Obscure Object of Want: Sterling 302 .22LR Pistol

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Sterling Model 302 .22LR pistol

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How did I discover a Sterling 302? Properly, it’s a protracted story. I’ve develop into a fairly large fan of auctions. Not Gunbroker-style auctions, however actual auctions that transfer in actual time.

I’ve a neighborhood firearm public sale that I hit up each time they host an public sale. I sometimes purpose for historic, largely reasonably priced firearms. Typically I see a gun get zero bids and if the worth is true, I hit the bid button.

Sterling Model 302 .22LR pistol
Eighty bucks isn’t a nasty value in any respect. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

One such firearm was a bit of .22LR-looking pocket pistol from an organization known as Sterling. I had by no means heard of the corporate, by no means seen the gun earlier than, however nobody put in a bid, and the opening bid was $80.

Little did I do know that I had bought the Sterling 302, a surprisingly sturdy little pocket pistol from the Nineteen Seventies. I believed it is perhaps a pot metal-ish little factor, however I used to be surprisingly unsuitable.

The Sterling Arms Company

Not solely did I find yourself with an attention-grabbing pistol from the Nineteen Seventies, however the firm that made it’s reasonably attention-grabbing, too. The Sterling Arms Company is a little bit of a mysterious firm. Kevin on the WeaponsMan weblog wrote an in-depth article about Sterling Arms Company, and this text incorporates the vast majority of info we all know concerning the firm.

As an organization, they made some attention-grabbing little weapons, together with a Excessive Commonplace HDM design with the barrel trimmed to nothing and chambered in .380 ACP. They made some cool pistols however, as an organization, have been reasonably secretive.

Sterling Model 302 .22LR pistol
This can be a little .22LR pocket gun, but it surely’s surprisingly good. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Who designed the weapons? Who is aware of? The place did they arrive from? No thought. Why did they use sure cryptic initials and numbers within the names of their weapons? I dunno. They weren’t actually open about it, and within the Nineteen Seventies, firearm advertising and marketing wasn’t something like it’s at the moment.

The Sterling Arms Company isn’t associated to the British Sterling by any means. One other Sterling produced low cost revolvers out of California, however there isn’t any proof the businesses are related. The Sterling Arms Company was initially based mostly out of Buffalo however shortly moved to Lockport, New York. Essentially the most notable factor they did was import the SIG P232.

Sterling Model 302 .22LR pistol
It’s not fairly, but it surely shoots properly. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The corporate shut its doorways in 1983 or 1984. In keeping with Massad Ayoob, Sterling Arms Company was sued out of existence. Lengthy story quick…a babysitter had her boyfriend over. The boyfriend discovered the household’s .380 Sterling. He eliminated the magazine and, pondering the weapon was unloaded, pulled the set off and fired the weapon, putting the kid and leaving him paralyzed.

Last Firearms – The Sterling 302

Sterling made quite a few seemingly odd and attention-grabbing weapons, however within the mid-70s, they produced some pretty sensible and seemingly boring pocket pistols. These have been often called the Sterling 300, which was a .25 ACP, and the 302, which was a .22LR. In keeping with a 1978 catalog, the Sterling 302 price $73.95, so while you account for inflation, me selecting one up for $80 is a discount.

I figured it was a Saturday Evening Particular-style pistol that was standard within the period. Think about my shock once I picked up my firearm, and located the Sterling 302 is clearly not a pot steel Saturday Evening Particular. The body and slide are blued metal. The grips is perhaps plastic, however the gun appears to be like unbelievable.

Sterling Model 302 .22LR pistol
Trench sights current an attention-grabbing problem. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The gun weighs 13 ounces, is 4.75 inches lengthy, and is 3.5 inches tall. It’s one inch vast and sports activities a 2.125-inch lengthy barrel. It has a easy six-round journal and, predictably, it makes use of a easy blowback design.

Sterling Model 302 .22LR pistol
The security is odd, however practical. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The Sterling 302 has a handbook security mounted proper above the set off that’s simple and fast to make use of. Throughout the highest, you gained’t discover any sights, solely a trench. I’ve by no means shot something with only a trench sight, so this may be an attention-grabbing journey.

Sterling Model 302 .22LR pistol
The European journal launch isn’t quick. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The journal launch is mounted to the underside of the grip in a really European-style design. The weapon got here in blued, nickel, and even chrome steel, with the stainless being the most costly in any respect of $90.

On the Vary With the Sterling 302

With a bit of Winchester and Federal ammo, I hit the vary with the stout little Sterling 302. I arrange two metal targets and one paper goal. I tried to group the weapon at 10 yards. The ditch sights threw me off, and I hit considerably low able I felt was snug. In my first try, I created a bunch that was 2.14 inches at ten yards. That’s not horrible for the little gun.

Sterling Model 302 .22LR pistol
It’s tiny, and it’s pocket-sized. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The set off has a good quantity of takeup and will get a bit of stiff, but it surely isn’t unhealthy. I want a category on trench sights, and I simply utilized a bit of Kentucky windage to my shooting. At ten, fifteen, and even twenty-five yards, I made efficient hits.

At ten and fifteen yards, I hit a 10-inch gong with the Sterling 302. In reality, I went six for six at each ranges. At 25 yards, I went three for six on the gong and 6 for six on an IPSC metal goal. With actual sights, I believe I may have achieved a good bit higher.

Recoil wasn’t a difficulty. It’s an all-steel .22LR, so this wasn’t a difficulty. Reliability wasn’t unhealthy. The gun labored greatest with Federal Automated, and my solely problem with the Winchester is that sometimes, the final spherical would fail to feed. The Federal Automated labored with out problem. I brought on a difficulty myself by having my hand too excessive on the gun.

Sterling Model 302 .22LR pistol
Is it good? No, however its no Saturday Evening Particular both. (Travis Pike for TTAG)

That brought on an issue as soon as when capturing, which created a failure-to-feed scenario. Don’t tighten up too excessive when capturing these little weapons.

The Sterling 302 is a enjoyable little gun, and I’m impressed by what I assumed can be an inexpensive little pistol I picked up on the public sale. Now I need to get just a few extra Sterlings, particularly a PPL.



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