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dannypratt
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:22 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 21 Dec 2005
Posts: 498
Location: Napoleon, MI

Hey Fellas,

Managed to scrounge up a well used and obviously loved, 1952 Ithaca M37 Featherlite w/ 28" full choke bbl....

This one came into my hands after some carpentry work for a good friend, one of the Grand benefits of having job in the trades.

It wasn't his personal gun, he owns the local shop and I've done a lot of work for him, so after laying in some new glass block windows in his house, he offered an item of interest to be put toward the bill. It was dirty, possibly cold blued at some time many years back, had been kept in a lined case (not a good idea, fellas) and generally forgotten for obviously many years. For less than 3 digits and a promise that it had been trstfired, I scooped it up and gladly took it home and directly to the basement workshop and stripped it down to the internal workings and thoroughly cleaned (read scrubbed, polished, scrubbed again and scrubbed more) the vintage companion and after discarding 2 brass tooth brushes and 2 brass bore brushes (there was serious built up fouling in the first 18") I oiled and reassembled the old '37 and found that, really, she's a pretty nice old war horse after all.
No splits or cracks, (no legendary tang crack...given the condition, I was amazed), solid wood and good finish yet, some light but very old pits on the receiver and some freckling on the barrel, and ultimately less than 20% blue remaining, which, in final analysis, really fits the gun.
It's a fine handling 37, and the fact that it's worn fairly well only allows me to gladly place it in my truck as my after work, quick hunt, no worries, all weather squirrel and pheasant gun. I keep my Savage 775a in the truck all season as my waterfowl tool, but I prefer a pump for squirrels, and a very light repeater for the long treks after Ringo, and the full choke will handle those tasks well..

I've owned 5 '37s now, and everyone I parted with I've wanted back not long after. This will be the 3rd 16 37 I've had. I really liked my 20, and the 12 was a 1940 with the checkered for end (.....all class) BUT....in my opjnion, the Ithaca Model 37 Featherlite just looks and carries "right" in 16ga. The lines just flow, the balance is perfect, and the gauge....well, we all know the reason there.

I like a nice well used pumpgun, they just feel right, and to me, tell me that it was a highly productive tool for its past owner or owners. My bet is that this one stayed with one fellow for its lifetime until I aquired it. It's well used, but like any M37, it's got another 65 in it at least.

You just can't beat a vintage 16ga pumpgun, at least in the cornfields of the past.

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Good luck & great hunting,
-Danny Pratt
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kgb
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:44 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 31 Aug 2005
Posts: 919
Location: Nebraska

At the risk of banishment I admit recently picking up a 20ga 37 of 1951 construction. This is the 4th for me, starting with a 20ga of the pressed checkering/vent rib 70s variety and including earlier model 37 and 37R 16ga guns that were eventually sold to members here. When I first picked up this gun I thought it felt better at the shoulder than the others. Maybe as I've aged I've changed to fit the 37, but I also read the stocks changed to slightly more drop at comb in the mid-50s. The 37r 16ga might have been contemporary to this 20, at least I think it had a regular bead vs a Raybar, but it will all tell in the shooting. I've used it at one round each of trap and Skeet, it shot fine and functions perfectly.

This one's a 28" Full choked gun, maybe a bit limited in versatility but an exceptional feeling firearm. Best of luck with yours!

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Bore, n. Shotgun enthusiast's synonym for "gauge" ; everybody else's synonym for "shotgun enthusiast." - Ed Zern
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Ohio Wirehair
PostPosted: Wed Nov 15, 2017 10:27 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 24 Jul 2016
Posts: 170
Location: Ohio

I've bought 3 16 gauge Model 37's in the last year and a half including a wonderful pre war 1940 field gun with that round checkered forearm that feels so good in ones hand. All three are deadmans' guns,meaning those that inherited them sold them. I do hope when the time comes mine are kept in the family. (Of this I'm pretty confident). With Bismuth the old 16 model 37's make a damn fine waterfowl gun too.
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Gil S
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:25 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 04 Mar 2008
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Location: Lowcountry Ga.

