Inherited an old Ithaca Doulbe Barrel

Discussion in 'General Shotgun Discussion' started by PrimePorkchop, Feb 21, 2012.

  1. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    At least I think it's old. I have to be honest, until this came into my possession, I had only heard gun enthusiasts mention the name Ithaca, I had never really looked into the company myself...now that Im an owner, however, im trying to learn as much as I can. (Just started researching today!)

    So far, what I've found (and im a total noobie...so im hoping some experts can either verify or set me straight) is that I think this is a 1908 Ithaca Flues.

    The metal is in fantastic condition - I can find no rust - anywhere - the barrels look very clean, and it looks like it has a nice patina. Based on other pictures of what I assume this shotgun is, it also looks like this baby was a practical shotgun - used for a purpose - and didn't just set on a mantle (It looks like some of the engravings have been rubbed away...if that's possible?)

    I have some concerns - first off - I would imagine with it being over 100 years old, a modern 12 gauge cartridge would explode the barrel. That's a total guess, and based very loosely on various posts i've seen online that talk about modern ammo.

    So if that's the case, how in the world do I go about finding ammo that would be safe to fire from it? If it's practical, I'd actually really like to take this rabbit hunting...unless of course that would diminish the value.

    What i'm really trying to figure out is what exactly is this shot gun?

    I know very little about this, mind you, but the wood seems to be completely original - it seems to have the same degree of wear that the metal does, and all around, this seems like it was very well taken care of (given that it's over 100 years old!)

    Anyways - what do you guys / gals think? Did I inherit a treasure or a junker?

    p.s. I left my good digital camera in my desk at work today - so im using a piece of **** from several years ago...let me know if better quality pictures would help identify it, and ill retake some shots tomorrow.

    Serial number is 179xxxx
    Also - where the gun hinges, and exposes its self to insert some shells, beneath each barrel, there are numbers. I couldn't get my camera to focus well enough to get a picture...but on the left barrel is has "26" and on the right barrel is "16"
     

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    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  2. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    More pictures
     

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  3. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    update - i went and got some 12 gauge shells - this is definitely not a 12 gauge shotgun. The shells won't even go 1/2 way in. So im now guessing the "26" and "16" on the barrels stand for 26" long and it's a 16 gauge...except that from beginning to end, the barrel measures 23 1/4"

    sigh
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  4. cottontop

    cottontop Guest

    From the pictures, it does not seem to have twist steel barrels. If it did, shooting modern smokeless powder shells would be dangerous. If it is a 16 gauge, you are very fortunate. There is a niche of bird hunters who are always searching for good double guns in 16 gauge. They would pay quite a premium for the one you have. It looks to be in good shape. The opening lever is in the center which shows that it doesn't have excessive wear. The gun should be nice and tight with no wobble felt between the breech and stock. The 16 is actually the perfect upland bird gun. Carries like a 20 and hits like a 12.
    cottontop
     
  5. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    With the S/N in the sub 400,000 range (~1925) it excludes the gun from being a NID (New Ithaca Double) and your guess of it being a Flues is probably correct.

    If it is a 16 ga. it will carry a premium but is not a real expensive Ithaca Hamerless SxS in Grade No. 1 with a max 100% value of $1,700. The photos do not show checkering on the pistol grip? May have been an option or the stock has been replaced.

    I would not shoot it if it were an heirloom in my family, but that's just me. If you should decide to shoot it have it checked out by a smith.

    I'm an Ithaca fan and have a late '30s 16 ga. Featherweight pump. cottontop nailed it as a great upland game gun. My pump has put a ton of pheasant and rabbit on the table!
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  6. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    well im definitely excited as hell hell now after reading those replies! :). Im going to get my good digital camera and take some more in depth pictures of some of the engraving, I also have a few gunsmiths locally who are going to look at it for me...we'll see what they have to say (one guy deals specifically in civil war era guns, so I hope with his affinity for old guns, this might fall somewhat in his range!)

    I'm 99.9999% sure it's a 16 gauge...the only way it's not is if "Old" 12 gauge shells had a smaller circumference.

    Yes, it is VERY solid. I haven't shot it yet, though im told the guy that passed it down was an avid bird hunter. Plays in to what both of you have said so far.
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  7. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    Yes, i noticed that too, just another one of those quirks, there are a few with this shotty.

    For one - im pretty sure the barrel is supposed to be 26"...but from tip to entrance it's only 23 1/4" ... ill take better pictures of all this tomorrow, but TO ME, it doesn't look like it was ever sawed down...

    I'm still very much in the beginning stages of learning about this gun, so my speculations will fly wild =)

    Just excited that it's at least a decent gun, and hopefully.... a great one!
     
  8. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    My reference book says that the Ithaca Hammerless were built with barrels 26-32. If your barrel has been cut down the value is shot as a collectible.
     
  9. canebrake

    canebrake New Member

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    That reduces the value to collectors only and should not diminish it's value to you as a family heirloom. :p
     
  10. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    Damn...i had no intentions of selling but this bums me out.

    Ill post pics tomorrow...its more than likely that I'm wrong...this barrel just look like its ever seen a hacksaw

    Plus I'm wondering what possible benefit someone would have had bt cutting off only 2 inches?
     
