Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebated

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Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebated

Postby Fox20obsessed » Thu Mar 05, 2020 9:35 pm

Ok so I’ve had this gun for a while now and it should be close to finished...It started life as a surface-rusted utica 20 with good bores and will finish up as my own c-grade custom with profiled breech balls and frame rebates. The gun has factory 2.75” chambers and choked IC/Mod from factory as well with 26” barrels so hopefully it will bring some birds to the bag for me. Before sending the gun off to the gunsmith and engraver I restocked it (round knob grip) to my dimensions from a recent fitting with figured NOS wood from pumpkin mountain and made a nice semi-beavertail forend for it...it also has the addition of my favorite upgrade which is an NOS ejector escutcheon fitted to the extractor forend. I also did all the profiling of the breech balls, the area on the frame aft of the rib extension, frame rebates, and filed the muzzle end of the top and bottom rib to give it the c-grade look up front. I fitted an NOS lyman #10 ivory front bead as well using the #29 drill and lyman tapered reamer which is correct for the job.
At this point, I haven’t seen the gun in almost 2 years and can barely remember what the darn thing looks like. I accidentally deleted pics of the gun and prepped metal a few months back but wanted to post pics of the engraved action just to begin the tale of this custom fox. More posts to follow as the project wraps up. I hope you guys like the engraving as much as I do. Unfortunately no pics of the barrels at this time but the breech wedges were engraved in the factory style also.
-Matt
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Jeff S » Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:37 pm

Wow! Very impressive engraving.
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby jolly bill » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:35 am

Boy oh boy Matt.

It's sure looking good and should be a jewel when you're finished.

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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby vaturkey » Fri Mar 06, 2020 6:35 am

Very nice. Is Gournet the engraver? Looks like his hammer and chisel work.
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Fox20obsessed » Fri Mar 06, 2020 8:13 am

Tom, I sent you a PM.
-Matt
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Fox20obsessed » Fri Mar 06, 2020 9:33 am

Thanks for the comments guys! I appreciate the kind words. Will keep this updated as things progress.
-Matt
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Silvers » Fri Mar 06, 2020 10:18 am

Truly great workmanship. Matt, you're way more advanced in skills than I knew. I hope to meet you and see your custom C and other Fox projects in person some day. Hopefully you're close enough and can make the Southern or one of the northeast SxS events in PA?

frank
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Fox20obsessed » Fri Mar 06, 2020 11:28 am

Frank,
I received your last post as a compliment in the highest regard. Thank you for saying that. I have been following your posts for several years now and have been waiting until I felt ready to make any posts on this site. I feel confident that you will enjoy my upcoming post on the progress of my early 20 bore A grade shooter as well, the stock and forend are really looking sharp. I would also enjoy meeting you sometime. I have had the pleasure of meeting Jolly Bill, and have also met sxsohio in person and bought foxes from them both years ago but haven’t had the pleasure of meeting any other members here. I thoroughly enjoyed your recent “choke work” post and would love to learn how to open fixed chokes some day. I also have been following your grouse hunting posts for years and have decided that you are in fact a master of the grouse woods. I would love to chase the king with you someday. At this point in time I live in Morgantown, WV but my parents have a house just over the border in PA so I still hunt the keystone state. I flush a few grouse each year but usually miss, not ashamed to admit that. I still love to do it. This last year I had a great year on the stocked ring necks but we both know it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. I read your post about a secret technique for hunting grouse on flat land and have been racking my brain as to just what the technique may be but I wouldn’t dare ask! All of the gunsmithing techniques that I use were taught to me as I apprenticed with a master in Pittsburgh (my hometown) for two years, and also from posts on this site and the doublegunshop. Prussian blue is my preferred inletting black, and I like mark lees express blue for my barrel blacking (credit to Mr. Dudley for that)
Anyway, enough babbling...
Have a good Friday!
-Matt
Last edited by Fox20obsessed on Tue Mar 10, 2020 8:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Silvers » Fri Mar 06, 2020 12:56 pm

Matt, thanks so much for your comments which aren't deserved. :oops:

You're certainly within driving distance of three good SxS events in northeast PA from early June thru late September and I hope to meet and talk with you at one of them. No better way to meet and develop relationships with serious Fox people than to attend. Also the Southern is within reasonable distance. I drive 10-11 hours myself and you might be a bit closer. All depending on your schedule of course.

