STERLING ARMAMENTS CO. LTD, ENGLAND
A RARE BOXED .22 UNDER-LEVER AIR-RIFLE, MODEL 'HR83 DELUXE', serial no. 3286,
circa 1983, with blued 17 1/2in. barrel (fore-sight missing), the rear-sight block marked 'STERLING ARMAMENTS CO.' over 'HR81' (see below) over 'CAL .22', the left side marked 'PAT. PENDING REG. DESIGN' over the serial number, bolt action single-shot pellet feed, blued air-chamber and under-lever, hand chequered walnut stock, two-stage colour-hardened trigger, black crackle finished muzzle-cap and trigger-guard bow and fitted with 'Q.D.' swivels, together with a period Leslie Hewett 3-9x40 telescopic sight and its manufacturer's card carton, much finish remaining throughout
Provenance: The Sterling HR83 was introduced in 1983 as an upmarket version of the Sterling HR81, which had experienced successful sales since its introduction in 1981. Apart from the addition of a hand selected walnut stock, the other major change with the HR83 was the introduction of a new two-stage trigger. Unfortunately this trigger proved extremely problematic; many broke resulting in the factory having to almost hand make every one. Indeed, it was commented on at the time that every trigger that left the factory was different in some way. This slow and laborious process resulted in only around 100 rifles being produced; indeed, so few were made that Sterling never even tooled an 'HR83' stamp for the model designation.
When Sterling Armaments closed its doors in the early 1990's, the tooling for the air-rifles was purchased by the Benjamin Air Rifle Co. in the USA and production resumed for a short while (with minor modifications), until Benjamin too was bought-out, this time by Crosman Arms in 1994 and production finally ceased.
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