View Full Version : New (old) riot gun

Al Thompson
August 13, 1999, 03:45 PM
Hi all,

Was in the local cop shop last week and picked up a police trade-in Ithaca M37 12 ga for $200.00.

It's a older gun, 20 inch barrel, 4 shot magazine, walnut stock and a parkerized finish. The really neat thing, IMHO, is that the barrel is marked "Full" as opposed to the usual "cyl".

I addeD a butt cuff and one of the clamp on "HIVIZ" shotgun sights.

A quick trip to the range verified that the choke is indeed full. Number 4 buckshot stayed in a 20 inch pattern at 30 yards. Forgot the # 1 buck, so will have to do this again. The trick front sight stayed in place just fine and worked very well.

It's not the equal to my Benelli, but it's a neat little gun.



"Hear the voices in my head, swear to God it sounds like
they're snoring." -Harvey Danger, "Flagpole Sitta

[This message has been edited by Gizmo99 (edited August 13, 1999).]

Oleg Volk
August 2, 2000, 07:16 PM
I am looking at one that the local store has. They want $180 for it. The gun is almost identical (old one has better wood) to a new 37 at $430! The only trouble is, the formerly orange front slight has discolored completely. Does anyone know if replacements are available?

Re: hi-viz sight. How did you attach it (could you post a photo)? The sights I have seen require a rib to clamp on...

Wonder how bad the recoil is on that.

Also, is the operation of the gun cnsiderably different from guns with side ejection ports (like the 870)?

Oleg "peacemonger" Volk


Dave McC
August 2, 2000, 10:03 PM
Good buy, Giz. Some 37s with full chokes were used in Nam,so you may have a war trophy there.

Two downsides with the 37, both minor. One, not many accessories. Two, the lighter weight makes shooting heavy loads a task for the recoil tolerant.

Just for grins, next time you go to the range, see if there's an interrupter. If you can hold the trigger down,keep pumping and keep firing, you don't...

Eric of IN
August 3, 2000, 09:01 AM
Oleg, I don't notice any difference between the operation of my M37, and my friends 870. DOn't shoot bare-foot though, empty shells are hot when they hit the top of your foot. ;)

Teach a kid to shoot.
It annoys the antis.

August 3, 2000, 09:15 AM
You will probably hear from someone that the M37 is less reliable than the Rem. 870 because it uses the same port for loading and ejecting. I have a rem. 1100 and a M37 and neither has every jammed or failed hunting, so my experience doesn't bear that out. The only time the M37 ever failed was when I failed to push the slide all the way up after a shot while duck hunting. I then got to watch a drake mallard fly away quacking derisively!

Mike Irwin
August 3, 2000, 12:55 PM
The Ithaca 37 was originally a Remington design, I believe, which was sold to Ithaca in the 1920s.

I've take quite a few birds over the years (pheasant and dove, mostly) with my father's 37. It's a GREAT shotgun, and has never jammed once.

I was looking at getting a M37 riot gun a few years ago when I perchance happened across a Smith & Wesson Model 3000 Police parkerized in as new condition, for $200. I snatched that one up.

Beware the man with the S&W .357 Mag.
Chances are he knows how to use it.

Badger Arms
August 3, 2000, 08:31 PM
Front Sight Replacements might be found at:
www.brownells.com (http://www.brownells.com) and look for Ithaca as Manufacturer or:
www.ithacagun.com (http://www.ithacagun.com) under the parts section.

Who ever said the Ithaca was unreliable never owned one. That's crap. Mine have all been totally reliable. That's more than I can say about my Remington 870. The Ithaca 37 was designed by none other than John Moses Browning and John Pederson (sp?).
Having the same loading / ejection port is not where the Ithaca gets it's bad reputation. In fact, that's an asset in the field because of fouling and ejection issues. The reputation comes from LA Cops who don't know how to stroke the gun. You stroke it all the way back and it functions EVERY TIME!!! Some stupid cops have shot their buddies or other bystanders when they neglected to take their fingers off the trigger while cycling and forgot the golden rule -- never point the gun at anything you do not intend to kill or destroy.

