Inland’s Repop of the Ithaca M37 Trench Gun

It’s become fashionable to resuscitate the names of old gun manufacturers, when the original firms have left the gun market or are tuning up their harps in the Great Beyond of corporate afterlife… pining for the fjords, as it were. One of the latest is Inland, originally a division of General Motors that was pressed into service making war materials, including firearms (notably M1, M1A1, M2 and M3 Carbines) during World War II. We’ve shown you the Inland carbines before. They’re nice enough, but are up against originals that are still available in quantity.

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But another Inland repop is a bit surprising — the M37 military shotgun. To tell the truth, we didn’t know that the USG ever used the original M37 of the Ithaca Gun Company. We always had Winchesters (M12s, which were good, and M1200s, which weren’t) and in more recent years Remington 870s or Mossbergs which we think were COTS purchases, not from the regular procurement system. As far as the Ithaca M37 goes, we seem to recall seeing it in Vietnam photos of Marines.

We never found much use for a combat shotgun, although a running buddy in Afghanistan liked the high/low mix of M14 and sawn-off 870. The one time he fired the 870 around us, he was responding to an Afghan’s insistence that nobody in the village knew where the lock to the cave door was. (Yes, there is a such thing as a locked cave door in Afghanistan. Or there was before Bryan blew it to Kingdom Come. After which, the village elder remembered where he left his key ring, mirabile dictu. Allah truly does work in strange ways, habibi).

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Anyway, Shawn at Loose Rounds shares Bryan’s fondness for the military 12-bore, and the new M37 spoke to him:

[W]hen I got to the NRA 2016  show… I wanted to see that M37 in the worst way. I was not let down.  After just a few minutes of handling it, I asked for a T&E sample.

Sample in hand, he took these atmospheric M37 pictures with Vietnam-era web gear and uniforms, including some things popular in SF, like the Bata boots and the Gerber Mk II fighting knife.

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Then he traced the ancestry of the M37 from John Browning on down:

The Ithaca as a military “trench gun” is likely not as well known by many. The action of the shotgun would look familiar to a lot of hunters out there.  Though the first thing you may think when seeing its action is the Mossberg 500, it and the 500 are really a simplified version of the most excellent Remington Model 31  shotgun. The M31 itself an evolution from the M17. The Model 17 designed by no less than John Browning himself.

When Shawn gets a T&E sample, he doesn’t take a few pictures and send it back. He wrung this thing out for months. Some conclusions:

The short riot/trench shotgun is a pleasure to handle. It’s fast and easy to work with and the slick action is as fast as lightening. The original M37s would indeed “slam fire”  but this one will not. As I understand it, this was done at the request of Inland when having the guns put together for them by Ithaca prior to the converting to “trench gun.” I know some will gripe about this, but let it go. It’s a fact of modern America that lawyers and sue happy anti-gun activists would salivate at trying to prove the gun defective in court. For those who do not know,” slamfire” refers to the lack of a disconnector in the originals that lets the hammer fall as long as you hold the trigger back. Just like the M12 and M97 etc.

Do go to LooseRounds.com and Read The Whole Thing™. There are videos of the gun being fired, pictures of targets shot for accuracy, etc.

 

45 thoughts on “Inland’s Repop of the Ithaca M37 Trench Gun

  1. Ray

    I don’t know about the shotguns Inland Manufacturing makes. But their M1 carbines SUCK SHIT. They don’t work right and cannot be made to work right. Go check out You Tube. It has video after Video of Inland Man. Jam-o-Matic fun. They have about the same reputation as Hess arms or the “Flying Monkeys” at CAI. They turn out junk Weapons that don’t work even after repeated trips back to the factory. Oh! And they cost MORE than a near mint original M1 carbine!

    1. looserounds.com

      I dropped their M1 in to muddy frozen water and let it soak for a few minutes, took it out and it worked flawless. I beat on one for 6 months and never had a problem.

      1. Ray

        Yeh well…I know 4 people that bought them. Had the sights fall off. Wouldn’t feed ANY ammo. Wouldn’t take any magazine but the hand fitted one it came with. And My personal favorite a warped gun. (like twisted front to back) Inland Manufacturing is starting to make CAI look good.

        1. looserounds.com

          well I guess that settles that. A guy Who I don’t know anything about knows 4 guys I don’t know, say the gun doesn’t work. I also know about 6 guys who have no problems with the various Inland M1s, the standard models, the paratrooper version and the “Advisor” all working like clock work. But, I guess that doesn’t mean anything. You know some guys.
          My own 6 months of brutally doing my best to get it to stop , should be tossed out.

          I just checked youtube, there is a bunch of guys there showing Ar15s not working . I guess I better get rid of my Colt’s and buy a CAI WASR.

  2. LSWCHP

    Oh man….the webbing, the Gerber, the LAW, the Claymore clacker, the tin pot….all that stuff…

    Thanks Shawn for bringing back a *lot* of memories.

