20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

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20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby bamboozler » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:30 pm

Here are pics of my completed custom upgrade of a 1913 20-ga. Sterlingworth Ejector with 30" 4-weight barrels---it is really a tribute to an all-Wisconsin based team of craftsmen that made my dream come true. Metalsmith Mark Beasland, stocker Toby Leeds, engraver Bob Strosin, as well as John and Kelly Fallon of FEI Custom Cases poured their heart and soul into this project...I am humbled by their workmanship and devotion to their craft.

The little Fox's usage will primarily be my 20-gauge skeet gun, it will also see some time in Wisconsin's grouse and woodcock coverts, for these pursuits I have chosen to have it choked .005/.009.

I chose the following Wisconsin craftsmen for this project:

Mark Beasland of Mosinee, WI for the metalsmithing. http://www.mbabllc.com
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Toby Leeds of Fond du Lac, WI for the stockmaking. tleeds@dotnet.com
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Bob Strosin of Wisconsin Rapids, WI for the engraving. http://www.resengraving.com
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John and Kelly Fallon of Beloit, WI and FEI Custom Cases are a bit camera shy, but here's their website: http://www.feiguncases.com

The above artisans/craftsmen transformed the smallbore Fox from this:
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to this:

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Last edited by bamboozler on Sun Sep 22, 2019 8:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby michaelj » Tue Jul 31, 2012 10:29 am

Beautiful little gun and should be a joy to carry while chasing grouse.
Michael J
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby Brian Dudley » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:41 pm

Absolutely beautiful gun! Thanks for sharing.
,Brian Dudley
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby Sh00tingStar » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:32 am

What a B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L Fox!
__________________________________
Mark

A Sailors Creed - "If you can't tie good knots, tie lots of 'em."
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby David D » Wed Oct 31, 2012 4:56 pm

I would have to say you have created one of the best looking guns I have ever seen. I have plans to create a custom Fox and you have certainly set the bar very high!

You've had the gun for a few months now, how are you using it and would you do anything differently?

Regards, dave
I love all of my SxS's, especially my Grade A Fox made in Utica NY
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby bamboozler » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:51 pm

Thank you Gents for the kind words! A custom project, such as this, is a very personal thing, personal tastes will not necessarily appeal to everyone. It is comforting to hear that you, too; appreciate the craftsmanship that went in to creating it.

I use the gun just as I originally had intended, that is primarily my 20-ga. skeet gun. I also use it for sporting clays as well as 5-stand and as an occasional grouse and woodcock gun that is only typically carried down a logging road on a sunny day. As I mentioned this gun has 30" barrels, it also weighs 6 lbs. 5 oz. and has a 15" LOP which I find isn't at its best as an all day carry gun and bushwacker. So I usually carry a little 28-ga., 26", 5 1/2 lb. gun, which is much quicker and better suited to the one-handed carry necessary when banging through grouse cover.

What would I do different? I have to tell you a lot of thought and planning went in to this project before we ever started it. I had a long time to think about it, as it took about 8 years of diligently searching for the exact gun I wanted as the basis for this project---a 20-ga. Sterlingworth Ejector with 30" 4-weight barrels, so there really isn't anything I'd consider changing now that it's done. Initially, I had considered having the breech balls profiled to the barrels and a single bead filed in around the breech balls, but decided against these as I wanted the gun to be the way it might have come out of the Fox Custom Shop in 1913--if there would have been a custom shop in 1913! I believe the profiling and bead features came years later. We did make a couple of tweaks as the project moved along, the biggest one is that I originally planned for a case-colored action. It didn't take long for engraver Bob Strosin to talk me out of that and in to his French Grey finish to show off the engraving better. I'm glad he did. Stocker Toby Leeds also recommended that he not checker fleur-de-lis in to the stock cheeks as he felt they would detract from the engraving. I believe he was right and I'm appreciative for that suggestion, too. We did make a couple of very minor changes after the pics above were taken, the very small area at the bottom of the curly-cues and above the forend iron on the forend was filled in with checkering and the hinge pin area was polished.

