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Ithaca Gun closes after 124-year run

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Harry Tuttle, Jun 24, 2005.

  1. Harry Tuttle

    Harry Tuttle Senior Member

    Nov 14, 2003

    Ithaca Gun closes after 124-year run

    The Associated Press


    AUBURN -- Mired in debt and struggling to compete, the Ithaca Gun Co. has ended production after more than a century in business.

    "We're just tapped out, we can't do it any longer," Andrew Sciarabba, one of seven investors who own Ithaca Gun Co., told The Post-Standard of Syracuse.

    Closure of the company, which had 26 employees, comes less than a year after it received $150,000 from Cayuga County for operating expenses. Ithaca Gun had missed its May and June payments on the loan, for which it had put up its equipment as collateral.

    The company reportedly had recently completed a move from King Ferry to Auburn.

    Sciarabba, whose group acquired the company out of bankruptcy in the mid-1990s, said Ithaca Gun was several hundred thousand dollars in debt.

    Sciarabba said the company also owed several years worth of back excise taxes to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

    The gun company, which had operated on a 2-acre site on Ithaca's Lake Street continuously since 1880 manufacturing shotguns, went bankrupt in the 1980s and was bought by new owners in 1989 and relocated to King Ferry.

    Even though the company moved away from Ithaca more than 15 years ago, the news of its closure came as a disappointment to local hunting aficionados who admired its products.

    "I think it's a terrible thing," said Joe Ripchick, who answered the phone Wednesday at Jay Street Rod & Gun Inc., a local gun store that is owned by a friend.

    "They are an awful good gun. They have a lot of product out there," Ripchick added. "At one time it was one of the bigger things down here (in Ithaca).

    "It gave Ithaca a good name," he added.

    Ithaca Gun began production in 1880, and soon became known for making affordable and durable shotguns such as the Deerslayer and Deerslayer II.

    "The closing of Ithaca Gun is another sad, but not unexpected, chapter in the life of one of America's oldest gun companies," said Dave Henderson, a lifelong sportsman who writes a twice weekly outdoors column for The Journal and other area newspapers.

    "This marks the third financial failure under the 124-year-old Ithaca Gun name in the last 20 years and, frankly, wasn't unexpected given the shaky status of both the company and the firearms business in recent years."

    Sciarabba said investors hope someone will buy the company's well-known name and resume production in Central New York.

    But, he said, "I don't know if that is going to happen."

    Meanwhile, that could shake the confidence of consumers who own or would like to buy an Ithaca-made gun -- and those who sell the firearms.

    "More than a few people have guns at the Ithaca Gun service department awaiting repair and have no recourse to recover them," Henderson said.

    "Certainly consumers will be reluctant to purchase an Ithaca from a dealer with no guarantee of customer service after the sale, which leaves dealers with guns in inventory that they cannot move."

    In addition to more than a century of gun production, the company's legacy in Ithaca also includes decades worth of lead pollution.

    Spent lead shot was disposed on land near Ithaca Falls as part of operations. A federally led clean-up program, begun in 2002, removed thousands of tons of lead-contaminated soil from the area at a cost of around $4 million.

    Some buildings remain standing on the factory site, where a North Carolina man has for several years been considering redevelopment plans that would include lead clean-up in that area.
  2. bigun15

    bigun15 Member

    Jun 10, 2005
    That's too bad. I hunt with a gun made by Ithaca and it hasn't failed me yet. My dad used it for ~20 years before giving it to me.
  3. entropy

    entropy Senior Member

    Feb 9, 2004
    G_d's Country, WI
    Hard to keep a gun manufacturing company afloat with one sucessful model out on the market. Don't get me wrong; I like Ithaca M37's, and have owned several. I own a clock made by Ithaca in 1855. But it is corporate suicide to not stay competitive in the market today. When you have several good selling models, alá Winchester or Remington, you can coast a little in the R&D dept., but, for instance, Savage at least branches out on variations of it's one best seller. It's a shame Ithaca went under, maybe I should look for a 20 ga. M37 before the prices skyrocket. ;)
  4. mattw

    mattw Participating Member

    Feb 19, 2005
    I always thought the 37's ejecting and loading via the same hole was kind of odd and never really cared for the single action bar design.
  5. bogie

    bogie Mentor

    Jan 2, 2003
    St. Louis, in the Don't Show Me state
    Righty, Lefty, doesn't matter. I like the design.

    Wanna bet that the lead cleanup got billed to the company?

