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 Post subject: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 2:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 5:18 pm
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Location: Eckerty IN
Im'ma star this post of by saying. I have no plans on selling the gun, so the actual money value of this firearm is irrelevant to me. A shotgun that I can use is much more valuable to me. With that being said lets get onto the post.

I have a Sterlingworth that I have really thought about putting some dollars into and making it a good looking functional gun.

The forearm is cracked, so i was thinking about putting another stock on it. If you was going to do so, what would you use? I was thinking a AA or AAA Cairo or American walnut. I prefer darker stocks myself, but I would like to hear what you all think.

I was also wondering would the bores handle steel shot if i got Briley tubes installed?

I like to hunt with my fox, but the feds are targeting these old guns it seems with steel for dove now.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:17 pm 
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Just depends on the condition of the barrels and the wall thickness. Most people are going to say no on shooting steel shot in these old guns, they werent built to shoot todays modern steel loads. If the barrels are in bad condition with pitting you are taking a risk. What is the chamber length on it?

Wood is all subjective. But you can spend a lot of money on a blank, then A LOT more on getting it fit to the gun.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 4:38 pm 
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I know you said you don't care about the cost, but each of those mods will cost 2x what the gun is worth. You're better off selling the gun and buying something that's more suitable for your needs.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 5:13 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 12, 2006 5:49 pm
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Location: St. Louis, MO
I enjoy hunting with old classic American SxS's, and sometimes use steel shot. You can also buy Bismuth shotshells that are safe for older SxS's, but shells cost about $3 each.

Some Fox's have "short chambers" so you want to have a gunsmith verify they are 2-3/4". If not, most Sterlingworths have sufficent (extra) metal in the breech area, such that a competent gunsmith can safely open them to 2-3/4", which is a very minor task.

I regularly shoot steel shot through my older SxS's when the choke is IC, or more open. Modified choke is borderline, as some are more open than others. Light modified bores seem to handle steel just fine. I use #4 steel for pheasants (where non-toxic is mandated) and #6 steel for doves. I've been doing this for 10+ years, with no problems, but I am cautious and stay with the more open chokes.

I don't think your Fox barrels will have enough muzzle thickness for regular Briley "steel-safe" choke tubes.

If your Sterlingworth is a 12 gauge, another alternative is to buy a set of Gauge-Mate or Chamber-Mate 20 gauge adaptors, and then you can use 20 ga. steel shells with no problems; even with full chokes.

Some will surely object to these comments, but they are based upon actual usage in Foxes, L.C. Smiths, and Lefevers over multiple years.

gold40


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:03 pm 
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Location: Eckerty IN
TDKK wrote:
Just depends on the condition of the barrels and the wall thickness. Most people are going to say no on shooting steel shot in these old guns, they werent built to shoot todays modern steel loads. If the barrels are in bad condition with pitting you are taking a risk. What is the chamber length on it?

Wood is all subjective. But you can spend a lot of money on a blank, then A LOT more on getting it fit to the gun.


Chambers are 2 3/4 the gun was sent off in the 50s and got a brand new set of barrels from what i can tell. Bores are mirrors. The one price ive got to put a stock on it total was about 500, for curly maple. Also i handload my own shells for the most part and im not using it as a duck gun. Just need it for the doves.

drsfmd wrote:
I know you said you don't care about the cost, but each of those mods will cost 2x what the gun is worth. You're better off selling the gun and buying something that's more suitable for your needs.


If you check out brileys website (http://www.briley.com) putting chokes in would be 499.99 plus tax which comes to 534 and some change. I emailed them to see if they have put steel chokes in a Sterlingworth. So both mods would put me at around 1000 or 1200 or so. And i would have a gun that will be around for another 75 years and be able to be used. And something more around my needs starts at 2500

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:12 pm 
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$500 for a stock is cheap. I payed that alone for a blank, then if I was paying a professional to fit/finish it I could easily add another $2000 or more. Just because Briley says they can install chokes for 499.99 doesnt mean they can do it in YOUR gun. Each gun, even in the same models has a different ID and OD barrel dimension. If your muzzle thickness isnt sufficient, Briley wont do it. There is a guy here by the name of Kirbythegunsmith that specializes in putting thin chokes in barrels that otherwise would be passed on by most choke companys. I would trust his work.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 6:29 pm 
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kcw12 wrote:
So both mods would put me at around 1000 or 1200 or so.


Which is double what most Sterlingworths are worth, which was my initial point.

TDKK wrote:
$500 for a stock is cheap. I payed that alone for a blank, then if I was paying a professional to fit/finish it I could easily add another $2000 or more.


Agreed. Anyone telling you that they can restock a gun for $500 is either lying or does lousy work. AAA wood, you're looking at a MINIMUM of $2,000... likely lots more.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 7:57 pm 
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Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2004 5:18 pm
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Location: Eckerty IN
wow when did sterlingworths get to be around 500?

I bought a AA Cairo walnut stock for a mauser 3 or 4 months ago for 90 bucks. Although im doing the work myself on that with everything said and done should be around 120ish for me stock that gun.

and where else are you going to get a quality double at?

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:06 pm 
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Where are you getting Claro Walnut for $120 thats AA grade?

Old Sterlingworths with good barrels go for roughly $900ish up, from what I have seen.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 12:31 pm 
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Location: Eckerty IN
i got the mauser stock from richards microfit

http://macongunstocks.net/ah_fox_sterli ... ks_95.html

i can get a decent fit and finish from there for 250 bucks

called briley they said there is a 95% chance they can do it. They do have thinwall steel tubes.

