Unloading an Ithaca 37 Magazine


Badger Arms
September 28, 2004, 11:34 PM
Just discovered something I had never thought of before. Of course, normally I unload the Ithaca with the slide and trigger... the old fashioned way. But I've been putting the gun on safe and then shucking the rounds through the action for years to unload my HD gun. On a rifle thread, somebody brought up the matter of unloading a tube fed gun. Well, I looked at the Ithaca and discovered something.

You can insert your thumb into the loading/ejection well of the Ithaca and depress the right shell stop (the one that holds the rounds while the slide is in battery. When you do this, the next round in the magazine pops gently against your thumb and you can withdraw it with no stress on your body, the gun, or your psyche for fear of an unintentional discharge. Am I just REALLY slow or is this news to others as well?

BTW, didn't work on the Remington... the shell carrier blocks the path of the shell. Did work on the Mossberg though!

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September 29, 2004, 12:50 AM
Great Safety Tip to Share - Thanks!

I believe some call this an "administrative" dealie. Of course I've not been to a school where I paid monies to learn anything... so being stupid and all.. I could be wrong.

Double Check that Remington. Humm...

I have been able to do 870s , 1100s , 37s and My SX1 for instance. Then again my stuff is Wood & Blue , pretty much stock ...

You have shared too much and taught many folks a lot of stuff over the years - don't feel bad. Heck , most folks have more knowlede in their little finger than I will ever have... I admit that. I just get lucky once in awhile is all. :)

Dave McCracken
September 29, 2004, 06:17 AM
Thanks for posting that. Doing this on an 870 means depressing both shell catchers in sequence, that's all.

Tom Held
September 29, 2004, 08:20 AM
A now deceased old Army Sargeant friend of mine used to hunt pheasant at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland with a 37. He would always slip a couple of 20 ga slugs in his coat. Occasionally he would stumble on to a half tame deer. He could quietly slip out one of the shot shells as you described, insert the slug load, pump it quickly into the chamber and dispatch bambi.

Then he would load the deer into the trunk of a beat up old Chevy Impala, put his bird dog on top of the deer and drive out through the gates. When one of the guards who didn't know him started to open the trunk his bird dog would start snarling and showing his teeth when the guard cracked the lid. That was enough, he just drove on out.

San Francisquito Bill
September 29, 2004, 12:13 PM
I work for the LA County Sheriff's and this method is what we use to unload the shotgun for inspection or storage.

It works very well, but our old 37's are getting a bit long in the tooth. Some of them are falling apart. There's a bunch with a rear rifle sight but no front, many have no beads, and the stocks are even falling apart/off the gun!

I wish we could carry personal shotguns or that they'd buy some new ones. It'd give me more confidence.

I have my 870 (Express HD) in front of me and the same "unload" can be accomplished with it. It is a bit more difficult because the shell catcher is a bit harder to push and you have to hold the shell lifter all the way up and then pull the rear end of the shell down and away from the lifter. Then it comes out. It's not as convenient as the Ithaca but I like it better than the shell shucking method. I also feel like (real or imagined) it puts less stress on the shell.

September 29, 2004, 01:10 PM
When I first got my Ithaca a few years back and was practicing with it, I decided "there must be a better way" and discovered your method of unloading them.

Never posted it for fear of admitting I was "shucking and chucking" shells prior to my new found "wisdom"... ;)

Badger Arms
September 29, 2004, 03:57 PM
Never posted it for fear of admitting I was "shucking and chucking" shells prior to my new found "wisdom"... For whatever reason, I am not cursed with any fear of admitting I've overlooked something.

Tried this with my 870 again and could not get it to work. I'll have to look at it later, maybe try my trap gun.

September 29, 2004, 06:22 PM
Badger ,

As Dave mentioned the 870 requires hitting both shell catchers in sequence.

I checked two 870s , one is a newer 870 Express , the other an Old 870 WM .

The old WM naturally was easier and smoother.

Granted the New 870 might have worked easier if the seeds , and such were removed, but hey it only has about 1k rds through it . 3 months or 3K rounds right?....or is that my truck oil change schedule ? :p

Calm down Dave :D

The 870 is being T&E 'd . Besides there is a new Self Car Wash dealie with really powerful spray I'm wanting to test on removing mud....I bet it removes stuff from a shotgun too. :eek: :p

SERIOUS WARNING - For you New Folks with 1100s

DO NOT Touch the INSIDE LEft side / side opposite of ejection port.

