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Steel Shot in old Ithaca 37

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by dak0ta, Nov 26, 2019.

  1. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    For my 1973 Ithaca M37 with a fixed modified choke, could I shoot #4 steel through the barrel without an issue? I don’t plan to do this very much, just that I don’t have my steel shot modern guns with me at the moment. The mallards are huge at this area and it’d be a shame not to try ..
     
  2. somethingbenign

    somethingbenign Member

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    Not sure about your firearm specifically but if you can't find a solid answer and don't want to risk it try bismuth. Behaves close enough to lead to be safe to use and if you are just making this a once in awhile thing then the high cost shouldn't be as big an issue.
     
  3. Shanghai McCoy

    Shanghai McCoy Member

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    ^^^
    Yep, I'd get some bismuth loads for that gun too. It's pricey but works and is safer for the older barreled guns.
     
  4. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    Ithaca apparently advertised their roto forged barrels were strong enough for steel shot and warrantied them. That’s cool. Makes me want to invest in an Ohio M37. Ad was taken from an old Field And Stream book in 1978 so 5 years after my M37.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2019
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  5. earplug

    earplug Member

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    I bought a used Model 37 to hunt ducks with out of a canoe back in the early 1980's. They are fine with steel shot.
     
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  6. skeeterfogger

    skeeterfogger Member

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    Don't see why it would be an issue. The shot stays in the wad cup till it leaves the barrel.
     
  7. somethingbenign

    somethingbenign Member

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    The issue is that when the barrel constricts at the choke it compresses the shot slightly. Lead and bismuth being soft metals this isn't a huge issue as the shot will deform before the barrel/choke but with harder metals like steel the shot won't compress. Most likely will just open up what was a mod or full into an open choke but in worst cases cause dangerous pressure spikes and blow a barrel.
    I believe the difference between steel rated chokes and lead only has more to do with the taper of the choke and less about barrel strength. Lead only chokes taper in quite abruptly while steel have more of a gentle taper. The abrupt taper is cheaper to make and was popular with cheaper manufacturers before the mandate of steel. The question is was Ithaca a company that made things the right way or the cheap way? Probably did it right but bismuth sidesteps the question altogether.
     
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  8. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    I'm going to say it is probably OK, but I'd still not risk it. When steel shot was required most older guns were fine with it. The real concern was with older SXS and O/U guns. Since they have thinner barrels to keep weight down they were the ones splitting at the muzzle from steel. MOST other guns choked modified or IC were OK. They don't recommend steel in a conventional full choke even today. But since you have a fixed modified barrel it will probably be OK. Steel tends to pattern one choke tighter anyway, you'll get full choke patterns with steel in a modified barrel.

    But on a gun with sentimental value I don't think I'd take the chance. There are other non-toxic loads other than steel that are actually much more effective anyway. Of course they are more expensive. That is the route I'd go. Or if I planned to shoot a lot of steel I'd buy a more modern gun.
     
  9. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    Put 2 rounds of Winchester Super-X #4 1-1/16 oz at 1550FPS through it today, missed the ducks but on inspection, muzzle and forcing cone look ok. I obviously won't shoot a lot of steel through it as I have modern shotguns for it, but in a pinch for the next few hunts it'll work. Upland closes this weekend so I need to find another quarry to hunt in the meantime.
     
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  10. Bill460

    Bill460 Member

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    I purchased an Ithaca Model 37 new in 1973. It also has a Modified solid bored choke. Personally, I would not run steel shot in my gun. I would do what the others have suggested, and go with Bismuth. Yes, it will be more costly. But it eliminates any possible damage to your gun. Replacement barrels for these guns are not easy to find, and they are expensive when you do. Bismuth loads get around any and all of the risk.
     
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  11. dak0ta

    dak0ta Member

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    85DB1D3D-E1A4-4F7E-A367-B342DF67A3FD.jpeg
    55CD91CF-D774-4173-A039-35EAF6C4B12F.jpeg

    No issues with steel shot. Got my first duck using the Ithaca!
     
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  12. e rex

    e rex Member

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    I have an extra barrel if anyone needs one. Mine is a non-rib about 1974 model. One is 30" full and the other is 28" modified.
    I just turned 77 and put the full choke barrel on to give me that extra 5-10 yards. I'm not a quick as I once was.
     
  13. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Even if steel is fine through it, I recommend Bismuth. Better performance, and for the few boxes you'll use during duck/goose season, worth it.
     
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