Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

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Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby JNW » Wed Apr 29, 2015 11:25 pm

Just got my 20 gauge back from the stock maker today. Fits me like a glove and shoots where I'm looking (already shot it ). I picked up this 30" #3 weight gun last fall for cheap, which was a good thing. It needed a bit of mechanical work on the sears and the lockup, and the barrels were almost like they were not finished on the inside. It dates to 1927, but the barrels say Savage with a Utica address and are marked as set #2, but serial number matches the rest of the gun. The chokes were 0.033" in both barrels and the chambers were super short. Had the chambers lengthened to 2.75 and the cones relieved. My 'smith said he's never seen chambers like this on a Fox, so I am wondering if this was a gun that was returned to the factory and cobbled together by an employee. The stock was a poor replacement. So, no collector value, but it does have those lovely 30" barrels. It is now mechanically sound and fits perfectly. The gun fund has been completely depleted, so any more work on the metal will have to wait. Would love to have a moderate amount of scroll engraving with a fox/pheasant on the bottom. Someday. Just going to enjoy it as is for awhile.
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Re: Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby Researcher » Thu Apr 30, 2015 1:42 am

"Normal" A.H. Fox Gun Co. and early Savage-era 20-gauge chambers were about 2 3/8 inch, intended for the "standard" 2 1/2 inch 20-gauge shells of the day. A.H. Fox Gun Co. would chamber new guns for the longer 2 3/4, 2 7/8 and 3-inch 20-gauge shells on request at no additional charge. Like Parker Bros., the A.H. Fox Gun Co. chambered about 1/8 inch shorter than the intended shell length. The belief was that 1/8 inch of the case mouth unfolding into the forcing cone upon firing created a better gas seal and better patterns.

From the late 1890s into the early 1920s, the heaviest smokeless powder 20-gauge loads offered by our North American ammunition manufacturers were 2 1/4 drams of bulk smokeless powder or 18 grains of dense smokeless powder such as Infallible or Ballistite pushing 7/8 ounce of shot.

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In the 2 3/4 inch and longer shells one could get 2 1/2 drams of bulk smokeless powder or 20-grains of dense smokeless powder such as Infallible or Ballistite pushing that same 7/8 ounce of shot a bit faster. The 2 7/8 and 3-inch shells just offered more and better wadding which many serious shooters believed in.

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In 1922, Western Cartridge Co. brought progressive burning smokeless powder, higher velocity and a heavier payload to 20-gauge shells when they introduced their Super-X load put up in their 2 3/4 inch FIELD shell --

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Looks like a great bit of stockwork and a very striking piece of wood!! Congrats!!
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Re: Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby JNW » Thu Apr 30, 2015 2:36 am

Thanks,
My gunsmith measured the chambers at just under 2" and more tapered than normal. He initially was just going to lengthen the forcing cones, but his reamer had to cut chamber before it got into the forcing cone region. He said he had never seen them this short on any Fox, so they were definitely not the typical 2 3/8". There was plenty of steel there, so no danger in lengthening the chambers. Were any 20s bored with chokes as tight as these? I would love to know what happened to the original barrels.
I had this piece of wood for sale at several SxS shoots the last year and a half and had several people interested, but they were unwilling to pay what I was asking. I'm glad it didn't sell.
Regards,
Jeff
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Re: Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby vaturkey » Thu Apr 30, 2015 6:18 am

That is some seriously nice walnut for sure. I'm thinking since the fitup of the barrels weren't factory quality that they were indeed started but not finished for whatever reason on either the outside or the inside, which would explain a lot of things. Would be interesting to get a factory letter on that gun. I'm guessing it didn't leave the factory with those barrels on it. Some really strange things happen to guns over the years. PS. Looks like one helluva dove gun.
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Re: Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby Goldenfox » Sat May 02, 2015 10:12 pm

JWN,
That stick is like walnut porn. Very desirable. I like to look at it, but I would really like to fondle it, caress it and snug that delightful butt into my shoulder. :D
[img]file:///C:/Users/Charlie/Pictures/2014-03-21/Hunting/856.jpg[/img]
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Re: Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby JNW » Sat May 02, 2015 10:49 pm

Goldenfox,
I did just that today! Shot a little after work. Broke some crazy long targets with it. It fits me perfectly, but still getting used to the gun. It's the lightest shotgun I own.
This is the only gun I have with a semi beaver tail for end. I have to say I like it. Wouldn't want one on a 12 or 16 gauge, though. In between rounds I just looked at it in the rack with the sun shining on it. I'm a lucky boy.
Regards,
Jeff
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Re: Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby Brian » Fri May 15, 2015 4:35 pm

Nice gun. who did the stock work?
Brian
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Re: Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby JNW » Mon May 18, 2015 12:51 am

A stock maker in South Dakota. Not being a wiener, but he has asked me to not share his information.
The only way I got into his shop is that I shoot with one of his better clients who recommended me. The stock work is as nice as the piece of wood.
Regards,
Jeff
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Re: Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby oyeme » Wed Jun 10, 2015 12:55 am

JNW wrote:Just got my 20 gauge back from the stock maker today. Fits me like a glove and shoots where I'm looking (already shot it ). I picked up this 30" #3 weight gun last fall for cheap, which was a good thing. It needed a bit of mechanical work on the sears and the lockup, and the barrels were almost like they were not finished on the inside. It dates to 1927, but the barrels say Savage with a Utica address and are marked as set #2, but serial number matches the rest of the gun. The chokes were 0.033" in both barrels and the chambers were super short. Had the chambers lengthened to 2.75 and the cones relieved. My 'smith said he's never seen chambers like this on a Fox, so I am wondering if this was a gun that was returned to the factory and cobbled together by an employee. The stock was a poor replacement. So, no collector value, but it does have those lovely 30" barrels. It is now mechanically sound and fits perfectly. The gun fund has been completely depleted, so any more work on the metal will have to wait. Would love to have a moderate amount of scroll engraving with a fox/pheasant on the bottom. Someday. Just going to enjoy it as is for awhile.
Image
Image

Stunning stock blank and work! Thanks for showing! Bill
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Re: Restocked 20 ga Sterlingworth

Postby Mills » Thu Jun 11, 2015 9:52 am

Great stocking job with a beautiful piece of wood!
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