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.
- 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.