Joe Curry’s 1934 Fox Sterlingworth 16 gauge next to “Gracie,” his 8-year-old Vizsla/Weimaraner mix. Curry reserves his classic shotgun strictly for pheasant hunts.
“For several years, a friend of mine had been telling me about his father’s shotgun that he had out in his garage. One night about three years ago, he brought it with him when he and his wife came to our house for dinner,” said Joe Curry of Los Altos, California, “The gun was in a canvas case that was in the process of disintegration. When I took the barrel out of the case, it was totally covered in rust. The lock/stock combo was in a little better shape. I thanked him, but I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with it.”
Upon closer examination, Curry discovered pitting on the barrel, but the chrome bore was bright and shiny. “I took some oil and a brass brush to it and it cleaned up pretty well although all the bluing was gone.” Before he put any more time and money into this restoration, a visit to the local gunsmith was in order.
The gunsmith checked and cleaned the action and cold blued the barrel, and gave Curry the green light to use the Fox. “I wanted a gun I could use, not a wall hanging,” Curry said. As for the stock, which sometimes receives significant treatment in restorations, Curry liked it as is. “I decided not to sand and refinish the stock. Every one of those nicks and scratches were part of the gun’s history. I over-stained the stock with an oil finish and then waxed with several coats of Carnauba wax. I re-wax it at the end of pheasant season. It has held up well.”
Curry obtained a provenance on this Fox Sterlingworth 16 gauge, which was manufactured in 1934, sold to a distributor in 1935 and then obtained by his friend’s father that same year. He uses it a couple times each hunting season, and only for pheasants. “I like the fact that it is 16 gauge, which makes it even more unique,” he says of the gun which is choked modified and full.
This historic firearm appears to have many seasons left in it, as Curry will pass it down to his son one day.
Do you have a classic shotgun with a story to tell? Email a photo to Anthony Hauck, Pheasants Forever’s Online Editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.