Then i found this page http://www.fieldandstream.com/node/57383

So imma save up a few more dollars and send my barrels to briley.

so for 499 250 and tax im lookin at 800ish to redo the ole fox. I beleive imma do it.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:52 am 
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Or you could just go all out and do a frame reduction...


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Tue Jul 20, 2010 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 06, 2009 4:28 pm
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Location: Grafton, VA
Best site for your questions would be foxcollectors.com. Great site for fox owners and those guys there really know their stuff. All your questions should be answered. Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:10 am 
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Anybody trying to upgrade and modernize an old Fox Sterlingworth is looking for a heartache.

I love the guns. I own a couple right now, and I've owned several more. They are probably the most reliable, sturdiest of the old classic American doubles.

And yet they still break. They break hammers, they get "off face", split stocks and forends, have trigger trouble, seperate barrels,,,all the ills and troubles that are just part of the game in shooting antique doubles. And,,,they do that shooting soft lead shot target loads.

One of my two Sterlingworths has been out of commision for about five years now, due to a broken left hammer. Before that, it had a safety problem, and before that it pierced a primer with the right barrel and blew the side off the stock,,which I had glued back on. And, the gun is a bit loose, which I fixed with a center punch. It sure looks nice, though, and is a lot of fun to shoot if you can keep it shooting.

The other one is a very low round count, high condition 1911 "pin" gun. It works fine with target loads, but it seizes up and is hard to open when I tried some "high brass" duck and pheasant loads. This one is tight, though, and shuts up with a "wrrrinnnnggg". I'm afraid that 1,300-1,400 fps steel loads would just wreck it, seperate the poor old soft solder from those beautiful barrels.

If you want to make a gun designed a century ago fire modern steel loads, you are asking for a lot of down time and expense, in my opinion.

The day after the do gooders flat outlaw lead shot for all purposes, I intend to take my old fixed choke guns out to cylinder bore and load light steel loads for them, and pray. Until then I'll shoot modern guns when I'm cornered and have to use steel shot to hunt.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:53 am 
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I'm dropping about $120/year on tungsten and rolling my own for waterfowling with my old doubles. I get all the ducks I care to shoot. My accuracy is way up over shooting steel through a modern gun. The funny thing is that I'm only shooting 7/8oz loads and just pasting the birds. I wish I had the confidence to shoot 7/8oz loads at phez and chukar, but I don't.

The loads are low pressure and run about 1300 fps.

It beats the snot out of totally changing a gun only to destroy it with steel.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:06 am 
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Location: Eckerty IN
Yes i resurrected this topic.

Stock and Forearm is quoted at under 200, haven't seen for it quoted with a recoil pad on it. The stock is coming to me 90% fit, and I have the time and skill to get it to fit correct, has I have done on now 3 other guns. Also the stock lacks checkering, and isn't all that fancy. I can always put great wood on it later. It is also updated in a more modern dimension, and i took the measurement from another double I own that fits me well, but I don't care for.

As for the barrels, they are from the Chicopee falls, mass plant. They are factory replacement barrels from the 50s, made out of 4140, and silver soldered instead of tin soldered. Measured the bore and barrel thickness from another gun that has choke tubes, I should be in good shape. Also called briley, 99% chance they can do it.


So this is my christmas present to myself.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:46 am 
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Good for you!

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:43 pm 
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Gold40 said:
"
If your Sterlingworth is a 12 gauge, another alternative is to buy a set of Gauge-Mate or Chamber-Mate 20 gauge adaptors, and then you can use 20 ga. steel shells with no problems; even with full chokes."

I've often wondered about shooting a 20 steel load out of a 12 with the chamber sleeve, but I have thought that the cup may open on the side a bit and scratch the barrel. Have any shot the 20 steel in a 12?

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 2:07 am 
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Understand that old double barreled shotguns can get no "better" than an old A.H. Fox Sterlingworth, and the modern 4140 hard soldered steel barrels are a definite plus for shooting modern loads. But the action is still the old color case hardened "mild steel", so is the pin, so are the hammers (although they'll be well hardened) and you are always going to be inside the limitations of the design.

I've seen the inside of a brand new chrome lined Beretta 391 just completely scored out and destroyed by modern steel loads right out of the box. Shxt happens when you shoot pellets through a shotgun barrel that are not made of lead that's much softer than any barrel steel. Pay your money for the best steel loads and take your chances. You'll probably be all right, but you might loose, and if you do you are simply screwed.

Adding a 20 gauge insert that reaches all the way to the end of the muzzle is going to alter the balance of your shotgun, but it will allow you to only loose a five hundred or so dollar's worth of tubes if the wads fail to protect the tubes from the steel shot. It's only money, you know.:)


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 7:55 am 
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No way I'd ever use a "chamber reducer" to shoot a steel load of smaller gauge through ANY shotgun barrel.

IF you look at a (very thick) steel wad, you KNOW that it will break open and fail when it hits the larger diameter barrel area, and you end up rubbing naked steel pellets down the bore.

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 Post subject: Re: Upgrades to a Old Fox Sterlingworth
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2012 1:02 pm 
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For what it is worth....

I have an early Fox "A" grade 12 gauge that was opened to IC & IC before it came to live at my house. I often use it to hunt pheasants on Illinois state land where non-toxic shot is required. I have fired several hundred rounds of factory 1 oz. and 1-1/8 oz. steel #3's and #4's through it over the past 10 years, with zero damage, no scoring, etc.

For my "tighter choked" SxS's, I shoot reloads using NICE brand shot. It is pricy, but works well.

Jerry Goldstein
St. Louis, MO


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