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Old June 29, 2013, 11:33 AM   #1
Clevinger
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Future for Ithaca Shotguns?

What do you predict for the Ithaca Gun Company and its shotguns?

There seems to be consensus that they make a really quality product currently, and there is no doubt they have a rich history.

Yet, one also can't ignore their changes in ownership and lack of presence in most gun stores.

Their aim seems to be that of a niche, American-made company with a focus on quality and higher prices rather that lower prices and mass production.

Can they survive like that?

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Old June 29, 2013, 12:22 PM   #2
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Ithaca is not stamping out guns like a cookie cutter like some manufactures.

There are many people out in the world to day willing to pay for quality.

Are the cheaper guns good, maybe, they go boom when you pull the trigger, but there is more to shooting than that. Hunting/shooting a quality made gun make all the difference in the world.

I was om the factory tour on Wednesday, we saw every thing. You won't find punch presses, injection moulding machines, or die casting machines.

But you will find new CNC, EDM wire machines and workers putting the little extra into every gun they build.

The Ithaca Model 37 has been in production longer than any other shotgun made. The design is timeless as it works well. The shooter is getting a lot of gun for the money.
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Old June 29, 2013, 01:12 PM   #3
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Ask Tony Galazan at Connecticut Shotgun if making only 2000 guns a year with many costing as much as a new truck or house if he can make it. Quality doesn't cost, it pays - someone once said. Comparing a new Ithaca to a new Mossberg or 870 is like comparing a Rolls to a Yugo.

If things weren't going so well, would they have invested in the tooling to start making 1911s again?
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Old June 29, 2013, 03:06 PM   #4
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I hope they are doing well. I just bought a M37 Defense gun, and I am very happy with it. I had a customer service issue, as I over-tightened a light mount and crimped the mag tube. They (at their cost) shipped it both ways and replaced the tube and properly re-mounted the bracket...no questions asked. 500 rounds later and not a single hiccup.

I REALLY want to see their Phoenix O/U model come out. It has been a LONG time coming. I am one of those who is willing to pay a little extra for a 100% American product of this quality.
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Old June 29, 2013, 04:20 PM   #5
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If you want a 100% US-made O/U, look at Galazan's stuff. He makes several different lines of guns, including the AH Fox, Winchester 21, his own A-10, among others.

The Phoenix hasn't come out because of design flaws in the engineering aspect.
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Old June 29, 2013, 04:37 PM   #6
Virginian-in-LA
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Only time will tell. If you like the Ithaca design and are willing to spend the money on a pump gun, they are for you. I can't make the mental jump comparison from high quality double guns like Connecticut Shotgun to a pump however. Personally, I have never liked having to load thru the magazine. That was my biggest gripe with the BPS, although the three I had never faltered once. For all the ooohing and aaaahing over machined and hand fitted parts, they don't function any better or last any longer than a Wingmaster. Their biggest hurdle would seem to me to be that most Ithaca lovers already have one or more, and the newer shooters all seem to want the cheapest pump available or a 3-1/2" Semi.
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Old June 29, 2013, 04:40 PM   #7
drcook
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The Phoenix hasn't come out because of design flaws in the engineering aspect.
Not true. At the Ithaca get together Wed and Thursday, the folks that stayed for the shooting part of the get together got to shoot a Phoenix.

The current iteration of Ithaca bought the name, the rights and the blueprints. They have had to develop everything over from scratch. Build their own tooling etc etc.

There is a lot to putting a gun into production while trying to build up a company from scratch and make some money to pay for all those very expensive CNC machines we saw and keep the employees paid.

Currently the Model 37 is into a 3 month backlog. That says something right there.

They definitely are not for folks who have the Walmart mentality though.
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Old June 29, 2013, 04:40 PM   #8
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Future for Ithaca Shotguns?

I wish the defense model was able to be broken down like my old featherlight.
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Old June 29, 2013, 04:46 PM   #9
drcook
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Their biggest hurdle would seem to me to be that most Ithaca lovers already have one or more
That actually is an advantage. Just like Shiloh Sharps, that start around 2K dollars delivered, it is hard to own just one.

The old ones are appreciating in price and the new ones are as good as any made back in the day.

PLUS

they are building a 1911 45ACP that is the equal of many if not most so called "custom 1911s" that cost the same or more than what theirs sells for.

Last edited by drcook; June 29, 2013 at 05:23 PM.
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Old June 29, 2013, 05:22 PM   #10
Clevinger
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For all the ooohing and aaaahing over machined and hand fitted parts, they don't function any better or last any longer than a Wingmaster.

Yes, but what if the price is comparable or even less than the Wingmaster?

The Ithaca 37 Featherlight 12 gauge I bought was $865. The comparable Wingmasters I looked at were $800-899.

