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The older models had wonderful lightweight barrels. My 1948 20 ga is a gem.The newer ones had much heavier barrels (choke tubes) and do not balance near as well.
 
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Ithaca took a Remington design and modifed it. I assume when they produced the gun and compared it to other pumps of the period, the lighter weight caused them to name and market the gun as the 'Featherlight'.
In 1937 lawyers and insurance companies had not caused the liability concerns we have today. My 1940 16 gauge Moldel 37 28" barrel weighs 6# 4oz and is a nice almost dainty gun the I now use for squirrels exclusively.
My 2000 12 gauge DLX 3" weighs 7# 4oz and while not as heavy as an 870, it is heavier than older models. Choke tubes, heavier barrels have caused many production shotguns to be heavier than comparable models in the past.
Browning took considerable pains to lighten the actions, barrels of the Light Weight Superposed and other Belgian Models. I know of no simliar treatment from Ithaca. -Dick
 
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