    I wish I had the cash to buy it. Imagine a few updates, with the damn well respected reputation backing 'em...
  6. Black Majik

    Black Majik Mentor

    Sep 13, 2003
    Orange County, California
    Thats too bad, I was actually looking forward to their model 37 protection series they were gonna bring out soon.

    Oh well, guess its another 870 in the house :D
  7. CAS700850

    CAS700850 Participating Member

    Jul 20, 2004
    Central Ohio
    Somewhere, my father is cussing over this one. Being a lefty, he loved the downward ejection for a pump shotgun. Wish we still had his...
  8. scubie02

    scubie02 Active Member

    Aug 18, 2003
    The thing that put ithaca out of business was people not noticing when they got a cheap knockoff foisted on them, ala the 870. Now before people get their panties in a bunch, I have a wingmaster that I own myself, and they work fone for the most part, but lets face it the wingmaster was brought out as a cheap model full of stamped and plastic parts to replace a model that had all milled steel parts--like the Ithaca model 37. Consequently Ithaca was truing to keep the price on a much more expensive to manufacture gun not too much higher than a cheap to manufacture gun. Hard to do. Remmy laughs all the way to the bank every time they see the 870 compared to shotguns like the 37 ithaca.
  9. Blue Jays

    Blue Jays Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    Hi All-

    The downward ejection is a very cool design that is strong, unaffected by whether the shooter is a righty or lefty, and protected from dust, rain, and dirt. Didn't Ithaca also have a 10-gauge model called the "Roadblocker" or something like that? It would make for a great home defense gun with an 18.5" barrel, synthetic furniture, and similar utility upgrades. This is sad news for those into shotguns.

    Oddly enough, the real city of Ithaca, New York has truly become the City of Evil and has many gun-grabbing liberals living there and teaching at the university. Ithaca Gun should be happy they moved from that hornet's nest nearly two decades ago.

    ~ Blue Jays ~
  10. 33-805

    33-805 New Member

    Jun 8, 2005
    Sorry to see this. You are right, the Roadblocker was a severe desire of mine as a kid. I would still love to find one.
  11. smokemaker

    smokemaker Active Member

    Sep 21, 2003
    Western NY...yes, The Peoples Republic of New York
    That's really sad. I love my 87, and the history that went with it. Better shotgun than almost any other pump I tried.
  12. AZ Jeff

    AZ Jeff Active Member

    Jan 21, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    You do realize that model 37 was a re-do of the Remington Model 17, which was designed by the Master himself, JM Browning?

    That design was VERY efficient. Low parts count, durable parts, and VERY light for an-all steel shotgun.
  13. Missourigunner

    Missourigunner New Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    If I remember correctly, the Ithaca model 37, was popular as a combat firearm during Vietnam. I remember them being part of the Armament on the River Patrol Boats and the Mobile Riverine Force Boats in Vietnam as well as some troops being armed with them.
  14. T. Bracker

    T. Bracker New Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    That is some sad news. I have 3 Model 37s, 2 20ga and a 12 ga. I also have a Mag 10 with the 32 inch full choke barrel. When they came back into business in the 90s, I had ordered another barrel for the 10 ga, a 26 in pipe with interchangeable chokes. Now I am glad that I did.
  15. jamz

    jamz Participating Member

    Nov 28, 2003
    I'm a maniac, maniac at your door
    That's sad. My first gun was an Ithica Featherweight, the helped my take my first geese, long ago.

  16. Legionnaire

    Legionnaire Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    :( Very sad. Think someone might buy the trademark/brand?
  17. Harry Paget Flashman

    Harry Paget Flashman Participating Member

    Feb 15, 2005
    NW Florida
    Sure hope someone picks up the ball and runs with it. Have owned 3 Model 37's over the years and still have one. They made a great shotgun. My first 37 only failed to eject once in 32 years...when I inadvertantly fired a 3" shell in it. It was chambered for 2 3/4". Great gun. My son-in-law has it now.
  18. George Hill

    George Hill Mentor

    Dec 22, 2002
    Uintah Basin, UT
    Ithica would be a good name to pick up for a company missing a good pump shotgun... Hello, Marlin?
  19. MoeMentum

    MoeMentum Member

    Jul 23, 2004
    Glad I didn't get rid of my first shotgun, an Ithaca model 66 super single, with rifle sights. Its in like new condition, and I think I'll keep it to hand down the family tree.
  20. 308win

    308win Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Ohio - The Heart of it All
    The Chinese are on a brand buying binge, maybe they will buy the brand and ruin it with cheap product; WallyWorld will undoubtably take all they can make if the price is right.

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