View Full Version : Ithaca 700 research/history?

December 2, 2008, 02:52 PM
Found what I believe to be a late 1970's Ithaca 700 - excellent shape, very reasonable cost. I know very little about Ithaca's of this vintage other than they were made by SKB.

I have tried research on the internet, shotgunworld.com, etc. to little value.

Can someone please point me to a research resource on Ithaca shotguns before I commit to the purchase?



December 2, 2008, 05:56 PM
I have an early 80's Ithaca SKB 500 and like it a bunch. I paid $500 for it last June and have put about 2,000 shells through it over the last 6 months. Mine has a fixed M/F 28" chrome lined barrels and it throws nice patterns. I had it fit to me, added a Pachymar pad and I couldnt ask for a better gun. It's a lively gun that swings well for me. About the only thing that I am not a huge fan of is the placement of barrel selector switch. I shoot lefty and swapping from full to mod is no problem, but I can't reach the button going mod to full when I have the gun mounted.

Try searching here or thehighroad for SKB. They have been in business for 150 years and have made shotguns for both Ithaca and Weatherby besides their own branded guns. I think they are a lot of gun for the money. Before I bought mine, I got the serail number and called the company to see if it was ever sent in for repair, etc.


December 3, 2008, 04:14 PM
SKB has made guns in Japan for years - and their guns were marketed under the Ithaca label, for Weatherby, and of course under their own label, and others that I can't recall right now....

They are not a terrible gun for the money and I think they are significantly better than most, if not all, of the guns made in Turkey ( Baikal, Stoeger, etc ).

I think one of the weakest points on the SKB guns is their barrel to receiver connection. I think you'll find as a consensus, it will not hold up long term like a Beretta or Browning / and certainly Browning, in their Citori lineup of probably 40 models now, is probably considered one of the strongest barrel lockup systems.

In shotguns, you often will get what you pay for in terms of steel, springs, firing pins, receivers, concentric barrels, fit and finish, wood, etc. When it comes to O/U's ( not SXS's ) - in general.., I would rank most of the well known mfg's of O/U's like this ( but there are some models of each / that will move up to the higher level, and some that will go down ) but, in general:

1. Top End guns ( Krieghoff, Kolar ) ( $ 8K - $30K )
2. Very High Quality ( Perazzi, Blazer ...) ( $5 - $12K)

The next Tier
3. Solid/Good long term value ("B" guns, Browning & Beretta ) ( $1500-$4K )

( a big drop in my view to 4th tier )
4. Good guns/but may not hold up long term ( SKB, Ruger, ..) ( $1K - $2K )

( a bigger drop, in my view, to the 5th tier )
5. Guns that are marginal / will not hold up under use of 2,000 - 5,000 shells a year ( Baikal, Stoeger, etc ).

We all have budgets, are at different points in our lives, kids, no kids, etc. - but # 1 issue on any shotgun is always fit (and I've ranted on this board for a long time on it). Buying a fancy gun, that does not fit, is a waste of money....buying a cheap gun, that does not fit, is a waste of money. Some guns have adjustability / some don't - and to make a gun that doesn't fit - work for you may be as simple as putting a pad on the comb (which is often ugly) or going to a custom stock which can be ( $ 500 - $ 2K easily ).

Pricing is all over the map right now on O/U's - especially on guns made in Europe with the US dollar at a disadvantage right now - and I certainly understand this Ithaca, and many other guns are a lot cheaper than some of the guns I listed about in tiers 1, 2 or 3 .... but the long term issues of the integrity of the steel, quality of triggers, making sure the Point of impact on the upper and lower barrels are the same .... is what will aggravate you long after you've paid for the gun.

There are some good deals on used guns out there - but in general, most good O/U's are going to be $ 2,000 plus these days. If you know all this going in, assuming we agree, and some won't .... then if you buy the Ithaca and accept it for what it is, it may be just fine for you. If you're looking for a Trap or Skeet gun that you intend to put 5,000 - 10,000 shells a year thru, for 10 - 20 years with little or no issues / and pass it on in your family, then stay with guns in tiers 1, 2, or 3 ( in my opinion ).

December 3, 2008, 07:46 PM
I think one of the weakest points on the SKB guns is their barrel to receiver connection.

Uh huh. The Kersten (or modified Greener) lockup system is probably the stoutest there is. The only weakness to the SKB's are the use of leaf springs. Not a big deal to replace when they break, and the trigger pull and shorter lock time you get is worth it. In theory, I haven't seen one break personally yet.

I'll rate the SKB at the same level as the B guns. I like the low profile and sleekness over the Citori's cludginess.

The Citori is a Japanese version of the Superposed, the SKB is a Merkel. Unless you're shooting registered trap targets 3 times a week, your grandchildren will be enjoying your SKB.

December 3, 2008, 08:29 PM
Everybody will have their favorite guns - and be a little biased ( and I'm biased toward Browning O/U's toward 4 or 5 models in the Citori lineup out of probably 40 models in the Citori lineup ) - but I pick my guns primarily because some of the Browning models fit me - and have a lot of adjustability. There are some Browning models, in the Citori lineup, that I think are very mediocre - especially in terms of how much drop they have at the comb or heel, some consistent firing pin problems, types of finishes used on the wood that were not durable, etc. But in some models, Browning has guns coinfigured that many of the other companies do not have much of a selection on - unless I spend a lot more money.

But Another way to look at any value discussion or long term durability discussion ..... is to look over the prices in the used market on a variety of guns from various mfg's - and that will tell you something about what people think about the various models. You might see a trend between mfg's on their guns over the long run - or see some consistency on certain models within each company's guns.

I think you'll find SKB's are typically worth less ( maybe 10 - 25% ) on the used market than most of the Beretta or Browning's in similar condition / in similar grades - ( at least in my area ).

December 4, 2008, 11:34 AM
As always, an intersting discussion. The reason for the OP is because I have never seen one of these before and I have not seen the lock up or anything similar. Being an engineer, I found it interesting.

The lever moves a pin from east to west when the the action is opened. The end of the square pin stands, oh, I'd say 3/16-inch proud of the reciever body, when open. Again, I had not seen (or perhaps noticed) this type of lock-up before. Are all SKB's like that?

Also, does anyone know how that pretty scroll work is applied?

Also, is it possible to date the gun from the S/N?

Also, the gun has a silver (nickel?) reciever. Were more blue or silver made?



December 4, 2008, 03:15 PM
Here is a link to the current SKB website - it may answer some of this for you.


I'm no expert on SKB's ...

To my knowledge, they have used that cross lock system for a long time. The web site gives you a little info on it.

I'm sure the Scroll work is machine cut. Most scroll work is machine cut these days - except on the very high end or on custom shop guns.

dates - I'm sure there are resources out there on SN's dating on SKB's - but I don't have one for SKB, sorry.

I think that silver nitrite look has been their standard for a long time / or it seems to me that most of the SKB's I see have that look.

December 4, 2008, 08:45 PM

You are informative as usual. I wrote both Ithaca and SKB to see what they can come up with for a production date. As far as the limited amount or research I am willing to do, I believe it is manufactured between 1969 and 1978. We'll see.

- Craig

December 4, 2008, 10:36 PM
There's a forum on shotgunworld for skb's, you'll find a lot of answers there.