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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted this on another board "Gun ID and Value" however, maybe I should be asking more questions. Should I be making a decision like this without looking at more choices? I just have a distant memory of the Ithaka 37. Should I be looking at new guns instead of used? Like a Browning or a new SKB instead of the older SKB? I haven't even ever shot skeet. Just bird hunted. All I know is I love to shoot and I been screwing around with other stuff too long. I tend to jump in to things too fast and with both feet. I like the feel of the O/U or a pump much better than an autoloader. Any advice? Here is what I posted on ID & Value.

Need input on 1st shotgun purchase. I know very little and haven't purchased or shot for at least 25 yrs when all my guns were stolen. I want to start shooting again. Skeet and light bird hunting. My favorite gun was my Ithaca 20g pump. I found Ithaca SKB 12G O/U for $450. I believe 26" barrel. 2-3/4 chamber. Not sure of chokes. Gold trigger with about 50% engraving. Seriel #CM619069. Action feels nice and tight. Nothing loose and no appearance of ever being taken apart. However, it also looks like it wasn't taken care of as well as I would have. Some scratches on barrel, some scratches on stalk but not through the finish, some nicks on edges like the trigger gaurd and a few other sharp corners like the rib. Bluing looks good except where scratched, some wear at barrel end. Two things really put me off is 1) a look down the barrel shows it needed cleaning and had a coulple of scratches inside when I looked really close. I don't know what pitting looks like but if it wasn't dirty it may have been some rust. It wasn't terrible, but??? He said it needed cleaning. 2) The sight mount where the orange sight is mounted is bent. Like it got caught on something or hit. Don't know why that bothers me other than it shows a lack of appreciation. I don't want this gun unless it's an absolute shouldn't pass it up deal. Input?
 

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Ithaca SKB's were made by SKB of Japan, SKB is still around though they have not had any connection with Ithaca for a couple decades. For new SKB's see;

http://www.skbshotguns.com/SKB%20main.htm

I had an SKB 600 Trap Gun from 1972 until I sold it in 1982. I likely put an estimated 25,000 or so shells through it.

They have peculiarly shaped flat hammer springs, as opposed to coil springs. These can be prone to breakage, I had one go around 17,000 rounds. Replacement is best left to a gunsmith. There have been some modifications made in the SKB's since the 600 came out but they are very similar.

In spite of the spring (most guns have some sort of annoyance of one sort or another), I would love to buy a new SKB if they regularily imported them into Canada and there was some dealer support here for them, these days.

I would be concerned about a few things on the example you have described;

1.) The general description sounds like it has really been hammered around and there is no telling what damage is there you can't see that will turn up with use.

2.) "a look down the barrel shows it needed cleaning and had a coulple of scratches inside when I looked really close. I don't know what pitting looks like but if it wasn't dirty it may have been some rust. It wasn't terrible, but??? He said it needed cleaning."

- This is a concern to me, to my knowlege, all these guns had chrome plated bores, if it is pitted and/or scratched this means that the chrome lining is damaged and this will not improve with use.

I don't mind chrome lined bores but back then it was advertized that it reduced the need for cleaning. Actually, microscopically, chrome plating is porous and if left unmaintained under poor conditions, the steel under the chrome corrodes and the chrome lining can start to fail.

Chrome is fine but it does have to be looked after as you should any gun.

3.) The sight mount where the orange sight is mounted is bent. Like it got caught on something or hit. Don't know why that bothers me other than it shows a lack of appreciation.

This, long with the other items indicates neglect. it could be restored professionally but this would cost likely more than what thee gun is being sold for.

If you are looking for a gun for skeet open chokes like actual skeet chokes are preferable. This gun, by it's age, will have fixed chokes and they should be marked on it. If it is a field model, will be either Improove Cylinder and Modified or Modified and Full.

I don't know you situation and I don't tell people what to do but I can tell you if it was me, I am fussy and would not be considering it.

