To chop or not to chop an old Ithaca?

To chop or not to chop an old Ithaca?

This is a discussion on To chop or not to chop an old Ithaca? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I recently got a great deal on an old (made in 1947) Ithaca 37 with a 28 inch barrel. The wood was water-stained, but I ...

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Thread: To chop or not to chop an old Ithaca?

  1. #1
    Member Array NYCMedic's Avatar
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    To chop or not to chop an old Ithaca?

    I recently got a great deal on an old (made in 1947) Ithaca 37 with a 28 inch barrel. The wood was water-stained, but I thought that it would clean up nicely and in fact it did. After a little re-vamp, both the stock and forend look great. Everything was coated in petrified lube/dirt and I enjoyed taking it entirely apart, scrubbing it, and resembling it.

    My dilemma is should I have the barrel cut to 18 inches, or leave it at 28?

    Part of me would like to have it cut to 18 inches to make it a handy HD shotgun. It's not as if it has some great collectors value or anything. On the other hand, I feel bad about mutilating a nice old gun and it does handle well with its LONG barrel. Also, I'm not crazy about increasing the spread. Lastly, any new shotgun that I will buy will have either a 18 or 20 inch barrel so maybe I should keep this as my one extra long shotgun. (Not that I'm sure what I need one for.)


    Any input?
    Bleeding-heart reporter: “Do you feel that violence begets violence?”
    Jeff Cooper: “It is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure - and in some cases I have - that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more than he can enjoy."


  2. #2
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Depending on your serial number, this may fit and give you the best of both worlds. Do note that it is a Chrome Plated Barrel. Personally, I'd be hesitant to cut the barrel from any old shotgun. Though not of any particular value right now, who's to say what it may be worth to your great grandkids. With so many relatively low-cost alternatives, I'd just hate to mess up an original gun.

    Hoss
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    Senior Member Array Jackle1886's Avatar
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    DON'T CUT IT! You can buy barrels for those, if you want a shorter one, then buy it. You will regret it if you cut it. Those are GREAT guns, as my family has I think 3 or 4.
    Better to die on your feet, than to live on your knees.

  4. #4
    Member Array NYCMedic's Avatar
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    I can not buy a replacement barrel for it because its serial number is a LOT below 850,000 (in the 140,000s). If I keep the barrel long I'm not sure what I'll use it for. It's a little unwieldy for HD and I don't hunt or shoot clays. I would have bought one of the police trade-ins, but at the price I paid....
    Bleeding-heart reporter: “Do you feel that violence begets violence?”
    Jeff Cooper: “It is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure - and in some cases I have - that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more than he can enjoy."

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array Janq's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cvhoss View Post
    ...Personally, I'd be hesitant to cut the barrel from any old shotgun. Though not of any particular value right now, who's to say what it may be worth to your great grandkids. With so many relatively low-cost alternatives, I'd just hate to mess up an original gun.
    Agreed. ^^
    My thoughts exactly.

    If you need a low cost HD specific purpose shotty just stop by a pawn shop and buy some beat up used Remy 870 or Mossberg 500 for $100 and call it done.

    - Janq
    "Killers who are not deterred by laws against murder are not going to be deterred by laws against guns. " - Robert A. Levy

    "A license to carry a concealed weapon does not make you a free-lance policeman." - Florida Div. of Licensing

  6. #6
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYCMedic View Post
    I can not buy a replacement barrel for it because its serial number is a LOT below 850,000 (in the 140,000s). If I keep the barrel long I'm not sure what I'll use it for. It's a little unwieldy for HD and I don't hunt or shoot clays. I would have bought one of the police trade-ins, but at the price I paid....
    Without pictures I'm not sure how well your gun cleaned up but again, I urge you not to cut an old original gun. If you don't want the gun, sell it or trade it in on something you do want. Here's a list of serial numbers that indicate, if you have a standard model, that it was manufactured in 1947. If you have no use for the gun in it's current configuration, I'm sure someone would like to have it unaltered. I see a bunch of 37s on GunsAmerica listed from $500 to well over a $1000.00 depending on model and condition.

    I have an original 1897 Winchester pump shotgun that I bought for CAS. One of the reasons that I paid what I did for it was that the guy I bought it from had not cut the original barrel. He found an old, pitted barrel and cut that for CAS use. I got the gun with the cut barrel plus the original serial number matching barrel. Made the gun worth a lot more money to me.

    As to having your barrel replaced, I found this on the web site of the current Ithaca Gun Co.
    Model 37 firearms with a serial number below 855,000 have barrels that are fixed and non-interchangeable.