  3. Sommerbiwak

    Isn’t the browning pump shotgun fully ambidextrous?

    Should be easy to market to left handed people as neither the Mossberg nor Remington are. They should add the usual hunting shotguns to their offerings and not only to collectors and sentimental war tool afficionados.

  4. SGT.BAG

    Small Arms Review had a article exclusively devoted to a extended mag, pistol gripped Model 37 carried by a swabbie in NAM. The shotgun in question still resides in a UDT/SEAL museum somewhere.

    Always curious though did the 37 suffer from any problems being a single bar action like High Standard models did or was it immune to such issues.

  5. Aesop

    Is 12 ga.
    Is good.

    But half my kingdom for the guy who’ll tap the idiots on the shoulder, and show them that M37, or the 870, with the safety where it oughta be, on the backstrap where you can get to it with the thumb, rather than behind the trigger guard. And not made out of Mattel’s finest plastic, Mossberg.

    What the hell, it only took 60 years or so to get Ruger to fix the Mark I/II/III takedown problem, so maybe there’s still hope.

    For those still enamored of slam fire, IIRC, the Chinese copies of the Winchester Trench Broom are identical down to that feature. Mind the sharp edges.

  6. DSM

    Always liked those ERDL pattern cammies.

    Do those M37s eject the shells from the bottom then? Never seen one in person.

    1. Boat Guy

      Yup.
      Those sneaks look like the old UDT sneakers. My first pair of “Bata” boots had the distinctive sole but were oterwise like the beloved green jungles I wore for a LONG time – the most recent being a Tough Mudder a few years back. T’was great to be senior enough and of sufficiently different service to be able to get away with wearing those boots to the end of Active Duty.
      That shottie is Tempting. Very Tempting.

        1. Ray

          Oldguns.net has them. They run from 125USD on the low side for a P-14, to 295USD for a Vietnam issue.

      1. Hognose Post author

        Tell ’em that Shawn at Loose Rounds sent ya, then maybe they’ll feel good about loaning him whatever they cook up next. I always meant to do gun reviews but I don’t take freebies (even loans) because I find some of the writing in magazines unseemly. Shawn fired more rounds from this shotgun than probably all the other sites and publications that reviewed it — combined. I don’t think anybody else fired it with deer slugs.

        1. looserounds.com

          I fired exactly 1,800 rounds through it at the time of that article being written, 00 bucks, slugs, rubber buck, 4 buck, 4,5,6, shot a few flare rounds and a ton of skeet load. I have since fired bean bag rounds and a few odds and end hollywood rounds with no real world use.

          1. looserounds.com

            I know what you are talking about. I’m sure the PAVN was inspired by French boot designs. Those however, are PAVN issue boots. Comyf like socks, But I doubt they would protect the foot and ankles like the ones you are talking about. I wouldn’t want to stand around in them all day either, Unless I put some major cushions in them. But they are very comfortable.

    2. Hognose Post author

      Wow, they were a really common shotgun when I was a kid. I grew up in MA which has no rifle hunting for big game (which in MA means whitetail deer and bear, both of which are much more common than they were when I was learning to hunt in the 1970s).

      Yes, they are bottom ejectors.

      1. DSM

        I’m sure they were quite common around my parts as well but my childhood hunting adventures hit their apex with my trusty .22, the groundhogs burrowing around the barns and the other various critters always getting into the feed bins.

        The unit’s I served with all had various mixes and configurations of M12s, 500s & 590s, and older 870s. Shortly before I got out we shipped them all down to depot and took receipt of the new, “modular” 870s. I say “modular” because it was verboten to alter the way we got them even if the TO listed the NSNs for the parts to make them so.

  7. Tom Stone

    A shout out to “Loose Rounds” !
    The spelling and punctuation isn’t always perfect but the content is first rate

    1. Tennessee Budd

      I was thinking the same thing when I saw “fast as lightening”.
      In the Old Days, I used to do a bit of lightening on brake discs and such (by drilling holes in them). I never found the job to be fast.

      1. looserounds.com

        Yeah. Well if you come to Looserounds for fine literature and prose instead of pictures of guns and reviews and long range shooting tips you are coming to the wrong place. I rarely proof read, and I don’t much care to bother. I’m not weaponsmans good at writing and never will be. I have never been such a pedantic that a miss spelled word, wrong grammar and such ruined an article for me. Though clearly it does for some people

  8. SPEMack

    I have an M37 featherweight that I treasure due to it’s weight and as a lefty, the shells shucking out the bottom.

    Pops carried a cut down Ithaca as an extra issue weapon in addition to his .45 or M-15, cut down to the mag tube and with a locally fashioned pistol grip. Most convenient to carry in the back of a helicopter. s

  9. Wesley W Bishop

    Hey Hognose,

    I found something you might be interested in, and I didn’t know how to send it to you save through the comments. It appears Andrew Tuohy is back at it on Vuurwapen blog, and his “hey, I’m back” post is pretty cool.

