View Full Version : My Pump-Action Shotguns

June 1, 2012, 08:40 PM
Finally got the venerable Winchester Model 12 and Ithaca 37 Featherlight in my collection. M12 is 1955, full choke, 30 inch barrel. M37 is 1948, full choke, 30 inch barrel, aftermarket recoil pad.


I'm amazed by the build quality on these shotguns. The M37 is the smoothest, and ejects shells several feet. It also is the lightest at 6-7 lbs and balances the nicest. For upland she will be good. The M12 is solid, heavier, and is quality. About 7-8 lbs, the balance is good, but not as good as the Ithaca. The stocks are thicker than the sleek Ithaca. Compared to my Mossberg, they are about the same weight, but balance much better. Even with the Aluminum receiver on the Mossberg, the steel barrel up front makes it muzzle heavy. The balance point is not at the receiver. Also, I think Mossberg's barrel is thicker and has the ventrib. It is also a more compact design as you will see in the pictures.

I'm also intrigued that the Mossberg takes some of the best qualities from both of these shotguns. For example, the dual extractors, shell elevator staying up like the M37, bolt release similar to Win 12, Barrel attachment system, Mossberg's receiver holes are exactly in the same spot as the Ithaca. I'm sure there are more similarities. The bolts, bolt slides are also similar to the Ithaca.

Pictures from top to bottom (1948, 1955, 2008):






June 2, 2012, 06:18 AM
Our tastes closely align. I love old pump shotguns.

Dave McC
June 2, 2012, 06:35 PM

June 2, 2012, 07:26 PM
I cleaned the M12 and M37 today and oiled them up. The M12 is much smoother now, and the M37 is super slick.


It was sunny out so I took some close ups:



June 2, 2012, 08:05 PM
that you have the headspace on the M37 checked, IF the barrel DOES not have the same SN of Receiver face, located about the 5 o'clock position.

The pre-855,000 barrels and receiver were specifically mated and headspace together.

Looks nice, ENJOY!

June 3, 2012, 02:04 AM
Ithaca and Winchester barrels match to their respective receivers. Thanks!

June 10, 2012, 11:02 PM
Today I shot skeet for the first time, and I used my Winchester M12 with its fixed full choke. The elderly gentlemen were nice guys and coached me on how to attack the clays. I could tell that even though I showed up with a pump gun, it was okay with them because it was the respected Model 12 in the company of their Beretta O/U's. I shot about 30% the first round, but with their coaching, I shot about 60%. I didn't find the full choke a handicap at all, albeit I was shooting singles, rather than pairs as I was new. But the full choke definitely trained me to swing better, point and aim better, and overall be more on the ball than with a looser choke constriction.

As for the Model 12 itself, it's a masterpiece for a pump gun! Way better balanced and handling than my Mossberg 500. Everything is smooth, locks up and *pings* when the safety is clicked or the action locks up.

Also, since you guys warned me that the threads in the receiver can get worn, I cleaned the barrel from the muzzle without taking the gun down. I hope that none of the powder residue gets stuck in the receiver. I brushed the receiver's insides with a toothbrush and mopped up with a patch soaked in Hoppes. Then oiled.

For now, the M12 is my new favourite gun. Next time the Ithaca 37 will get its turn.

I also now think Skeet is more fun than Trap because for the same price, skeet lasts about 20-30 minutes vs 10 minutes in trap, and you get more varieties of shots.

Dave McC
June 11, 2012, 01:27 PM
Wow, two great shotguns at the same time. Enjoy....

And wait until you try Wobble, Sporting Clays, 5 stand, Crazy Quail, etc.

It's ALL fun....

Nick S.
June 13, 2012, 11:59 AM
I used to only shoot trap but now I'm hooked on sporting clays.

June 13, 2012, 05:42 PM
I've tried Sporting Clays before, and it was fun!

Dave McC
June 14, 2012, 05:41 AM
KOC, amen. Sporting is much fun. Addicting, though, and destructive of discretionary income.

Still, the sense of accomplishment when one pulverizes a gnarly pair of droppers makes it all worthwhile.

And, one's abilities climb rapidly when shooting ALL those presentations....