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Old January 30, 2010, 08:12 PM   #1
Arisaka
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Military Ithaca Shotgun

This is my first thread on this forum.
I recently purchased an Ithica riot military shotgun. It is parkerized, It has US factory stamped on the right side of the receiver near the barrel. It has a "P" proof stamp on the end of the barrel near rhe receiver and a "P" proof at the top of the receiver near the barrel.
I wanted to find out when it was made, but the serial number is way off from anything I have been able to find. It also has the military barrel serial number upside down near the receiver, and it is "S 23320" rhe receiver s.n. is P341X.
Why does it's s.n. start with a "P", and why is it only four didget? I'm thinking it is a Vietnam era military contract gun.
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Old January 31, 2010, 01:53 AM   #2
Tom Doniphon
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Your shotgun sounds like it might be one of the Ithaca riot guns made for the US Military during the Vietnam War (1963 mfg). They have S prefix serial numbers. But, the receiver serial number should match the barrel number. It's stamped on the front face of the receiver.

Does you gun have sling swivels?

And can you post any photos of the markings?
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Old January 31, 2010, 12:06 PM   #3
Arisaka
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Military Ithaca 37

Tom:

It does have sling swivels. It was also owned by a police department, as there is a "BPD" stamped in the pistol grip, and a faint BPD stamped in back of the two receiver screws on the left side of the receiver. The number
P 341X is located on the right side in back of the two screws in the very back part of the receiver where the receiver meets the butt stock. Maybe that is not the serial number and the S23320 on the barrel is? That doesn't make sence, to serial number the barrel and not the receiver? Could the P 341X be a Police number? It was added after the parkerization.
It has a 20" barrel. One more thing that seems odd to me is that it is FULL choked and is so marked on the left side of the barrel in very small letters on the barrel just in front of the receiver. I even measured it with a barrel guage and sure enough it is FULL. Yes a picture is worth a thousand words, but I'm not so equiped, sorry.

Arisaka
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Old January 31, 2010, 12:10 PM   #4
Hog Buster
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Try here:
http://www.diamondgunsmithing.com/page46/page46.html
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Old January 31, 2010, 12:32 PM   #5
Dave McC
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A couple things....

Most of the 37s used in Nam were Full Choke by virtue of the barrels being bored to about .690" instead of the standard .729". This Deerslayer variant was equipped with open sights and intended for slugs. It worked with the buck of the day, especially the Military all brass cased version. This version was popular with point men and others needing close range power and shock in the jungle.

Another variant had 18 and 20" barrel with beads and were used more for prisoners than combat.

Both are collectable enough that forgeries occur.

In either case, you have a fine shooter.

Enjoy....
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Old January 31, 2010, 02:05 PM   #6
Tom Doniphon
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The P 341X does not sound like the serial number. There should be a number on the front face of the receiver where the barrel and magazine tube fit into it.
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Old January 31, 2010, 07:02 PM   #7
Lee Lapin
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Sounds like what Tom said- an 'S' prefix Vietnam era riot gun. The top end of the serial number range for them according to Canfield is in the S23000's. The upside down number on the barrel is correct, the corresponding number should be stamped into the front face of the receiver.

If it's genuine, it's a real find- collectors are nuts over military shotguns these days. It might be worth as much as 10 times what a regular used riot gun without the military markings would sell for. Take good care of it...

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Old January 31, 2010, 09:07 PM   #8
Arisaka
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Military Ithaca 37

Tom, you are correct. I can't believe I have never noticed the number before but there it is on the front face of the receiver, left side the same number as the barrel, "S23320". So this S23320 is the serial number. From this serial number is it difficult to tell when it was made? It is in probably 95% condition, can anyone give me a rough value estimate? Thanks much, Tom, Lee, Dave, and Hog Buster
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Old January 31, 2010, 11:31 PM   #9
Tom Doniphon
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The US Military riot guns were made around 1963-64. They are pretty desirable shotguns. The value of an excellent example is probably $2,000 or more.
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Old February 1, 2010, 10:24 AM   #10
Arisaka
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Ithaca 37 Trench

Thanks Tom. You must be a military shotgun collector. I'm trying to be. Now If I can just find a 37 Vietnam era Ithaca trench and a Stevens M77E. I have actually seen a couple of WWII Ithaca trench guns, but I have never seen a Vietnam era martially marked trench gun. I haven't ever seen a M77E Stevens either. I can understand the rarity if the Ithaca trench, there were very few made, but there were tens of thousands of the cheep trouble prone M77Es made, and have never seen one at a gun show or on the civillian market.
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Old February 1, 2010, 07:57 PM   #11
Tom Doniphon
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Stevens 77E martially marked riot guns do come up for sale once in a while. But the vast marjority of them went to Vietnam and never came back.

Most of the Vietnam era Ithaca M37 trench guns are in the approximately 990,000 serial number range. There are a couple of hundred others that have S prefix serial numbers, but these are in a known serial number range and are apparently very rare since there are so few of them.
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Old February 1, 2010, 09:13 PM   #12
Lee Lapin
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Get yourself a copy of http://www.brucecanfield.com/uscombatshotguns.html ... it'll help.

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Old April 3, 2011, 02:01 AM   #13
Andy the Aussie
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My M37 was ex-RVN and had matching S prefixed serial numbers on the receiver and barrel. It was well used and still holding a pile of Vietnamese crud when I got it in 1996.
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Old April 3, 2011, 04:45 AM   #14
gyvel
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I'd love to know which police depart was "BPD." I have a Winchester 97 riot gun marked "BPD."
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Old April 3, 2011, 11:20 AM   #15
10 Beers
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I had a parkerized Police M37. Short barrel, 9 shot, swivels, orange front sight, plastic pistol grip, wooden front grip, rear open sight. On the side it said, " Model 37 Featherweight LAPD Deerslayer Police Special". It kicked like a mule. I miss that gun. I think it was from someplace in California.
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