the Deeley latch for the forearms of its graded 12-gauge guns. When they brought out the 12-gauge Sterlingworth (under the name The Sterlingworth Co.) in 1910, it used the Baker J-Spring forearm latch. While the Baker J-spring has been used successfully on millions of guns, Fox seems to have had trouble with it, and when they added the 12-gauge Sterlingworth to their 1911 A.H. Fox Gun Co. catalog, the extractor guns used the J.C. Kremer & A.H. Fox Patent latch (the one I showed) and the Sterlingworth ejectors used the F.T. Russell Patent latch (your latch). For some reason when they introduced the 16- and 20-gauge guns in 1912, they used these two styles of snap-on/-off forearms on the graded guns as well as the Sterlingworths. They dropped the J.C. Kremer & A.H. Fox Patent latch after the business with the Parker Bros. Trojan Grade, and all Sterlingworths and graded small-bores up to about 200700 for 20-gauges & 300700 for 16-gauges. After that most graded small-bores got the Deeley latch. We have seen a few guncranks saw the benefit of the spring tension of the snap-on/-off forearm and ordered their high grade 12-gauges with the "Sterlingworth forearm."
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Re: Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby quail4jake » Sat Aug 07, 2021 9:59 pm

That's great to know, thanks! What is your opinion of the length and checkering pattern? Would you reproduce this forearm (sans escutcheon) when restocking?
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Re: Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby Researcher » Sun Aug 08, 2021 10:29 am

Looks like the typical pattern and flat-topped checkering of early small-bore A-Grades.

200158 03 20-ga A-Grade forearm.JPG
200158


200371 03.jpg
200371


200687 05.jpg
200687


I'd get the escutcheon engraved and keep it.
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Re: Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby quail4jake » Sun Aug 08, 2021 12:33 pm

Thanks again, I like that idea and if the forearm wood is close enough to the new stock I will try to keep it and come with a "Gough like" pattern to match the receiver.
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Re: Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby Sporrns » Sun Aug 08, 2021 5:49 pm

Per Researcher's comment, there are a couple of posts showing pics of several styles of engraving on the "button" style forend latch; I think sometime last Fall. I agree with him and would have it engraved, which would be a nice touch. Kevin
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Re: Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby DarylC » Mon Aug 09, 2021 6:14 pm

Don't send that gun off just yet as it will be a prime example to qualify for the Fox/Parker challenge and the field gun competition. I know I can count on you Russ. :D
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Re: Fox 20 A forearm question

Postby quail4jake » Tue Aug 10, 2021 8:52 am

No,no new changes soon...just fishin' the waters to finally do a re stocking, probably after another smallbore Fox comes to live with us! Right now the dimensions are pretty good with the added LOP. I just traded the Saturday 18th so that I can be there, looking forward to seeing all of you again and hopefully have a score that may contribute to victory.
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