Joined: 13 Oct 2014
Location: North Shore of Boston
I own a Savage Fox Sterlingworth 16 GA side-by-side.
It appears to be a 16 GA gun built on a 20 GA frame.
Straight English stock, 26 inch barrels bored IC & Mod, and weighs 6 pounds 2.1 ounces.
I'd like to know when it was manufactured - it's serial number is 3706XX
_________________ Bill K
North of Boston
Browning New A5 Sweet Sixteen circa 2019
Browning Citori Upland 16 GA circa 2013
Browning Sweet Sixteen 16 GA circa 1957
Savage Fox Sterlingworth 16 GA circa 1934
Joined: 17 Oct 2019
Location: New Jersey
Supposedly Savage bought Fox in 1929. They used existing parts and materials in the beginning but once that stuff was used up was when things really started to change, but who knows when that was. The larger forend is a dead give away that the gun was built using newer parts.
Joined: 06 Aug 2004
Location: Kansas High Plains
The only way to get an accurate date is to get a letter from Savage. Don't know the current price or time frame but there are quite a few horror stories about the quality of the letters and the hassle involved; not like when Roe Clark or John Callahan were providing letters. The published list is rumored to be pretty inaccurate. My Utica Fox 16ga is #372xxx and letters to 1936, which happens to match the list in my case .
_________________ I feel a warm spot in my heart when I meet a man whiling away an afternoon...and stopping to chat with him, hear the sleek lines of his double gun whisper "Sixteen." - Gene Hill, Shotgunner's Notebook
I have some real problems with the published Fox serial number chronology, which was originally put out in 1976 by Lightner Library.
For 16-gauge Fox-Sterlingworths they are showing production of 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 any way they all of a sudden pumped out 3681 16-gauge Fox-Sterlingworths in eight or nine months!!! From my 20 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 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 143815 and 160076, 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.
Continuing on with some 12-gauge Sterlingworth observations, it appears Savage made different guns in different serial number blocks. All the guns I've observed from 132649 to 132927 are SP-framed guns. All the guns I've recorded in the 133xxx range are drawbolt frame guns. The only guns observed in the 134xxx range are the Fox-Sterlingworth Wildfowls from 134102 to 134130. John Callahan's search of the records for Frank Srebro's The Double Gun Journal article on the Wildfowls, Volume Twenty-Six, Issue 4, shows surviving cards in this block up to 134142. I've recorded no other guns in the 134xxx range. In the 135xxx range the guns I've recorded are all in the 1356xx and 1357xx range and four of those five are 28-inch barrel Fox-Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game Guns. Again guns in the 1379xx and 1380xx range are SP-frame guns. All the guns I've recorded in the 143xxx range are drawbolt frame guns. Then we jump to the 160xxx range and the guns I've recorded up to 160434 are 26-inch barrel Fox-Sterlingworth Skeet & Upland Game Guns. Then another batch in the 1607xx and low 1608xx range. The 161xxx range is a mix of regular frames, then SP-frames and ends with drawbolt frames.
Like the 12-gauges, there is a gap in the observed 20-gauge Sterlingworth serial numbers from guns in the mid-266xxx serial number range, observed specimens jump to the 270xxx range. A gap in serial numbers of about 3500 guns.
Pictures of the production card boxes on racks at Savage confirm these breaks in the serial number range for 12- and 20-gauge Sterlingworths.
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