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Old September 7, 2015, 03:43 PM   #1
MrBorland
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1927 Ithaca SxS & modern loads?

I have my great grandfather's Ithaca 12ga SxS, and the serial number dates to 1927. The barrel doesn't look damascus, and stamped on the barrel is "smokeless powder barrel". I assume it'd be safe to shoot light dove loads through it, but what say ye?
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Old September 7, 2015, 04:00 PM   #2
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i shoot light loads in a remington model 1900 made in 1906 with steel barrels and 2-3/4" chambers in very good condition and i think if you gun has steel barrels and 2-3/4" chambers it would be ok. eastbank.
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Old September 7, 2015, 04:26 PM   #3
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Verify the barrels are indeed 2-3/4" and not 2-9/16"..........Any doubts about that or the ability of the gun to fire modern loads, have it checked by a gunsmith who knows old guns.
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Old September 7, 2015, 05:36 PM   #4
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I have one as well (1928). I shoot light 1 oz dove loads in mine with no worries.
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Old September 7, 2015, 09:29 PM   #5
Mike Irwin
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Just found a circa 1900 Ithaca double in a closet at my Moms. My great grandfather's farm gun. Needs some TLC.
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Old September 8, 2015, 10:09 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input.

It's an early 12ga Ithaca NID Field Grade (with cocking indicators, and without the stars on the receiver), and was happy to discover it's a well-regarded piece. It's in decent shape, too.

My Google Fu tells me that unless specifically ordered otherwise, the 12ga NIDs came with 2 3/4" chambers. I cut 2 3/4" "gauge" out of plastic to confirm the chambers weren't shorter.

I have some 1oz Dove shot I can use. I'll test them out on my next range trip.
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Old September 8, 2015, 08:30 PM   #7
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I have my Grandfather's Ithaca SxS (I think its the Flues model) that I know he bought new, and to his order in 1909. 26" choked full/full, and stock made to his dimensions.

The gun has "fluid steel barrels" and is safe for smokeless powder. 3 or 3 1/4dr eq loads are fine in these guns (provided the guns are mechanically sound).

I have a letter from Ithaca to my Grandfather, dated 1949, he was asking them about the guarantee on the springs (never to set), and they replied it was still good. The letter included a short message from the VP at the time, saying to avoid the "express" loads, as they are not needed and "akin to threading a needle with a bulldozer" (his exact words, )

Your gun would probably stand a limited amount of shooting with 3 3/4dr eq loads, but I would NOT recommend it.

Knew one fellow who had a similar era 20ga, shot Express and about the 3rd (or 4th) case of shells he went through the receiver cracked.

To be sure, shoot only 3 or 3 1/4 dram equivalent shells. Factory shells in this range are almost always #6 or smaller shot, so handloading might be in order if you want something else.

Grandpa loaded his own, and was rather fond of soft lead #1s, and "punkin balls".

he wasn't much of a bird hunter, just a farmer who "killed a fox at 40 rod"....
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Old September 8, 2015, 08:44 PM   #8
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Remember, those loads were back before plastic wads, so pressures tended to be a little less. I would stick to no more than 1oz @ 1200. The DE stuff is really out of date. Reloading some soft loads will extend the life for your great grandkids.

JMO, YMMV
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Old September 9, 2015, 05:23 AM   #9
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"he wasn't much of a bird hunter, just a farmer who "killed a fox at 40 rod"...."

40 rods?

With a shotgun?

That's 220 yards, so.... I don't really think so. Gramps might have been a good shot, but I suspect that his distance estimates were just a bit off...
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Old September 9, 2015, 10:21 AM   #10
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I always doubted the distance, as well, however, as Grandpa used to say, "one of the good things about being so old is that anyone who can call you a liar is dead..."

On the other hand, I once made a one shot, 623yd (measured after the fact) kill on a woodchuck, with a Remington 600 .308 Win. Total fluke, could not do it again for love nor money, but I did do it, once, and others did see it.
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Old September 9, 2015, 09:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FITASC
I would stick to no more than 1oz @ 1200.
I looked through my ammo stash on hand, and I have 3 that're candidates:

1. Remington Game Loads: 1oz, 7 1/2 shot, 1290fps

2. Remington Game Loads: 1oz, 8 shot, 1290fps

3. Winchester Xtra-Lite Targets Loads: 1 oz, 8 shot, 1180fps.


The Winchester Xtra-Lites would seem the tamer choice for a vintage gun, but when it comes to shotgun loads for dove, what's the difference between "Game" and "Target" loads? Is it simply the reduced power that makes them "target" loads? Are they too light for dove?
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Old September 10, 2015, 07:38 AM   #12
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I'd use #3 in the old gun and go have fun hitting doves. Shot slows very quickly past the three feet measurement mark. but it is how the particular load works in YOUR gun that matters.

This is a great load:

http://www.gamaliel.com/Remingtongun...shotshells.asp

1oz running 1185 - easy on the gun, easy on the shoulder and easy on the wallet.
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Old September 10, 2015, 08:51 AM   #13
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I am with eastbank, 1927 is practically yesterday in the world of double shotguns. G'Grandpa's appears to be a NID which was designed stronger than the Flues and earlier models to avoid the breakage seen by AMP's friend.

