Shotguns > Pump-Action

Ithaca Model 37 Featherlight

First offered in 1937, the all-steel Featherlight is an improvement on the basic Remington Model 17 shotgun design.

In a small wooden building on the banks of Fall Creek in 1883, Ithaca Gun Co. of Ithaca, N.Y., began a long history of firearm manufacturing. Ithaca saw many difficult times, with the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s being especially hard economically, resulting in several changes of ownership. Despite those difficulties, Ithaca Gun Co. was aggressively reorganized during the 1990s. Although the venerable company had built rifles, pistols, blackpowder guns and double-barrel, break-actions and autoloading shotguns over the years, the new company focused exclusively on the Model 37 pump-action shotgun.

First offered in 1937, the all-steel Featherlight is an improvement on the basic Remington Model 17 shotgun design. It won acclaim by virtue of being about a pound lighter than its nearest competitor. Rather than reducing weight through the use of alloys, the steel-receivered Model 37 employs a clever design that uses as few operating parts as possible. Also, these parts are lightened wherever possible.

Unlike most of its pump-action contemporaries, the Ithaca Model 37’s bolt locks into its stressed steel receiver. Rather than locking into a barrel extension as with other designs, the Model 37’s bolt locks by tipping up into a recess in the rear and locking directly into the receiver.

A notable design feature of the Model 37 is its bottom ejection port. This is helpful in keeping dirt and debris out of the action and has made the shotgun a favorite for many left-handed shooters. It also protects the shooter’s face in the event of a catastrophic case head failure by venting gases downward.

Model 37 Featherlight shotguns have been made in 20-, 16- and 12-ga. model variations including a 20-ga. Ultra Featherlight with an aluminum receiver, New Classic, Deluxe Vent Rib, English, Skeet, Trap, Sporting Clays, Turkeyslayer, Waterfowler and Youth models. Other model variations included the Deerslayer and Deerslayer II (the latter of which has a fixed/threaded barrel). Ithaca also produced shotguns for military use in the mid- to latter half of the 20th century. It built trench, riot and training Model 37s for the U.S. government. Also, riot models were available to civilians and police. Barrel lengths range from 20 inches for the riot gun, to 30 inches for the trap or duck guns.

Disassembly
Before attempting disassembly, unload the magazine and chamber. To empty the magazine, push in the spring shell stop (13) on the inside of the receiver. Ease the shells out one by one. Pull back on the slide release on the forward side of the trigger guard, and pull back the slide handle to empty the chamber.

To remove the barrel (1), pull back on the slide release and pull the slide handle assembly (12) to the rear to open the breech. Pull up the magazine nut pin (2) and use it as a lever to rotate the magazine nut (3) until the projection on it is free of the barrel lug. The magazine nut pin was furnished only on guns built prior to 1955. On later-built guns having no pin, simply rotate the magazine nut.

The barrel is joined to the receiver by an interrupted thread. When the magazine nut is free of the barrel lug, give the barrel a quarter turn to the left and pull it free of the receiver. The magazine tube and slide handle assembly will remain attached to the receiver.

The stock (53) must be removed before disassembling the action. First remove the buttplate screws and buttplate. The stock is attached to the receiver by a stock bolt (26) that has a square head with a slot so that it can be removed with a long screwdriver or socket wrench.

With the stock removed, turn out the trigger plate screw (17) and slide the trigger plate group to the rear and out of the receiver. Remove the carrier screw lock screws (56) and carrier screws (55) from the receiver.

Hold the receiver bottom up with the magazine to the left, and with a punch pull the slide pin (33) toward the body until the slide bar can be pulled forward from engagement with the slide (35). Pull the slide, breechblock (52) and carrier (42) together rearward out of the receiver.

The top extractor (47) is retained by a powerful spring. To remove it, use a thin punch to push the spring plunger back; at the same time push the extractor out of its seat. The bottom extractor (43) can be removed easily by driving out its hinge pin (48). To remove the firing pin from the breechblock, first drive out the check pin (49). Then the firing pin and spring (51 and 50) can be removed easily rearward. Reassembly is in the reverse order.

 

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34 Responses to Ithaca Model 37 Featherlight

Mary wrote:
March 24, 2014

I have a model 37 from 1949 as far as I can tell. How do you know if it is a Featherlight?

Scott in NY wrote:
January 12, 2014

I just got a 81 Ithaca 37 featherlight riot shootgun. Holds 8 rounds, one in the chamber. Can anyone tell me anything about this gun? What's it worth ect..

