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I just overhauled my Ithaca Model 37 Featherweight... Login/Join 
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I just overhauled my Ithaca Model 37 Featherweight I purchased in 1975, and I noticed how NICE the old school solid steel machining was on all the parts - the receiver, trigger group, and ALL the parts are solid steel, everything without exception. And then walnut stock and fore-end.

I noticed that the machined surfaces are not smooth as in modern CNC milling, but where the fit actually counts toward smooth function, it works great. This bottom eject gun is SIMPLE, strong, and EASY to disassemble, clean, and put back together.

The only part I needed to replace was a $6 shell stop return spring. That was it. Everything else was gtg.

After cleaning all the parts I used G96 as an overall protectant, light slide glide for the single pump action rail, Ren Wax for the wood, and I also sealed some of the inside wood surfaces with some old London Checkering Oil I bought from Brownells some time ago, in the areas where the stock connects to the rear of the receiver, and where the fore-end wood attaches to the pump action tube.

It's a 20 gauge with a clean, non-ribbed barrel, weighs 6.5 lbs empty. I carried it today about five miles on a woods scouting exploration (we called it a squirrel hunt knowing full well squirrels don't show themselves in the middle of the day).

I know modern 20 gauge guns are much lighter, but this old gun was a real joy to carry around. A truly lovely field gun.

What do you guys think about the Model 37 ? I read this was one of John Browning's great designs, and was the best selling pump shotgun in American history, before the Rem 870 pump overtook the market for that segment.




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I love the Ithaca 37. I've got several. The action feels like it's riding on roller bearings. If I could have only one pump gun, it would be a 37.

Here's one- a Deerslayer made in 1966.

 
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That shotgun was my dream back in high school. Would love to see a photo of the gun.


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And like magic the photo appeared.


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I picked up 2 at Adventure Outdoors years ago, both ex City of Albany Georgia police surplus. Cleaned and refinished them and resold them to friends. Sorta wish I had kept one, though the Winchester Defender 1300 is my first love in pump shotguns.


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Posts: 2357 | Location: Roswell, GA | Registered: March 10, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes Sir, they are the real deal. I picked up one many years ago in a horse trade and regrettably eventually traded it off, earning it a place on my "darn I wish I had kept that" list.
Slick action and you could find the hulls in thick places without a day long search. Mine was sporting use but over the years I ran across several former police models. I believe the LAPD used them for a while then replaced them.
 
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My first shotgun - My dad bought it for me at Sears in 1973 (I was 13) and I still have it today. It will be passed down to one of my grandkids at some point. Mine is the non-vented barrel 28” Featherweight 12 gauge model - and with high brass shells, you get a pretty good jolt Big Grin

Love the way this model extracts spent shells out the bottom.
 
Posts: 3200 | Location: MS | Registered: December 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My first shotgun purchase; had just gotten home from basic training with several hundred dollars in hand. The hometown JC Penney's had a 12 gauge plain 28" modified choke model. Handed them $200 and a bit of change, filled out the paperwork, and came home all smiles.

Traded it years later for a Rem. 1100, but still have an Ithaca in the model 87 iteration. I'm a fan.
 
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I form 1'ed a well worn 37 and chopped the barrel to 11.5"...bubba had taken silver solder to try and make a trench gun from it and failed so the bbl needed to be shortened. Oddly, bubba also had tapped the received for a 1.5" Weaver scope.

Runs great, except the action isn't as smooth as my other 37's. I've not done a full detail strip but have removed the carriage and sprayed solvent through and oiled; no joy.

Any ideas in what might make a 37 action slightly hard to work? Normally, gravity or a quick jerking action with release depressed and a 37 should fall open. This one does not even when pointed straight up.

This one shoots great...slam fire is fun. 1952 date on it by serial, if I recall.

 
Posts: 3036 | Registered: December 21, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's my unfired 1988 Deerslayer Magnum (note the smooth Military & Police stock);



It's stablemate, an unfired and still in the box 37 Military & Police model;



Both of these came from the same consignor into my LGS and the manager called me as he knew I was on the hunt for a full tube version. Another had come in but a buddy had gotten there first...turns out that one belong the the consigner's brother and was also unfired.
 