Recently, a good friend of my mine and shooting buddy, who is also an outdoor writer was asked to write a chapter in a new coffee table type book on Grouse Hunting being prepared for publication sometime in 2013. The chapter he was asked to write is on "Grouse Guns". So my friend put on a big rib-eye feast at another friend's grouse camp and asked a bunch of us to bring our grouse guns for a photo shoot. He then submitted his chapter and a bunch of photos to the publisher and the publisher is deciding which photos will go in the book. Here are a couple of those photos:

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Last edited by bamboozler on Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby OH Osthaus » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:49 pm

like everyone says - nice very nice

i would add that there is a long gracefull look to the straighthand stock that sort of remind me of a classic longrifle. it just flows
"If there is a heaven it must have thinning aspen gold, and flighting woodcock, and a bird dog" GBE
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby volz33 » Sat Jan 05, 2013 12:58 am

That is a "great " looking shotgun, all you guys did a fantastic job..:)
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby hayslope » Mon Mar 18, 2013 10:43 am

I keep coming back to drool over your "project" gun. It is one beautiful little Fox. Cudos to you and all the master craftsmen who were involved.
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby Smokepole Shooter » Thu Mar 28, 2013 10:06 am

Thanks for sharing. I don't know what to add to what has already been said. The craftsmanship involved in this project is simply amazing!! I'd also be interested in hearing more about the book.
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby Rogue Hunter » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:27 pm

As my first post, I'd just like to say...OH, MY!
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby bamboozler » Fri Jun 28, 2013 1:01 pm

Smokepole Shooter wrote:Thanks for sharing. I don't know what to add to what has already been said. The craftsmanship involved in this project is simply amazing!! I'd also be interested in hearing more about the book.

The book is titled "A Passion for Grouse" and will be released in October 2013. Unfortunately, the pics my friend/writer took for Chapter 7, "Guns for Grouse" weren't in a large enough format for duplication in the book, so other pics were used. Here's a link to the book:
http://apassionforgrouse.com
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby bamboozler » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:12 am

There have been numerous questions regarding the wood I chose for this project, rather than continuing to respond individually to these questions I thought I'd try to answer them here. The blank was purchased from Cecil Fredi of Las Vegas, NV. Upon embarking on the project I requested pics from Cecil of blanks in the $400-$450 range, Cecil sent pics of about 5 blanks, those blanks weren't what I was looking for, so I upped the budget to blanks in the $600-$650 range. Cecil sent pics of 5 more blanks in that price range, but they still weren't quite the quality I was seeking. I again upped the budget. Cecil then sent me a whole disk of pics with about 50 of his best quality English Walnut blanks. Cecil Fredi is a very patient man and is a pleasure to do business with and genuinely wants you to be satisfied with the blank you choose for your project.

Cecil Fredi of Las Vegas, NV http://www.gunstockblanks.com
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I chose blank 101 from about 50 of Cecil Fredi's best quality English Walnut blanks:
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My stocker, Toby Leeds had John Vest of Redmond, OR turn the blank. Mr. Vest is a member of the American Custom Gunmakers Guild. http://www.acgg.com Here's what the blank looked like when Toby received it back from John:
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Last edited by bamboozler on Sun Sep 22, 2019 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby Mike of the Mountain » Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:04 pm

SA-WEET!!!!! That is one beautiful gun from lock to stock to barrel. My favorite pic is the forearm medallion with the engraved drumming grouse. Sheer beauty!!
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Re: 20-ga. Sterlingworth Special

Postby TOOL MAN » Sat Dec 06, 2014 8:38 am

Bamb......,

What a fantastic Fox!! Even more special was that you kept it "local" utilizing Wisconsin artisans. I have never met any of those gentlemen, but I see the passion for their craft burning in their eyes. Might I suggest, on behalf of the numerous AHFCA members who are not Internet savvy, that you submit a story/pics to Dave Noreen for insertion into our spring newsletter. We need fresh, new tales and this one would be most welcome! Thanks for sharing.-----TOOL

P.S.---Agreed.....that fore-end ROCKS!!!!
On the whole....I'd rather be in Philadelphia....
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