Ernesto wrote:
July 13, 2013

Hey B. Wood if its still available I would like to buy that Ithaca 37.

Kemp wrote:
July 05, 2013

I have a mint condition 1954 Ithaca Featherlight, model 37, 20 gauge, serial number 544747-2. Does anyone know where I can get an estimate on its value?

Jay Sullivan wrote:
June 28, 2013

I have a Ithaca model 37 20 gauge feather light pump with a poly choke. It was my grandfathers and is in great condition. I was just wondering what a gun like this is worth in excellent condition?

Dan Bazzarelli wrote:
June 15, 2013

I have a ithaca 20 gauage model 37 patent #1849982 2 3/4 chamber it was my dad's i believe its around 60/70 years old how much is this gun worth

b. wood wrote:
May 09, 2013

I have a 12 gage barrel. Ithaca said very old second year that they came out I believe 1938. Ribbed with white bead but I.c. chocked were built in. Well don't have that old of Ithaca so anyone looking its for sale. I guess very hard to find.

marty e wrote:
May 05, 2013

To the gentleman that wants a barrel for a 20 gauge feather light I just picked one up my self and all the hunters I know are drooling and kicking them self's and offering top dollar for it But to get a barrel for the older feather lights you have to go through the factory and I can be quite a expense . Or it was suggested to me have a poly choke installed you keep the original barrel but instaling a poly choke, you now have a nice all purpose feather light from shot to slugs and the price of the poly choke is reasonable. Thanks for reading.

Harold Swinson wrote:
April 13, 2013

I have a Ithaca 37 12 ga. and several other Ithaca's as well. Wouldn't part with them ever. They will be passed on to my grandsons. I am 67 and still enjoy hunting.

Gregory Topp wrote:
March 24, 2013

I have three Ithaca 37s. One is a 12GA (1977), Other is a Police Special 8-shot (1975) and the third is a 16GA (1952). All of them are exceedingly well-built and strong guns. I like the new Upper Sandusky company. Their customer service (Zak Almert) is top-flight and ready to assist however possible. They have brought the 1915 (Browning/Pedersen) design to the 21st century. Any new shotgunner wanting the best (read: well-built) repeating shotgun would do well to find a used one or betetr yet, get a new Ithaca 37 from ithacagun.com. They are CNC machined and are the best in the entire family. I intend to odernize the 12 and 16GA field guns with new wood and parts from the Upper Sandusky company. The Police Special (and it is Special) will go back for a re-Parkerizing ($200). Great guns, especially at the Trap Range!

Erik wrote:
February 21, 2013

I'm lucky enough to have purchased a '37 made in '37 SN 20XX, it's still in great shape, shoots beautifully. paid 200 for it :-)

Steve wrote:
February 14, 2013

I'm looking for a very specific model 37, pre 1964, 12ga. If that is what you have, and you're willing to post a photo, I'll make you a fair offer.

Shirley chesmore wrote:
January 26, 2013

Can any one tell me what my Dads Ithaca shot gun motel 37 is worth

Matt wrote:
January 16, 2013

I need a 20guage model37 Ithaca featherlight barrel it's my only gun given to me from my grandpa a long time ago and I need a new barrel to be able to shoot it

Scott wrote:
January 12, 2013

Proud owner of a M37 that is 20 years older than I am (serial no. indicated manufactur in 1962). I can't go to a competition shot with others offering to buy it. Jeff, not a trench gun in WWI, because it ended in 1919, and 1937 first manufactured in... 1937. My grandfather told me they were used in Korea and 'Nam as military issued. Don't know about WWII.

james wrote:
December 09, 2012

My dad passed down his Model 37 Featherlight 12 gauge to me when I turn 12. I have taken alot of birds and deer with it. I'm 50 now and the gun still shoots great. One day I will pass it on to my son.

Phil G wrote:
November 25, 2012

You can get parts from the Ithaca factory in Upper Sandusky, Ohio. www.Ithacaguns.com

Ronnie wrote:
November 19, 2012

I just purchased an Ithaca model 37 featherlight 20 gauge pump shotgun. it needs a new butt plate. Anyone know where I can buy one ?? Thanks

R.D. wrote:
November 16, 2012

Johnny F., if your Model 37 is a Featherlight Standard model, price will range from about $325 for 80% condition to about $550.00 for 98% condition. These figures aren't exact, they are averages from recent sales found at auction sites and sites such as gunsinternational.com and gunsamerica.com. Hope this helps.

