Ithaca Model 37 Trench Gun

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 4:20 pm
A faithful reproduction of a WWII Ithaca Model 37 trench guns has always been on my wish list of guns I would like to see offered...

...a guy can dream, can't he? :mrgreen:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 5:43 pm
Nothing wrong with that sir...!
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 6:56 pm
I am with you on having a Model 37 Trench Gun as an option!
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:08 pm
I have thought the same thing!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 26, 2011 4:28 am
Oh the things our dreams are made of...

Imagine just about everybody would love to have some kind of Trench Gun, myself included.

I spend way too much time pouring over every bit of information I can get my hands on regarding martial shotguns and they are in my dreams. I'd love to have any number of said shotguns, but am poor and can't seem to see myself spending thousands of dollars on something that should be in a museum. I do find myself gathering guns and parts to assemble into a fake or reproduction/clone Trench Gun. At the moment I'm working on a 1970 vintage M37. There is also hope on the horizon for some Winchester pumps too.

As for the WWII Ithaca M37 Trench Gun, depending on who you read (Canfield, Poyer, etc.) there were between 1420 and 1422 Ithaca Trench Guns built during the war. As the M37 was not part of what was kept by the military after the war their numbers dwindled accordingly. I do not know if anyone knows the exact number of WWII M37 Trench Guns left in existence, but the number must be small. According to Canfield the WWII M37 Trench Gun is one of the most sought after martial shotguns only challenged by the Remington Model 10 Trench Gun.
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 7:15 pm
Thats some interesting information!

I had thought Winchester to be among the most popular.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 12:01 am
Gotta love the Winnies too.

Winchester built truckloads of '97s for the first World War as well as a couple M12 that the military never bit the hook on for in 1918. There were Winchester trench Guns built during the inter-war years and again thousands of M97s and M12s built for WWII. I also read (Canfield) there were a few M12s built up into the early 1960s (around about SN 1961xxx IIRC). The Winchester Trenchies are much more common and well known; I'd like to have a couple too.

As things are, my little project just took a drastic turn. I emptied my little piggy bank on a real 1969 vintage M37 Trench Gun. Seller reports he does not think its ever left our shores for action abroad, rather it was used in a prison back east somewhere. Either way, its is an authentic M37 Trenchie. Now I'm thinking I'll need to sell the East Taylor built reproduction bayonet mount/heat shield and will probably register the Riot Gun as an SBS and have the snout end of the barrel cut off. [/evil laugh]
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 5:55 am
That is great you were able to locate one and pick it up! Be sure to post some pictures of that beauty when you finally get it.
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 01, 2011 11:28 pm
Dang!!! I gotta see it man!
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 2:14 am
Kinda sucks when this stuff is going back and forth across the country, but my MO should arrive at the Seller's location on Monday, so I'd imagine I'll have the gun by the middle of the following week. Can hardly wait. Will check it all out and have a hankerin to shoot a round of skeet with it.

...here is one of the pics from the add.
Image

Writing this just as Joe Cocker come on the radio singing You Are So Beautiful To Me
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 02, 2011 9:58 am
Yep!!! It is a beautiful thing!!!
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 3:30 pm
USPS wrote:Your Item's Status
Your item was delivered at 12:26 pm on October 01, 2011...

The money has arrived at the Seller's location!

I hate the wait.
PostPosted: Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:45 pm
Post a range report once you have that beauty in your hands...!!
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:06 am
Its here!

Picked it up today...

Image
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:37 pm
That is among the most beautiful things I have ever seen! :shock:
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 2:04 am
Finally got out to shoot the little trenchie today. Friend was in town, so we headed to the skeet range to see what kind of damage we could do. We were only able to shoot two rounds each, but both got to use the little M37 and it went through two boxes of shells without issue. Got a lot of funny looks from the old skool sporting shotgun crowd.

Image

Image
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 21, 2011 8:26 am
Man, thats just awesome, I love it!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2012 3:54 pm
Can anybody tell me what the buttplate design was on the WWII version of the M37 Trenchgun?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 8:57 am
Does anyone in the industry make a copy of the heat shield/ bayonet mount?
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PostPosted: Fri May 24, 2013 3:52 pm
g.g.ands wrote:Can anybody tell me what the buttplate design was on the WWII version of the M37 Trenchgun?

