- home
Posted By: Road Man Sterlingworth 12ga. - 06/06/21 05:35 PM
I have a field grade Sterlingworth 12ga. with 30" barrels and double triggers. the serial number is from 1928, and all the serial numbers match throughout the gun.

This gun is not a fancy grade gun. I have had the gun for over 3 years. When I purchased the gun I sent it to a gunsmith and it was inspected and deemed safe to use. Some time before I purchased the gun it was refinished. The barrels show clear signs of re-bluing and the case hardened finish on the receiver looks good. When the action is closed the lever is almost exactly straight down the center.

Recently when I open the action the lever no longer stays to the right, it returns to straight down. To close the action I need to move the lever back to the right and hold it there before trying to close the action.

I am not a gunsmith, and unfortunately finding a gunsmith locally that is able to work on my 90 year old gun is a bit of a problem. My analysis seems to indicate that the trip is worn. Pumpkin Mountain Gunshop was my source for parts, but unfortunately it seems that the shop closed up a few months ago. Numrich shows the part on their website, but the have been out of stock since I started looking in mid April.

I have three questions...

1) Does my feeling that the trip is worn and the cause of my problem seem to make sense?

2) Does anyone have a known source for a replacement trip?

3) Are any of the gunsmiths that read this forum willing to manufacture a replacement trip.

The gun otherwise works well and I don't want to abandon it because of what seems to be a relatively minor problem. I readily admit that the gun has very little actual financial value, but since it works and I already have it I am willing to spend some money on it, just not a fortune.
Posted By: bbman3 Re: Sterlingworth 12ga. - 06/06/21 05:54 PM
There is a little spring under the trigger plate front screw that could have broken or been lost if that screw has been removed recently. Bobby
Posted By: Road Man Re: Sterlingworth 12ga. - 06/06/21 06:34 PM
The problem began slowly over time, but only within the last year or so. At first the thumb lever would only occasionally pop back to center. Now it only occasionally does not pop back to center. Although I have disassembled the gun to the point of removing the trip I did not do that until recently and only after the problem became more regular.

Now, having said that when I have some time I will again disassemble the gun with a parts explosion at hand and carefully check that all parts are where they should be.

Thank you for your quick response, and rest assured that i will check what you have suggested. I am not so arrogant to presume that I am perfect, you might well be right.
Posted By: Mark II Re: Sterlingworth 12ga. - 06/06/21 06:53 PM
Probably the trip isn't moving freely due to crud. If you have the right size screwdriver take out the trigger plate screw , flip the action over and catch the spring. If it doesn't come out, use a piece of wire to pull it out. move the top lever to the left. Look to see the orientation of the top of the trip and push it down and out of the action. Clean the trip. You can use a qtip or something similar to clean out the channel the trip moves in. Reinsert the trip, move the lever to the open position and push the trip in far enough to hold the lever open. Put the spring back and then the screw .
Posted By: Road Man Re: Sterlingworth 12ga. - 06/06/21 07:12 PM
When I disassemble the trip and immediately associated parts what is the collective wisdom for a lubricant? I have gun grease, traditional oils like RemOil and Hoppes, and Hornady spray dry lube.

When the gunsmith inspected the gun after my purchase I asked him to fully clean and lubricate the gun. He told me that he did remove the trigger plate and inspected the internals and also cleaned and lubricated them. Just a note: After this cleaning I experienced no problems with the lever. The gun was shot with probably 500 shells or more before I started having problems. All of those shells were my own reloads 7/8oz of #8 at about 1100 to 1200 fps.
Posted By: mc Re: Sterlingworth 12ga. - 06/07/21 12:51 AM
One drop of oil
Posted By: builder Re: Sterlingworth 12ga. - 06/07/21 01:26 AM
I don't know the gunsmith but is it possible he used WD40 instead of gun oil and the WD40 dried out and formed a varnish? WD is not a lubricant but many people think it is.
Posted By: Road Man Re: Sterlingworth 12ga. - 06/07/21 12:49 PM

I removed the stock to better get at the innards. Everything looked good inside, perhaps a little bit of dirt and crud, but nothing surprising. The wrist of the stock does show some staining from decades of oil and being stood muzzle up, this is not surprising for a field grade gun that probably got plenty of use in the last 92 years. By the way the gun has Chicopee Falls barrels and the barrel flats do have the correct serial number that matches the receiver and trigger guard. I'm guessing that this was either a gun that was serviced by Savage and the old barrels replaced, or the gun was a parts bin gun built later, I have no way of knowing.

Upon close inspection of the trip there was only a very slight buildup of oil. It came off with a gentle application of 91% Isopropyl Alcohol using a Q-Tip. A pipe cleaner with the same alcohol cleaned out the channel that the trip moves in. After cleaning I allowed the alcohol to evaporate and then lightly lubricated everything with Hoppes #9 Lubricating Oil and wiped off the excess. I reassembled everything and... FAILURE frown The problem was only slightly better and the lever returned to center about half of the time.

After several minutes of angry frustration and reflection I closely looked at the top of the trip with the barrels removed but the receiver and stock otherwise fully assembled. I noticed that the trip was being held in place by the pressure of the internal spring, but that pressure was not particularly forceful. I was able to move the trip sideways easily with a small screwdriver. Hmmm, perhaps more spring tension would solve my problem? I removed the large trigger plate screw and extracted the spring and trip. I counted the coils and the spring did not appear to be broken or missing any coils when compared with photographs of the spring that I found on the internet. OK, so far so good. I then took a couple of knife blades and grabbed the spring at the final coils on each end and gave a gentle stretch. I did not add much length, perhaps only equal to what one or two more coils would have been. I reassembled everything and viola! SUCCESS! The trip was now held in place securely by that now slightly longer spring. The trip moves freely in the channel but is not easy to move with a screwdriver as it was before stretching the spring.

I will order a replacement spring and keep an eye on the original. If the problem returns I will simply insert that replacement spring.

Let's face it, as we all know a gun like this is nearly a century old, springs will loose some tension over the years. I do not find this particularly surprising. That is the joy of using a fine old gun like this.
© The DoubleGun BBS @