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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi everyone;

Was at the LGS this morning picking up my daily ration of 7.62x39 (20 whole cartridges, yippee!) and stopped to peruse some shotguns. I'm a long time Ithaca 37 fan, but my last one is an elderly police gun I've had for about 30 years and as a knockabout I wanted something that I was a little less attached to.

So, anyone have hands on experience with the new Stevens Ithaca clones? The LGS actually has an honest to G*d Ithaca 37 Defense gun 7 banger that I was looking at in comparison to the Stevens. Not entirely sure I like the changes from the original, but the wood furniture is nice, just like I remember it. However, the price tag is 3x what the Stevens costs, and the Stevens has better sights out of the box (though at the cost of being imported and only having a 5 shot tube).

Opinions anyone? I'm thinking a complete overhaul of my shotgun battery is in order, since right now I'm really limited and I really do think that the pump/semi auto combat style guns are next on the gun grabbers hit parade. Figure I'll jump in and do my buying before the price climbs, like I did on AKM's etc. over the last couple years. For a collector, I may pick up a Mossy 590 too (had one right when they first came out), but I'm really torn between one of the "new" Ithaca's and one of these Chinese clones. I may buy one of each, but I really wanted some hands on info first.

Thanks in advance for any info,
Grumpy
 

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I too like you have a love for 37's.I have 3 now.Sid Bell 20,solid-rib late 1940's 16,1980's model 87 with 3 " chamber.Every since I was a tennager in a goose pit and got burnt on the face with a hot eject from a pit partners gun,I have loved 37's.If the Stevens import is the Chinese Norinco 37 copy.I have shot,handled a few,and owned one for a short time.The Norinco was a good gun for the money,but the machining finish had alot to be desired.Tool,machining marks all over the place.After 3 months and 500 rounds gun action DID NOT slick up as most better made pumps would have.Action also seemed to me too be a little cactchy"jerky"and I was short stroking it much more than my real 37's.I hope this can help you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I too like you have a love for 37's.I have 3 now.Sid Bell 20,solid-rib late 1940's 16,1980's model 87 with 3 " chamber.Every since I was a tennager in a goose pit and got burnt on the face with a hot eject from a pit partners gun,I have loved 37's.If the Stevens import is the Chinese Norinco 37 copy.I have shot,handled a few,and owned one for a short time.The Norinco was a good gun for the money,but the machining finish had alot to be desired.Tool,machining marks all over the place.After 3 months and 500 rounds gun action DID NOT slick up as most better made pumps would have.Action also seemed to me too be a little cactchy"jerky"and I was short stroking it much more than my real 37's.I hope this can help you.
Thanks for the information gayblade;

I ended up buying one of the Stephens 350's on a gamble - figured if there's an import ban at some point I'd kick myself for not at least trying one. And if its just a case of redoing some slovenly machine work, that's the kind of gunsmith project I revel in. Anyway, Chinese made AK's and SKS's have always been fine IME and I wish I would have bought more of each back when AK's were $250 NIB and SKS's were $75 each out of a packing crate, complete with bayonet.

The Stevens is an interesting gun. It is modified from the original Ithaca design in that its got dual action bars, and handles more like a Winchester speed pump than any other shotgun I've owned. Basically the inertia of recoil drives the pump back on its own so I only have to pump forward; think its the extra metal in the pump combined with a massive forearm that does the trick. It could use a more powerful magazine spring for reliability and I have a couple on order from Numrich; already replaced the follower with a Choate high visibility model.

Very slick, smooth action, not quite as smooth as my 30+ year old Ithaca, but close. Can't put my finger on it, but there's something about the recoil or stock configuration that is keeping me from getting into the fast "pump/boom" pattern I usually manage just fine on my only real Ithaca. 'Course that one has the slam fire feature, which I miss on this new gun; I really need to compare trigger groups and see if I can get the right parts for another little gunsmith project. 'Near as I can tell the hammer on this one rides the bolt if you run the pump forward with the trigger pulled but it doesn't release with the "oomph" to get the next charge to fire.

Anyway, after all that I've still got the word out with an FFL friend that I'm looking for another real Ithaca. Someday I'd like to have a nice long tubed hunting model or two to go with the riot guns. Just as well I haven't heard back yet, since $$$ is short right now. Got another peacemaker on layaway....

So thanks for the info, hope I didn't put anyone to sleep.
Best,
Grumpy
 
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