I don't know that the light shot, high velocity economy shells are any lower in pressure than standard. Substituting cheap fast powder for lead cuts cost but they have to have enough pressure to cycle gas operated autos.

My Uncle was a hunter, not a gun enthusiast. He complained that cheap promotional shells were "picking" the doves and not bringing them down promptly; and that 3 3/4 DE express loads kicked hard in his Winchester Model 24.
So I got him some Pigeon loads, 3 1/4 - 1 1/4 - 7 1/2 which he really liked.
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Old September 10, 2015, 09:17 AM   #14
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I reload and would use Clays in either 7/8 oz or 1 oz at or under 1200 fps they list many different combo's with all cases,primers, & wads.
Years back I had 8 pounds of Bulleyes left after my loading buddy died, Aemerican Rifleman did a article on using it in 12 ga 7/8 & 1 oz loads shoot the heck out of shoot great but was dirty if I still had some of that powder I'd shoot it in my 1913 A H Fox without worries.
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Old September 10, 2015, 11:35 AM   #15
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I use Titewad for light (3/4oz) 12 gauge loads with the CB wad. Means going one choke tighter than using bigger and faster payloads, but if your gun is choked tight, it might do just fine. 3/4 oz is the norm for 28 and I've never heard anyone complain that a 28 won't kill doves.
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Old September 11, 2015, 10:51 AM   #16
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Quote:
but if your gun is choked tight,
ALL shotguns made before the modern era of plastic shot cups are choked "tight" by modern standards.

you can balance a dime in the muzzle of a full choke 12ga made in 1909.
you CANNOT do that with one made in 2009, the dime will fall through.
(same dime)
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Old September 11, 2015, 04:37 PM   #17
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Well, besides the value of the dime shrinking.... newer guns tend to be more overbored. The "nominal" 12 gauge bore size is .729. Some were as tight as .725 and some of the more modern guns, especially target guns like Kolar go as large as .750 - that is a M choke difference. Brownings and similar seem to be more in the .732-.735 range.
Again, though, with the older loads of cork, felt, fiber wads their patterns opened more quickly so they needed that really full characteristic to equal a modern M-IM.

Once OK'd, go enjoy those timeless classics!
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Old September 11, 2015, 04:55 PM   #18
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with the older loads of cork, felt, fiber wads their patterns opened more quickly so they needed that really full characteristic to equal a modern M-IM.
In the old days, choke was not measured by a diameter number (I don't know what the modern makers use today). Choke was measured by performance.

A given percentage of pellets in a 30in circle at 40 yards. For full choke, the number was 70%. Whatever actual barrel diameter it took to achieve that, with the standard ammo of the day.

Fiber wad columns, card wads over the shot and a roll crimp meant that all the shot on the outside of the column contacted the barrel on its way out. The small flat spots this left on the pellets meant that they didn't fly "true", so a percentage of your shot would "fly away" from the rest.

With the advent of modern shells with shot cups, (and star crimps) this meant significantly less shot was deformed on firing, so the percentage that stayed in the pattern circle went up. THEREFORE, the required degree of choke restriction in the barrel went down, to keep the percentages in their proper groups.

Pattern an old full choke gun, with modern ammo, and by percentages, you will usually have a "super full" density.
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Old September 11, 2015, 06:18 PM   #19
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I have a 1938 Ithaca SxS, 20 GA. I shoot it like I would any other shotgun.
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Old September 11, 2015, 09:19 PM   #20
Jim Watson
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Quote:
In the old days, choke was not measured by a diameter number
Actually it was, in production guns, at any rate.
Based on trials with shells of the day, manufacturers settled on standard dimensions. Full was .040" constriction, Modified (Known as Half Choke in some places) was .020" constriction, Improved Cylinder (Quarter Choke) was .010" constriction. Improved Modified was and is less common at .030".
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Old January 2, 2016, 11:13 PM   #21
Glenn Kelley
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Jim ,
To add to your information .Those restrictions were the reason that a full choke is designated by a 4 a modified by a 2 etc.

Glenn
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Old January 2, 2016, 11:51 PM   #22
Jim Watson
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On an Ithaca? I know European guns have such designations.
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Old January 3, 2016, 01:30 PM   #23
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Jim ,
Yes Ithaca used it more than some other companies . My Lefever Nitro Special has a 2 and a 4 on the flats by the lug on the bottom of the barrels .
On the early Model 37s it is on the barrel near the serial number . On latter guns it was added as -4 , -2 etc after the serial number . I think Ithaca stopped doing it after 1964 .
I can't remember seeing it on a Remington but I do remember it on a Winchester .

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Old January 4, 2016, 01:35 PM   #24
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I've got an Ithaca "Flues" model form 1909 with "smokeless steel barrels. I have tried it with Remington Game Club target loads (1 1/8 oz #8/ 2 3/4 DE) and it worked fine. Mine is very worn but locks up tight. Have switched to using all brass cases loaded with 75 gn of 2F black powder, nitro card, fiber wad, 1 1/8 oz shot and over shot card. Traditional with lots of smoke and fun. But I also shoot trap with an 1850's English single barrel (14 ga.) muzzle loader so the Ithaca seems modern to me.
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Old January 4, 2016, 11:13 PM   #25
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1936 Lefever A Grade Skeet has handled High and Low base modern shells in the field and on the line for the 30 years I've owned it. Tight as a tick.
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