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Ithaca 37 Defense?

Discussion in 'Tactical Shotguns' started by The Retired Sarge, Dec 4, 2011.

  1. The Retired Sarge

    The Retired Sarge "The Sarge"

    Feb 23, 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    The Ithaca 37 Defense shotgun has caught my interest. What is your experience or opinion on them. Thanks, Bill
  2. tenntornado


    Oct 17, 2011
    Nice guns,but the fixed barrel and the inability to port load due to the bottom eject are a dealbraker for me.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2011

  3. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

    Jul 13, 2003
    I like mine a lot. Can't see any problem with the fixed barrel, action is butter smooth, metal to wood fit is excellent, great trigger and pointability. 7 shot magazine, brass bead sight. Very nice shotgun.
  4. jwhite75

    jwhite75 Gubmint Worker

    Jan 6, 2009
    Dub V
    My buddy is a forensic firearms analyst...and a bit of a gun snob. He just last week took a tour of the Ithaca factory as part of his job. He said they are basically "production custom" guns.

    All machined steel and wood and hand assembled int he Good ol USA. He intends to get a Deer Slayer III at some point.

    As far as the Model 37 defense....NYPD Stakeout squad rode with them for years and probably still do. They have seen plenty of fire fights and held up pretty well. I wouldnt hesitate to buy one if I wanted one.
  5. Bullman

    Bullman Deranged Deputy

    Oct 11, 2003
    SW Virginia
    I was reading this wondering about any similarities that the new KSG and the old Ithaca might share action wise since they are both bottom feed/eject. I was also reading about the KSG supposedly being reliable with shells from 1 3/4 inch to 3 inches, and I was curious if anyone had ever tried the Aguilla mini shells in an Ithaca.
  6. Big Bird

    Big Bird NRA Life Member

    Aug 7, 2003
    Louisville KY
    The 16 gauge model 37 was my first shotgun. I have two barrels for it, a short deerslayer barrel and a long plain barrel. The gun is over 40 years old and has seen thousands of hours of use in the field, deer hunting, small game and bird hunting. It shoots every bit as good now as the day I got it from my dad.

    Its as intuitive for me to use as anything I've ever carried. It may not be the sexiest thing on the street but its reliable as my 870 or Mossberg 590 and VERY slick from all that use.

    Not sure about the current production since Ithaca has been bought and sold, opened and closed 2 times since the original plant shut down 20 years ago.
  7. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

    Jul 13, 2003

    Just to give You the raw idea about fit on this gun.
  8. Bullman

    Bullman Deranged Deputy

    Oct 11, 2003
    SW Virginia
    Is that a recent manufactured 37? Looks pretty good to me.
  9. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

    Jul 13, 2003
    Yes, this is the new, current model of M37.
  10. Bullman

    Bullman Deranged Deputy

    Oct 11, 2003
    SW Virginia
    Looks good, I have to say I am intrigued by the Ithaca. Something about bottom feed and eject just seems cool, I wonder how it could work. Guess I need to pick one up.
  11. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

    Jul 13, 2003
    It's a very nice shotgun. Quality made, but what is the most important for me - it points even better than 870 and has old Wingmaster like action. On top of it the wood smells like walnut :supergrin: 20" barrel is bit too long for my narrowish house, but I like it so much that I may keep it anyway.
  12. fran m

    fran m

    Mar 7, 2005
    drexel hill pa
    Nestor, Is that a fixed barrel model? I've never cleaned a fixed barrel shotgun, easy?
  13. Nestor

    Nestor Lean & Mean

    Jul 13, 2003
    Yes it is the fixed barrel version and yes it is easy to clean. On a side note - I do prefer removable barrel for cleaning, but to be perfectly honest it's not really a problem - just personal preference.
  14. wjkuleck


    Feb 19, 2005
    Northeast Ohio
    I just fulfilled a boyhood dream with the acquisition of a '75 M37. It's actually the continuation of a John Browning design manufactured and then discontinued by Remington.

    The M37 is so slick I might have to get another!


  15. Leigh


    May 22, 2000
    Eastern Kentucky
    A friend has one of the newer models (fixed barrel) and while smooth, he thinks that it does not match the feel of the older 37 riot guns.

    The spring/ball detent within the tiny safety is the only real concern that I've heard of.

    LAPD used them for decades (maybe still)....
  16. Not anymore. Remington 870's and officer purchased Benelli M4's.
  17. bmoore


    Jan 15, 2006
    Under a regime.
    True..................however, LAPD used Ithaca's back when LAPD used to shoot people.
  18. Mattkcc


    Dec 21, 2010
    I like M37's for hunting but hated them as a duty weapon. They have a lot more parts and springs in them then a Mossy or 870. More things to go wrong, also noway to visual check the chamber. They take a lot more maintenance and aren't as rugged as a 870 pump. They are a wonderful light handling field gun, but for duty I want the simple and rugged 870. When our 37's got older we had a lot of problems with the springs wearing out. When you jacked in a round it dropped out the bottom instead of going into the chamber. My buddy was getting shot at in the projects, as I was running up to assist him he attempted to chamber a round and it dropped out the bottom. He pressed the trigger and the 37 just went click. He was dumbfounded for a couple of seconds then tossed down the shotgun and pulled his 357. I had the same thing happen on the range and it wasn't from short stroking.
  19. SLO1911Fan


    Nov 23, 2009
    I have no experience with their defensive shotgun. Ithaca did however bring out a selection of shotguns to a big shoot at range I used to work for. They were all very nice, very attractive, and well put together. BUT we found that we could consistently make every one of their featherlights slamfire and we could make their other ones slamfire about half the time. They had an issue where if you tilted the shotgun more than 20 degrees to either side and closed the slide they would go off. I'm sure they've probably fixed the issue, their rep was extremely unhappy that we found it and could duplicate it at will. That kinda turned me off to them. They were certainly gorgeous guns if you're into that though.
  20. sambeaux2249


    Dec 4, 2006
    I had one of the 8 shot defense models for a while. The fit and finish was beautiful. That was about the only thing that gun had going for it.

    It would repeatedly drop live shells on the ground instead of loading them into the chamber. It was dropping 1-2 shells out of 8... There was no easy way to check the load condition or to swap loads... The barrel is fixed, which made cleaning a bit of a pain... Taking the bolt out for cleaning required COMPLETELY disassembling the gun... and if I left shells in the magazine tube for more than a couple of days, it would deform the shells so badly that they could not be chambered. Interestingly, those exact same shells that could no longer chamber in my Ithaca fit just fine in my mossbergs, remingtons, and benellis...

    That shotgun was the first gun I ever sold, and the one that I am happiest to be without.

    I'm sure I got one of the lemons that any manufacturer can produce, but between the various malfunctions, the different manual of arms, and the limitations of the design I found myself VERY soured on the whole idea of a bottom eject shotgun.