Passing down my grandpa’s shotgun

With cooler weather coming it is the perfect time for this article. I would like to reflect on one of the gentlemen who is responsible for my outdoor upbringing and my love of the hunt.

Guy Roux, my dad’s father, was one of my best friends as I grew up in SE Missouri. His love for the sound of beagles on a hot track was surpassed only by that of fried rabbit and milk gravy after the hunt.

Grandpa Guy taught me the finer details of rabbit hunting and owning hunting dogs. He was there when I shot my first cottontail and I remember the feeling in my chest when he handed me his .20-gauge shotgun and said, “You take this one son.”

As I held that first ever kill my hands, my life changed forever.

He helped me put that rabbit in the game bag on my vest and I reached out to hand him back his gun.

“It’s yours now, my boy,” he said with a smile. “The first of many, I’m sure,” he added. The gun was a feather-light Ithaca .20-gauge pump.grandpas-gun

In the past 20 years or so there has been a lot of ups and down for Ithaca Gun Company, a classic American manufacturer. Hard times, quality control issues and a handful of changes in ownership have plagued Ithaca, but the current owners have rebuilt the company from the ground up and moved to a new location in Upper Sandusky, Ohio.

The designs, especially the classic Model 37 shotgun, are still there but are being made with modern production methods and materials.

For those not already familiar with the Ithaca Model 37, let’s take a look at where it came from. In the early 1930s Ithaca was looking to get into the pump shotgun market. They were already known for their quality double guns but the pump action had started to take a bigger and bigger piece of the sporting shotgun market.

Instead of designing their own, they waited for some patents to expire on the Remington Model 17 (introduced in 1917) and improve upon it. It was a wise choice. John Browning and John Pedersen were responsible for the original design. It is a solid and dependable action and is well suited for the field and the battlefield.

The Ithaca M37 is like most pump shotguns in its function. Shells are held in a tubular magazine under the barrel and the action is “pumped” to eject a spent shell and load a new one. This design is typically more reliable than semi-automatics, especially when used in adverse conditions where there is a potential for mud, dirt and sand finding its way into the action.
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