Ithaca Mod. 37 Malfunction

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:57 pm
This malfunction occurred in my Model 37 Featherlight 12 Ga., early 1960’s Mfr., in perfect condition (or was). Ammunition was new (Remington 2 3/4 target loads). While doing some clay shooting, a shell in the magazine discharged upon slide retraction following a normal firing of the chambered shell. Fortunately the live shell ahead of the errant shell in the magazine did not discharge as well, or there might have been some serious damage. Upon the discharge of the shell in the magazine, it recoiled into the carrier, piercing the shell head, and the primer blew out of the shell, thus releasing additional pressure to prevent rupture of the hull. I recovered the primer with a metal detector and found that it had an indentation which is a perfect match for the rim of a 12 Ga. shell. This suggests that, upon slide retraction, the rim of the ejected shell from the chamber somehow struck the primer of the shell in the magazine causing that shell to discharge. Human error regarding gun handling and loading can be ruled out here. I have never seen this happen before nor heard of it happening. If anyone has had a similar experience or some pertinent information to share, I’d be interested to know of it. Photo link= http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/4853/model37041.jpg
Last edited by Kogent on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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.270 WIN
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 22, 2012 8:15 pm
thats the first time i ever heard of that happening

.270 WIN
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:22 am
This is the first I have heard of this trouble as well.

Has this only happened in the older Model 37 shotguns?
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 6:23 am
The only thing I can think of that would do this is a raised primer or one that is loose in the pocket. I've never seen what a raised primer could do in a shotgun but I have seen what one can do in a rifle. What kind of shell were you using?
--Jim

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2012 8:54 pm
The shells were new Remington target loads. I don't suspect ammunition defects in this particular case.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:30 am
This past Fall I had the same thing happen with my 12 Ga Model 37 that I have since 1966: a shell being released into the receiver (the last shell in the magazine) went off in the receiver and sprayed bird shot into the magazine, forcing the metal magazine cap over the wooden plug. I was videotaping a casual shooting session with my son-in-law and captured the event. My shell ended up impaled by the carrier which was twisted like a dinner fork caught in a garbage disposal. The primer of the shell had a horizontal indentation, so I suspect it, too, was detonated by the shell being ejected During this shooting session I was shooting # 8 Federal Target loads (the red white and blue hulls). I did have 2 instances where the shell being ejected did not clear the receiver but hung on the carrier and had to be removed manually. This never happened before but I was not thinking about a problem. This, too, was captured on video.

Several years before this I was pheasant hunting with a neighbor whose Model 37 (manufactured sometime in the 1970's) had the same thing happened. He contacted the new Ithaca Gun Co. and I think they came to the conclusion that somehow the carrier point had contacted the primer. In retrospect, it must have been the brass from the shell being ejected. photo to follow

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:36 am
If I can figure how to load photos I will. The message I get is the file is too big.. Anybody have suggestions????

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:50 pm
You should be able to re-size your photo once you have it on your computer. I usually reduce the pixels.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:01 am
Trying to post photos again
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:07 am
Here is another one. Still having trouble with posting.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:14 am
One more
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Last edited by neslie on Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 11:17 am
Thank you 1977cutcher for the help. Trying to get one more photo posted.
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.270 WIN
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 12:34 pm
well theres no denying it can happen.

now I guess the question is how to prevent it.
my first obvious thought is to make sure the spread on your carrier fingers are close enough so as not to allow a shell to slip past.
something that everyone with an old gun should pay attention too.
also at the first sign of carrier finger "grabbing" a shell, the gun should not be used until maintenance is done
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 1:05 pm
to add to that excellent advice, I would suggest everyone learn how to disassemble, clean and lube their model 37. of course this means you need to buy a reasonable set of gunsmith screwdrivers, but that cost is minimal, all considered.

the model 37 action is "timed" in its operation, so if the shell being ejected isn't thrown clear as the next one is released, you have this possibility.

the shells should eject quickly and reasonably forcibly. If they are ejecting lazy, stop using the gun until the reason can be determined.

everyone of these I get, I give a good going over and run some snap caps and cut off shells through it before using live ammo.