I also like mainly pumps and o/u's, I have been shooting clay target games continuously since 1970.

I like my Citori Grade 1 Trap and would buy additional Citori's. As I said, I would also look at new SKB's if we had dealer support here in Canada.

A new o/u with choke tubes would give you more versitility than an older, fixed choke gun. Depends what your priorities, likes and (like most of us) your budget :? .
_________________
A poor day on the trap range
beats a good day at work!
 

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Thanks Claydust! I guess budget is a consideration to a certain degree. I don't want to go out and buy something I have no business owning as a novice. However, I have some $ saved for this adventure and don't mind spending it, within reason. I would like to own something nice enough that I won't ever have to wish I had spent enough to own something nicer. If I want a gun that I can hunt with and/or shoot skeet with, what should I be looking for that would fill both requirements. There is a tremendous amount of technical jargon on these boards that I never even considered. I'm certain that I would be using it more for clays/skeet, but what's the point if I can't hunt with it? Lots of fun is what I have in mind.
 

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eorer said:
I don't want to go out and buy something I have no business owning as a novice. However, I have some $ saved for this adventure and don't mind spending it, within reason. I would like to own something nice enough that I won't ever have to wish I had spent enough to own something nicer.
IMHO. a novice shooter can start out with what ever they can and want to afford, hopefully you are not concerned about what others think because I don't think you should be. High end stuff is very nice, of course but I have seen new people start off with anything between a Wallmart purchased low end gun to things like Beretta 682's; they mostly seemed to enjoy themselves regardless of what they were using :D

I don't tell people what to do, the best I can do is give them my experiences and relate what I would do in their situation. This may or may not be acceptable to them, they may have different tastes/priorities and that's fine. Hopefully it provides some food for thought, at least.

When I was a kid, starting to shoot in the late 60's and cutting lawns to make the money for it, cost was a big factor and I had my run with the lower end of the market.

I had a long friendship with a gunsmith that has since retired. He did suggest that I buy the best I could afford and go the extra distance to get the money. He did not mean "prestige stuff", he meant good, established models with a good reputaion, either new or in good used condition. I said, "but I'll have to save half the summer to buy that", his reply, that's only a few months, if you buy that, you can enjoy it the rest of your life. I have applied that and it works for me.

As I mentioned before, I tend to gravitate to pumps and o/u's, it's just they way I am, it's not that I dislike other types.

If I was looking at starting out again with one gun and was dividing my time between skeet and hunting, I would be looking at a new or later model used field grade o/u with choke tubes, as long as the stock dimensions worked for me. One that is not too light to shoot all afternoon and has enough weight to provide a smooth swing but not too heavy to carry in the field. This is because;

1.) The o/u makes it easy to save the shells on a skeet or sporting clays range, if you are not reloading now, you may want to get into it later, many do.

2.) Choke tubes give the gun versitiliy, install two skeet tubes and you are all set for a day at the club, replace them with an improoved cylinder and modified and you are ready to go upland game hunting etc., without having to make do, you have the right pattern for each job.

I don't worry too much about specialized after market modification or choke tubes. I have found my 1976 manufactured Remington 870TB trap gun, which is completely original, will pattern very well and smoke target. The standard choke tube that have come with my newer guns have patterned well for me. I suggests you don't get too caught up in the "equipment race" besides, you can always get into the after market accessories later.

3.) Field Grade rather than a Skeet Gun. You will have the potential to run higher averages on skeet with a skeet model, they usually have higher combs on their butt stock, the stocks are usually bulkier and they are heavier. These are all good things if all you are doing is shooting skeet but these guns can be heavy to carry in the field, hunting.

Good shooting can be done with field guns on the skeet field, I am mainly a trap shooter but when I last shot skeet on a regular basis, I took high over all in a winter skeet league which involved five clubs; I divided my shooting between a 7 3/4# Remington Peerleess and a 7 3/4# 870 Pump Skeet Gun, so this type of gun can be effective and enjoyable on the skeet range.