I actually considered a Wingmaster, but the Featherlight 37 seemed to be of higher quality and was essentially the same price, so I went with it.

The only issue with the Model 37 was finding one. Remington 870s, in contrast, are seemingly everywhere.
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Old June 29, 2013, 07:01 PM   #11
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They definitely are not for folks who have the Walmart mentality though.
True, but the Phoenix that was due out several years ago did not happen because it wasn't working properly. A gun writer friend of mine who got to handle it did not have kind words for that iteration. he also was one of the first to do a review on the 37 they launched - it took them three tries to get him one that worked. One would think that if you were sending your new gun to a writer for review, you would make sure it worked BEFORE sending it to him, on either the first or second try..........
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Old June 29, 2013, 07:30 PM   #12
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There were some engineering changes that they inherited that could have caused some issues on the 37. The biggest one is the roll crimp in the magazine tube. I have machined up .015 thick inserts to be able to adapt one to a 1970 vintage receiver for a 16ga gun I built my wife.

According to Walt Snyder, that design change caused the problems when Ithacas were dumping shells on the ground, double feeding etc.

It all goes back to the original John Browning design. The parts and design were very carefully thought out. Any changes to make them easier to manufacture can have its consequences.

The right and left side shell stops are critical in the functioning of an Ithaca 37 and if those 2 parts are not adjusted quite right, even the most meticulously machined gun won't feed and function.

It is pretty amazing where they are at since the company was purchased in 2007.

There are not many other folks trying to do what the current owner is trying to do. Most others are in a race to the bottom esthetic wise.

Every gun company has their trials and tribulations. It is how they address the issues that counts not whether there are production issues in a company's start up mode.

The current iteration of the Ithaca Gun Co has only been in existence since 2007. It was bought and brought here to Ohio in 2005 and the current owner bought it in 07 and basically started building a gun company from the ground up.

Sometimes it is best to just grab a gun and send it. If every gun company fine tunes and makes sure that every gun that they send to gun writers was perfect, there would no chance for a problem to be caught, criticized and corrected.

When all that gun writers receive are perfect examples, how could they be believable if they wrote glowing praise and problems were hitting the field on guns they recommended ?

Last edited by drcook; June 29, 2013 at 07:35 PM.
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Old June 30, 2013, 05:11 AM   #13
Virginian-in-LA
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I believe widening their lineup is a good move, because it's hard to grow a niche, but I sure would have jumped into something less crowded than the 45 ACP market. That is one crowded market, at all levels of fit, finish, and price. What would be ground breaking would be if they could come up with a good semi auto. Ithaca tried before without success. Of course if you do that you are up against the Beretta conglomerate introducing something newer and betterer every two or three years. I wish them luck.
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Old June 30, 2013, 06:12 AM   #14
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drcook - Don't get me wrong, I am not bashing them, I used to own an older one from the early 80s - one of the few guns I regret getting rid of over the years, but - no matter the brand - the fanboy devotion by some can be easily misplaced and mislead others. Are they getting things going decently now? It seems so. Are they doing well enough to expand? Again, it seems so.

You're correct, taking something designed decades ago and trying to utilize new techniques will always lead to issues - how well a company can react and respond to them will determine how well they are received and how long they will stay in business
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Old June 30, 2013, 08:22 AM   #15
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For the record, when the bro-in-law wanted to buy himself an all around shotgun and had a limited budget, we went to Dick's and bought him an 870 for 339 with a 30.00 rebate.

I am realistic about the situation, not a rabid fan boy, just appreciative of what they are trying to accomplish..................

But even such venerable mfg'ers as Remington ship FUBARS out the door

http://www.randywakeman.com/DO_NOT_U...AX_SHOTGUN.htm

=================

The folks at Ithaca know about and are contemplating the issue with the magazine tube.

I have heard that some folks run a reamer to remove the "lip" in the receiver that the magazine tube bottoms into, to open it up to match the inside diameter of the current design.

I feel (and I am not a licensed gunsmith, but I did sleep in fancy motel once, actually I was a tool and die maker when younger and worked on some very high precision stuff) that this is absolutely wrong. The old design controlled the passage of the shell into the shell stops in a much more precise manner, you wouldn't think that .015 slop per side really matters in a magazine tube, but in this case it does.

====================================

There is another weak point in the Ithaca design that goes all the way back, and it can't be helped. Actually 2 weak points and simply taking care of the gun negates this issue.

Everyone reading this that owns an Ithaca 37 should address this issue.

If the channel that the left side shell stop gets gunked up so it sticks, the gun will spit shells onto the ground. The other is the little spring in behind the left side stop (provides tension on it, the LS shell stop rides on a pivot). If the spring gets worn, breaks etc, the gun will malfunction. Seeing as how the spring only costs a couple dollars, everyone that owns an Ithaca should make it a habit of replacing the spring every decade or so.

