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 Post subject: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:00 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:28 pm
Posts: 4
Hi, I'm new to the board and have a question about an Ithaca SxS which has been offered to me for $600. Unfortunately I can't offer up photos since the gun is with my gunsmith, but here is what I know:

The gun's serial no. is 132839, with an 'F' on the watertable and beavertail forend. The gauge is 12g, with 30" barrels, choked mod/full , double trigger with extractors. According to the gunsmith, the barrel takes 2 3/4 inch shells, so it has likely been rebored. He identified the gun as a Flues model (he said there were a couple of redesigns of the Flues), but the serial number seems to be from the Minier model series (1906) according to Walter Snyder's book. From pictures I have seen online, I would say this is a Grade 1 model, with the original buttplate. Other markings on the receiver and barrel include the following: 'Hammerless'; 'Smokeless Powder' on top of the barrels, and 'Ithaca Gun Co.' on the receiver. While the stock has been refinished (badly), the barrel is 80-90%.

Sorry for the absence of photos, I'll send those along when I get the gun back. Any insight into the serial number (model) issue would be appreciated.


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 Post subject: Re: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2011 9:33 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:31 pm
Posts: 249
Location: New Jersey
I agree with your identification although I am not an expert. If it has 2-3/4" or 2-1/2" chambers you might want to consider using lower pressure loads designed for older guns or if you reload use published data that will yeild low pressure. I have a 16ga. that sounds similar in details. When dealing with older guns I like to go easy on them so that they last and I can enjoy them for a long time.

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 Post subject: Re: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:30 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:12 am
Posts: 3372
Location: WA/AK
That is certainly a 1906 Minier serial number. A beavertail forearm certainly wasn't original in 1906.


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 Post subject: Re: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:15 am 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:28 pm
Posts: 4
Researcher01 wrote:
That is certainly a 1906 Minier serial number. A beavertail forearm certainly wasn't original in 1906.


Researcher01: thanks, but my mistake, the gun does have the traditional splinter forend.
From your previous posts you seem to be pretty knowledgable about these guns, and I know it's tough to judge without photos, but would you agree that $750 all-in would be pricey for a field grade Minier in 'good' condition? The pricing guides seem to assign that range of value to 'VG' guns. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:19 am 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:28 pm
Posts: 4
glshop20 wrote:
I agree with your identification although I am not an expert. If it has 2-3/4" or 2-1/2" chambers you might want to consider using lower pressure loads designed for older guns or if you reload use published data that will yeild low pressure. I have a 16ga. that sounds similar in details. When dealing with older guns I like to go easy on them so that they last and I can enjoy them for a long time.


glshop20: thanks for your insight on this. Is it your sense that a 1906 Minier originally came with 2 1/2" chambers? I went on the RST website last night, and they seem to have a good selection; didn't find any bismuth there, have you?


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 Post subject: Re: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 12:06 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:12 am
Posts: 3372
Location: WA/AK
RST's non-toxic shot is called "Nice Shot"


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 Post subject: Re: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:07 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Wed Dec 21, 2005 11:09 am
Posts: 1674
IMHO, it would have to be a pretty nice Minier to be worth $750.


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 Post subject: Re: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 4:20 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sun Apr 22, 2007 4:31 pm
Posts: 249
Location: New Jersey
I believe mst of the Flues models were 2-1/2". If it were lengthen this could slightly weaken the barrel depending on how much metal was removed and is left. Another good reason to use lite loads. You can also check out Polywad.com for 2-1/2" lite loads. You never know what the previous owners put thru the barrels, so I like to be a little consevative with loads. You can get pretty much the same performance from 2-1/2" shells as you can from low brass 2-3/4" field loads. The only difference is the lwngth of the wads cushion column.

