is the Ithaca model 37 20 gauge a good choice for home defense?

is the Ithaca model 37 20 gauge a good choice for home defense?

This is a discussion on is the Ithaca model 37 20 gauge a good choice for home defense? within the Home (And Away From Home) Defense Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; My brother is thinking of buying an older model 37 Ithaca Featherlight 20 gauge from a guy he works with for $200. He's not sure ...

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Thread: is the Ithaca model 37 20 gauge a good choice for home defense?

  1. #1
    Member Array guitarzNgunz's Avatar
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    is the Ithaca model 37 20 gauge a good choice for home defense?

    My brother is thinking of buying an older model 37 Ithaca Featherlight 20 gauge from a guy he works with for $200. He's not sure what year it is all he knows is it has wood furniture and a longer barrel. I told him he should get a Remington 870 express synthetic 12 gauge brand new for $350 but he seems pretty set on this Ithaca. What are your thoughts on his decision, would it be a suitable home defense shotgun? If it's in good condition would it be worth $200? I also recommended that he might want to look into a home defense pistol being his hallways are so narrow, but if he bunkers down and stays put a shotgun could be ideal. His room distances are no more than 15 ft, it's a smaller 2 bedroom ranch style home 1 floor no upstairs or basement, with neighbors homes in close proximity.
    Last edited by guitarzNgunz; December 29th, 2012 at 10:49 AM.


  2. #2
    Member Array Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Household distances?
    20 gauge will do the job as well as a 12 gauge with faster recovery.

  3. #3
    Distinguished Member Array Brady's Avatar
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    If it's in good shape, an Ithaca is a great shotgun. They usually go for much more (in good shape).
    ...he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. Luke 22:36
    USN/VET; NRA; GOA, jpfo.org
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    VIP Member Array aus71383's Avatar
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    Sounds great - I'd go for it.

    Austin

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    Member Array guitarzNgunz's Avatar
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    If the serial number is 855,000 or greater I heard he could swap out the barrel for a shorter one better suited for HD. I just cant find a price on an 18 inch barrel for the M37. Also he'd be interested in upping the capacity by switching to a larger mag tube, would this be possible and if so how much do those usually run?

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    Distinguished Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    The nicer feather weights are becoming collectable. Some had very impressive wood on them. They were well made and should last long enough for him to give to his grandsons. The real beauty of them is as a hunting gun, IE Feather Weight. DR

  7. #7
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarzNgunz View Post
    My brother is thinking of buying an older model 37 Ithaca Featherlight 20 gauge from a guy he works with for $200. He's not sure what year it is all he knows is it has wood furniture and a longer barrel. I told him he should get a Remington 870 express synthetic 12 gauge brand new for $350 but he seems pretty set on this Ithaca. What are your thoughts on his decision, would it be a suitable home defense shotgun? If it's in good condition would it be worth $200? I also recommended that he might want to look into a home defense pistol being his hallways are so narrow, but if he bunkers down and stays put a shotgun could be ideal. His room distances are no more than 15 ft, it's a smaller 2 bedroom ranch style home 1 floor no upstairs or basement, with neighbors homes in close proximity.
    NO .... but I am serious about what I say next....... I'll buy it. I've been keeping my eye out for one, love the shotgun, and want another one for my son. Have found them in 12 ga, but not in 20 ga.

    For home defense..... NO, not a good gun in my mind at all. Too long of a barrel to get in the way and handle inside of a home quickly. It would be the next to the last gun I would use at home for home defense. My short double barrel is much more effective and have thought about a 870.
    I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. --- Will Rogers ---
    Chief Justice John Roberts : "I don't see how you can read Heller and not take away from it the notion that the Second Amendment...was extremely important to the framers in their view of what liberty meant."

  8. #8
    Member Array Jaybm's Avatar
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    Long barrel is not a good choice however the 20ga will do the job and is easy on the wife as well.

    A good smithy will shorten the barrel and put a bead on it for ~ $50 but i don't recommend that
    just saying.

    You can find a 20 with a short barrel new in the $200 range, check out Academy and other GS.

    I had an Ithaca 28ga side by side that my grandfather took in on a bar bill, manufactured in the
    30s. What a sweet gun ! Handed it down to my oldest boy several years ago. Sure hope he
    treats it right.

    J

  9. #9
    Member Array 1911srule's Avatar
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    IMHO, yes excellent with the right ammo...slugs.
    RIP Jeff Cooper

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Brady's Avatar
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    If you get an Ithaca, check the serial number on it to see that the barrel is interchangeable. Then you can look for an old used barrel and cut it down for use for home defense and still have the long one for hunting if desired.
    Shotgunworld.com • View topic - Ithaca 37 Barrel ???

    Ithaca Model 37 restoration Part 1 Barrel removal and magazine disassembly - YouTube
    ...he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one. Luke 22:36
    USN/VET; NRA; GOA, jpfo.org
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Array JDavisArk's Avatar
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    IMO...very good! 12ga could be better with #2 shot....but with #4 in 20ga.....you'd be surprised with the spread out of a cylinder bore or improved with the 20ga. Nice for HD.

  12. #12
    Distinguished Member Array chuckusaret's Avatar
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    I much prefer my Ithaca 37 12 ga Police Tactical, but a 20 ga will get the job done of HD
    US Army 1953-1977

    ‘‘We, the People are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts — not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow men who pervert the Constitution.’’
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    Distinguished Member Array bigmacque's Avatar
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    Does it work? Shoots? Reloads and shoots again?

    It's fine.
    I'm in favor of gun control -- I think every citizen should have control of a gun.
    1 Thess. 5:16-18

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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    If he don't buy it, I will! I love that particular gun. It's probably got a red bead front sight and receiver made to look like antiquated.

    Best upland pump gun ever made.
    oakchas likes this.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  15. #15
    Member Array Isaac1's Avatar
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    Only issue I have is barrel length, which may or may not be a big issue given house layout, etc. I would be less concerned about a longer barrel in a house with a big open floor plan. #4 or #3 Buck shot out of a 20 GA is very close to the overall performance of the various low recoil (weak) 12 GA defense loads that are popular these days, ammo selection may be a bit less, but that is one a big issue either once you pick one.

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