I have guns from the 40's that the spring was a little soft, just a little, so I replaced them and the mechanism is back to being crisp. They still functioned, but for the couple dollars or so that the springs cost me, it was money well spent and the average person can replace this spring if you own a set of good screw drivers (gunsmith parallel ground drivers, not a set from the Bubba shop).

here is the field maintenance guild, everyone that owns an Ithaca should download this and save it

http://stevespages.com/pdf/ithaca_3787.pdf

After I worked out how to fix the magazine feed issue, I acquired an old magazine tube and will polish it and have it blued so I can make my wife's gun period correct, however what I did is 100% reliable.

My hopes for them is that they mature as a "niche" manufacturer. Their continued existence depends upon being able to sell more guns to the current "fan base" and bring in new people, because we all do know that even a $300.00 870 will bring home rabbits, ducks, turkeys, bust round clay objects, harvest deer, defend the home just as well as a $900.00 Ithaca 37 will.

It is the fit and finish, the handling, the feeling of quality, the pride of ownership, the appreciation of precision that will sell Ithacas.

It is just like Shiloh Sharps -vs- Pedersoli Sharps. At one point there was a $1000.00 differential in price (exchange rate and shipping has negated that now). A Pedersoli will shoot right alongside a Shiloh. I have a Pedersoli that is phenomenally accurate. I have shot 3" 200 yd, iron sight groups with it with no load development at all. It will easily do a 2" 200 yard group, as I said, with iron sights, which many folks wish their scoped hunting rifles will do.

BUT the fit and finish are no where near what a Shiloh Sharps is. The stock feels thick and clubbish, the edges of the octagon barrel are slightly rounded from polishing and the fore end "faux pewter tip" is a hideous 2 piece affair. Shoots just as good, but is like driving a Gremlin -vs- [insert your favorite car here]. Both will get you there, but the experience with one outshines the other.

Right now, their guns won't fit me, and I am not a small guy, I am short and stocky, not chubby, stocky from working with the horses we used to have an from factory work when I was younger. All 11 older Ithacas fit perfect, but they went back to the original small forearm and I have a hard time reaching it. The gun would have to be modified for me to be able to use it.

They need to offer an optional forearm, one that compliments their gun, one that fits other people than the one currently on it. I wasn't going to spend almost a grand and then a bunch more in order to make it fit me.

Because of this issue I simply went to gunbroker, found a suitable low mileage gun, sold the barrel and replaced it with one with a vent rib and chokes, and built the Ithaca 37 16ga gun that I wanted, wished I could buy, but couldn't.

This is a cutaway view of how I transitioned the insert to blend in with the roll crimp, then the next set of pictures is the gun I built from a bare receiver, no parts inside at all. I located pieces parts from around the country and built up a unique gun for my wife. It is a 16ga.

It is the bottom one. The middle one is in process. It is also a 16ga (from 1953) and the top is my wife's Remington 1100 20ga, that is youth lady sized.

All 3 are what I have acquired for her. We bought our daughter an 870 20ga. In fact, I have 2 870 20ga for her. One is a dedicated scoped gun, has a rifled barrel and we can swap the smooth bore/choke tubed barrel onto it for turkeys, it has a 12 LOP instead of the std 13 because she is height challenged.






Last edited by drcook; June 30, 2013 at 09:21 AM.
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Old June 30, 2013, 10:05 AM   #16
Clevinger
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Dr. Cook,

I haven't read or heard of any issues on the new Ithacas from the Ohio plant. In fact, quite the opposite, I have heard that they are extremely detail-oriented in their approach, resulting in high quality products.

Are you speaking mainly of older Ithaca 37s, or the new ones?
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Old June 30, 2013, 12:11 PM   #17
drcook
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dr = david r, not dr but thanks for the compliment.

the new ones can have the same issue as the old ones 10 or 15 yrs down the road with the spring behind the left shell stop or dirt in the channel, after all it is the same design. a defective spring or a piece of dirt etc. can cause the exact same issue if it causes the mechanism to bind up. the Ithaca 37 is a precision design and with the degree of tolerances they are machining to, like any precision instrument, they need to be maintained.

they are working hard to make sure there are no more issues like what happened back when Ithaca was in King Ferry New York and the employees were struggling

I have read about even the new ones having an adjustment issue on those shell stops and that is what it is an adjustment issue, but they take care of it with outstanding service. like any human made device, issues can happen

Randy Wakeman has reviewed some of the new ones where there were issues but corrections have been made and he stated so

http://www.randywakeman.com/IthacaModel37twenty.htm

in fact, he has some good reviews about Ithacas, well worth reading

http://www.randywakeman.com/shotgun.htm

here are some links to the photos that have been posted from the recent factory tour and get together. the ones that couldn't go really missed something. regardless about conversations on the internet, once you meet people in person, you realize you really do like them. we all had a really great time there.

http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/view...?f=59&t=361778

http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/view...?f=59&t=361742

here is the link to the Ithaca forum that is sponsored by Walt Snyder. Lots of Ithaca related information there

http://www.shotgunworld.com/bbs/view...3ca26ff018f749
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Old July 1, 2013, 08:42 PM   #18
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Ithaca Prediction?

