Wednesday, November 26, 2014

It Followed Me Home. Guess I'll Keep It.

On Monday, I found myself downtown, with my Jeep in the shop and me wandering around looking to kill some time. Eventually I drifted into one of the local pawn shops, just looking to see what they had, and two guns caught my attention. The first one was a .22 rifle that I thought might suit a friend, and the second, spotted while looking that over, was a sad-looking Ithaca Model 37 12 gauge shotgun that was covered with rust and grime.

I shook my head as I looked the Ithaca over, and I thought that it was probably so far gone that I really wasn't interested even when the manager, who knows me, offered me his "best out-the-door" price, which would have been tempting if the gun wasn't such a basket-case.

The .22 looked like a deal though, so we engaged in a bit of dickering, and before I knew what happened, we'd struck a deal in which I wound up buying both of them as a package for a fair bit off of the combined total. I have so little willpower. Or maybe I just felt sorry for the Ithaca.

Anyway, I spent a good chunk of Monday night and Tuesday working on it, slowing and carefully removing the rust with 000 steel wool and lots of CLP. I managed to get the wood cleaned up pretty decently too with some polish, and when all was done, I was quite surprised to find that I had a pretty nice shotgun on my hands.

So here it is. And I'm kicking myself for not taking some "before" pictures, because it sure looked rough.
The shotgun is a Model 37 "Featherlight" with a 28in. fixed-choke barrel (modified) and a bead front sight. It's chambered for 2&3/4 in. shells only.
The walnut shot and foregrip polished up ok. They have a few very minor dings and some of the varnish is missing from the bottom of the stock, but they both look pretty decent and I'm going to leave them as they are for now.
Like most Ithaca guns, it has sporting scenes roll-marked on each side of the receiver, and by being very careful, I was able to clean the rust off of these areas without damaging the finish or marring the scenes.
This gun looked like hell in the store, and I admit that I was skeptical, but after a day's work on it, carefully cleaning it and peeling off a layer of some sort of grime and surface rust, it turned out really nice. The action's decently smooth, especially now that it's all clean and lubricated properly, and it looks like I came away with a pretty nice shooter indeed. I'd initially planned to clean it up and flip it but now I'm thinking that I'm going to hold onto it and I can't wait for a chance to try it out on some clays.

And here it is in my gun cabinet, centered between two other Ithaca 12 gauges.
The one on the far left is an Ithaca 87 that I bought to go hunting with my father some thirty years ago. We picked it out together at Meijers. The one on the far right is my father's Ithaca 37 that I bought him for his birthday a few years after I got the 87 so that he wouldn't have to borrow one from one of his cousins when we went out together. It's mine now, as of a bit over two years ago. So Ithaca shotguns have a special place in my heart, and for that reason, there will probably always be room for one more in the gun cabinet.

9 comments:

  1. Nice. Amazing what you can do with some common sense and 4-o steel wool. I use Kroil when I do it, perhaps, given how good that looks I will try CLP
    Jesse in DC

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    1. Kroil's good. I just didn't have any.

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  2. Congrats on rescuing a shotty! Nicely done.

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  3. You know who designed that shotgun? That's right... :)

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    1. Why that would be the great JMB himself.

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  4. NICE find(s)... And you're ragging on 'me'??? ;-)

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    1. I ragged on you before I found this.

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  5. That's a sweet Ithaca! My cousin has one like that he takes out on the Bay shooting birds with his dog. I got Grandpa's A5 Humpback - he was afraid it would get ruined by salt-water and a wet dog...

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  6. Sweet You gave it a good home

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