If recoil is an issue with a slightly lighter gun, try 1 1/8 oz. light loads or 1 oz. loads, this is what I do and I find they are very effective, both for reqoil reduction and patterning efficiency.

If you realy get bitten by the compedative skeet "bug", it is always a good excuse, dowwn the road, to buy another gun :D

If a new one is a bit out of reach, it may take a while to find what you want but look at some good used guns. My own Browning Cirtori Grade 1 Trap was bought as a "gently used" gun and has been very enjoyable and effective on the trap range. It was made in 1984 (by it's serial no. code), I bought it in 1996, it looks about 90% new and I would not part with it.

Personally, I would buy another Citori but that's me, there are many good choices out there and you need to chose what you like best, not buy what someone else likes or tells you to.

I don't worry too much about all the jargon relating to chokes, custom boring etc. Keep reading as much as you can and talking to shooters and you will be surprised how you pick it up.

Have fun and good luck "shopping".
 

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Thanks again Claydust! More great input. Citori is within the range I considered in my budget. I went to their website and they have many different models. I'll have to go look at these and some other brands as well. I have to say I have a partiality to Browning, one of the guns I used to shoot with frequently was a Browning 12G Autoloader. Any other suggested brands I should look at besides Browning, Remington, SKB, Berreta? What about the gauge? Is there an advantage to certain gauges? 12G or 20G? You are right, I used to reload years ago and I'm certain I would start reloading again.
 

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I am not fiercly brand loyal but do have my favourites, the Citori is one on these. Maybe this is because they resemble the Superposed Lightning trap guns I used to admire when I was 15 and cutting lawns for spare change. I like the fit and finish and they seem to shoot and stand up well. Also, here in Canada, they are well represented and you stand a better chance of getting parts and service than some of the other good makes that just don't happen to have a presense here.

I still have my Dad's Browning Auto 5, he passed away in 1986. We used to hunt grouse together in Northern Ontario, I still take the old gun out for skeet once and a while.

I think it is a good idea to study the web site and become familiar with the various models. If you can, it would be good to visit some shops that stock them and handle as many as you can to determine what best suits you.

As for other suggested brands Browning, SKB and Berreta are all well worth examining. I don't know what else may be available where you are. As for Remington, I love their 870's in the higher grades and own a Remington Peerless. The problem IMHO is that Remington keeps introducing then dropping o/u models. In the span of ten years they have had the Peerless, superseeded by the Ideal, superseeded by the 332, which makes me wonder what's next. My Peerless has been good but was only made for a few years, I believe many parts are common to these various models but I am concerned that some are not and will become scarce.

As for gauge, I do enjoy a nice 20 (I would love to have a 20g Citori Lightning) but if I had one gun, I would sellect a 12.

The 12 can be loaded very light to simulate 20 gauge recoil if desired but can be shot with heavier loads to cover all field situations. It is generally accepted that a 12, with its shorter shot column patterns a bit better with a given load, this is common but I'm sure there are exceptions.

Because the 12 is the most common gauge, you can generally pick up better deals on shells and more components are available for it for reloading at better prices, at least around here.

Besides, if you get a 12, realy like shooting, as I said about the skeet gun, you hten have a good excuse to buy a 20 later on :D
 

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My father and I both own Ithaca SKB 20ga. He has an O/U and I have a SxS. We have been carrying them for grouse and shooting them ever since we could hunt together and he has had his long before I was around. He owned a 12ga 600 like you described and swears at himself to this day for letting it go.

For the price you mentioned....I would grab it.

Andy
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks guys for the input. Andy, it's not the brand or the model that keeps me from pullin the trigger on this one, it's the condition. It's been rode hard and put up wet so to speak. It bothered me when I looked at it and it bothers me more now that I have had time to think about it. It's a shame because this is a fine gun. This one's just not as fine as it should be.

Anyone else with suggestions as to what I should look for would certainly be appreciated.
 
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