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 Post subject: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 11:26 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:09 am
Posts: 2587
Ithaca made 3 models of an autoloading .22 caliber rifle. the X5-T (tubular), the X5-C (clip) and the replacement for these 2, the X15. The X15 was a clip fed gun.
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Top gun is the X5-T (usually stocked in walnut). Bottom gun is the X-15. I have a X5-C someplace but not within easy reach. As has been mentioned, the tubular models can be problematical (The one shown hasn't failed to feed - yet) and was dropped when the X-15 was introduced. All models had the Deerslayer style front sight.
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Clips were offered in 7 shot and 10 shot sizes.




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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 11:38 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2005 8:42 pm
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Location: Missouri
I don't think I've ever seen one outside of a Gun Trader's Guide. What years were they made? Can you buy any parts for them? Is the X15 the "one to get first"?


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 1:04 pm 
Limited Edition

Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2007 8:13 am
Posts: 454
SuperXOne et al. You all should acquire a copy of Walt Snyders books: The Featherlight Repeater...the Best Gun Going" and The Ithaca Gun Company from the Beginning. It will answer many of the questions posted here.


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 1:44 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 1294
Location: Ohio
Finding parts can be problematic for these guns. The bolt stop button is known to break and can be difficult to find. It took me over a year to find one and when I did I bought extra for just in case. I had a weak hammer spring in my tubular model and could not find another one quickly. I ended up taking the one out of my factory cut away. Numrich will have parts from time to time and they are usually used. I like mine very much but they are not for the faint of heart when it comes to finding parts. If you do decide to invest in one of these guns I suggest buying them when you see them because they do not come up often. I go to several gun shows a year and have only come across 4 or 5 and bought 3 of them. The clip fed models come up rather regular on the auction sites. To add to the previous description of these models the receivers are grooved on the top to take standard 22 rings making scope attachment easy.

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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 2:54 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:09 am
Posts: 2587
This may be more then you want to know about the X5 guns. Below is from a series of articles I did for the Ithaca GC newsletter in 2/99. The figures were lost when I converted the old file so I have edited out references to them.

The Historian's Corner

THE ITHACA X-5 LIGHTING

For the three generations prior to 1958, the Ithaca Gun Company had been a shotgun manufacturer. That long held tradition changed in 1958 with the announcement to the shooting world of a .22 caliber long rifle semi-automatic rifle named the Ithaca X-5 Lightning. The new gun, commonly referred to as the X-5C, was a clip fed rifle equipped with a 7 shot clip; a 10 shot clip was available as an accessory. (The company originally advertised the larger clip to have a 12 shot capacity, but in fact most would often only hold 11 bullets. Later advertising changed the claim to a 10 shot clip.) The retail price at introduction was $54.95.
The concept for the X-5C began some years prior to 1958. During 1955, Ithaca Gun contracted with the firm of Cabot and Webster to design a .22 caliber autoloader. Cabot and Webster was a New England based engineering consulting firm whose principles, Walter H. B. Smith and Joel Gross, specialized in applying the new manufacturing technology learned during WW2 to the firearms industry. Much of the design concept for the Ithaca X-5 Lightning was contributed by Joel Gross who made his first presentation of the gun to the Ithaca Gun Company board of Directors in 1956. To honor Joel Gross' contribution to the design and the manufacturing methods used in the model, Sheldon Smith presented him gun number 1A, the first X-5C Lightening Model produced. Gross later give the gun to the NRA Museum where it can be found today.
The serial number range of the X-5 Lighting started with 1A which was made during December, 1957 . Production ended during April, 1963 at approximately 19600A, being replaced by a new model, the X-15 Lighting..
Another .22 caliber rifle model, the X-5 Lighting Tubular (X-5T) was announced in 1959. This model, as the name implied, had a tubular magazine holding 16, .22 caliber long rifle cartridges. Unlike the finger grooves seen on the forend of the clip model, the X-5T had a beavertail style forend with no finger grooves. The design of the X-5T is believed to have been an internal Ithaca Gun engineering project. The introductory price of the X-5T was $54.95. It was reduced to $49.95 for the 1960 sales year where it remained throughout its production life.
A footnote to the December 15, 1960 Ithaca Distributor Price list stated that the X-5T, along with the X-5C, "... can be furnished with figured maple stocks in either light or medium color finish. Orders for maple stocks are limited to stock on hand." A scope was added to the X5T for a Christmas promotion in an attempt to boost sales. Unfortunately, a price reduction, the addition of a scope or the option of a curly maple stock did not provide adequate sales interest. The X-5T Lighting quietly left the Ithaca product offering at the close of the 1962 sales year.
Both the X-5C and the X-5T are numbered within the same serial number range. All of the X-5C serial numbers end with the letter A, all of the X-5T numbers end with the letter T.