You have preached to the choir on the M37. My favorite pump.
Other than the M12 and two M17's the rest are Ithaca. Since the group shot, I've picked up several more not mentioned below. No 12's.
Two additions since the family photo; 1939 M37 20 and 1942 37R 20 which are in the third and second photos along with the same M17. The close-ups are of the 1939 M37 20 showing its high gloss bluing of the earlier guns and the hand-chased engraving. The roller engraving set-up was initially faulty, rather than discard the receivers, the Ithaca shop engravers finished the engraving by hand so that the guns could be sold. Last photo is a close-up of the 20 ga. 1942 M37R's forend.
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Savage16
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:37 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 30 Nov 2011
Posts: 911
Location: Minnesota

What Gil said. While the Win M12 has its devotees here, I've never been able to find one that fits like my 37.

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kennedy756
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:36 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 30 Sep 2015
Posts: 365
Location: NEW SALISBURY INDIANA

wow, some nice ones here, mine is a 1946 with pre war wood, fits me perfect, I added a slip on comb and regularly shoot 23/25 at the trap range. It has a mod choke but measures between mod and full, perfect for the 16 yd line.

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16ga 3-Win 37
16ga Win 12 1953
16ga Ithaca 37 1946
16ga LeFever Long Range 1937
16ga 3-H&R
16ga Western Auto Revelation
16ga Browning A-5 1929
16ga 2-Intrac O/U
16ga Lefever nitro special 1925
16ga Marlin 90 1939
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Cold Iron
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:08 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 09 Mar 2016
Posts: 229
Location: Mn.

Well said Danny and great acquisition. I grew up with a 16 ga. Ithaca 37 26" IC hunting grouse so in my case can add woods to cornfields. Fourtrax found me an identical one a few years ago and I aint been right ever sense. Hit most everything I point it at and don't think just happens. Spent thousands on other guns but ended going back to my roots and most of the time shoot 37's better than anything else.

My biggest fear is that a mint condition 16 ga. 37T prewar will show up on gunbroker finally and I will end up in a bidding war with Ohio Wirehair or someone else on here. Have to end up selling body parts to get it!

The 1949 gun Fourtrax found for me was fairly rough on the wood side too. Cleaned it up refinished it and was pleasantly surprised when I was done.



laying on my grandfathers Dukbak hunting coat that is getting close to a hundred years old now. He is the one that started me hunting. With a 37 and 16 ga.

It is my go to grouse gun and averaged about 75% shot to harvest ratio on grouse this year.

Also finally shot my previously unfired King Ferry 16 ga. English Stocked Ultralight Deluxe this year. 2 Shots. I like that gun too.



37RVD in 16 ga. makes a fine target gun





Only prewar in 16 ga. (so far) happens to be a 37R





I do have a 20 ga. prewar field and 12 ga. 37T prewar. And all 3 20 ga. Ultralights in 20. with the Sid Bell grip caps. Pheasant grouse\quail and deer. The deerslayer was hard to find but lucked out on it. Never shot any of them but always admired the red Sid Bell grip caps and the Ultras when they came out but couldn't afford them. Have a few other 37's not sure can ever have too many of them. But I try to focus on the 16's. Something special about the 37 and in 16 ga. is even more so.
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Gil S
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:36 pm  Reply with quote
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CI, I think I first saw your refinish at SGW. Very nice work. Gil
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Cold Iron
PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 7:35 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 09 Mar 2016
Posts: 229
Location: Mn.

Gil S wrote:
CI, I think I first saw your refinish at SGW. Very nice work. Gil

Thank you for the kind words Gil. Coming from you I am humbled. I've refinished guns since the 70's as a hobby but Matt on SGW deserves the credit for steering me in the right direction for doing a 37.
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Gil S
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 2:48 pm  Reply with quote
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Cold Iron wrote:
Gil S wrote:
CI, I think I first saw your refinish at SGW. Very nice work. Gil

Thank you for the kind words Gil. Coming from you I am humbled. I've refinished guns since the 70's as a hobby but Matt on SGW deserves the credit for steering me in the right direction for doing a 37.