There was only a handfull of M37 trench guns made for WWII (1422 of em IIRC) and after the war the military said they were only going to support the Winchester Model 12, Stevens 520 and 620. I imagine the number of those WWII M37 trench guns still alive is very low. Point being, there are not a lot of pics out there of them let alone of the butt plate. One might think that the "normal" Ithaca M37 butt plate used in 1942-43 would be the same used on their WWII trenchies. I couldn't tell you for sure though, my 1943 gun has a recoil pad. The only couple pics I have been able to find of what appears to be a WWII Ithaca M37 trench gun show only a side profile of the butt plate. Of note, the stock and forend are smooth and "ring-tail" as opposed to checkered like other M37 of the era.

these are just pics gleaned off the internet...

Image

Image


mike263 wrote:Does anyone in the industry make a copy of the heat shield/ bayonet mount?

East Taylor LLC builds a great one if not a tad expensive. I got one a couple years back for a project and sadly the entire project still sits in a small pile of parts unfinished. Their bayonet mount and heat shield is a good one though, it is pretty much exactly the same as the "real" trench gun mentioned above; a very good piece. Problem is (as I see it anyway) they also build repro mounts for Winchesters and now the Remington Model 10... I see more projects in the future. ;)

This is my East Taylor mount...
Image
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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 12:01 am
g.g.ands wrote:Can anybody tell me what the buttplate design was on the WWII version of the M37 Trenchgun?

...right after I made the above post I got to doing some digging and found some more pics online. These are from a 1942 vintage Ithaca M37 Trench gun Serial Number 578xx.

Image

Image

...and the money-shot you were looking for.
Image

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PostPosted: Sat May 25, 2013 6:57 am
That is a good looking gun.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 7:28 am
Image
Pictured above is the Ithaca Trench Gun as issued in Viet Nam. 20" barrel, no heat shield attachment. I remember seeing a few, (damn few!) trench guns in Viet Nam in '69-'70, maybe two, and I don't remember what they were. Neither had heat shields, both were pump guns with 20" barrels and slings like the Ithaca pictured above.





Ithaca Model 37, trench gun, riot gun, Ithaca, shotgun


Ithaca Model 37 Trench and Riot Gun

Though not nearly as famous as the Winchester Model 1897, Ithaca’s Model 37 served with distinction in multiple conflicts.

By Rick Hacker (RSS)
April 18, 2011




The United States Army had been using smoothbore shotguns since the Revolutionary War, although the formidable weapon didn’t come into its own until World War I with the introduction of the Winchester Model 1897 “trench sweeper,” a 12 gauge, 20-inch-barreled pump-action scattergun. The weapon was so devastating, the German government unsuccessfully petitioned to get it banned from combat.

The Model 1897 went on to fight in World War II, but by then guns and parts were wearing out and replacement armament was needed. One of the most unlikely—yet obvious—candidates to carry on the effectiveness of an open-choked, short-barreled shotgun for close-range military use was the Ithaca Model 37, which, sharing a link with the Model 97, was based on the Remington Model 17, both John M. Browning designs.

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Up until this time, the Ithaca Gun Company, located in western New York, was known for finely crafted double-barreled sporting smoothbores and superb single-barreled competition shotguns. Founded in 1883 by William Henry Baker, this well-respected company had become a favorite of such luminaries as trick shooter Annie Oakley and John Philip Sousa. But in May 1937, Ithaca introduced the appropriately named Model 37—a single-barreled pump shotgun.

Patented by factory manager Harry E. Howland, and working with Ithaca designer Nestor Smith, the gun was ready in May 1932, but production was halted due to patent infringement. It seemed the hammerless new Ithaca repeater ran afoul of mechanisms used on the hammerless Remington Model 17 as well as the older, exposed-hammer Winchester 1897. Although the Model 17 was discontinued in 1933, the patents did not expire until four
years later.

