Fox A Grade Shotgun: New Take On A Classic

This week, I got my hands on a new Fox A Grade shotgun, presented by Savage Arms. This was not my usual fair, in fact, I felt remarkably underdressed when I started my review. Opening the non-descript outer case, complete with a briefcase style numerical lock, revealing a beautiful red lined felt interior. As I removed the tissue paper surrounding the guns parts, I wished Savage had included white linen gloves in the package. The shotgun was so beautiful, I didn’t want to risk covering it with fingerprints. A pretty far bridge for a guy famous for spear chucking his Benelli into a barrel to save a quarter second.

Any discussion of the current Fox A grade would be incomplete without some background of Fox Shotguns in general. Ansley H. Fox founded the A.H Fox Gun Co. in 1906, based out of Philadelphia. An excellent shotgun shooter himself, Ansley used his success in competition as a platform to launch his new products. High-quality double barrel guns were produced in a variety of grades, which Mr. Fox proclaimed were the finest in the world. The Fox boasted new mechanisms, separating itself from similar box locks of the time, and proved to be a sturdy, well built gun. A variety of grades were offered, ranging in price from $50 to a staggering (at the time) $500 for an F grade gun.

Probably the greatest endorsement of the A.H Fox shotgun comes from President Theodore Roosevelt, who had one made specially for this 1909 Safari in Africa. After receiving the gun, Roosevelt wrote to Fox “ the double-barreled shotgun has come, and I really think it is the most beautiful gun I have ever seen. I am exceedingly proud of it. I am almost ashamed to take it to Africa and expose it to the rough usage it will receive. But now that I have it, I could not possibly make up my mind to leave it behind. I am greatly obliged to you, and I am extremely proud that I am to have such a beautiful bit of American workmanship with me.”  And later, during his Safari, he said: I had a Fox No. 12 shotgun; no better gun was ever made.”

That is quite an endorsement, from a man that new plenty about the weapons of his day. Teddy’s Fox shotgun eventually sold at auction in 2010 for $862,500, a new record.

A seemingly recurring theme in great weapons designers, Ansley Fox lacked the skills to make the business a success. He was forced out of the company he founded by investors in 1912. The Fox shotgun company continued to roll out new products, including 16 and 20 gauge models. Previously, only 12 gauge had been available. In 1929, Savage purchased the company and moved production from Philadelphia to Utica, NY. Savage continued to make Fox shotguns up until WW2, which pretty much spelled the end. A few more guns would trickle out from existing stock and leftover parts, but the era of the Fox was largely over.

Fox still had name brand recognition, so it the late 40’s Savage introduced the Fox Model B, basically a fancy version of the Stevens Model 311. Savage had purchased Stevens in the 20’s as well. The model B enjoyed a very long run as an offering, all the way up until 1988. Eventually, cheaper imports and the reorganization of Savage Industries to the Savage Arms Company that we know today dropped it from the lineup.

Through means unknown, the Connecticut Shotgun Manufacturing Company began producing an A.H Fox side by side shotgun in about 1991. These guns stay true to the original design and have a starting price of about $19,500.

This year, Savage has returned the Fox A Grade shotgun to the lineup, and it is a stunning piece. The base MSRP is $4999, not cheap, but a far cry from $19,500. I am happy to report that you get a lot for your money. The Fox sample I had in for review was absolutely stunning.

The steel barrels feature a solid game rib and a brass bead sight. Our pre-production sample model had a matte finish, though production guns will be blued. They are available in either 26 or 28-inch configurations, and production guns will also be Trulock choke compatible. The splinter fore end makes for a light and agile gun, perfectly balanced on the swing.

The action stays true to the Fox hammerless design of old. It is an Anderson Deeley style boxlock action, with Holland & Holland style extractors. The double triggers are set in a case hardened color receiver. This was my first time with double triggers, but I grew to like being able to selectively fire either barrel. I may have had a few shenanigans during my skeet adventure figuring out which barrel was which trigger, but that is beside the point. In a hunting situation, it would be very nice to have different chokes and loads in each barrel.

The stock is American Black Walnut with an oil finish. Truly spectacular in every detail, it comes out of the box with a 14.5 inch length of pull. The checkering on the stock and forend is beautiful and feels perfect in the hand.