    I’ll leave you to go check it out, if you want, but he gives his initial impressions on an accelerometer that attaches to a handgun picatinny rail and syncs to your phone to give the user feedback on their shooting. Pretty cool.

  10. medic09

    Nice looking gun. I bet it would be pretty good for property protection. I don’t know what our neighbor on the other side of the woods used to deter mischievious kids…

    The other items bring back memories. Many things extended through generations and around the world. My Gerber knife was a prized item that was sadly stolen shortly after I gave it to my daughter. I had a fellow travelling to the US bring it to me. He didn’t want to part with it when he got to Israel, but I prevailed having already paid for it. I never heard of Bata boots, but they look a lot like the Palladiums (aka “commandoes” in Hebrew) we had. After a while, they were officially banned in several units but folks kept wearing them. The LAW was a ubiquitous item – don’t leave home without one (or more)! But in basic we actually trained (this is 1980 mind you) with old French bazookas and rifle grenades. But the LAW was our door knocker in the field. The canteen is the same, though my young neighbor tells me everyone goes out now with a “shlooker” water bladder.

    Interesting post. I’ll have to get a look at one of those shotguns somewhere.

  11. soapweed

    Have a 12ga mod 37 18.5 bbl and have carried it since the early eighties when we went non union. Have used it as a visual language translation device four times in the past w/o having to fire. Twice with the bruthas, once with the beans, and once with scooter trash. Has always operated well with typical truck gun filth, is beat to hell, and still provides more comfort than even my BEST binkie………..
    Soapweed

  12. Hartley

    Nice shotgun – and an interesting collection of stuffe.. too bad you couldn’t get sumbuddy to loan ya a real Vietnam-era MK2 :) The Woodland BDU top is a little out-of-era, however.

      1. Hartley

        Really? Coulda fooled me, but Woodland came around after I got out, so I stand corrected. Comment on the MK2 stands, however.

        1. Hognose Post author

          I have one of the limited-edition MkII repops Gerber made. It’s surprisingly similar to the knives everyone was carrying in the early 80s, except for the angle of the blade and hilt. Around 1982 or 83, though, they changed from the grey handle to a black one. There was something about saw teeth too, but I forget the details.

  13. McThag

    I’m glad that it works well.

    For $1,259 MSRP it’d bloody well better run right!

    That’s not even an unreasonable price, given how the design isn’t rationalized for cheap and speedy manufacturing.

  14. RT

    For anyone on a budget wanting a bottom ejection shotgun based on the Ithaca pattern.

    The Stevens 350 is a Chinese clone which usually sells even at big 5 for under $350.

    They do have the disconnect or though.

  15. C Otto

    Funny. I just saw one of these the other day. An original. Sort of. It was a half and half. Half military parts, have civilian made. Had some US stamps/#, other parts didn’t. Someone put it together, but it still had the slam fire and was about 450 less than that new one.

    Now i’m questioning on whether or not I should just go buy it. What do you guys think? I want to say it was 800. Maybe 850 for a mixmaster. Not that i really have the spending money for it as I finally picked up a FAL.

    As far as reproductions go, I guess if you can’t find or afford an original, they are OK. I just don’t care for it. It’s like that Chinese company that is making 57 Chevys or 69 Mustangs, or, as mentioned above, those cheap crappy chinese made reproduction bayonets.

    The only thing i would be willing to buy a reproduction of are parts. I finally found a guy that makes mounts for my Japanese Type 99 Sniper. I’m willing to buy that reproduction cause originals are hard/impossible to come by. But that’s just me and my two cents…

    1. looserounds.com

      I don’t know how much of a “repro” it is. It is made by Ithaca, and is M37. Inland adds the bits that make it a trench gun

      I would call it more of ,.. Continued production.

      It is not some chinese rip off or some thing like that.

      I think the one you are thinking of buying is still way over priced for a mix master

  16. Nadnerbus

    My sister had a similar incident to the Afghani “cave door” while a Master at Arms in Bahrain.

    Her boat crew got tapped at the last minute to go sweep the tugs for an incoming Navy carrier. While sweeping the tug, she came across a door with a padlock on it. When she requested the key, she got the standard shrugs and runaround. So she went and retrieved a fire axe, smashed the lock off, and continued the inspection.

    When she came across the next locked door, the keys promptly produced themselves.

  17. cm smith

    Ithaca made 3 versions of the Mdl. 37 trigger group.

    The original has a secondary sear and trip lever to drop the hammer when the slide goes fully forward.

    The (cheap) version literally without a disconnector will let the hammer follow the breach block – but will not fire, leaving the hammer down on a chambered round. Both version require an educated trigger finger, but for opposite reasons.

    I don’t like the term slam fire to describe firing as the action closes, but that’s seems to be what the kids today have adopted.

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