Stan P wrote:
November 13, 2012

I have four (4) Model 37 Ithaca Featherlights. One 20 gauge - 30 in full choke barrel(was my fathers - he was selling them in our "country grocery store" in the late 40s and early 50s), a 16 gauge (early 50's production - 30 in full choke barrel), and two (2) 12 gauge model 37s - one my dad bought used for me for my 15th birthday - 30 in full choke barrel (I've taken about 40 deer with this gun over the last 52 years) and a mid 80's Model 37 that I purchased with a 28 in mod choke ventilated rib and a 26 in deerslayer barrel. These will be passed on to my three sons after I pass away. I'm 68 years old now and still enjoy hunting.

John F wrote:
November 12, 2012

I just bought a Model 37 12 gauge from a friend who can no longer shoulder a gun. He insisted on giving it to me for $50. Still works fine. I'm looking forward to using it for ducks and turkey. I'm attempting to find a value on it so I can inventory it to my collection which eventually will be passed down to my God son. Any help you could provide would be appreciated. Thanks, Johnny F.

Dan wrote:
November 04, 2012

Have my dads modle 37 featherlight made in 1965. Still shooting pheasants with it. best field gun i ever used.

Johnny wrote:
October 23, 2012

I have my grandfathers 20 gauge featherlight and I myself killed three foxes this year for killing my chickens and this shotgun did its job, not a bad kick and its only 42 years old and it's in great condition, and I've been taking care of it ever since my grandfather lend it to me.

jeff wrote:
October 13, 2012

my hand me down 16 gauge ithaca dates about 70 yrs old...i have heard the ny co has changes names several times over theyears but im still cuious over how valuable of a gun i have...ive been told it was a trench gun during wwi

Bob K. wrote:
October 06, 2012

My dad bought my brothers and I new M37's each when we turned 16. I am now 57, my 20 ga. and the 20" slug barrel are an awesome combo. I now have 4 M37's a 16, 20 and 2 12's and I have bought 2 others for my son. Over the years, I've taken many deer, pheasants, rabbits and even a brown bear, while hunting in Westen N.Y. and will continue to recommend these as the toughest most reliable (and beautiful) shotguns that you can buy. They are "AWESOME"

Flat Branch Kennels wrote:
September 05, 2012

Have bought over 20 in the past 30 years. Had 3 12's, 2 16's, and 2 20's when robbed. Only shot the 20's. I hope the new ones are as good as the old ones. If you walked as many miles as I have, and had as much riding on the shot as I, you'd want a 37 in your hands.

Frank wrote:
August 03, 2012

Amazing shotgun,and it can be auto cycled or slam fired(Hold the trigger and keep pumping). Wish I had the high capacity or marine version.You cant lengthen the magazine on 37s. Got a pistol grip and a sidesaddle on mine and a 18 1/2 barrel.The gun is almost as old as me (56) and work perfectly.

Ross wrote:
July 19, 2012

I've had a Model 37 "riot" gun for about 25 years. Other than the front sight shooting off the first time I shot it, I find the gun considerably higher quality than others, especially the Mossberg, and even the Remington. The bottom ejection is a MUST!

sue wrote:
July 17, 2012

trying to find out about how much this shot gun is worth

Greg Davis wrote:
March 31, 2012

I have just turned 17 and my fist gun that i bought was the Ithica Model 37 last year. It is an amazing gun. I went online to see if i could buy another barrel for slugs, but it said that in order to remove the barrel, i had to send it to the manufacturer. Well I found a sight that showed me how to remove it, and i wanted to know if you could buy an old barrel that was bigger than full?

Scott wrote:
February 28, 2012

About 1960 there were ads in the hook and bullet rags about the Ithaca "bear gun", an 8 round version of the model 37. I had just purchased my first firearm which was an Ithaca 37 12 ga. and all these years later still would like to have a "Bear gun", but can't seem to find even a reference to it, much less an existing firearm. Am I nuts, or was there actually a bear gun version of the 37? I still have my 37 and it still does the job, though most collector types would puke if they saw it!

Leon wrote:
December 29, 2011

Does anyone know where I can find a barrel lug for a 20 gauge featherlight? Mine is missing and I really can't afford to replace the barrel with a new factory one. My gun was made in 51' and I was informed that you can't just put a new barrel on without sending it back to Ithaca. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks Leon.

joe r wrote:
November 13, 2011

have a ithaca deerslayer I. gun is over thirty years old and has taken many deer still using it best 12ga ive ever owned. wouldnt trade it for a new banelli

Mike wrote:
November 13, 2010

Been shooting one for more than 50 years. Same one. I have my dads too. 16 and a 12. wouldnt trade them for anything