Sharp as a razor and will slice your index finger really deep and bad!

I know it would almost impossible to do this with gun assembled and trying to ease the shells out ...just the same the Warning has been given again - and we will hear off / give warnings in the future as well.

Little Loudmouth
September 29, 2004, 10:38 PM
You can do the same thing on my J.C. Higgins too. I find it handy.

September 30, 2004, 09:24 PM
[Model 12 mode]
Shell-catchers? What's that? ;)
[/Model 12 mode]

Seriously, this is one of the reasons I like the Model 12 so much. To completely unload it, I just push in on the lifter to remove the shells from the magazine. They just pop right out. Once empty, then I rack the forearm to the rear and eject the one in the chamber.

Aside from an O/U or SxS, it's about the fastest shotgun I've found to unload.

cracked butt
October 1, 2004, 05:14 AM
Am I just REALLY slow or is this news to others as well?

NO, and was at one time.

I had my Browning BPS, which is functionally the equivalent to a Model 37, for at least 2 years before I figured this one out for myself.

Badger Arms
October 1, 2004, 12:00 PM
To be sure, there are multiple ways to empty a 37. You can take the barrel off and pull the rounds out the front, you can shuck them in the chamber, discharge them and eject them. You can chamber them and then eject the loaded cartridge. Now I find out you can also depress the shell carrier and ease them out. Oh well, not quite as fun as method 2, but sometimes more practical.

October 1, 2004, 12:22 PM
I've been unloading my tube on my 870 for years through the loading port. You push the shell catcher as described and then (while holding the shell lifter down) thumb the base of the shell towards the bottom of the weapon to clear the lifter. Pops right out. Works better with the weapon inverted. Takes longer to describe than to do.

erik the bold
October 2, 2004, 05:58 PM
Also works on the Mossberg 500's and 835's

Navy joe
October 3, 2004, 12:24 AM
With the 870 it is as described above, they're just leaving out one small detail, this works with the bolt open so you can move the elevator out of the way. Much safer than chamber clearing. You want fun? Try watching a sailor clear out a Mossberg by racking the whole tube through. :rolleyes:

October 3, 2004, 02:06 AM
I've always done it (safety on) bolt closed and clear chamber last, but navy joe is correct. It works with the bolt open, I just tried it and found curiously that when you unload from the tube with the bolt open, that you press the 'passenger side' shell catcher instead of the driver side shell catcher as you would when unloading it from bolt closed. Hm. Prolly better to unload them bolt open methinks.

Ky Larry
October 7, 2004, 09:57 PM
Works with my Winchester 1300.

Badger Arms
October 7, 2004, 10:21 PM
It works with the bolt open, (870)Yes, but if you open the bolt, then it chugs a round into the receiver and you have to do the 'flip and shake' drill to get that round out.

So, to sum it up:

Ithaca 37, Mossy 5xx series, Winchester 1300: Bolt closed, depress right shell stop with thumb, round pops out against thumb to be withdrawn.

Remington 870: push carrier up and depress shell stop... round gets stuck against front of carrier... pull round down slightly and withdraw to the rear, correct?

October 8, 2004, 11:01 AM

Roadkill Coyote
October 8, 2004, 01:12 PM
On the 870, with a little practice you can ease the forearm back slowly until it starts to eject the shell that was in the chamber. Pocket that one, and push the lifter up. Cup your hand over the loading port and pull the forearm the rest of the way down. The round that would have gone onto the lifter will pop out into your hand. The rest can be unloaded easily by manipulating the stops.

cracked butt
October 10, 2004, 12:58 AM
Ithaca 37, Mossy 5xx series, Winchester 1300: Bolt closed, depress right shell stop with thumb, round pops out against thumb to be withdrawn.

I don't know anything about the winnies or mossies, but with the Ithaca, you only need to move the slide forward about 1/4", then you can push the shell elevator out of the way to empty the magazine. This should work- when trapshooting with my BPS, I do the same, though opposite, to single load- move slide forward 1/4" push elevator up, and thumb a shell into the chamber. The elevator is also forked, so you can use thumb pressure on the back of the shell in the magazine to hold it in place as you move the slide slightly forward.

Badger Arms
October 12, 2004, 08:01 PM
Not sure I follow you on the Ithaca. I am speaking about unloading the magazine with the slide all the way forward. It defeats the purpose to slide the slide back or forward any as your intent is to unload the magazine without having to fool with the slide or bolt.

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