November 2018

What About the Ithaca Pump?

Reader Cliff touts this as an alternative to the shotguns we reviewed last month. So we bring everybody else up to speed. Reader ‘HMark’ doesn’t like stuff hanging off self-defense guns.

Re “Home-Defense Shotguns: Are Magazine-Feds the New Thing?” October 2018

I received my copy and enjoyed the article. I was curious as to why you did not include the Ithaca Model 37 Defender? I have seen your past report for this gun. Your people evaluating the shotgun gave the Ithaca the very top choice. Yes, I know it’s more expensive — but the walnut stock, walnut corncob forend, the best trigger, and old-fashioned high quality build, when added to the home defense purpose, made it my choice. — Cliff

ithaca model 37

Ithaca Model 37

Hey Cliff: We wanted as close a match in execution from the mag-feds to the tube-feds as made sense. Also, it was five guns and 12 pages as it was, so that’s a pretty big commitment. But here’s a quick look back at the Ithaca, reviewed in the May 2009 issue. “The Ithaca Model 37 Defense Gun Eight Shot 3-inch 12 Gauge is the high-capacity 20-inch-barrel model, able to hold seven shells in the magazine plus one in the chamber. The buttstock is uncheckered walnut, finished off with a nicely ground, black Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad. The external metal finishes of this home-defense shotgun are Parkerized; the barrel is a plain barrel with a brass bead at the muzzle. We felt the Parkerized finish was extremely well-done and evenly applied. The walnut forearm is a big, beefy honey-dipper or corn-cob type, currently designated as a ring-tail forearm by Ithaca. We were instantly impressed with the steady grip and control this forearm gave us. The gun itself weighs 6.75 pounds, with a trigger that was exceptionally crisp, breaking at 4 pounds on the nose. Unlike many wingshooting versions of the Model 37, the Ithaca defense model is not a take-down version. It has a solid frame with the barrel permanently threaded into its all-steel receiver, similar to that employed by the Ithaca Deerslayer II and III. It is a very strong system, as solid threads are obviously stronger than interrupted threads of the same length. By virtue of the bottom-loading and bottom-eject action, the M37 goes a long way toward being ambidextrous. The Ithaca Model 37 was the best-built, smoothest, best-balanced shotgun in the test. It also had the best trigger, and it was fastest and most user-friendly to operate.”— Todd Woodard

Wow, talk about coincidence. I’d been considering picking up the Mossberg 590M because I have a 500 which I really like. Thanks for the heads-up concerning its failures. I won’t be purchasing one. Last week, I was also checking out the Chinese version of the Saiga, the JTS M12AK, on the Brownells website and thought the price was right compared to what I paid for my Saiga, $800+ after I added the features to it that are found on the JTS. Of course, I couldn’t add a magwell to my Saiga. One of the problems I have with my Saiga is that it won’t cycle low-brass shells, so I’m wondering if the four-position gas adjustment on the JTS allows for that. I understand from various websites that a Saiga can be modified to run with low-brass shells, but the modification involves taking a grinder/wire wheel to the operating surfaces of the bolt, carrier, and some of the inside surfaces. I do not have the confidence to make these modifications, so my Saiga can only reliably fire high-brass loads, and that is painful to both my shoulder and pocketbook. The other problem I’ve heard about and read about that happens to Saigas is that they eventually shoot themselves apart.

I have put about 100 shells through my Saiga and haven’t noticed any problems, but I understand that 100 shells is not a significant amount of ammo. Do you think the JTS will suffer from the same lack of durability? It’s my understanding, once again from other gun publications, when I was looking at buying a Norinco Type 99 versus an AK, that the Chinese make better firearms than the Russians do. So I’m wondering if this is true when discussing shotguns? Maybe sometime you could test the Saiga, the JTS M12AK, and some brand of AR-15 style shotgun against one another? I consider my Saiga to be a home-defense shotgun. There is no way I would lug my 12-pound Saiga any distance. — Scott

Hey Scott: That’s a lot to unpack. We shy away from commenting on other sources’ reviews, good or bad. We test our guns, write that up, and tend to our own knitting. But I’m certainly willing to review and publish other readers’ direct experiences with their shotguns. I trust Gun Tests readers to give other readers the straight skinny on how their personal guns perform. Sorry to rain on the 590M’s parade, but we test, report, and you decide what to buy. — tw

My perspective: Detachable magazines and pistol grips add extra “appendages” to a firearm that is otherwise highly maneuverable. These extra protrusions can snag clothing and require more space. Maybe okay for some, but just not for me. — HMark on Gun-Tests.com

