Q: I’ve just purchased a Stirling Model 1800 in .22 Hornet made by Squires Bingham in the Philippines, but I’ve not been able to find any reference to this firearm in any of my firearms books or on the Internet. What can you tell about the Model 1800? I have a revolver called the Detective Chief in .38 Special by the same maker. Also, I have a Model 12 Lithgow .22 LR rifle. I have never seen it advertised in any of my old Sporting Shooter magazines (from 1962 onwards) when new. I know that a good many Model 1 single-shots were issued or sold cheaply to Soldier Settlers after World War II by Govermnent Departments to help in vermin control. Was the Model 12 also made for government issue?
A: The Stirling Model 1800 came along at the tail end of the Squibman series of rimfires imported by Fuller Firaems back in the 1970s as far as I can recall. There was the Squibman 11A bolt-action .22LR and Model 22A semi-auto. Later came the Stirling Models 1300, 1500 and 1800. I reviewed all of the above with the sole exception of the Model 1800. I don’t know why, but only a limited number were brought to Australia. I think they may have had some problems with them. They were all made by Squires Bingham in the Philippines. The Small Arms Factory at Lithgow made asingle-shot and a repeater for Slazenger back in the late 1940s. They were commonly called the Lithgow Single Shot and Repeater. The Model 1 and Model 12 were sold by all the gun shops and were not made specifically for any government department. My first .22 was a Model 12 that I bought from a gun shop in Mudgee in 1951 and later exchanged for a BSA Sportsman with 15-shot tubular magazine. Although Slazenger claimed these rifles were designed by Lionel Bibby, the Model 1 was a close copy of the Winchester 68 and the Model 12 a close copy of the Winchester 69A introduced in 1934 and 1935. Someone was telling porkies!