As for the orig. post, Good find Gizmo. I'd cherish it and love it and give it a good home if I were you. The full choke is probably a departmental specification having something to do with wanting more accurate pattern placement. Might have been a lawyer's suggestion also. Not necessarilly a bad thing for home defense though.

Finally, to find out if the gun is truly "slam-fire," you simply: unload and clear the gun, ensure VISUALLY that the gun is empty by looking at the chamber with the gun upside down, close the action, with the gun pointed in a safe direction, pull the trigger. The hammer will fall. Keep your finger on the trigger and the gun pointing in the safe dierction while you cycle the action all the way back and then ever so slowly forward. Slam-fire guns will cause the hammer to fall about the same time the gun goes into battery. Newer guns will lower the hammer before the gun goes into battery causing the slide to lurch gently forward into battery.

If you have a slam-fire gun, enjoy. If not, the disconnector can be modified by a qualified and competent gunsmith to slam-fire style.

[This message has been edited by badgerarms (edited August 03, 2000).]

G. Kennedy
August 3, 2000, 09:44 PM
As long as that gun has a Full choke be sure to never shoot slugs in it.....at best you will ruin the choke, at worst you'll blow up the gun....Be Safe.

August 4, 2000, 02:14 AM
I have a 1929 Winchester Model 12 that was "converted" to a riot gun. Great shooting gun, and my primary scattergun. However, what kind of choices do I have in the sights dept.? Plain bbl, no rib. The bead just does not cut it as a fast/defensive sight. I fear what would happen if I ever had to use it at night. Please don't recommend any other guns: I really like this one.
any help appreciated,

Dave McC
August 4, 2000, 07:05 AM
Clead, the plain bead SHOULD work, but if for some reason it's not what you want, try...

A peep sight setup with a ramp and bead front sight setup will cost around $100 installed. While lots of folks like the "Ghost Ring" setups sold by the high dollar aftermarket vendors, a simple Lyman or Williams works fine. Just remove the aperture for fast or low light work.

Al Thompson
August 4, 2000, 05:16 PM
Boy do I feel stupid - must have posted this and forgot to check it. Several q's I should have answered.

Oleg - I found a Hi-Viz sight designed for a plain barrel - the sight has a notch cut in the muzzle end for the bead sight to rest in. Works fine.

Dave - it's a cop gun. There were several that were traded in. I bought another for a left handed friend. The interupter is my finger. *grin* Unless I'm attacked by the Blob or the 14th Mongollian Horde, don't think this is a advantage.

It is nice to have a steel and walnut American made classic.


Dave McC
August 4, 2000, 08:07 PM
I never could see the advantage of no interrupter, but lots of folks like it. I doubt there's any practical advantage.

You do have a fine shotgun, enjoy!!

Badger Arms
August 4, 2000, 09:45 PM
The value of the disconnector is mainly one of military use. If you are in a house, tunnel, trench, or other such tight, target rich environment you can 'clear' it quickly before you switch to your sidearm.

As for its use for the civilian, the same holds true. You can and should follow up with your first blast and keep firing until the intruder has ceased all hostility at which point you will no longer be in jeopardy and should not be firing. Drugged up intruders are unlikely to read stopping power tables so only let up when the gun drops to the floor, they cease bodily function, or they exit your house running.

The main advantage of the disconnector is the grin factor. You load up eight shells in your riot gun and rock and roll, there is rarely an eye that isn't staring at you at the range.

Al Thompson
August 5, 2000, 05:45 AM
Yep - had a Stevens 521 w/o the disconnect.

I have to admit that hooking the Benelli in the underarm assult position and seeing just how fast you could trip the trigger leads to interesting phone calls from the neighbors.

You can also clear brush with it. :D

My all time favorite "Holy Cow" gun was a high school buddies Auto Five that had a worn part. After you loaded it, you could empty it with one pull of the trigger.


Harley Nolden
August 5, 2000, 06:18 AM
I have the assem/disasem, w/photos, if you'd like to have them.