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 Post subject: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:05 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:10 pm
Posts: 114
Hello all,

I am doing a detail strip/clean/polish on a 1970 Ithaca M37 12g. In doing so, I noticed that the inside of the receiver has 'chatter' marks on the walls in the area that the shell lifter would rub against when it pivots.

This obviously seems to add friction, but then I got to thinking- is this by design, or a lack of refinement in the finishing process in an area that was assumed most owners would never look?

My instinct is that these areas should be mirror bright for smoothness, so that there is no resistance at all when the shell lifter pivots in this area.

However, I got to thinking. maybe these marks were there to allow dirt a path to be 'squeezed' out of the way, to allow the firearm to function even with some 'gunk' in it.

The marks are large enough [and vertical] to allow dirt to move up/down, as the lifter is moving, and be squeezed out by the action.

Does anyone know anything about this area and the design intent?



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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 8:35 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:11 am
Posts: 2869
Location: Western Tampa, FL
I am no expert whatsoever on the Model 37, but there are several on this forum that are, so you will get a definitive answer soon. However, just using logic it seems to me that if the "chatter marks" or grooves are intentional then it should be relatively easy to detect manufacturing "intent".

There would be symmetry and the "marks" would be the same size, length, etc. Otherwise it is simply a lack of finishing on a part that doesn't require it for a functional purpose, and is not seen by the average owner. I have a hard time believing that those marks have any intended purpose in helping to move crud out of the way. If you can make it smooth without changing any needed tolerances then I say go ahead.

Like I said, I am no expert of any kind on the great model 37 but someone who is should weigh in and give you a more informed opinion.


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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:24 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:08 pm
Posts: 528
Location: North East Ohio
The chatter marks serve no purpose. They are simply the result of rising costs vs. competition that allowed less time to be spent on finishing and increasingly tired machine tools. If you compare 37's built in the 40's-50's to those built in the 70's-80's, you will see increasingly rougher machining, poorer wood-to-metal fit, etc. The guns still function well, but they are certainly not as well assembled. All the manufacturers were struggling with the same issues. Things could be worse - pick up an 870 Express sometime!


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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 10:15 pm 
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My stash of M37s range from 1947 to 1991, and as they get newer, the less time spent in finish is shown on them, especially on the inside.

I had a 1937 M37 once, and the shell lifter was color case hardened.

The Model 37 is still the sole survivor of the four, and not five American market repeaters worthy of being engraved. The original Model 12 died in 1963, the Belgian Browning Auto Five in 1976, and the Super X Model One left the catalog in 1982, although every one after 1978 was likely parts clean up.

The Model 37 alone, survives.

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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2020 11:27 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2016 11:10 pm
Posts: 114
Oyeme and Nesto- thank you. This is what I was thinking, but wasn't sure.

SuperXOne, thanks also.

SuperXOne wrote:
My stash of M37s range from 1947 to 1991, and as they get newer, the less time spent in finish is shown on them, especially on the inside.


I was debating evening/leveling this area out, to improve the smoothness of cycling, but wanted to check first.

SuperXOne wrote:
I had a 1937 M37 once, and the shell lifter was color case hardened.

The Model 37 is still the sole survivor of the four, and not five American market repeaters worthy of being engraved. The original Model 12 died in 1963, the Belgian Browning Auto Five in 1976, and the Super X Model One left the catalog in 1982, although every one after 1978 was likely parts clean up.

The Model 37 alone, survives.


Hadn't thought about it in quite those terms, but I have acquired a 47 and 54 Model 12, and a 48 FN-made Auto Five, to add to the Ithaca M37.


Maybe I should look into a Super X Model One from pre '76 [to be safe]. Hmm, I thought I was done.

You don't think the Stevens 520 [JMB design also] is worthy of engraving? Just curious.

I can see not spending money on a Rem 870 or Mossberg 500 engraving job though.

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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2020 12:49 am 
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bczrx wrote:
Oyeme and Nesto- thank you. This is what I was thinking, but wasn't sure.

SuperXOne, thanks also.

SuperXOne wrote:
My stash of M37s range from 1947 to 1991, and as they get newer, the less time spent in finish is shown on them, especially on the inside.


I was debating evening/leveling this area out, to improve the smoothness of cycling, but wanted to check first.

SuperXOne wrote:
I had a 1937 M37 once, and the shell lifter was color case hardened.

The Model 37 is still the sole survivor of the four, and not five American market repeaters worthy of being engraved. The original Model 12 died in 1963, the Belgian Browning Auto Five in 1976, and the Super X Model One left the catalog in 1982, although every one after 1978 was likely parts clean up.

The Model 37 alone, survives.


Hadn't thought about it in quite those terms, but I have acquired a 47 and 54 Model 12, and a 48 FN-made Auto Five, to add to the Ithaca M37.


Maybe I should look into a Super X Model One from pre '76 [to be safe]. Hmm, I thought I was done.

You don't think the Stevens 520 [JMB design also] is worthy of engraving? Just curious.

I can see not spending money on a Rem 870 or Mossberg 500 engraving job though.


The SX1 was the exception to the general rule that shotguns lose hand finishing the newer they are. Except that some of the last SX1 stocks were salt wood, the later the SX1 the better, but they are all good.

Auto Fives are best from the early fifties to early sixties.

Winchester Model 12 quality is best during the middle 1930s.

The M10, 11, 29, and 31 Remington and all Savage and Stevens pumps and autoloaders were designed to be cheaper versions of M12s and A5s.