Regarding grouse hunting I do fairly well doing walk-up hunting in good proven covers and also with that "method" shared with me by an old timer when I was a kid on my word I won't ever share it. I only do it when I'm solo. I've told many friends that if my mentor appears in a dream some night and releases me from that promise, I'll tell a few of them. :wink:

Here are the grouse tails from this past season, minus one silvertail still in the freezer and waiting for the taxidermist to finish up deer mounts. I use that blue painters tape to spread while drying. I also took two other ringnecks on opportunity but give the tails to a friend.

IMG_9937.JPG


IMG_9938.JPG
Last edited by Silvers on Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Fox20obsessed » Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:10 pm

Frank,
It looks like you had another great season! I was excited for you when you posted the pics of the silver tails earlier in the year. I will try my best to make it to one of the three events you mentioned this summer, but will have to wait and see what work and life has in store for me at that time. That blue painters tape is a good idea, I’ve always pinned my tails but that method looks quick and easy. Thanks for sharing that. Do you just use table salt for the “meat” where the tail is cut from the bird?
Thanks,
Matt
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Silvers » Fri Mar 06, 2020 1:49 pm

No salt, I try to cut them close and there's very little meat there at the junction. One watchout, if you get an occasional mouse in your shop or wherever you'll want to tape them vertical and way above the floor. :(

Here are a few fantails that scrunched back together before I came up with the blue tape idea. They're hanging off a floor joist in my shop and haven't made it to my game room as yet. I had to crop off messy shelves from the pic. :lol:

Fifth one from the left (expand pic and count the tail bands) is a roufous ruff grouse with a red-brown tail band, only the second one I've taken here in PA.

IMG_9940-1.png
Last edited by Silvers on Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Fox20obsessed » Fri Mar 06, 2020 2:17 pm

What a collection of tails! That Rufous Grouse tail is quite a trophy. Those two and your silver tails are really neat. You sure know where to find the birds Frank, and obviously once found you sure know how to pop em’! I imagine when we get a chance to meet sometime our conversation will be quite lengthy...lots to BS about. I see you also fly fish? Another passion I have learned over the years in addition to my fondness of Fox guns.
-Matt
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Jim Cloninger » Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:13 pm

Frank, I didn't know the tail fans varied so much in size. Do they vary by age, sex, or .....
Goodbye Mandy, once in a life time hunting dog. I miss you every day.
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Silvers » Fri Mar 06, 2020 3:55 pm

Matt, I haven't fished much in many years except for recently taking the grandkids out for sunnies and bluegills. I do like fishing but rather spend time shooting clays in the off hunting season. Pheasant tails and feathers go to a friend who ties flies.

Jim, there might be some genetics involved but I think the biggest factor in grouse tail size is the age of the bird.

frank
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Re: Utica Sterlingworth 20 —> C-grade custom profiled/rebate

Postby Fox20obsessed » Fri Mar 06, 2020 5:05 pm

Frank,
I rarely fish anymore either...used to be obsessed with it and spent 3 summer fly fishing out west with a club called FamilyTyes based in Pittsburgh. It was a non-profit organization that mentored young kids and taught them how to fly fish beginning with learning the life cycle of the aquatic insects, then fly tying, then rod building, and finally dream trips all over the place to catch wild trout. It was truly a dream and at that age I don’t think I was fully able to grasp just how much knowledge was being passed along. I now know that some of these guys were sharing their life’s work and passion with us. That situation is very similar to what I see happening on this site and I see it as a great thing.
Anyway, back to guns. I went back through an old e-mail thread I have with Jolly Bill and found pics of the restocked custom with metal partially prepped and a little alkanet on the wood for color just before sending it off to the gunsmith. I did all the work up to this point in the pic. Glad I found the pics because I thought they were lost forever. Anyway here it is, I don’t have any pics of what it looked when I got it but it wasn’t pretty. The wood on this gun is NOS wood from pumpkin mountain. This gun I restocked to dimensions that were given to me from a fitting I had done 2 years ago at Woodcock Hill shooting school in PA. Danny Hartman at woodcock hill spent a lot of time with me during the fitting and I learned a great deal from him.
-Matt

PS: knowledge is power.
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