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 Post subject: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:05 am 
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Does anyone know if there's a Fox serial number guide either printed or on-line? Trying to put a year with a Sterlingworth, serial number 8596X.




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 Post subject: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 7:39 am 
ID & Value Expert
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Your gun was made about 1920. There are several sources, on the net, Blue Book and Doublegunshop.com, but the only way to be sure is to get a letter on it, from Callahan, the Savage histoirian..Bushrod


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 Post subject: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:16 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:12 am
Posts: 3474
Location: WA/AK
The only way to know for sure when your gun was made/shipped is to get a letter on it from the Savage historian --

http://www.foxcollectors.com/factory_letters.htm

Fox serial numbers are in blocks by gauge and whether Sterlingworth or graded gun --

12-gauge Graded Guns -- 1 to 35280
12-gauge Sterlingworths -- 50000 to 161556
16-gauge Graded Guns -- 300000 to 303875
16-gauge Sterlingworths -- 350000 to 378481
20-gauge Graded Guns -- 200000 to 203974
20-gauge Sterlingworths -- 250000 to 271304
Single Barrel Trap Guns -- 400000 to 400568

I have some real problems with the published Fox serial number list, which was originally put out in 1976 by Lightner Library.

For 16-gauge Fox-Sterlingworths they are showing 500 (1931), 600 (1932), 600 (1933), 700 (1934), 1100 (1935), 1500 (1936), 700 (1937) and then 1600 for 1938. Then the serial numbers from 374800 to 378481 are given for 1939 up to the last gun made 8/9/1939. I don't believe there is anyway they all of a sudden pumped out 3681 16-gauge Fox-Sterlingworths in eight or nine months!!! From my 18 or so years of recording serial numbers of observed Sterlingworths, guns in the 375,xxx, 376,xxx, 377,xxx and 378,xxx range certainly exist.

On the 12-gauge Fox-Sterlingworths they estimate the highest serial number for for 1937 as 145000, for 1938 as 150000 and for 1939 as 155000. Again from my years of observing and recording serial numbers, I haven't recorded a gun between 143802 and 160195, leading me to believe there were about 16000 serial numbers skipped. Perhaps the high 143xxx range was the end of regular production and the guns in the 160xxx and 161xxx range were cleanup of parts and barrels on hand?!? All of the guns I've recorded in that range are 26-inch barrels except one two-barrel set that also has a pair of 28-inch barrels.


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 Post subject: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 12:10 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:16 pm
Posts: 4387
Thanks guys... just picked this one up yesterday. 28" M&F, refinished, tight & a good shooter.


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 Post subject: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 6:14 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2007 7:16 pm
Posts: 4387
Since this is a 1920 gun, I stuck my chamber gauge in it and it has 2 1/2" chambers. How much wall thickness do I need (with room to spare) if I were to lengthen the chambers to 2 3/4"?


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 Post subject: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2007 11:37 am 
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Location: WA/AK
The only two A.H. Fox Gun Co. catalogues, that I have seen, that state chamber lengths are the 1913 and 1914. They both state 12-gauge guns are regularly chambered for 2 3/4 - inch shells, 16-gauge 2 9/16 – inch shells and 20-gauge 2 1/2 - inch shells. That being said, virtually every 12-gauge Ansley H. Fox gun made in Philadelphia (other than the HE-Grade Super-Fox) that I've run a chamber gauge in shows about 2 5/8 - inch. The chambers of unmolested 16-gauge guns seem to run about 2 7/16 inch and 20-gauge guns a hair over 2 3/8 inch. A very few graded guns were ordered with longer chambers. Savage began stating chambered for 2 ¾ inch shells in their 1938 Fox catalogues.

All this being said there is a good body of evidence that back in those days chambers were held about 1/8 inch shorter than the shells for which they were intended. In the recently published book "The Parker Story" the Remington vintage specification sheets on pages 164 to 169 call for a chamber 1/8-inch shorter than the shell for which it is intended. Also in the 1930's there were a couple of articles in "The American Rifleman" (July 1936 and March 1938) on the virtue of short chambers. A recent issue of The Double Gun Journal carried an article on tests showing no significant increase in pressure from shooting shells in slightly short chambers. IMHO I don't much sweat that 1/8-inch in 12-gauge guns. On the other hand when one gets a 20-gauge chambered at 2 3/8-inch likely intended for 2 1/2-inch shells I do worry about folks firing 2 3/4-inch shells in such guns.

