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Joined: Dec 2010
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Sidelock
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McIntosh's book refers to a gradual "decline" in quality from production Philly and Savage in Utica? Can anyone talk about their own experience and differences by the guns they have owned and hunted with? Thanks

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The real noticable differences you will see are in the shaping of the stock and forend. And also the quality of the checkering.

Most fox guys consider the peak of quality to be in 1914/15. Long before the sale to Savage. And there is little differences noticed in the guns made in Philly under Savage ownership as compared to before the sale. Major changes came after the move to Utica.


B.Dudley
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Echoing B.Dudley's comments, I have both a Philly and a Utica SW 16 gauge.

The quality of the wood in the stock, the shaping of the stock and particularly the forend are what jump out at me. The Utica forend is an ugly club.


The world cries out for such: he is needed & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia
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I'd say the peak of quality was in the first decade, and a long slow decline from there to WW-II.

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Philly guns do have better fit and finish than later guns. But on the flip side they also have more use as a rule. It is easier to find a high condition Savage gun but it never is as pretty as it would be if Philly made. To be fair Savage made most of their guns in the Depression when need for lower prices forced them to cut cost where ever they could. Fox had been doing the same thing since 1911 when they were forced to bring out the Sterlingworth model as a cheaper version of the A grade. Lefever brought out the DS grade about the same time. Price point guns were added just to keep going. So If Fox had not sold out to Savage when they did, they would have done the same things, only to go out of business sooner. The double gun was doomed and that was almost all they made other than a few trap guns and non gun items.

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I'll just add ( to expand on Jon's comments) I love my Utica Fox. It was in great condition when I bought it, it has the handling characteristic that make small bore Foxes so desirable and I paid less than I would have had it been a Philly gun.

Given that I have always intended to re-stock the gun and I wasn't looking for a collector grade gun, it has been, since I bought it around 11 years ago, one of my favorite guns.


The world cries out for such: he is needed & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia
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I too have a 16 from Philly and one from Utica. From a strictly bird hunting standpoint the Utica guns will kill them just as dead, and have the advantage of more modern dimensions and 2-3/4" chambers. And when compared to some of those surfboard sized beavertails the Utica forend looks downright svelte!


The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits. - Albert Einstein
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Nothing against the Utica guns, but the Fox Philly guns are just plain sexy to hold and shoot.... I have 16ga SW from 1927 and there is just something about that gun that is hard to describe, compared to my NID from 1926, or the chunky Nitro from 1947. (I still like the NID and Nitro though)

The utica guns, just feel a little bit less "sleek" than the Philly guns..... Doesn't mean I would pass on one if I ran across a great condition gun at the right price.... But, prefer the Philly guns..

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I don't see much difference between Philly Foxes and early Savage guns made before about 1934 with the svelte philly features. Fit and finish are pretty much equal but in any case each gun must be evaluated on their own merits.

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I've got 7 Foxes, all Philadelphia guns. Please don't anyone think I am dissing Utica Foxes, but at this point in time I don't desire one. Now, if I inherited, or was given, a higher grade small bore Utica gun, I am sure I would enjoy it. But, that's not likely to happen.

SRH


"With one foot in the grave ..........and one foot on the pedal, I was born a Rebel" T.P.
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