Ithaca Model 37, Model 37, Vietnam, shotgun, Model 37 in Vietnam
The Ithaca Model 37 served in a variety of wars, including World War II. Here it's seen in the hands of a G.I. in Vietnam. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Army

The Model 37 was a much more efficient design than the Remington 17, although both shared the dual bottom loading- and ejection-port feature. But, the Ithaca was lighter and used fewer parts. Its short-stroke pump was faster, a reversible cross-bolt safety made the gun adaptable for southpaws and unlike the Model 17, the Model 37 was brought out in 12 gauge. A 16-gauge version was introduced in 1938 and a 20 gauge came a year later. Although Ithaca’s commercial firearms production was halted by World War II, it was the Model 37 that brought Ithaca into the government’s arsenal.

By 1940, with war raging in Europe but the U.S. remaining out of the fracas, the Ordnance Department nonetheless realized the need to shore up its lagging supply of combat shotguns. At that time, the Ithaca Model 37 was one of only six commercially produced smoothbores deemed suitable. As a result, an initial order for 1,420 Ithaca Model 37 trench guns—with factory-fitted 20-inch, open-choked barrels, ventilated steel heat guards, lugs for the M1917 bayonet, sling swivels and without the standard Model 37’s takedown feature—was placed in November 1941. One month later, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.

Rather than being Parkerized, these six-shot, World War II-era Model 37s sported finely blued steel and were stamped with a U.S. Ordnance bomb on the left side of the receiver, along with the “RLB” initials of inspector Lt. Col. Roy L. Bowlin, Chief of the Rochester Ordnance District. Although these Ithaca wartime guns were catalogued as “Riot Guns,” according to “U.S. Infantry Weapons of World War II,” by Bruce Canfield, “By the time of World War II, the trench guns were officially designated as ‘Shotgun, Riot Type, with Bayonet Attachment and Hand Guard.’” However, as the Model 37’s combat role continued, a number of smooth-barreled riot guns—sporting 18-inch barrels without trench-gun fittings—were also drummed into service.

Aside from some clearing operations, the open battlefields of the European theater were not conducive to the close-range limitations of the Model 37. But it was different story in the Pacific, where jungle fighting soon put these scatterguns in demand. Plus, a number of were issued for guard duty on military bases. Nonetheless, Ithaca’s Model 37 World War II trench gun tenure was relatively short-lived. After completing its initial contract order of 1,420 units, the company turned its manufacturing capabilities to the M1911A1, making its World War II trench guns an extremely rare collectible today.

The Model 37 trench and riot guns came into their own when called back into action during the Vietnam War. The effectiveness of these six-shot, hand-held firestorms was heightened by the fact that the Model 37 did not have a trigger detent. Thus, by holding the trigger back, the gun could be slam-fired as fast as a “boonierat” could work the pump. The first volley of shots cleared out the brush, vines and spider holes, while the rest of the magazine eradicated whatever—or whoever—was left.

No wonder Model 37 trench guns were issued to the infantry squad’s point man. It was also a favorite weapon for detonating land and water mines, and was frequently carried by the bow sentry aboard watercraft. They were adapted for the same M7 bayonet as the M16, and some guns issued to the Special Forces were stamped USSF on the receiver. A few were even outfitted with shot spreaders that widened their patterns horizontally. Approximately 22,500 Parkerized Model 37 trench guns were produced during the Vietnam era. These guns were stamped “U.S.” on the right side of the receiver along with a “P” proofmark on the barrel and receiver. Many were rebuilt after Vietnam.

In 1987 Ithaca Acquisition Corp brought back the Model 37 as the Model 87, and in late 1996, Ithaca Gun Company resumed manufacture of Model 37. Today, the Ithaca 37 exists in a number of guises, but the glory of the Model 37 trench and riot guns lives on in the revamped Model 37 Defender. Thus, the gun that first served in World War II is still making a mark on the law enforcement and home-defense front today.



Tags: history, Ithaca, military, pump shotguns, self-defense, World War I





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Ordnance Notes -- by Bob Stoner GMCM(SW) Ret.

ITHACA Model 37 Shotgun


The Ithaca "Homeland Defense Shotgun" is identical to the guns used in Viet Nam except
for the installation of sling swivels. Photo: Ithaca Gun



The Ithaca Gun Company produced its first shotgun in 1883. In 1937 the company released its newest creation: the Model 37 Repeater. The Model 37 was a pump action shotgun based on the Remington Model 17 pump shotgun. The Ithaca was an improvement on the former design because it emphasized simplicity of form and function. The Model 37 has remained in continuous production since its introduction. It has been produced in a bewildering number of finishes, calibers, barrel lengths, smooth bore and rifled barrel configurations, and stock and forearm configurations. It's simplicity and reliability have earned it the respect of sportsmen, police officers, and the military.

