View Full Version : Itaca 37 US marked

Mike Faires
October 24, 2011, 07:39 PM
I picked up a Ithaca M37 this weekend that I have a few questions about. It is parkerized, 20inch barrel, full choke. The receiver has US marked on the right side low just above the front of the loading port. It has sling swivel studs in the stock and on the barrel stud, no markings on plastic butt plate, serial number range is 903xxx. My question, is this a legitimate US military issue shotgun and if so what type sling swivels are correct?

Mike Irwin
October 24, 2011, 07:56 PM
Don't know about the swivels, but I do know that the US military purchased Ithaca Model 37s a number of times.

October 24, 2011, 08:03 PM
We had a few M37 Ithaca's (4+1 and 7+1) on various armories when I was in the Navy. My first pick BTW, that and a .45.

Edit: never had one with slings though.

October 24, 2011, 08:32 PM
If the Ithica's were built to same standards as other martial shotguns, then no the swivels arent original. I know of no government shotgun that had swivel studs. The standard swivel was non detachable and was attached to the buttstock with 2 wood screws. I have studied these for a few years now but anm in no way an expert.

Tom Doniphon
October 24, 2011, 10:58 PM
Actually, the U.S. Stevens 77E riot guns have a stud mounted rear swivel.

The Vietnam era U.S. Military Ithaca riot guns did not have sling swivels. At least that's how they supposedly left the factory.

October 25, 2011, 02:50 AM
Full choke is an unusual choice for a military shotgun.

October 25, 2011, 09:12 AM
a cut-down barrel. As most "FULL" barrels were 30 or 28" length, not 20".

Check the SN, is it on the narrow right front face of receiver or on receiver right side above the trigger? If on the narrow front face, then check the barrel for same SN about the 5 o'clock position on the barrel. IF THAT DOESN'T MATCH, then have the smith check the headspace as the pre-855,000 M37's had the barrel and receiver specifically mated. NOT INTER-CHANGEABLE!

Google "Bruce Canfield" he has SN for US marked M37, or less it be on line.

IF it checks out good, then GREAT, Enjoy it!

Mike Faires
October 25, 2011, 12:44 PM
Went to Bruce Canfield,s web site, I couldn't find any serial number listings. It is not cut off but is a true full choke as the old field test of a dime works it will not go in the muzzle. No serial number on the face of the frame or the barrel, which raises a question I have never seen a Model 37 takedown nor do any of reference materials describe such s thing, am I missing something? Last off the purchase price was under $350 so I don't think someone pushing a fake US gun would sell it for that. The serial number goes to 1965.

Tom Doniphon
October 25, 2011, 02:15 PM
The "full" choked barrel may be correct. Ithaca made some riot and trench guns in the 1960s with other than "cyl" choked barrels. I've seen trench 1960s trenchguns with "mod" marked barrels.

October 25, 2011, 04:25 PM
Mike, you might want to go to machinegunboards.com. They have some good info on military/combat shotguns and can probably answer your questions. A plus is they have some good photo reference material.

October 25, 2011, 05:23 PM
Tom, just read your post and am curios about the 20" modified choke riot guns you have seen. This puzzles me. I have never heard of such a combination. Could it have been a cutdown. Not arguing but trying to learn.

October 25, 2011, 05:46 PM
Mike, I just revisited Bruce Canfields book "UNITED STATES COMBAT SHOTGUNS". WWII shotguns serial numbers are 61038 thru 61856. Vietnam model 37's were parkerized with smooth or checkered stocks. Virtually all Vietnam Ithicas were slingless and riot configuration. It is unclear if any trench gun configuration guns were built during the Vietnam era. From every photo I have ever seen on a WWII or Vietnam era Ithica there are no choke markings of any kind on these guns. The left side of the reciever and left side of the barrel had a small letter "P".

Tom Doniphon
October 26, 2011, 12:08 AM
30-30remchester, the Ithacas I've seen with the choked barrels looked to be original, not cut down. They were commercial or law enforcement riot or trench shotguns. In his book, Swearengen discusses these as well as similar configured Ithaca riot guns that were sent to Vietnam.

Tom Doniphon
October 26, 2011, 12:26 AM
This was a double post I deleted. Sorry.

October 26, 2011, 09:45 AM
Thanks Tom I will check that book out. It does make me wonder at their thought process. According to all my limited research, buckshot patterns are beyond terrible using anything but open choke with full choke being dismal at best.

Dave McC
October 26, 2011, 02:09 PM
Ithaca's Deerslayer barrel was new when we got into the Nam Mess. It was a cylinder bore, but bore diameter was only about .690", actually what a Full choke runs in 12 gauge.

These worked great with rifled slugs of the day, buck results were mixed. Some loads produced excellent patterns, some not. Use with birdshot showed results similar to regular Full choke.

I suggest measuring the bore at several points. Betcha this barrel is one of these...

October 27, 2011, 09:21 AM
Les Hovencamp, of diamondale gunsmithing (google).

He is a retired Engineer from Ithaca in NY and may have some information.

Just wondering if this might be a firearm supplied to "friendlies" in Viet Nam that had no ID on them??? [might be spooky??]

Sounds interesting

The swivel stud on lug appears to be the "Uncle Mike's" style they sold. If it breaks off the thread is and 8-36 machine thread.