It is unknown at this time exactly how many X-5C and X-5T rifles were built. Let me try the following analysis on you to approximate production. The earliest serial number noted to date for an X-5T is 12689T, an early gun sent to Southern Outdoors of Atlanta, Georgia on June 4, 1959. Considering that production of the first 4000 Tubular models was authorized only on May 5, of that year, perhaps the serial number range began within the 12000 range. The latest gun noted was serial number 18302T, a gun sent to The AOPA Pilot, Bethesda, Maryland on August 4, 1961. Since all X5 Lighting Models ended with serial number 19599, it is reasonable to expect to find X-5T models up to that range. Based upon the assumption that all 4,000 of the original factory order were made and sold and that at least half of a latter authorized 5,000 part sets were assembled and sold, I predict that approximately 6,500 X-5T Lighting models were produced. Having made a prediction of the production quantity of the X-5T, and assuming that a gun was made for each serial number which ended with 19,599, the deductive process suggests that approximately 13,100 X-5C models were produced.
Copyright 2/99
Walter C. Snyder


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sat May 26, 2012 5:52 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Aug 07, 2006 9:56 am
Posts: 8519
Location: Maryland
Joel Gross, the inventor of the Ithaca .22, is alive and well here in MD, shoots skeet and serves range duty at our local gun club, and sails his own boat on the Chesapeake Bay. He is a wealth of information about his days in the gun world, is active in the Maryland Arms Collectors Association, buys a Damascus Lefever once in a while.


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 9:40 am 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:44 pm
Posts: 1294
Location: Ohio
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I would like to offer some more about the Ithaca 22 auto-loaders. Still working on picture taking skills hope you can get some information from these. I am still learning so feel free to add to or correct any of the following. As Mr. Snyder has already explained to us the x5 came in two variations the T for tube feed and the C for clip feed shown above.These guns had several novel features. First they shared the deer slayer front sight. The sight could be easily changed by the press of a button to suit the shooter's preference of either a simple black plastic front blade or Ithaca's patented raybar blade.
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The top of the receiver is grooved to accept standard 22 size rings making scope instillation a snap.Image
There was not an automatic bolt hold after the last shot. There was a manual button on the left side of the receiver that would hold the bolt open when depressed while the bolt was in the open position. Be careful with these buttons. They are known to break and hard to find.Image
The x5 featured a rather unusual bolt handle that was not fixed to the bolt. Image
It slides freely in the receiver and when pulled back mates with a notch milled in the front of the bolt shown in this factory cut away.

