Ithaca 37 failure to feed.


October 10, 2006, 09:45 PM
I took my 37 16-gauge to a local smith some time back, had the thing re-blued, all seemed OK, I put it away and forgot about it until this fall. The thing won't feed. The shell stop spring doesn't seem to move when the action is cycled, so it can't feed my snap caps from the magazine. I've tried the plastic and the A-Zoom metal snap caps. The carrier moves normally. I can usually chamber a snap cap when I've got it upside down, cycle, and it always ejects.

If I can fix it myself, I will. Any ideas as to what may be wrong?


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October 10, 2006, 10:55 PM
Make sure the forks are traveling down far enough to push the spring bar. Also, there could be some debris behing the spring bar keeping it from depressing.Check the forks themselves and make sure they were not bent and are actually touching the sides of the inside of the reciever.

I will go break out my 37 and look at it to see if I can add anything. They are pretty easy to take down.

Is the action a little tight?

October 10, 2006, 11:07 PM
You are going to have to tear the shotgun down. The smith may have put the fork in upside down. Look at the Ithica or Numrich site first to see the disassembly. I remember that you have to remove the butt stock, then the trigger group screw and trigger group, then the small locking screws on the reciever on each side, then the bigger screws that actually hold in the fork. PM me if you need me to do a detail walk through on it.

October 10, 2006, 11:41 PM
On my 37 (12 ga) I can finger the little bar just inside the reciever and make a shell pop from the mag. If you can do that, at least you know that bar isn't stuck.

October 10, 2006, 11:54 PM

Yes, the spring itself has tension and moves in and out as it should. When I depress it, the snap caps pop right out of the mag.


That was good advice about the forks. In fact, they aren't moving as they should. On my 12 gauge 37, the tips of the fork will extend down past the bottom of the receiver with the forend pushed back. On the 16 gauge, they just kinda flop around and don't move down all the way - only through half their normal travel.

I'm going to print out the Numrich schematic, clear off the work table, take a deep breath, and plunge in and try to do this. I've taken 870s completely apart, but never a 37. I guess there's a first time for everything.

If I get stuck, I'll send you a PM. That way we can e-mail back and forth once I've given up looking for little screws in the carpet. :D

Thanks a lot for your help guys.

October 11, 2006, 11:44 AM
The Ithica is really easier to tear down and re-assssemble than an 870. You don't need 3 hands. Go slow, remove the butt stock FIRST (ask me how I know!) and you should succeed. Good luck!

October 17, 2006, 06:52 PM
Well, DougW, you steered me in the right direction. The gunsmith did in fact install the carrier upside down when he reblued my Ithaca 37. I tore it completely apart, learned a lot in the process, had to buy a new pivot pin for one of the springs from Brownell's since the old one was bent, cleaned and reassembled the gun and the thing now feeds.

More or less. If I put in one snap cap and cycle it, no problem. Two, no problem. With three, they will all cycle normally say 75% of the time, while the other 25% of the time I'll get two in the chamber at the same time. If I insert four snap caps, it always attempts to feed more than one snap cap at least once.

Could the smith have given me a new mag spring that becomes too tightly compressed with three or four shells? Should I just lop off a few coils and see what happens, or would you suggest something else?

October 18, 2006, 08:13 AM
I haven't looked inside an Ithaca receiver in YEARS, but maybe something to check...

Look closely at the shell stops/interupters. May have a bit of wear or an odd angle on it that will hold the shells under a 1-or-2 in the magazine condition, but with 3-or-more in the tube, a round could be slipping past the stop/interupter, due to the increased sping pressure.

Would suggest NOT hacking on the mag spring just yet.

Make a trip to the range/club, etc, some where safe and see if this repeats with LIVE rounds. Sometimes, the 'snap caps' are just enough "off" dimension wise to give you false problem indications.

October 18, 2006, 05:44 PM

Good point about the snap caps. The plastic ones I tried first didn't feed very well at all, while the metal A-Zooms fed much better. I'm thinking now that maybe the right side shell stop may be bent just a tad such that it isn't engaging exactly as it should. But that is just a guess.

So live shells at the range first. We'll see where that gets us.

Hey, I'm learnin'. :D

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