Grandpa's Ithaca
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  1. #1
    Marlin Marksman
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    Grandpa's Ithaca

    My grandfather passed in 1987. He had an Ithaca 37R Featherlight in 16 gauge that he used for Grouse hunting. He could hit grouse and woodcock like no one I've ever known. SN indicates it was manufactured in 1954.

    After he passed the gun went to my father. As a young man I did get to shoot a few clays with it. Dad hunted with it for a few years but the stock developed a crack. It then sat in the back of dad's closet.

    A few years ago dad and mom were getting ready to move into a retirement community and they would have limited room. Dad asked me what guns I really wanted. I just said "just two"...his Dan Wesson 357 that I gave him when I graduated college, and grandpa's Ithaca. Well...I have to wait awhile for the DW since its his home protection gun and I won't get that until he passes so I'm in no rush for that one...but he did pass along the Ithaca. All other firearms he could divvy up between my brother and myself.

    I got the Ithaca home and did a factory strip of the gun. It took me over 90 minutes of cleaning to get the past 60+ years of gunk out of it. I pulled the crack open in the stock and forced waterproof wood glue into the crack using an air gun attachment on my air compressor. I wanted to force the glue as deep as I could to make a strong repair. After clamping the stock up, I wiped off the excess glue and left it sit to cure. That was all I did to it so I wouldn't damage the original finish/patina of the stock. Yes...its scratched and dinged up...but it is my family that scratched and dinged it up...so...it stays. I put the firearm back together again and gave it a good oiling. I'm a lefty so I contacted Ithaca and purchased a LH safety bar toggle for it.

    I got to take it out hunting this past small game season in NH. I didn't get anything but wow...what a feeling of pride to be able to carry my grandfather's old gun again and know it hadn't been in the field for the past 30 years. My dad stopped by after the repair/cleaning and he couldn't believe how smooth that old pump gun felt. He was happy to see it in operation again...that meant a lot.

    My grandfather also had a double barrel 12 gauge that my uncle has. I'm trying to get that one as well....I just don't know if it will happen. I'd like to keep grandpa's guns together and my cousins really don't have much interest....so I'll keep trying.

    redhawk
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    Last edited by redhawk0; 11-28-2018 at 01:01 PM. Reason: Pictures added 11/28/18
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  2. #2
    Gun Wizard
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    Great story! Thanks for sharing!
    Chiefht likes this.

  3. #3
    Tinhorn
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    I had a 37 Featherweight in 20 gauge that I inherited from my Grandfather when I was 10 cut my teeth hunting quail with it first on the ground then i got good enough to hit them on the fly. Gotta love that bottom eject!
    Reload likes this.
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  5. #4
    Gun Wizard
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    Nice story.
    Congrats on inheriting your grandfather's Ithaca. Imo, that's a priceless shotgun. It's nice to hear that you kept it in it's original condition with the scratches & dings. Lots of memory right there. It's also nice to read that you have taken it out hunting again. I'm sure you're grandpa would have liked that.
    If your cousins have no interest in the double barrel, I would also try to inherit or buy it from your uncle. No sense in him selling it to a stranger.




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    pic's please.
    Mark Risch likes this.

  7. #6
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    It seems I'm not the only one that gets sentimental over steel and wood. That shotgun is a great treasure. You are carrying a little bit of your Grandpaw every time you take it into the woods.
    tradarcher likes this.

  8. #7
    El Capitan of Teams 32 Special, 1894 and 450 Gun Wizard
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    My uncle took all of my grampa's guns soon after he died. I was very young & had no say in it. He figured since he was the only son, that he should get the guns. My mom & aunt didn't count as children since they were female I guess. Now my uncle has passed & there is bad feelings from his family towards the rest of us because of his wife.
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  9. #8
    Gun Wizard
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    My grandfather had a Ithaca Featherweight 12 gauge. It is sitting back in my lair.

  10. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by redhawk0 View Post
    My grandfather passed in 1987. He had an Ithaca 37 Featherweight in 16 gauge that he used for Grouse hunting. He could hit grouse and woodcock like no one I've ever known. SN indicates it was manufactured in 1954.

    After he passed the gun went to my father. As a young man I did get to shoot a few clays with it. Dad hunted with it for a few years but the stock developed a crack. It then sat in the back of dad's closet.

    A few years ago dad and mom were getting ready to move into a retirement community and they would have limited room. Dad asked me what guns I really wanted. I just said "just two"...his Dan Wesson 357 that I gave him when I graduated college, and grandpa's Ithaca. Well...I have to wait awhile for the DW since its his home protection gun and I won't get that until he passes so I'm in no rush for that one...but he did pass along the Ithaca. All other firearms he could divvy up between my brother and myself.

    I got the Ithaca home and did a factory strip of the gun. It took me over 90 minutes of cleaning to get the past 60+ years of gunk out of it. I pulled the crack open in the stock and forced waterproof wood glue into the crack using an air gun attachment on my air compressor. I wanted to force the glue as deep as I could to make a strong repair. After clamping the stock up, I wiped off the excess glue and left it sit to cure. That was all I did to it so I wouldn't damage the original finish/patina of the stock. Yes...its scratched and dinged up...but it is my family that scratched and dinged it up...so...it stays. I put the firearm back together again and gave it a good oiling. I'm a lefty so I contacted Ithaca and purchased a LH safety bar toggle for it.

    I got to take it out hunting this past small game season in NH. I didn't get anything but wow...what a feeling of pride to be able to carry my grandfather's old gun again and know it hadn't been in the field for the past 30 years. My dad stopped by after the repair/cleaning and he couldn't believe how smooth that old pump gun felt. He was happy to see it in operation again...that meant a lot.

    My grandfather also had a double barrel 12 gauge that my uncle has. I'm trying to get that one as well....I just don't know if it will happen. I'd like to keep grandpa's guns together and my cousins really don't have much interest....so I'll keep trying.

    redhawk
    Thanks for sharing.

    Great design accepted for trench warfare by the US military and fine civilian shotgun. Many like your grandfather picked up the 37, mfg in Ithaca NY, after WWII. How times have changed. New York and Connecticut were once the premium producers of fire arms. Happy to hear there are some States in the NE that still have individuals that appreciate the art and heritage. Pay it Forward. Teach your children well.

    Based on your skill, will, and desire to clean and put her back in fine working order, I am sure you will!
    shawlerbrook likes this.
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  11. #10
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    Thanks for sharing your story. There is nothing as nice as hunting with a family heirloom.
    Judson likes this.
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