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 Post subject: Re: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Wed Nov 16, 2011 8:09 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:12 am
Posts: 3372
Location: WA/AK
Historically in North America we didn't have 2 1/2 inch paper 12-gauge shotgun shells, and none of our manufacturers regularly chambered 12-gauge guns for that length. The North American ammunition manufacturers offered 12-gauge paper shells in 2 5/8, 2 3/4, 2 7/8, 3, and 3 1/4 inch lengths. They offered 16-gauge paper shells in 2 9/16, 2 3/4, 2 7/8, and 3 inches; and 20-gauges in 2 1/2, 2 3/4, 2 7/8 and 3-inches. The North American manufacturers generally chambered their 12-gauge doubles for either 2 5/8 inch or 2 3/4 inch shells, with chambering for longer shells a no extra cost option on new guns. One could get a slightly heavier powder charge in the 2 3/4 inch and longer cases, but not a heavier shot charge. Now, what some of the old timers were handloading in their shells for these guns would send a factory ballistician seeking strong drink!! Most of the manufacturers seem to have intended their "standard" 12-gauge guns for 2 3/4 inch shells, I know the few A.H. Fox Gun Co. catalogues that even mention chamber length state that they regularly chamber their 12-gauge guns for 2 3/4 inch shells. Another fly in the ointment is that to many of the manufacturers a 2 5/8 inch chamber was for a 2 3/4 inch shell. I know that was the case with A.H. Fox Gun Co. and Parker Bros. These manufacturers believed that an eighth inch of case mouth opening into the forcing cone cushoned the shot and provided better patterns. Exhaustive testing has shown that shooting shells even 1/4 inch longer than the chamber raises pressures very little, certainly within the delta of pressure variation.

All the above said, when these guns were made, there were no progressive burning smokeless powders like we use today, just a variety of bulk or dense smokeless powders. They were developed during The Great War, and first arrived in shotgun shells in 1922 when Western Cartridge Co. introduced their Super-X loads.


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 Post subject: Re: Model identification for an Ithaca SxS
PostPosted: Fri Nov 18, 2011 4:31 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2011 5:28 pm
Posts: 4
Researcher01 wrote:
Historically in North America we didn't have 2 1/2 inch paper 12-gauge shotgun shells, and none of our manufacturers regularly chambered 12-gauge guns for that length. The North American ammunition manufacturers offered 12-gauge paper shells in 2 5/8, 2 3/4, 2 7/8, 3, and 3 1/4 inch lengths. They offered 16-gauge paper shells in 2 9/16, 2 3/4, 2 7/8, and 3 inches; and 20-gauges in 2 1/2, 2 3/4, 2 7/8 and 3-inches. The North American manufacturers generally chambered their 12-gauge doubles for either 2 5/8 inch or 2 3/4 inch shells, with chambering for longer shells a no extra cost option on new guns. One could get a slightly heavier powder charge in the 2 3/4 inch and longer cases, but not a heavier shot charge. Now, what some of the old timers were handloading in their shells for these guns would send a factory ballistician seeking strong drink!! Most of the manufacturers seem to have intended their "standard" 12-gauge guns for 2 3/4 inch shells, I know the few A.H. Fox Gun Co. catalogues that even mention chamber length state that they regularly chamber their 12-gauge guns for 2 3/4 inch shells. Another fly in the ointment is that to many of the manufacturers a 2 5/8 inch chamber was for a 2 3/4 inch shell. I know that was the case with A.H. Fox Gun Co. and Parker Bros. These manufacturers believed that an eighth inch of case mouth opening into the forcing cone cushoned the shot and provided better patterns. Exhaustive testing has shown that shooting shells even 1/4 inch longer than the chamber raises pressures very little, certainly within the delta of pressure variation.

All the above said, when these guns were made, there were no progressive burning smokeless powders like we use today, just a variety of bulk or dense smokeless powders. They were developed during The Great War, and first arrived in shotgun shells in 1922 when Western Cartridge Co. introduced their Super-X loads.


Researcher, sorry for the delay in getting back to you, and thanks for the detail in your response with respect to chambering and loads. Your comments seem to confirm that the Minier was chambered (either 2 5/8 or 2 3/4) from the factory, and not rebored later, something I'll confirm with the gunsmith when I pick up the gun at the end of next week (photos to follow).

Reading your comment about manufacturers such as Fox chambered 2 5/8"s and expecting the 1/8' extending into the forcing cone made me wonder whether the low-pressure 2 1/2' RST shell would actually result in a degraded shot pattern in a 2 3/4" chamber (a subject I'll speak with them about- I'm sure they will think I'm crazy for asking). In a similar context, I take your observation on progressive powders to mean that the bulk/dense powders, burning in a more random fashion could not reach the pressures of the progressive powder.

On a related issue, I came across some of your comments on a question about a Flues gun back in August 2011 on the DoubleGunShop BBS. I assume that given the small production, and short period that the Minier was produced before being replaced by the Flues that there simply isn't as much documentation or market interest in the Minier. My specific question is whether the 'smokeless powder' barrels in the Minier were of substantially different production quality/origin than those found later in the early field-grade Flues, i.e., was there ever a Cockerill-barreled Minier?


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