Sterling Arms Double Shotgun

Yes, they really made one. Here’s how to work the Sterling Arms Corporation side-by-side 12 gauge double shotgun.

by Mark R. Hollensen

Wait a minute. What? A Sterling Arms double barrel you say? It sure is. But what really is a Sterling Arms Corporation shotgun? When it was first brought to me, it appeared to be in decent shape. The barrels were tight and the top lever still had a right angle to it when the gun was closed. I looked it over some and then began doing some research on it. It was a 12 gauge with 30” barrels and the wood was checkered. All of the serial numbers matched and the only wording stamped on the barrel set was “Projectile Steel”. I quickly learned that there was little information available pertaining to the Sterling Arms Corporation. Actually, none with that brand name. Searches kept bringing me to pistols. With nothing to go on, I began cataloging the shotgun and making mental notes on how it was constructed.

At first, the lockup resembled a Winchester Model 21 but other parts in the gun told me that it wasn’t. I saw some similarities to the Baker guns, the L.C. Smiths, and even the Liege double guns but none fit the mold precisely. With nothing to go on, I completely disassembled the shotgun as it needed a firing pin anyway. With all of the parts removed, I was able to start looking for “like parts” one-by-one and then I finally found out just exactly what a Sterling Arms Corporation side-by-side 12 Gauge shotgun was. Simply put, a Fulton.

What is not clear is why nothing has been written about the Sterling Arms Corporation, at least that I could find. I’m sure there is something out there that discusses what the Sterling Arms Corporation is and how long they were in business, but as of this writing, I was unable to locate it. With that said, I did find some literature about “trade name” shotguns and that information, although it excludes any mention of the Sterling Arms Corporation, led me to believe that this shotgun fits into this category. Photographs of this shotgun, along with the parts removed (all of them) make this shotgun nearly the identical twin of the Fulton Arms Double Barrel Hammerless shotgun. Essentially, it is a trade name shotgun.

Read more in the January 2019 issue.

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