Brought home an Ithaca 37


March 18, 2012, 11:45 PM
Was driving home from lunch today and girlfriend suggested a trip to the pawn shop as we passed (she's a keeper). As backstory, I had been looking at those Stevens 350 Security pumps they have at Dick's and Big 5, and had just about talked myself into one with only slightly nagging doubts about Chinese quality control.

Anyhow, there were a handful of old Ithaca 37's in the gun room of the pawn shop, and I decided to handle a few. One came home with us for $250... Probably could have got them down closer to $200, but I hate haggling.

Sorry for the crappy pictures, I'll try to get some better ones. I turned the contrast up so you could make it out better.

It's a 12 gauge Featherlight. Appears to have been chopped down to 20" at some point. It's pretty worn, some surface rust, but it's solid as a rock. I shook it and my 5 year old 870 Express side by side (one gun in each hand) and let's just say you could hear which hand had the Remington in it. Smooth action and trigger, too.

Some questions for you guys with more knowledge:

- where's a good source to look up the serial and maybe see what year it was produced?

- anyone know the name of the screw that appears to be missing above and slightly behind the trigger? I assume Numrich is the place to go for a replacement, just not sure what to search for.

Anyway, I'm still debating my plan here. I'm 90% sure it will replace the 870 as my general purpose shotgun, mostly for plinking in the desert. Home defense would be a given if it were accessible in the situation. I don't hunt, and for clay pigeons usually I borrow someone's much nicer O/U or a longer shotgun. So far the most interesting options seem to be:

- Clean, lube and oil the wood, leave basically as it - worn and all. No sights, but my house isn't that big anyway

- refinish the wood same color or darker, smooth out the crown, solder a bead sight on it, send it out for reblueing

- Duracoat it and either chop down to 18" and put ghost ring sights on it, or make it my first NFA item and chop it down to 13"-14" probably with a bead sight. Ghost rings are about as "tactical" as I'd go besides maybe a small light. I've been through attaching all sorts of stuff to the 870 to see what I like, and really it just weighs too much and seems kinds of silly.

Pretty excited about this one. About to go start cleaning it now.

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March 19, 2012, 12:33 AM
Appears to have been made in 1956 according to a PDF labelled:

"Reprinted with express written permission from Walter Claude Snyder’s books “The Ithaca Gun Company From The Beginning” and “Ithaca Featherlight Repeaters: The Best Gun Going: A Complete History of the Ithaca Model 37 and the Model 87”.

Also think I found the screws on the new Ithaca website. Should be back in business for about $8.

March 19, 2012, 02:47 AM
Missing the cartridge lifter screw and its locking screw. Wonder if your gun actualy functions properly ?

The model 37 is a great gun, and with some clean up should serve you well. I would drill and tap the barrel for a bead front sight rather than try to solder one on.

March 19, 2012, 03:24 AM
Read the manual before disassembly - remove the stock *before* undoing the trigger plate screw.



March 19, 2012, 09:49 AM
If you go on in the Ithaca forum you can find the factory take down manual in a pdf file. It's listed in the sticky's.

If you leave the barrel at 20 inches and want chokes, Mike Orlen can thread the barel for chokes.

March 19, 2012, 11:02 AM
Have it beadblasted and parkerized. The price sounds high for this part of the country but if you're happy, that's all that counts.

March 19, 2012, 11:21 AM
Ithaca makes the smoothest pumps without a doubt. If you get your's refinished, you'll have one slick shotgun.

March 19, 2012, 02:31 PM
I have 3 old Ithacas that I have been hunting with for the past 54 years and are my favorite pump guns. I also have one I cut down to 18.5" for home defense and it looks much like the one you have. I like the way they are made and their smooth action. Snoop

March 19, 2012, 02:52 PM
Thanks for the tips guys. The exterior cleaned up pretty good last night, going to read through the manual a few times before I take it all the way down.

Mnrivrat you were right, wish I had read your comment before I attempted to load a shell and got it stuck in the chamber.

March 19, 2012, 04:12 PM
The 37 is my favorite shooter. I have one that I purchased from a dear friend, and it's a gun that will stay in the family for generations (I hope). A nice old 7+1 DSPS with a 20" barrel and rifle sights.

I love 870's. I've owned several. I still have an old Police Model that I keep for a loaner, but if I could only pick one long arm to keep from my burning house, the Ithaca 37 would be it.

Old Unc'
March 19, 2012, 09:11 PM
just think if it could talk! :)

stan rose
March 19, 2012, 09:17 PM
When you order the screws may I suggest ordering a shell stop spring. If something is going to wear out on the 37, that is usually one of the first things. They are not expensive and it is good to have one on hand. Just speaking from experience. You will be able to tell if it is worn when as you feed around into the chamber another one falls from the magazine to the floor.

March 19, 2012, 10:11 PM
You're one step ahead of me, Stan. I just ordered one along with those screws and a cylinder cap (pretty rusty, anticipate it being a problem). Also got their "schematic" and parts list for .99 in case it's any better than the PDF mentioned above

January 3, 2013, 10:35 PM
Well I ended up sending this shotgun to Diamond Gunsmithing back in April for some quality TLC. Just got it back tonight (thanks to the UPS guy for making one last pass at the end of his route to see if I was home to sign for it!), it sure took long enough but I guess I wasn't in a hurry.

Pictures don't do it justice, but the smith did a complete reblue, cut the barrel to 18", new bead sight, new carrier, new shell stop, new springs and magazine cap, and a few random screws. Action feels super smooth, overall very happy. Can't wait to take it out and see how she shoots. I probably put too much $ into it, but who cares. Looks great for a 57 year old shotgun!

January 3, 2013, 10:37 PM
Quickie cell phone pics

January 4, 2013, 03:05 AM
It looks great, now get out and shoot it!

January 4, 2013, 03:55 AM
Looks Darn Good! I'd say you'd be hard pressed to spend too much (within some degree of reason) on an Ithaca 37 restoring it to former luster. I would say you paid a bit much Especially concidering the missing screws rendered it inoperable (the pawn shop doesn't need to know it was only an $8 part). But welcome to the Ithaca 37 club. I have a 1974 deerslayer (smooth cylinder bore) that shoots slugs wonderfully. I just wish I could get a longer barrel threaded for chokes for it at a reasonable price. Go shoot it and let us know how she handles!

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