with that timing in mind, check the dimension of the rims of the shells. if the right and left (ie: spring and fixed) shell stops, are slightly out of adjustment, along with a rim on the low side of tolerance, coupled with a lazy action due to dirt (etc), then the shells can collide
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 2:05 pm
I thought about it being a timing issue , but I'm not convinced.

if a shell is being ejected it should be thrown clear and on the opposite side of the carrier fingers then the new shell.
in other words the incoming shell touches the inside of the carrier fingers and the outgoing shell touches the out side of the fingers.
the only way for a new shell and old shell to even touch is because it was grabbed or passed thru the carrier fingers.
on top of that , the brass head has to do it
PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:33 pm
Both posts are showing your pictures...

Seems OK from here.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:14 pm
I thought I would try to add another photo or 2. This more clearly shows the distorted forks, and I will also see if I can show the magazine spring cap that was pushed to the other side of the plug.
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.270 WIN
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 7:28 pm
I have a couple questions.

1. Do you still the have problem shells that you could accurately measure the rim diameter ?

2. Were you shooting at a range and catching your shells as they ejected ?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:10 pm
I was at a NJ Wildlife Management trap range and gathered all of my spent shells. I have not measured the rims but will measure them and also the unfired shells I still have. The shells were not "caught" but picked up. Are you aware of a go-no go diameter?

Thanks
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:59 pm
No, but I will try and find out. What I am trying to do is diagnose from long distance. There have been a couple discussions of this happening and so far I haven't seen a definitive answer.

Please don't take questions personal though :D

Now it is well known that the spring shell stop can have its spring get weak or dirt in the channel or get out of adjustment and cause it to double feed.

A dirty top extractor could hang up and not release the shell correctly.

Did the gun ever exhibit any other issues prior to it happening ? Was it ejecting slow ? Every one of my guns "pops" the spent shells out, but I have disassembled all my guns, cleaned every component and reassembled the guns.

I might have missed it, but what is the age of the gun ? What is it chambered for (ie: 2 3/4 or 3") just trying to get an idea.

I will mess around with one of mine and some fired, cut off shells I use to testing and see if I can get one to slip between the feed fingers.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:06 pm
an under sized rim could cause it ,but in my mind finding a rim that undersized would be unusual
id be more interested in the carrier.
if the forks were "racked" it could possibly grab a shell.
but if I had to make a guess I'd go with the carrier fingers being "spread"
initially you would think the receiver sides would keep the fingers from spreading enough to let a shell rim past and for the most part that's correct .
however
at the very top of the receiver there is room for the ends of the carrier fingers to spread out wider then normal.
incidentally this is in the same area as the extractors kick loose the spent shell.
if for instance the top extractor sticks for a fraction of a sec or the spread of the carrier fingers is a bit wider then specs or a combo of both a spent shell could theoretically end up on the incoming side of the carrier
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 20, 2014 10:01 am
I worked with one this morning that I have apart, in this case a 16ga receiver. This is what I found out.

1. if the shell is fully extracted, it would be almost impossible to slip the fingers over the rim as the rim is then past the relieved area of the receiver and at the thick part of the fingers. as long as the rim is large enough in diameter, I was using a good Remington Hi Velocity hunting load shell

2. if the shell is partially extracted and then the extractor hooks lose the shell while the rim is in the area of the relieved part of the receiver, then there is the possibility of an energetic cycling of the action to pop the fingers over the rim

3. due to the mechanical nature of the design and the fact that the shell lifter assembly is cammed by the slide, the lifter/fingers don't move until further into the sequence of actions

4. then there is the issue that if the shell does hang then it will still be in the chamber and not turned sideways

so for this to happen, the extractors would have to lose a shell early in the extraction process, have the shell NOT be sticky so that it continues out and then turns at an angle to be able to hit the next shell

there is an event that we are not seeing yet that causes this to happen as there is not a lot of room in the receiver for this to align just right

turn a gun over and slowly watch when each event happens as the action is cycled.

we all know about double feeds due to the spring shell stop being sticky or out of time or the spring being weak

I still think it is centered around the shells as opposed to the gun, as a gun would have to be terribly neglected, worn and dirty to do this.

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