Ithaca turkey gun?


July 17, 2003, 12:05 PM
While looking at turkey guns, I've stumbled across Ithaca's model. While I don't hear them mentioned as much as 870s or Mossys, what I have heard suggests that Ithaca is a good name. Can anyone share any experience or warning about their turkey shotguns? Specifically:

How does their effective range compare with the Mossberg or Remington guns?
Do they perform well with the 3" cartridge, or would I be better served to look at guns chambered for 3.5"?

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July 17, 2003, 12:23 PM
Ithaca makes a good shotgun, with some passionately devoted aficionados. I've had a couple, and liked them. My three complaints about them were:

1. Very light weight compared to the Remington or Mossberg - this magnified recoil;

2. No ejection port at the side - cartridges are inserted and ejected from underneath the weapon. Whilst this makes it the most weather- and debris-resistant pumpgun made in the U.S., it also means that one can't chamber-check or do a field unload very easily. This is a safety consideration for me.

3. Service and support. I found real problems in trying to get parts from Ithaca when one of my shotguns broke, and they were very unhelpful and un-co-operative over the phone. They were also rather snooty - e.g. "We don't sell extended-magazine shotguns to anyone except law enforcement agencies". Bad attitude.

As for your questions: range is more a function of the ammunition than the shotgun - given two shotguns of different manufacture, with the same length barrel, and the same ammunition, there should be no difference at all in range. As for the 3" vs. 3½" ammo, I guess it's up to your shoulder! I personally dislike the bigger stuff intensely, as it really messes up my shoulder and makes a quick follow-up shot more difficult: but the Ithaca will handle it as well as any other, I should think... I'm assuming that they do have a 3½" model available - I've never checked. Me, I'll stick to 2¾" shells!

Dave McCracken
July 17, 2003, 01:41 PM
The Ithaca is an escellent shotgun, with the differences our Chaplain noted.

Lots of folks have never spent the time to pattern loads, unfortunately. One of the better turkey loads for one of mine is a MERE 1 1/4 oz. It's not the pellets in the shell that determine effect, it's the ones in the vitals. Extreme loads are oft less than convincing when tested on the patterning board. Try some lighter stuff, and go with whatever puts 8-10 pellets where they count in a turkey target.

July 18, 2003, 12:18 AM
Thanks for the responses. While we're at it, does anyone have comments on the Benelli Nova? I was at Galyan's tonight and the 12 ga. in black chambered for 3.5" was running $278 IIRC (not a sale price). Seemed like a good price. I didn't have time to handle it as my four-year-old was already reaching his patience limit.

Please don't think I'm indecisive. I'm really not. Or maybe I am. Sometimes I am, but then again I'm not sure if I really am or not. ;)

July 18, 2003, 07:29 AM
Nova = good gun (VERY good gun), but light for caliber, which means OUCH! when you touch off a few 3½" loads... :eek:

July 18, 2003, 09:12 AM
I have an Ithaca 37, a Wingmaster 870, and a Winchester Model 12 among the guns in my "stable." Of the three, the Ithaca is the smoothest, the Winchester is the best pointer, and the 870 is the most fun (because it is a .410). I would not hesitate to buy an Ithaca if it otherwise fit your needs. Recoil won't be a big factor in turkey hunting. You only shoot once on most hunts, and that only if you are lucky! I find the Ithaca to be the easiest of the three to unload. It does not have a carrier in the way, so you simply reach your thumb into the loading port underneath the gun and push the shell stop to the side each time you want to pop a shell out into your hand. Do that until the magazine is empty then shuck out the load in the chamber and you are good to go. Visual inspection requires that you roll the gun over, but I do that with all of them anyway.

I have never owned a Mossberg. I am, however, looking forward to trying out one that my local Sheriff's Department is now using. It is a 14" barrel version. I have been invited to their annual training is a couple of weeks, and I hope to get to shoot one there.

I don't think you can make a bad choice for turkey hunting. If the gun is a multiple-use piece, some may work better than others for your purposes. Good luck!


Gila Jorge
July 21, 2003, 08:59 PM
About 20+ years ago Ithaca used to make a 10ga Auto that came with the most beautiful wood in the "supreme" version. Of course , their 37 has been around for years and many swear by it. I've used one but like the 870 better; and the finest all round and better fitting is the Winchester Mod 12. I had a friend that used the Ithaca 10 for both geese and turkeys. Je loved it. It was pleasant to shoot as it was quite heavy....and gorgeous wood as he had the supreme model.

Sam C
July 23, 2003, 05:24 PM
Gun Test Magazine did a review of the Ithaca model 37 Turkey Gun a couple of months ago and if I recall correctly, they really liked it. I had a model 37 when I was a kid and loved that gun. I sold it and miss it to this day. My next scattergun purchase will be an Ithac 37 Classic with the ringtail forend like my old one.

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