Matt has a great personal connection with Ithaca shotguns in that his grandfather worked for Ithaca in Ithaca NY for years.
Best, Gil
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Brewster11
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 5:30 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 08 Feb 2009
Posts: 462
Location: Western WA

The M37 Featherlite is a tempting find indeed. But a nagging question comes up whenever I entertain the idea of owning one: How do you clear a jam in a M37? Especially the kind that likes to torment my pumpguns, where a buckled empty is stovepiped over a fresh cartridge above the lifter.

I presume there is a convenient way to remove the lifter and dig out the offending shells with a tool of some sort, like a knife or screwdriver.

B.
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Cold Iron
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:22 pm  Reply with quote



Joined: 09 Mar 2016
Posts: 229
Location: Mn.

Brewster11 wrote:
The M37 Featherlite is a tempting find indeed. But a nagging question comes up whenever I entertain the idea of owning one: How do you clear a jam in a M37? Especially the kind that likes to torment my pumpguns, where a buckled empty is stovepiped over a fresh cartridge above the lifter.

I presume there is a convenient way to remove the lifter and dig out the offending shells with a tool of some sort, like a knife or screwdriver.

B.


No tools needed. If you ever did get a jam just loosen the barrel nut at the end of the yoke twist and take the barrel off and anything in there can come out easy enough. Less than a minute to clear and reassemble and shoot again. Seldom have had to do it, but there have been times. Never had a situation where taking the barrel off didn't have me shooting again.
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dannypratt
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:23 pm  Reply with quote
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Joined: 21 Dec 2005
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Location: Napoleon, MI

Nice pics guys...very cool indeed.

And +1 on Cold Irons response about jams. It's really easy to just take the barrel off and then it's cleared.

Another great feature on the 37 is the ease to unload the magazine...the magazine shell stop releases very easily with minimal pressure and the shells deposit directly in your hand...Ithaca 37s are especially smooth and direct to unload in this manner, The Browning BPS, for example, is not as user friendly...same feature but it's awkward and I've yet to unload a BPS this way without at least pinching my finger tip at least once.

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-Danny Pratt
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dannypratt
PostPosted: Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:28 pm  Reply with quote
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Location: Napoleon, MI

Gil S,
I once had a chance to purchase a 37 16ga in the same configuration of finish as your 20ga hand chased gun....it was 15yrs ago or so...guy was asking 325.00....I looked at it very hard but determined then that it must have been re-blued (too black) had buffed tge reciever top (no matte finish)and someone had chased the engraving (too deep).... the fool turned out to be me as I now see...and I'm very certain it was a 4 digit serial number, as I owned one 5yrs ago that was 4 digit serial #d, in about the same condition as the one I just got... BUT....it was 26"....IC choke....and it was the stupidest thing I ever did when I sold it... perfect grouse gun....perfect..

Oops.

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-Danny Pratt
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Gil S
PostPosted: Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:19 am  Reply with quote
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Joined: 04 Mar 2008
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Location: Lowcountry Ga.

Danny, I bought the first year, handchased 20 ga. from Jacquas 3-4 years ago for $400.00. They had labeled in the ad it as an FC, but it was clearly marked Mod, all the better. I must have seen it the day it was listed.
If you don't already have one, beg, borrow, buy or steal Walt Snyder's book regarding the M37. It is a treasure trove of information about the gun. As for a 26" 16 ga. IC, those don't show up often as far as I can tell. The one that got away from you sounds great. I found mine, a '63, at a LGS. If I'm not shooting a SXS on dove or woodcock, it's my carry. It's not depicted in the group shot above. Here's my '63 IC with a three gun limit (Jeff left before the photo was taken) on January 31, 2014, the last day of the SC season. Abby is slap worn out. What a day that was finding doodles.
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