Is An Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge Worth It?

The Ithaca Model 37 is one of the most popular and iconic pump-action shotguns ever made, known for its reliability, smooth action, and affordable price. With roots dating back to the 1930s, the Model 37 has built up a reputation as a great all-around shotgun for hunting, sport shooting, and home defense. But is the 16 gauge version of this classic shotgun still worth buying today?

If you’re short on time, here’s the quick answer: The Ithaca Model 37 16 gauge is absolutely still worth buying if you appreciate its heritage, smooth action, and want a versatile shotgun in a less common gauge. While not as ubiquitous as 12 or 20 gauge shells, 16 gauge ammo is still readily available.

In this approximately 3000 word guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at the pros, cons, specs, and usage scenarios of the Ithaca Model 37 pump-action shotgun in 16 gauge. We’ll cover its history, pricing, performance, ammunition availability, and how it compares to other gauges. We’ll also provide 5 top reasons why a Model 37 in 16 gauge is still a great choice as well as examine any potential drawbacks. Let’s dive in!

Brief History of the Ithaca Model 37 Shotgun

The Ithaca Model 37 shotgun holds a special place in the hearts of firearm enthusiasts. Designed in the early 1930s by John Browning, it quickly gained popularity among hunters and sport shooters for its reliability and versatility. The Model 37, also known as the “Featherlight,” was initially produced in 12 gauge, but Ithaca later introduced a variety of other gauges, including the sought-after 16 gauge.

What sets the Ithaca Model 37 apart from other shotguns is its unique bottom-ejecting feature. Unlike traditional shotguns that eject spent shells from the side, the Model 37 expels them through the bottom of the receiver. This design not only enhances the gun’s reliability by preventing jamming caused by debris and fouling, but it also allows for ambidextrous use, making it a favorite among left-handed shooters.

Popularity and Collectability

Over the years, the Ithaca Model 37 has gained a reputation for being a reliable and durable shotgun. Its popularity among hunters and sport shooters has contributed to its collectability. The 16 gauge variant, in particular, has garnered a dedicated following due to its balance, handling, and versatility.

Collectors and enthusiasts often seek out the 16 gauge Ithaca Model 37 for its rarity and historical significance. While the 12 gauge version remains the most common, the 16 gauge offers a unique shooting experience that appeals to those who appreciate the craftsmanship and performance of vintage firearms.

Value and Pricing

The value of an Ithaca Model 37 16 gauge shotgun can vary depending on factors such as its condition, age, and rarity. As with any collectible firearm, it’s essential to consider these factors when determining its worth.

Prices for a vintage Ithaca Model 37 16 gauge shotgun can range from a few hundred dollars for a well-used piece to several thousand dollars for a pristine, highly sought-after model. It’s always a good idea to consult with knowledgeable firearm appraisers or collectors to get an accurate assessment of the shotgun’s value.

If you’re interested in purchasing or selling an Ithaca Model 37 16 gauge, it’s recommended to research reputable firearm dealers and auction houses. Online platforms specializing in firearms can also be a valuable resource for finding listings and connecting with other collectors.

The Ithaca Model 37 16 gauge shotgun offers a unique combination of history, craftsmanship, and performance. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a shotgun enthusiast looking for a reliable and versatile firearm, the Ithaca Model 37 is certainly worthy of consideration.

Current Pricing for an Ithaca Model 37 in 16 Gauge

When considering purchasing an Ithaca Model 37 in 16 Gauge, it is important to understand the current pricing trends in the market. The price of a firearm can vary greatly depending on factors such as its condition, rarity, and demand.

New Models

If you are looking to buy a brand new Ithaca Model 37 in 16 Gauge, you can expect to pay anywhere between $700 to $900. The price may vary depending on the specific features and enhancements that come with the firearm. It is always a good idea to compare prices from different retailers and online platforms to ensure you are getting the best deal possible.

Used Models

For those who are open to purchasing a used Ithaca Model 37, the pricing can be more varied. The condition of the firearm plays a significant role in determining its value. A well-maintained used Model 37 in 16 Gauge can range from $400 to $600. However, if you come across a rare or collectible version of the Model 37, the price can shoot up significantly.

Factors Affecting Pricing

There are several factors that can affect the pricing of an Ithaca Model 37 in 16 Gauge:

  • Rarity: Limited edition or discontinued models tend to have higher prices due to their scarcity.
  • Condition: Firearms in excellent condition with minimal wear and tear generally command higher prices.
  • Accessories: Additional accessories or modifications can influence the overall price of the firearm.
  • Demand: If the Ithaca Model 37 in 16 Gauge is highly sought after by collectors or enthusiasts, the price may be driven up.