  11. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    I appreciate all the feedback so far, hopefully some others will have something to chime in as well =) But i'm interested to find out where I could buy some ammo that would be safe to shoot from it. I don't know much about different powders, compression rates, etc etc, but so far everyone that i've talked to says "If its a 1908 Flues, don't use modern shells" ...but then aside from that, they don't have much to offer in the way of what I should go with. I don't plan on shooting it on a daily occurrence, but it'd be nice to see it shoot at least once...if this gun really is from 1908...that's just an enormous amount of history...it's seen 2 world wars, a great depression, and God only knows how many dead pheasants! =)

    Any ideas what I should be looking for?

    Another thing im trying to figure out is if modern gun cleaning compounds are safe to use to clean this? It was kept in great condition, but it looks like the last time someone cleaned it, they greased the bejeezus out of it and it's since accumulated quite a bit of dirt in some of the harder-to-reach places...
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2012
  12. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    New update:

    Rich Wyatt (Owner of Gunsmoke - the TV show American Guns) has offered to help me out and lended me the use of his resident Gun Historian "Bob". I've spoken with Bob on the phone and he's excited to take a look at it, will be sending him some detail pictures tonight.

    Not going to get my hopes up, but the way he spoke on the phone today was pretty encouraging! =)
     
  13. Buckethead47

    Buckethead47 New Member

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    Looking forward to what he has to say
     
  14. dog2000tj

    dog2000tj New Member

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    Listen to Cane, he portrays himself as a smart guy. :D That thing is a POS and worthless. I'll give you my Ben Franklin 5 and Dime cap gun set to take that thing off your hands ... straight up too because i'm a nice guy ;)


    j/k - that is one sweet piece of firearms, even if it has no collectibles value. Who cares if it is not 100%, do you plan on amassing a world class gun collection? Even if you plan on shooing the snot out of it or never shooting it I would keep that baby forever! :cool:
     
  15. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    Okay first off, holy **** your profile pic is awesome.

    Back on track :cool:

    I've added some new pictures. I was advised to "edit out the serial number" ... not sure why? Anyone have a reason why I should do that? (I did, just curious)

    But since the last update, i've gotten ahold of the historian at Ithaca Gun Company, and he's also looking into it, as well as a local Gun historian in the town I live in. So many great minds are finally on it! Everyone seems optimistic that it's a good find.

    I don't care if it's worth $$ or not, I just want to have an awesome piece of tradition to keep in my family for generations (provided Obama doesn't take it :mad: )

    Anyways, the one thing that is striking me as weird is the grade marks etc. Im a total newbie on this stuff, so I do not speak with authority, just going off of what i've been able to dig up "on the internet" there seems to be conflicting results.

    First off, if im not mistaken, the "Grade" is "S" and the gauge shows "12" (Reference the picture that shows S12 on the receiver)

    However, on the barrel, there is a "26" on the left barrel and a "16" on the right barrel (pictures included) that lie beneath the extractor (i think that is what this thing is called)

    Also, I tried a 12 gauge shell...it's too big. A 20 gauge is too small. I don't have a 16 gauge shell to try...so im just speculating =)

    All serial #'s match up on each individual part as well.
     

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  16. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    more pictures - in these, the picture of the barrels facing out (as if you're behind the gun looking in) anyone know what that "x" mark stands for?
     

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  17. hiwall

    hiwall Well-Known Member

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    Early 16 gauge guns were 2-9/16" chambers not the current 2-3/4". I have never been very interested in old doubles so I don't know how early yours is. You might want to have a 'smith check the chamber length. Stock might be a replacement but it looks more like it was poorly refinished and they sanded the checkering away.
     
  18. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    Okay, Final update.

    I've heard back from the guys at Gunsmoke guns, and the historian at Ithaca Gun Company.

    It is indeed a 1908 Ithaca Flues 16 gauge SbS. Very excited about that.

    The one thing that has me skeptical, is the guys from Ithaca said that my barrels are smokeless powder grade.

    However, they do not feature the stamp that says "smokeless powder".

    Obviously they know their stuff, but my gut is telling me I need to have someone hold this in their hands that knows what to look for before I go fire off a modern 16 gauge shell from it.

    Anyways, it's the answer I was hoping for.

    I didn't win the lottery, but i'm extremely stoked to own a gun with this much history :cool:

    They would not give me any information on the ticket of original sale.

    Damn privacy rights :D *just kidding*
     
  19. PrimePorkchop

    PrimePorkchop New Member

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    This gun is 104 years old. It's seen:

    • World War I
    • World War II
    • The Great Deperession
    • 22 Presidents (including names like Theodore Roosevelt, JFK, and Regan just to name a few)
    • It was manufactured before the discovery of the Atomic Structure.
    • Before Henry Ford's first Assembly Line.
    • It was hand made before the first Television.
    • And among many other significant events in history, I wonder of all the hands it's touched. All the birds it's conquered.

    I've never owned anything I can say that about...I can see this becoming an addiction, LOL!
    Suffice it to say - I am incredibly stoked to own this gun.
     
  20. Buckethead47

    Buckethead47 New Member

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    Nice to hear about your updates. Just don't let your other half find out that you love your fun more.