I've been shooting 2 3/4 inch shells in my 1914-vintage A-Graded 12-gauge with 3-weight barrels and 2 5/8 inch chambers for 41 years with no ill effects. Even quite a few Super-X/Nitro Express type shells when called for.

Image

Image

I'd guess it had digested its share of Super-X type shells in the 44 years they were on the market before I got the gun too. For high volume shooting at clay targets I use 7/8 ounce 1200 fps 6300 psi reloads in my old 12-gauge doubles and 3/4 ounce reloads in 20-gauge.


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 Post subject: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:06 am 
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Researcher, I recently bought one of those short chambered 20 gauge Sterlingworths. I load all my own cartridges in all gauges but with the exception of 16 gauge everything I load is 2 3/4". Do you feel lower pressure (8500 psi +/-) 2 3/4" cartridges can be safely used in those guns? It seems lower pressure data or 2 1/2" data is nearly non-existent for the 20 gauge. A couple of people have mentioned that they had the forcing cones lengthened but still shoot 2 3/4" cartridges in short chambered Elsies and Parkers. The serial number on my gun is 260613.

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 Post subject: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:44 am 
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Location: WA/AK
I have a lot of guns, and I have enough 2 3/4 inch chambered 16- and 20-gauge guns to do my higher volume shooting in those gauges. For me, shooting 2 3/4 inch shells in light little 20-gauge guns with chambers only about 2 3/8 inches long intended for the old 2 1/2 inch shells doesn't seem like a good idea. I use the 2 1/2 inch RST or Lyalvales in my short chambered guns when I do shoot them.

In my younger days, when I got my first Sterlingworth 20-gauge, a 28-inch barrel gun that weighs 5 pounds 14 ounces, I had the chambers lengthened to 2 3/4 inches. For about ten years I shot quite a few AAs through that gun as it was my primary Dove gun at the time. It doesn't appear to have suffered any ill effects. I doubt it has been fired in the last 20 years.

I guess this is a lengthy way of saying I don't know what the answer is, and each of us must decide for him or herself.


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 Post subject: Re: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:08 am 
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Researcher01 wrote:
I guess this is a lengthy way of saying I don't know what the answer is, and each of us must decide for him or herself.


After consideration, reconsideration, and more reconsideration I have loaded my first hundred 2 1/2" cartridges. I appreciate the honest advise.

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 Post subject: Re: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:40 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 09, 2006 11:03 am
Posts: 327
Location: Michigan
The Snipe Hunter wrote:
Researcher01 wrote:
I guess this is a lengthy way of saying I don't know what the answer is, and each of us must decide for him or herself.


After consideration, reconsideration, and more reconsideration I have loaded my first hundred 2 1/2" cartridges. I appreciate the honest advise.

Skip


Would you mind sharing what you used as your 2-1/2" low pressure, 20 gauge load? I have about 4 different loadings out for testing as we speak. I have no verified loads as of know.
Thanks, Dave Miles


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 Post subject: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:32 pm 
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Dave, I certainly will. It is from the 5th (2005) edition of Handloading for Shotgunners. I mistakenly posted before that this is a 2 3/4" load but it is not. The fit is good with a folded crimp but you might have to trim a little shorter if you plan to roll. I trimmed to 2.48" +/-.

2 1/2" Fiocchi hull
3/4 oz. shot
16.0 gr. Unique
Fiocchi 616 primer
BP SG20L wad
1160 fps
6,100 psi

If you use an AA hull and Fiocchi 615 primer the pressure drops to 5,400 psi.

Skip

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 Post subject: re: Fox Serial Number Guide
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:03 pm 
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Location: Michigan
Skip,
Thanks, I didn't have that loading manual. I do now.
Regards, Dave Miles




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