In use, I came away very impressed with the Fox. I am not going to pretend to be an expert on shotgunning or sporting clays. But it is also not my first day at the rodeo. The outstanding balance of the Fox, combined with its light weight, had me busting clays much better than normal. This, with a 20 gauge instead of a 12. Most certainly a lesson learned, real skeet shooters use tools like this for a reason. The gun might be new, but it is full of old world charm, from the engraved receiver to the brass bead. If you have the means, I recommend you snag one. Your great grandchildren will thank you.

Specs

  • Series: Fox
  • Magazine: N/A
  • Stock Material: Wood
  • Barrel Material: Carbon Steel
  • Barrel Finish: Matte
  • Barrel Color: Black
  • AccuTrigger: No
  • AccuStock: No
  • Sights: Front Brass Bead Sight
  • MSRP: $4,999

Learn more about the Savage Fox A Grade shotgun by clicking here.

***Check out GunsAmerica for your next Fox A Grade Shotgun***

 

 

About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 12 comments… add one }
  • L Lundeen August 14, 2018, 12:35 pm

    Your specs fail to mention the gauge.

  • Bill W. March 30, 2018, 4:44 pm

    Buyer’s of SxS shotguns are very specific in their desires. This price point for a SxS with the limited choices offered might be a tough sell.

    My preferences for a SxS are in the 16Ga or the 28Ga.

    For 5k you could by a pretty nice original in the gauge of your choice. But for Savage for bringing out a SxS of any type with the decline of bird (and evidently all) hunting in our country takes some fortitude.

  • Bill Blair March 26, 2018, 7:06 pm

    Clay you are dressed very well for this fine gun. Kent doesn’t realize that he is still reading your criminal waste of band width with an open mind because deep down he knows your reviews are out front true to facts and are incredibly on spot for most weapons in your hands
    Great shotgun out of my pay grade but still nice.
    Kent I hope you find another mag,or some loser to sell you a piece of sh.. that you deserve
    Great job Clay

  • James Riley March 26, 2018, 5:15 pm

    At My age and financial standing this Shotgun is a pipedream for me.BUT I sure enjoy dreaming of hunting bird with one of these sweet firearms.I fine it a real shame that our fellow Americans are trying so hard to take our guns out of pure ignorance.I hope some day we can take their phones from them.So many people have been killed by a phone call. Just saying…..

  • Bob Lindsey March 26, 2018, 1:04 pm

    Actually AH Fox started making shotguns for competitive trap shooting (he was a very fine competitive shooter) in Baltimore before moving his operation to Philadelphia. I think he made around 1000 shotguns in Baltimore before moving to Philly. I know because, based on its serial number, I have one of the early Baltimore guns, built in 1906. It is over 100 years old and it still shoots like a dream; the choke on the second barrel is so tight I can break clays out to 70-75 yards. So as not to beat it to death, I recently purchased a Fox Sterlingsworth made around 1926, if I remember correctly. I love these old SxS shotguns.

  • Sonny Chastain March 26, 2018, 9:43 am

    I want one when will they be available?

  • Steve in Detroit March 26, 2018, 6:10 am

    That sure is a purdy gun. No, it’s a Fox.

  • martianone March 26, 2018, 4:25 am

    I want one of these !
    this is a preproduction model,
    When will they be available for sale ?

  • kent adams March 26, 2018, 3:12 am

    You SHOULD feel “inadequate” evaluating any decent firearm. Your “reviews” are a criminal waste of bandwidth.

    • Bill Blair March 26, 2018, 7:11 pm

      Clay you are dressed very well for this fine gun. Kent doesn’t realize that he is still reading your criminal waste of band width with an open mind because deep down he knows your reviews are out front true to facts and are incredibly on spot for most weapons in your hands
      Great shotgun out of my pay grade but still nice.
      Kent I hope you find another mag,or some loser to sell you a piece of sh.. that you deserve
      Great job Clay

    • Al March 28, 2018, 10:59 am

      Who are you quoting on the word, “reviews”?!? Did you mean ‘reviews’ ?!?
      I love it when guys such as yourself make snide and derogatory commentary without establishing any real reasons for doing so, nor contributing any real points to the discussion at hand, and I wonder if you realize how petty and snarky you come across.
      So much for civil discourse. Your comments are a criminal waste of our time.
      But then, ‘you’ SHOULD feel “inadequate” with that petulant comment.
      Grow up Kent.

  • Adam Jeppson March 26, 2018, 3:10 am

    I’ll take one please.

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