It is important to research and gather as much information as possible before making a purchase. This includes checking online marketplaces, gun forums, and consulting with experts or experienced gun owners. They can provide valuable insights into the current pricing trends and help you make an informed decision.

Remember, the pricing mentioned here is just a general guideline, and actual prices may vary depending on the specific circumstances of the firearm and the market conditions. It is always recommended to thoroughly evaluate the condition and authenticity of the Ithaca Model 37 before finalizing any purchase.

Performance and Specifications

The Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge is a highly regarded shotgun that is known for its exceptional performance and specifications. It has been a favorite among hunters and shooters for many years, and for good reason.

Reliability and Durability

One of the key factors that make the Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge worth considering is its reliability and durability. This shotgun is built to withstand the test of time and is known for its rugged construction. It can handle heavy use and is resistant to wear and tear, making it a great choice for those who want a shotgun they can rely on in any situation.

Accuracy and Range

The Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge is also highly accurate and has an impressive range. It is capable of delivering precise and consistent shots, making it ideal for both hunting and clay shooting. Whether you are aiming for a moving target or shooting from a distance, this shotgun can help you hit your mark with ease.

Ease of Use

Another advantage of the Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge is its ease of use. It features a smooth pump action that allows for quick and effortless cycling of rounds. This makes it easy to operate, even for those who are new to shotguns. Additionally, it has a comfortable grip and ergonomic design, ensuring a comfortable shooting experience.


The Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge comes with a variety of specifications that contribute to its overall performance. Some of the key specifications include:

  • Barrel Length: 28 inches
  • Chamber Size: 2 3/4 inches
  • Capacity: 4+1 rounds
  • Weight: 6.75 pounds
  • Sights: Bead front sight

These specifications make the Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge a versatile shotgun that can be used for a variety of purposes, from hunting to sport shooting.

Availability of 16 Gauge Ammunition

When considering the purchase of an Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge shotgun, one important factor to take into account is the availability of ammunition for this particular gauge. The 16 Gauge shotgun is not as widely popular as some other gauges, such as the 12 Gauge, which can lead to concerns about finding a variety of ammunition options.

However, despite its less common status, the availability of 16 Gauge ammunition has improved over the years. While it may not be as abundant as 12 Gauge or 20 Gauge ammunition, many reputable ammunition manufacturers still produce a range of options for the 16 Gauge.

Online Retailers and Specialty Stores

One of the best places to find 16 Gauge ammunition is through online retailers. Websites like and offer a wide selection of ammunition, including 16 Gauge options. These online retailers often have a larger inventory compared to local brick-and-mortar stores, making it easier to find exactly what you need.

In addition to online retailers, specialty stores that cater to firearms enthusiasts may also carry 16 Gauge ammunition. These stores often have knowledgeable staff who can assist you in finding the right ammunition for your Ithaca Model 37.

Reloading Options

If you are having difficulty finding 16 Gauge ammunition or prefer a more hands-on approach, reloading your own ammunition can be a viable option. Reloading allows you to customize your load to suit your specific needs and can be a cost-effective solution in the long run.

There are numerous resources available online and in print that provide guidance on reloading techniques and equipment. Just make sure to follow all safety protocols and guidelines when reloading ammunition.

It’s important to note that availability may vary depending on your location. It’s always a good idea to check with local gun shops, shooting ranges, and other firearm enthusiasts in your area to get a better understanding of the availability of 16 Gauge ammunition.

While the availability of 16 Gauge ammunition may not match that of more popular gauges, it is still possible to find a variety of options for your Ithaca Model 37. Whether through online retailers, specialty stores, or reloading, you can ensure that you have access to the ammunition you need to enjoy your shotgun to its fullest.

How the 16 Gauge Stacks Up to 12 and 20 Gauge

When it comes to shotguns, the gauge refers to the diameter of the barrel. The 16 gauge shotgun falls between the popular 12 gauge and 20 gauge options. While the 12 gauge is often praised for its power and versatility, and the 20 gauge is known for its lighter recoil and ease of use, the 16 gauge occupies a unique middle ground.

The Power Factor

Compared to the 12 gauge, the 16 gauge offers a slightly reduced level of power. However, this can actually be an advantage for certain purposes. The 16 gauge delivers enough power to effectively take down game such as pheasants, quails, and rabbits, while still offering a more manageable recoil than the 12 gauge. This makes it a great option for hunters who value accuracy and precision over sheer force.

Recoil and Versatility

One of the main advantages of the 16 gauge over the 12 gauge is its lighter recoil. This makes it more comfortable to shoot, especially for those who may be more sensitive to recoil or prefer a less intense shooting experience. Additionally, the 16 gauge’s reduced recoil can lead to quicker follow-up shots and improved accuracy.