Simplicity: the Model 37 has the fewest parts of any pump shotgun. Reliability: the gun is easily used by right or left handed shooters because, unlike other pump shotguns, it loads and ejects through the bottom of the gun. The double-fingered shell carrier provides positive control of the round, from magazine to chamber. The barrel is attached to the receiver by an interrupted thread. It is easily removed for cleaning by unscrewing the knurled plug on the end of the magazine tube, turning it 90 degrees, and pulling it off the receiver.

Shotguns have been used in combat by American troops since the Revolutionary War. While the tools of war have become more fearsome in their range and the number of rounds they can shoot, the shotgun is still an awesome adversary at short range. The Model 37 can put 54 pellets of 00 buckshot (.33 caliber) down range as fast as the trigger can be pulled and the forearm cycled. (Once the trigger was pulled for the first shot, the disconnector allows the gun to fire all the ammunition in its magazine by merely cycling the forearm.) In this regard, it puts your average submachine gun to shame.

Ithaca 37 combat shotguns used in Viet Nam were either riot guns (18-inch barrels) or trench guns (20-inch barrels). The stocks and forearms were wood and the exposed metal parts were Parkerized (manganese phosphated). The caliber was 12 gauge and the barrel was cylinder bored (without any choke or restriction) for maximum shot dispersion. Capacity was 6 shots. Trench guns had a barrel shroud or ventilated handguard over the barrel and could mount the M-7 bayonet of the M-16 rifle. Sling swivels were provided for the standard 1-1/4 inch web rifle sling. Sights consisted of a brass bead mounted on the end of the barrel and a flat, grooved sight plane milled into the top of the receiver. The forearm latch (bolt release) was located at the right front of the trigger guard and the safety was located at the rear of the trigger guard. Shotguns procured for issue to U.S. forces during Viet Nam were in the 9XX,XXX serial number range.

The point man of Navy SEAL teams liked to carry the Ithaca M37 for the firepower it could bring to bear in the jungle where engagements were usually fought a point-blank range. The Navy also made up some modified Ithaca M37s for its SEALs. The magazine tube was extended almost to the muzzle of the 20-inch barrel and its latch lug was repositioned. The trench gun ventilated handguard was not used. The modified M37 could now carry two additional rounds for a total of eight. A shot spreader (commonly called a "duck bill") was attached to the end of the barrel. The shot spreader's purpose was to flatten the shot group exiting the barrel from a circular pattern to an oval pattern. The shot spreader gave more coverage of the target at usual engagement ranges. These guns are now quite rare. Since the end of hostilities in Viet Nam, combat shotguns in the military inventory have been augmented by militarized versions of the Mossberg 500 and Remington 870. Nevertheless, the Ithaca M37 was a proven, useful tool. They are probably still in the racks of Naval Special Warfare armories.

Ithaca Model 37 Specifications:
Length . . . . approximately 43 inches (depending on barrel length)
Type . . . . . pump action shotgun
Caliber . . . 12 gauge
Feed . . . . . tube magazine - 6 or 8 rounds
Sights . . . . brass bead front
Weight . . . . approximately 7 pounds

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:27 am
Very good information.
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:07 am
krag96 wrote:Image
Pictured above is the Ithaca Trench Gun as issued in Viet Nam. 20" barrel, no heat shield attachment.

Ithaca Model 37 Specifications:
Length . . . . approximately 43 inches (depending on barrel length)
Type . . . . . pump action shotgun
Caliber . . . 12 gauge
Feed . . . . . tube magazine - 6 or 8 rounds
Sights . . . . brass bead front
Weight . . . . approximately 7 pounds

1977cutcher wrote:Very good information.

Some of the info is not correct. In the image above the gun appears to be a Stevens 77 not an Ithaca 37. Also, in several occasions the info mentions the gun being a 6-shot. "Normal" Ithaca tubes only hold four shells IIRC... +1 in the chamber = a 5-shot. Not trying to be a Nazi, just want to make sure the info out there is correct. There's a few other things in there, but those are the most glaring.
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