Which to choose: Uncle's 1966 Remington 760 or 1971 Ithaca 37?


March 16, 2013, 12:33 AM
My great uncle passed away about a month ago, and he left behind a gun rack full. My aunt could really use the extra $$ so she's selling them off.

The two I'm most interested in are:

1966 Remington 760, .30-06, with same period Redfield 3x9x scope.


1971 Ithaca 37 Featherlight, 12 GA, full choke.

All of his guns were very well taken care of, and I don't think any of them had even been out of the gun cabinet for the last 15 or 20 years. My dad had to degrease and re-oil the cabinet lock to get it opened. He says that they barely have a scratch on them and the blueing looks nearly perfect.

I pretty much have what I need in terms of deer rifles and a turkey shotgun. For deer, my main shooter is a Kimber 84m in .308 Win, and I have a pre-64 Winchester 94 in .30-30. For turkeys and small game, I have an Remington 870 Express in 20 GA 3" with adjustable chokes.

I can probably only afford to get one or the other at this point. Help me decide.


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March 16, 2013, 12:59 AM
Since you only have one shotgun, and it's not a 12 ga, I'd take the Ithaca. Since it was made in 1971, replacement barrels are available if you want to use choke tubes, you could have tubes installed in the current barrel, or you could just use it as it is and enjoy it.

March 16, 2013, 04:14 AM
Definitely the Ithaca.

The Remington 760 is a strange neither fish nor fowl sort of critter, and your rifle needs seem to be fairly well met already.

The Ithaca model 37, though, is a gem of a pump action shotgun. It might also be useful to have a larger gauge shotgun.

March 16, 2013, 07:45 AM
You have 2 Hi-Powerd rifles, take the shotgun...............

March 16, 2013, 07:51 AM
I would go with the Ithaca Model 37 as you seem to be pretty well set with your deer rifle and there's nothing wrong with having a 12 gauge shotgun in the mix. Especially one as nice as a vintage Ithaca Model 37.

March 16, 2013, 07:56 AM
The Ithaca

Just my .02,

March 16, 2013, 10:22 AM
Since you only have one shotgun, and it's not a 12 ga, I'd take the Ithaca.
^^^What He Said^^^

March 16, 2013, 11:24 AM
No if ands or buts about it - the Ithaca remains the finest pump gun ever made (as far as I am concerned) and will fit well with what you already have.

March 16, 2013, 12:47 PM
veeeeery close call. I don't have any experience with the Remmy, but my dad's shot the Ithaca 47 for the bast 47 years...so I've gotta go Ithaca. Great gun.

March 16, 2013, 07:30 PM
M37, one of the best shotgun actions on the planet. :)

March 16, 2013, 07:49 PM
So most nobody thinks a mid-60s 760 with a vintage Redfield would be cooler than the Ithaca?

March 16, 2013, 08:25 PM
It's not a _bad_ rifle, it's just that it's such a _good_ shotgun.

March 16, 2013, 08:28 PM
While I do like those old Remington 7 series guns, I will have to also say go for the Ithaca. I have a Remington 740 in 30.06 that shoots beautifully, the 760s are even better than the autos. However, you already have some rifles and a real nice shotgun will just complete the picture.
If the 760 is a better gun than a rifle you already have, but worth about the same, consider trading one of your rifles for the 760 and buying the Ithaca. That way she gets her money and you get your guns :)

March 16, 2013, 09:14 PM
Wow never expected to see a hands down land slide vote for the Ithaca but that's my vote as well. I have an early 74 Ithaca 37 Deerslayer. There is an... 'Interesting' feature of 37's manufactured before late '74 in case you weren't aware. Either google it or PM me for more info if you're curious.

March 17, 2013, 09:10 AM
In your shoes, I'd take the Ithaca 37, but install a new recoil pad because light 12s kick pretty hard. You may not notice it when hunting, but shooting clays or using turkey loads can be painful, especially if you don't pull back hard on the gun.

By the way, I've reamed chokes on many full-choke shotgun barrels, changing them to modified or a bit more open. You shouldn't shoot steel shot in a full choke gun because it can damage the barrel over time.

March 17, 2013, 09:36 AM
Take the ithaca, easy choice.

Trung Si
March 17, 2013, 10:24 AM
It's a No Brainer, take the M37, best Pump Shotgun ever made!;)

March 17, 2013, 10:33 AM
Another vote for the Ithaca here......

March 17, 2013, 10:37 AM
I think Biden's advice actually works for this one; "Buy a Shotgun! Buy a shotgun."

March 18, 2013, 08:28 AM
Thanks, everyone, for all the good advice. I really didn't know a great deal about the Ithaca 37. Thanks to this thread I'm better informed and look forward to having a new brand in my collection.