Ithaca probably won't last long after the run on guns dies out. They are a niche gun looking for a niche market where anything that shot couldn't be kept on the shelf! What is that niche? People who fancy an "Ithaca" and are willing to pay the prestige-pricing for one that's new.

They function no better than a Mossberg and probably aren't as reliable or as robust as many, anything functions better than a new 870 Express, it's not your father's WingMaster, and there are other choices which are up and coming again... Winchester and Browning while Benelli's pump guns seem to have started to catch on big time! Maverick, Stoeger, Chi-Com 870's and '97's, etc...

Ithaca shall seem to be riding the wave but they're really doing a dead-man's float, and eventually they'll drown.
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Old July 2, 2013, 06:25 AM   #19
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Maverick, Stoeger, Chi-Com 870's and '97's, etc...
Folks who buy cheap imported crap over US made stuff get what they pay for, and it typically sucks compared to something better built that cost a little more AND helps keep folks employed. Remember that if you work for a business where it might happen to you
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Old July 2, 2013, 06:37 AM   #20
jaguarxk120
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Matt, BigD summed it up for you. There are people out there willing to pay for quality guns, Tony Galazen is making a go of it with his O/U's.

Chances are you have never handled or shot a Model 37 Ithaca, they make all others feel like second best or just plain junk.

Last Thursday I shot with a guy that was using his dad's 1940 M37. The gun functioned flawlessly, just like the new trap model I was using.

Remember this design go's back to J. Browning with the Remington M17, and was improved by Ithaca, introduced in 1937. Many of J. Browning designs are timeless and will go on forever.
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Old July 2, 2013, 08:22 AM   #21
hogdogs
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Luxury items of high quality are doing just fine in this economy... High end trailer boats ($200,000) like center console boats with quad 300hp fuel suckers are still selling fine but I can go buy a brand new 18,000 boat...

As for guns I must clear an error that even made into a quote in another post...

MAVERICK by mossberg is AMERICAN MADE all guns by Mossberg labeled as "Mossberg International" are their imports and most of that is .22, OU and their 20 semi auto loader...

Brent
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Old July 2, 2013, 08:52 AM   #22
BigD_in_FL
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Brent, Mavericks are ASSEMBLED here from parts from various places, including Mexico........
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Old July 2, 2013, 09:27 AM   #23
jaguarxk120
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I can really warm up to a plastic and aluminum gun, not knowing if the metallurgy is right. The hollow stocks have that reassuring sound, knowing that the light gun in 12 gauge will kick like a mule. Do the guns rattle when shaken because of the sloppy fit? Sure they shoot but for how long under regular shooting, that is sporting clays or trap.

Many of the new makers use "dual action bars" they need those bars to keep the action from jaming, I think on some makes if the bars were not there parts would fall out of the action.

And of course all the newer guns function "just like" a Model 12 or Ithaca, sure and the check is in the mail-------.

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Old July 2, 2013, 10:15 AM   #24
drcook
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Shiloh Sharps are a niche gun. Not cheap for a 130 yr old design (actually a bit older than that, the model yr is 1874). These guns start around 2000.00 delivered.

Starts at.

Yet there is a waiting list. Lately it is been a 16 to 18 months wait from the time you ordered one, until it was delivered. I waited 16 months on my first one.

At one time there was a 4 yr wait.

There are enough people that will pay for quality and there usually are repeat customers.

What would sink Ithaca is an engineering fubar. They are a small company and that would be hard to recover from.

What is truly in Ithaca's favor is that they are privately owned. The owner has a commitment to building the best all American made pump shotgun and other products. He has deep enough pockets, that Ithaca could simply break even and he wouldn't be hurt financially. As long as they can hold their own, pay the employees and bills, put out a superior product and increase market penetration, he wins.

The owner is an "old money" businessman who actually lives where Ithaca is at. The employees are his town mates.

There is no "share holder equity", the bane of US manufacturing to take into account. There is only the customer to satisfy, not some pencil neck geek who says they should be making more money, so cheapen the product or we dump your shares off. (sorry for the words, but that is the truth).
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Old July 2, 2013, 10:24 AM   #25
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Mavericks are ASSEMBLED here from parts from various places, including Mexico........
I was under this impression as well.

As for Ithaca, I think the M37's are very well made and worth the extra money spent.
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