Re “Lead Fouling Removal,” Gun Tests Special Report

lead fouling removal

Read your article, interesting. I always set the barrel in the bottle solvent for while, then flip it over in there for the same amount of time. Came out great with a copper bore brush. Saw a video once with Bill Wilson in which he was instructing on 45 ACP pistol maintenance. He used a small piece of copper cut from a copper dish-scouring pad. Looked like it worked great. I prefer Lube 1 for cleaning or Ballistol Lubricant. Love your articles. — Richard

Readers who aren’t signed up for our Straight Shooter e-letter might have missed this. To read it, click the link above.  — tw

Re “Firing Line,” October 2018

Saw the letter from Dean asking for an article on electronic hearing protection. Be sure to consider adequate amplification for those of us using hearing aids. Also, please tell your readers that the button on top of the baseball hats we sometimes wear can be removed. Diagonal cutters will do the job and will make wearing headband protectors much more comfortable. Also, please make note that more protection is needed on enclosed spaces (indoors, when using barrels on some USPSA stages, etc.) and for younger shooters. Don’t make: “WHAT?” your favorite word as you age! — Nick

Wow. Great points. Thank you for sharing them. — tw

Re “Double-Action 357 Magnums: Ruger & S&W Revolvers Tested,” September 2018

Kudos for reviewing the Taurus Model 66 6-inch .357! I appreciate your reviewing the older, sometimes used, models of firearms. I look forward every time to your unbeatable reviews and articles! — West

Taurus Model 66 .357 magnum

Taurus Model 66 .357 magnum

Re “Two Over-The-Counter Exotics from Mossberg and Century,” October 2017

Mossberg Shockwave

Mossberg Shockwave

I love Gun Tests! Hoping you have some answers for me. I want to purchase a new Mossberg Shockwave. Intended use is protection while on my live-aboard boat. I have a physical issue, torn rotator cuff, unrepairable, in my right shoulder, which has forced me to give up all long guns. I am now restricted to the use of handguns, and the Shockwave looks like it might be the perfect solution as it is not a shoulder-mounted weapon. The questions are: 1) Which will have less felt recoil, the 20 gauge shooting 00 buck or the 12 gauge shooting reduced recoil/mini shells? 2) Has the adapter for using mini shells you used when you tested the Shockwave continued to function properly? Hopefully, you will have the answers or know where I can find them. — Bruce

Mossberg Shockwave

Hey Bruce: The Aguila Mini-Shells have far less recoil than 20-gauge rounds, depending on which rounds you choose, of course. And the adapter continues to work fine. I would recommend you select a Shockwave with a corrosion-resistant finish, such as the 590 Shockwave FDE Cerakote 50653. This has a Flat Dark Earth Cerakote protective coating on the barrel, mag tube, and receiver MSRP: $504. Or, even better in my opinion, the 590 JIC Shockwave 50656. It comes in a durable, water-resistant tube and has a Cerakote Stainless non-reflective finish on exposed metalwork. MSRP: $647. I would caution you to be sure about local ownership of these shotguns, however. Although the Mossberg 590 Shockwave is classified as a “firearm” under the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA), and is not subject to the provisions of the National Firearms Act (NFA), state and local laws may be more restrictive. While it is legal federally, the 590 Shockwave may be considered a “short-barreled” shotgun or “assault weapon” by certain state and local laws and, therefore, is illegal to possess. So, if your boat is moored in a coastal state, most of which are Infringed Rights jurisdictions, you might be making a mistake. Just be sure before you jump. Also, I’d encourage you to watch a video by Clint Smith, current president and director of the Thunder Ranch training facility in Lakeview, Oregon, about using these shotguns for self-defense. Big takeaway: Don’t put them in front of your face. A search on YouTube or on the web for “Shockwave Thunder Ranch” will take you to the right spot. — tw

Mossberg 590 Shockwave

Osprey Suppressor Use

I think you reviewed the Osprey suppressor before you began its use as a test platform, so you may have answered my question and I am unable to recall. I have the Osprey Micro and enjoy it thoroughly. There is one drawback I see with eccentric cans, and I wonder if you’ve experienced it with your Osprey. Timing. I find repeatability to be a challenge. I can add the proper shims and have the silencer timed just right so the bulky part is at 6 o’clock; then after cleaning and reassembly, it points off to the side. Perhaps with the rimfires it is a bigger problem because the threaded barrel adapter adds another set of threads that need to be timed consistently in addition to the suppressor mount. What is your experience with the Osprey (or other eccentrics) in this regard? — Paul

Hey Paul: Actually, we haven’t done a side-by-side comparison test of suppressors. We simply chose the Osprey 45 because it could be used on several calibers of handguns and rifles. We’ve chosen to buy the correct pistons for each use, and haven’t seen timing problems at all. It’s pretty easy, in fact. — tw

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