March 18, 2013, 08:49 AM
Sounds like a plan Dan. Pics wen you get it home.

Shanghai McCoy
March 18, 2013, 09:00 AM
The 37's are a solid pumpgun. The bottom load/eject is a cool feature.

March 18, 2013, 03:37 PM
The Ithaca, without question.

Sun Tzu warrior
March 18, 2013, 09:25 PM
I'd have to say the shotgun as well, Being a southpaw the bottom eject is very appealing to me. At one time I did have a mid 60's Remmy 760 in 30.06 with a circa weaver scope. With necksized reloads I could cover a 100 yard 3 shot group with a quarter. Being family guns, is there anything you could part with so you could get them both?

March 18, 2013, 09:35 PM
I have a 1957 M37 and love it. Very fast handling shotgun, it has a very high "feels right" factor.

March 19, 2013, 11:56 AM
Wow! What a terrible problem to face. You're hunting needs for TN and all the lower 48 are really pretty well covered.

Does EITHER have a special attachment for you? Did your great uncle hunt with you with either one? Did he ever share a story with you or your dad (or other relative) that involved one or the other? If so, or there is any other sentimental type value attached to one over the other, that would be my pick. That will give you the family treasure to share with your kids or nephews/nieces down the road.

I have shot and hunted with a Model 37 for almost 40 years. My pick when I could finally get a "real" shotgun to takeover for my first, a .410. Worked all summer for a Mossberg 500 and when I had the money, $100, decided to hold out for the M37 12ga plainbarrel at $169. (Those were new, hardware store prices then) The next year, I added the deerslayer barrel. Great gun. Great combo. Fits like a glove. Light to carry. Quick to reload fast to swing. I believe the decades gives me the ability to see your needs and the advantages of each gun.

If no sentiment can sway you, consider the Remington 760. The Redfield scope should be considered a classic, especially if it's a widefield with the "TV Picture" ocular. And more so if it has the AccuRange feature. These were the scopes of Hathcock and others in Viet Nam. This doesn't make them "best", just historic, a scope with a tale, a pedigree. And still a very usable and decent scope to hunt with to this day. I have wanted, and never got a 760. I've been around several friends and relatives with them and others with the auto 740 version. I think going to 4 lugs in the 7400 was an improvement for accurate mating of the bolt lugs and engagement surfaces, but the 760 was a fine shooting, Bolt-Accurate pump rifle. Fast. Good woods gun--faster follow up shot than your lever, and in a true All North America chambering of .30-06. And, a scope works better on that rifle for the important rifle to shooter stock fit then on a 94. Your eyes will likely change with age. You'll still be shooting that scoped 760 long after the 94's irons are a blur. As a young man of 20 or so, you can't be sure you'll be in Tenn or even the Southeast all your life. Maybe you'll go into the military. That 760 is in the most available chambering for North America, and really the World, is long range accurate and fast to shoulder, shoot, and hit with.

I can not bash the Ithaca. Love that gun. But, let me point out a disadvantage of a mid 70s M37. They are mostly 2 3/4 in chambers and recievers. You're 3" 20 ga only lacks in low density (steel load) capability. Because of our non toxic laws, it's hurting for shell space for a non toxic and AFFORDABLE load. You really need a 3 in or more 12ga to clearly surpass a 3in 20 gauge. It may not even be safe to use steel in that M37. I've never been able to get either "re-invented Ithaca" to clearly approve steel in my 28in Modified 1973 barrel. If non tox hunting areas and game-types continues to spread outside of water fowl, you'll need a replacement barrel and "Half" the gun you sentimentally cradle won't be your uncle's at all.

It's a tough choice, but my pick to keep as a working heirloom and remembrance of my uncle for 50 years from now would be the Remington 760 and Redfield scope.

March 19, 2013, 01:23 PM
Is taking them both with the promise to pay off the second over the next few months an option? This is a family deal after all.

Even if you end up selling it later on you would have the option of selling it within the family or to a closer friend of the family which sort of keeps the direct history of it intact.

March 19, 2013, 06:54 PM
It is rare to have everyone lined up for one firearm. Just that says alot about the ithiaca shotguns.

March 20, 2013, 01:24 AM
I really appreciate all of the thoughtful responses. Overwhelming support gor the Ithaca!

Now that I've gotten prices from a few price guides and a reputable gun store, I feel pretty good about offering a price for both of them. If she'll let me make two or three payments it can work.

I like having shotguns, but I'm really into handloading and shooting rifles. Having a new .30-06 die and a rifle to match would be just dandy. The M37 will be useful for thunder chickens.

I'll keep everyone posted on how it progresses. Thanks again!

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