Almost everyone has a big preference for safety locations it would appear. I happen to have a similar strong preference for side eject and single loading. I think the BPS is as good as it gets design wise, but I could never warm up to that bottom loading, even though I had three that never bobbled once. I never owned an Ithaca, but have shot them plenty, and they are nice to carry afield. The Ithacas have a dedicated following, like the Model 12s and the 16 gauge. Enjoy yours in good health.
What could have happened... did.