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The x5T featured a beaver tail for end on the stock as opposed to a finger grooved stock on the x5C. The blue book shows the tube holding 16 rounds however mine seems happy with 13 rounds plus 1 in the chamber. The tube feed can have a few feeding problems. Make sure that the lifter spring is properly installed.Image
The x15 came out as an updated version of the x5. Sadly the tube feed option was eliminated. The standard stock became the beaver tail style of the X5T and the charging handle was now attached to the bolt in a more common fashion.
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Walter Snyder has pointed out that one of Ithaca's goals on this project was to take advantage of the various new manufacturing processes that where developed during WWII. A close look at these guns will show the use of stamped components including much of the trigger assembly and the safety leaver. One will also notice the use of a plastic trigger guard.
Now here is my personal take on these guns. I would not trade them for anything except perhaps a better example of the same model. My family finds them to be a joy to shoot especially the X5T. Accuracy is in my view quite good. There are however a few downsides. First we tend to shoot ALOT of ammo every time we take them out. Next is they are very hard to find. I suggest that if you want one and see one buy it. It may be a while before you see another especially the X5T. Finally parts can be difficult to locate. I have several 22s around so I can deal with a parts search while one gun is not operating; however this may not be the case for a person with just one 22. I hope this has been a helpful addition to this topic.

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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sun May 27, 2012 9:07 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:36 pm
Posts: 677
Location: Paris Ontario
I have the x-15 Lightning and it is a very accurate rifle despite the fact that I don't care for the sights.
I have both magazines for it and one of them has a habit of failing to feed after 3 or 4 shots. Does any one else have this problem?

Is it possible to interchange barrels between the x-5 and the x-15?

Glenn


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2012 12:17 am 
Field Grade

Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:48 pm
Posts: 38
I've seen these rifles on GB for anywhere from $160 to $400 with reserve.

Any idea as to the fair market value of a good condition X-5 Lightning?


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 8:09 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Sun Dec 23, 2012 7:38 pm
Posts: 1
:) I'm brand new tonight to the forum. Recently pulled the X5c Serial Number 9301A out of storage where I had kept it for no good reason. I only have one 10 round clip and have looked for more. Numrich wants $25 for one and I may get it, but I was hoping to get some one of our local gunshops to find a used one along with a Raybar or any other slide in bar for the Deerslayer front sight. The Raybar in it is chipped but quite serviceable. I got the gun from my grandfather when I was a lot younger, but always was more interested in my handgun shooting in the Air Force and for fun. The 16 GA Riverside Arms (I'm sure it is a Stevens) was also, Grandpa's favorite "fox eliminator" in the chicken yard. I have been told that the modern ammunition for the 16 GA is not good for this side by side beautiful gun. I was advised that the finish and original stock (which is loose right now) make it a hang over the fireplace as a display item. My son picked it up the first time out with a bunch of 12GA clay popping friends. He didn't miss from the first shot, and I hope to keep getting shells for it until I find a real reason to not use it.


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2013 12:06 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 11:49 am
Posts: 1
I have the two clips for the X-15, if anyone's interested.


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 8:36 am 
Utility Grade

Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:16 pm
Posts: 2
righttime wrote:
I have the two clips for the X-15, if anyone's interested.

Righttime, im interested in your clips. I have an x-15 that was given to me many years ago, but ive never had a chance to shoot it, as it came without any clips. I just went through it and cleaned it up, so now i would like to try it out. Please email me at [email protected], and let me know thier condition and how much you are asking for the pair.
Thanks, Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2013 9:22 am 
Utility Grade

Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 3:16 pm
Posts: 2
righttime wrote:
I have the two clips for the X-15, if anyone's interested.

Righttime, im interested in your clips. I have an x-15 that was given to me many years ago, but ive never had a chance to shoot it, as it came without any clips. I just went through it and cleaned it up, so now i would like to try it out. Please email me at [email protected], and let me know thier condition and how much you are asking for the pair.
Thanks, Brett


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 Post subject: Re: Ithaca's Autoloading .22 Rifles
PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2020 4:35 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2020 6:47 pm
Posts: 1
Ok this makes no sense.
My Ithaca X-5 Lightening is the darker colored with the orange front sight and no magazine.
There is noX-15, T or C and the top of my gun is not grooved for Weaver rings.
From what I'm reading my gun doesn't exist.

It's a sweet shooting gun. I used to shoot starlings and crows off the roof of our barn from just over 1000 feet with just the regular sights.
The slide needs oiled so I am looking for a manual for it so I can service it.
The gun hasn't been shot is a good 35 years and is in like new condition. And I mean Like New.




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