    If your M37 was made before the 855,000 mark (which occurred in 1963), we will be able to furnish you with a replacement barrel for it, but you must send your gun to us for the barrel to be fitted. The process includes machine removal of existing threads, insertion of adapter and re-threading of receiver and re-bluing. Please note that once this is completed you will not be able to reuse your old barrel. Cost for this process is $180.00 for the adapter, plus cost of barrel. Includes re-bluing at no charge.
    So, even though you could have a new barrel fit to your gun, the cost would most likely be prohibitive and would destroy any collector value the gun may have.

    Hoss
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  7. #7
    Member Array liljake82's Avatar
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    I'd definatly sell it or leave it as is.
    Either you are a weapon and your gun is a tool or your gun is a weapon and you are the tool.
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  8. #8
    Distinguished Member Array SubNine's Avatar
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    Keep the old Ithaca the way it is and buy another shotgun already to go for home defense. Once you cut a barrel there is no going back. A basic Remington 870 or Mossberg 500 with an 18" barrel can be had for under 400 dollars.
    USMC rule # 23 of gunfighting: Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

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  9. #9
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    NO !!! Every auction I"ve been at Ithaca's sell the best, and certain Remingtons. I own an Ithaca I wouldn't trade for anything. I bought a double barrel Stoeger that I like to shoot trap, but also serves good on home defense (20" barrel).

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array Stevew's Avatar
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    I would not cut the barrel.
    Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around laws. Plato

  11. #11
    JT
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    Do not cut it. You'll regret it later. Leave it as it is, and buy another shotgun in the 18"-20" range.
    Blessed be the Lord my rock who trains my hands for war and my fingers for battle. Psalm 144:1

    Si vis pacem, para bellum

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    I'm going to go with my first impression when I read your post....DO NOT cut your gun.

    I concur with the quorum--if you need an HD shottie, get a used 870 or Mossy 500/550 series shotgun. Old guns like yours are being destroyed/neglected daily--either by the gov't, as "feel good" programs of "getting guns off the street" (I want to know where this "street" is)....or through ignorant people who want to get rid of their grandparent's old guns because guns are "evil".

    While it seems like a good idea now, years from now you may regret it. I have an old coach gun from my grandfather (16 ga) that I would never shoot (Damascus steel), but keep it for heritage purposes.

    With your shotgun being as old as it is, I would leave it as is.
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    Member Array NYCMedic's Avatar
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    Ok. I guess you guys are not going to make me feel better about having my way with an old classic. Just so you all don't think that I had totally lost it, this is not a mint or near mint example. The finish is worn in some areas and the receiver has its share of blemishes. When I get a chance I'll take a few pictures and post them. For now my search for an Ithaca riot gun goes on. I could settle for something current, but I like the classics (especially anything touched by JMB).

    Thank you all for your input.
    Bleeding-heart reporter: “Do you feel that violence begets violence?”
    Jeff Cooper: “It is my earnest endeavor to see that it does. I would like very much to ensure - and in some cases I have - that any man who offers violence to his fellow citizen begets a whole lot more than he can enjoy."

  14. #14
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    DON'T CUT IT!

    Those old Ithaca's are sought after among bird hunters.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  15. #15
    VIP Member Array cvhoss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYCMedic View Post
    Ok. I guess you guys are not going to make me feel better about having my way with an old classic. Just so you all don't think that I had totally lost it, this is not a mint or near mint example. The finish is worn in some areas and the receiver has its share of blemishes. When I get a chance I'll take a few pictures and post them. For now my search for an Ithaca riot gun goes on. I could settle for something current, but I like the classics (especially anything touched by JMB).

    Thank you all for your input.
    GunsAmerica - NIB ITHACA MODEL 37 12ga HOME DEFENSE BLK WALNUT STOCK 18.5" BRASS BEAD, 5rd 6.5lbs LOP 14.25" PARKERIZED DEF-3712-18-W >> FREE SHIPPING >> END OF YEAR LAYAWAY AVAILABLE !!!! - Ithaca Shotguns > Pump - Guns For Sale & Gun Auctions B"H

    GunsAmerica - ITHACA MODEL 37 DEERSLAYER 12GA. - EXCELLENT ! - Ithaca Shotguns > Pump - Guns For Sale & Gun Auctions B"H

    GunsAmerica - M-37 Ithaca DeerSlayer 12 Ga 20" RS 28'VR - Ithaca Shotguns > Pump - Guns For Sale & Gun Auctions B"H

    Or just buy a brand new one.
    The Ithaca Model 37 Defense

    Hoss
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