Compared to the 20 gauge, the 16 gauge does have a slightly higher level of recoil. However, it still remains more manageable than the 12 gauge, making it a good compromise for those who want a balance between power and comfort.

Ammunition Availability

While the 12 and 20 gauge shotgun shells are readily available at most sporting goods stores, the 16 gauge ammunition can be a bit harder to find. However, with the recent resurgence in popularity of the 16 gauge, more manufacturers are starting to produce ammunition for this gauge. Additionally, online retailers and specialty stores often carry a wide variety of 16 gauge ammunition options.

Collectibility and Rarity

One aspect that makes the 16 gauge particularly appealing to some enthusiasts is its collectible nature. The 16 gauge is considered a classic gauge, and older models like the Ithaca Model 37 can be highly sought after by collectors. This can add to the appeal and value of owning a 16 gauge shotgun.

Top 5 Reasons the 16 Gauge Model 37 is Worth Buying

When it comes to shotguns, the Ithaca Model 37 in 16 gauge is a classic choice that has stood the test of time. Here are the top 5 reasons why this particular shotgun is worth buying:

1. Versatility

The 16 gauge Model 37 offers a great balance between power and recoil. It is a versatile shotgun that can be used for various purposes, including hunting, clay shooting, and home defense. Its smaller gauge allows for a wider range of ammunition options, making it suitable for different types of game or shooting scenarios.

2. Durability

The Ithaca Model 37 is known for its exceptional build quality and durability. It is made with high-quality materials and precision craftsmanship, ensuring that it can withstand years of use and abuse. Whether you’re trekking through rugged terrains or exposing it to harsh weather conditions, the Model 37 will continue to perform reliably.

3. Smooth Action

One of the standout features of the Model 37 is its smooth pump-action mechanism. The gun cycles effortlessly, providing a satisfying shooting experience. Whether you’re loading or ejecting shells, the action of the Model 37 is consistently smooth and reliable, making it a joy to use in any shooting situation.

4. Ergonomics

The 16 gauge Model 37 is designed with ergonomics in mind. It has a comfortable grip and well-balanced weight distribution, allowing for easy handling and reduced fatigue during extended shooting sessions. The shotgun also features an intuitive control layout, making it easy to operate and customize to your preferences.

5. Collectibility

Aside from its practicality, the 16 gauge Model 37 holds value as a collectible firearm. Its historical significance and iconic design make it a sought-after piece among gun enthusiasts and collectors. Owning a Model 37 not only gives you a reliable shotgun but also a piece of firearm history that can appreciate in value over time.

Any Potential Drawbacks to Consider?

While the Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge is highly regarded by many firearms enthusiasts, it is important to consider a few potential drawbacks before making a purchase. These drawbacks include:

1. Limited Availability

The Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge may not be as widely available as other shotgun models. This could make it more difficult to find one in stock at your local gun store or online. However, with some patience and diligent searching, you may be able to locate one.

2. Recoil

As with any 16 gauge shotgun, the Ithaca Model 37 may have a bit more recoil compared to a 20 gauge or 12 gauge. This can be a consideration for those who prefer a lighter shooting experience or who may be sensitive to recoil. However, many shooters find the recoil to be manageable and not overly burdensome.

3. Limited Accessories

Due to its less common gauge size, the availability of accessories specifically designed for the Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge may be more limited compared to more popular shotgun gauges. This could include items such as choke tubes or aftermarket stocks. However, there are still options available, and it is worth exploring different sources to find compatible accessories.

4. Price

Depending on the condition and any additional features, the Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge may be priced higher compared to other shotgun models in the same gauge. This is partly due to its reputation and the quality craftsmanship associated with the Ithaca brand. However, it is important to carefully consider your budget and evaluate whether the added cost is worth it for you.

Keep in mind that these potential drawbacks should be weighed against the numerous advantages and positive features of the Ithaca Model 37 16 Gauge. Ultimately, it is a personal decision and what may be a drawback for one individual may not be as significant for another.


In conclusion, the Ithaca Model 37 pump-action shotgun in 16 gauge remains an excellent choice for hunters, sport shooters, and collectors who appreciate its smooth action, reduced recoil, and classic heritage. While not as common as 12 or 20 gauge, the versatility, ammunition availability, and advantages of the 16 make it still worth seeking out today. For anyone looking for an affordable, reliable shotgun with less recoil than a 12 gauge, the Model 37 in 16 gauge deserves strong consideration.

So if you come across a good deal on a vintage or used Model 37 16 gauge, don’t hesitate to bring this classic shotgun home. With proper care and maintenance, it’s built to provide many more years of smooth, reliable service. The Ithaca Model 37’s reputation for reliability and longevity make it a pump gun that’s worth holding onto.

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