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Great shotguns. One of the first guns I owned. Mine came with a 30" full choke barrel. Later I found a modified barrel for it. Recoil was no fun but I loved shooting it. As someone else said the slide was as smooth as ball bearings.


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My older 20 gauge Model 37 is from the 70s and I love it. I am especially fond of its small frame. What I've been thinking about doing for a while now is having it re-stocked with a straight English stock and smaller diameter corn cob/tootsie roll pump handle. Just have to find someone who would be good at that skill.

On another note, how is the quality of the new production Model 37s? A guy hears next to nothing about them.
 
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quote:
Originally posted by parabellum:
I love the Ithaca 37. I've got several. The action feels like it's riding on roller bearings. If I could have only one pump gun, it would be a 37.

Here's one- a Deerslayer made in 1966.


Wow, that is a very fine example.

I forgot to mention that I think the shell lifter screws on the sides of the receiver are hand-cut, those half moon cutouts on the main screws to fit the smaller screw which prevents the main screws from backing out. Those guys are very finely made, and very deep blued and polished, like the rest of the receiver.

Para - do you or anyone else know if those stocks are some variation of American or Black walnut ? When I had my stocks removed during my cleaning and overhaul, I THINK I smelled a hint of black walnut in the raw wood. I know the smell since I used to make wall clocks out of black walnut slabs in college. IIR maybe the old original Marlin lever rifles also used Black Walnut.




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Originally posted by kaschi:
My older 20 gauge Model 37 is from the 70s and I love it. I am especially fond of its small frame. What I've been thinking about doing for a while now is having it re-stocked with a straight English stock and smaller diameter corn cob/tootsie roll pump handle. Just have to find someone who would be good at that skill.

On another note, how is the quality of the new production Model 37s? A guy hears next to nothing about them.

I'm glad you mentioned about the trim dimensions of the 20 ga receiver. When I was carrying it in the woods last Sat, I noticed how nice that was, wrapping my hand around that very trim receiver.

Afterwards I watched some videos about the 37, and they discussed that because of the design of the bottom eject 37, and I think also the Browning BPS as well, that the receivers are much shorter than regular side eject pumps like the 870 etc. I didn't know that.




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Originally posted by wrightd:
Para - do you or anyone else know if those stocks are some variation of American or Black walnut?
I couldn't tell you. The only wood I know anything about is my own.

 
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Originally posted by kaschi:

On another note, how is the quality of the new production Model 37s? A guy hears next to nothing about them.


They're quite expensive and don't follow the original pattern perfectly. The mag tube clamps over the barrel vs. the original style ratcheting clamp. That alone would put me off from wanting one; I did want one until I saw a used one at a local shop and looked closer at the new company's website and realized yep, they went cheap.

The Inland M37 trench clones were more faithful to the originals than the "new" Ithaca Gun Company (which isn't at all related to the original).
 
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Originally posted by PGT:
Any ideas in what might make a 37 action slightly hard to work? Normally, gravity or a quick jerking action with release depressed and a 37 should fall open. This one does not even when pointed straight up.
A slightly warped action bar, perhaps.
 
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Thanks. Guess I'll need to pull one from my other 37 to test. Or perhaps do a full teardown and cleaning...probably needs to be done even if not the culprit
 
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My dad bought one back in '56.
I've taken more pheasant and quail than I can count.
It sets in his front hall closet now, I'll get it someday.
He's 93.
 
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Originally posted by parabellum:
quote:
Originally posted by PGT:
Any ideas in what might make a 37 action slightly hard to work? Normally, gravity or a quick jerking action with release depressed and a 37 should fall open. This one does not even when pointed straight up.
A slightly warped action bar, perhaps.

Check the thin steel screw cap that locks the action bar to the fore end wood. If that guy rotates a little bit the u-shaped cutout will be out of line with the barrel contour, and will drag on your barrel when you cycle the action. If the slide action gets harder as you open the action toward the receiver, that is a common problem, and an easy fix. And what Para said, a bent action bar, but I doubt that is common.

If that is your situation, reply and I'll link the simple fix I found on the net. I had the same problem with my 37, and it was easy to permanently fix. I would not call that a design flaw, it's just a thing to be aware of, as the design of that part is what contributes to the overall charm of the gun. If they had assembled it any other way it would not be as nice as it is.




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