Remington had a contender in their twenty gauge only Model 17.

But Remington was selling pinball flipper M10s in 12 gauge, and later M29s and M31s and let their patents expire in 1937.

There are only four, and not five, American market repeating shotguns worth engraving.

The Model 17, cannot be repaired by Ithaca.

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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 10:45 pm
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Location: Western New York
nesto wrote:
The chatter marks serve no purpose. They are simply the result of rising costs vs. competition that allowed less time to be spent on finishing and increasingly tired machine tools. If you compare 37's built in the 40's-50's to those built in the 70's-80's, you will see increasingly rougher machining, poorer wood-to-metal fit, etc. The guns still function well, but they are certainly not as well assembled. All the manufacturers were struggling with the same issues. Things could be worse - pick up an 870 Express sometime!


Well stated. The gradual decline in quality of the Model 37 was reflective of a much larger trend in American manufacturing, where quality of materials, time expended, and level of effort were all reduced to help meet a price point set by competitors who were following a similar path. It was a race toward the bottom. The high quality of materials and level of fit and finish once found on field grade models were increasingly reserved for higher-priced high-grade models as the years went by.


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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:01 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:08 pm
Posts: 528
Location: North East Ohio
[quote]Winchester Model 12 quality is best during the middle 1930s.

Not sure what this means - i.e. there was nothing Winchester did in the 30's that improved the M12 over those built in teens and 20's.

The M10, 11, 29, and 31 Remington and all Savage and Stevens pumps and autoloaders were designed to be cheaper versions of M12s and A5s.[/
quote]

The M10 can hardly be termed a cheaper version of the M12, as it was introduced to the market two years before the Winchester. It's build quality was as good as anything made by Winchester. That said, it wasn't a very good design. The M31 was certainly the best slide action ever made by Remington - felt by many to be the equal, or better than the M12. They are very well made, but in my opinion, lack the dynamic handling qualities of the Winchester.

I suppose you could say that the Remington M11's are cheaper versions of the Browning A5's, as they are not as nicely finished as the Browning, but their build quality is extremely good and they were much more available than the Browning pre-WWII. Certainly, nobody examining a "E" or "F" grade would say they are poorly finished.

As for the Stevens 520, let's just say that it was not one of John Browning's better efforts...


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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 3:07 am 
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Winchester Roof Steel was an improvement over nickel steel for the M12, but Winchester went bankrupt in 1931 and was sold to the Olin family, is the primary reason for the fit and finish improvements dueing the heart of the depression at Winchester.

Winchester only kept their finest workers on the lines, assembling fewer guns.

The Model 12 was a “halo” product. So was the Model 21 side by side. They were incredibly labor intensive, compared to a Model 31 Remington or Stevens 520 or 620.

Stevens and Remington had to sell cheaper pumps, than the prestigious Winchester M12.

That is, until Ithaca came out with a Model 12 quality pump in 1937 that was lighter, and much easier to machine and manufacture, therefore slightly cheaper.

What killed the Model 12 was the Model 870 and the 1960 introduction of the Mossberg 500.

And while it killed the M12 in 1964, the M37 got hurt bad, at the same time for the same reason.

We say we want the best, but buy the cheapest that will do the job.

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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:43 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:08 pm
Posts: 528
Location: North East Ohio
[[i]quote][/quote]What killed the Model 12 was the Model 870 and the 1960 introduction of the Mossberg 500.
[/i]
Super-X - Of course, you are 100% correct on this. I suppose that credit should be given to Remington for designing a pretty good shotgun utilizing stampings and plastic internals wherever possible. It certainly a better shotgun than Winchester's replacement for the M12.
Back to the original question of this thread: Ithaca continued to make guns the old way - i.e. out of machined steel and walnut. The 1970-80's M37 does not have the beautifully machined "slickness" of the late 40's-50's product, but it is still a solid, quality shotgun. Having said that, when you pick up a 37S or 37T from the "golden era", you are holding what I believe to be the mostly finely finished and assembled production slide action ever made in America.


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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 9:47 am 
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nesto wrote:
[[i]quote]
What killed the Model 12 was the Model 870 and the 1960 introduction of the Mossberg 500.
[/i]
Super-X - Of course, you are 100% correct on this. I suppose that credit should be given to Remington for designing a pretty good shotgun utilizing stampings and plastic internals wherever possible. It certainly a better shotgun than Winchester's replacement for the M12.
Back to the original question of this thread: Ithaca continued to make guns the old way - i.e. out of machined steel and walnut. The 1970-80's M37 does not have the beautifully machined "slickness" of the late 40's-50's product, but it is still a solid, quality shotgun. Having said that, when you pick up a 37S or 37T from the "golden era", you are holding what I believe to be the mostly finely finished and assembled production slide action ever made in America.[/quote]

Absolutely.

And until the sixties, remember the work force at Ithaca making Model 37s, were the same craftsmen who made the NID all the way through the black Depression.

The same thing happened at Savage-Stevens for their Stevens 311s, in the late 30s until the sixties. The gray haired artisans that made A.H. Fox doubles retired making Stevens 311s.

The older the M37 the better it’s finished out.

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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:53 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 20, 2012 11:31 pm
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BIG fan of prewars,that being said the Ohio made guns are made very well,all machined steel.Only drawback,their not light actually heavy as a 870.


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 Post subject: Re: M37 Receiver milling marks- necessary or overlooked?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:20 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 24, 2013 1:08 pm
Posts: 528
Location: North East Ohio
And their ugly butt stock....




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