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#602723 09/12/21 06:36 PM
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Hi all,
Since there isn't an Ithaca collectors forum this seems like a good place for my question. I see a lot of small bore Ithaca Flues guns, in almost new, unmolested condition, with 2 3/4" chambers. From what I read they should be 2 1/2". This seems to be much more prevalent in Ithaca guns than other brands. Could these longer chambers actually come from from Ithaca this way or is it mostly aftermarket alterations ?
Thanks, Dave

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Yes, they should be 2 1/2” (actually 2 9/16”).
Ithaca starts listing 2 3/4” chambers in their 1934 catalogs.

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While Ithaca would chamber for longer shells if the customer requested, normally the 16-gauge was chambered for 2 9/16 inch shells and the 20- and 28-gauge for 2 1/2 inch shells. When the 20-gauge progressive burning powder, high velocity, 20-gauge 1 ounce loads hit the market in 1922, Western Cartridge Co., Peters Cartridge Co. and Remington Arms Co., Inc. put up their versions in a 2 3/4 inch case. So, Ithaca may have begun chambering their 20-gauge guns for the 2 3/4 inch shells before the catalogue text caught up. Winchester like the others put their 1 ounce high velocity 20-gauge loads in a 2 3/4 inch case, but with all their 20-gauge Model 12s in the hands of sportsmen made for 2 1/2 inch shells, they also stuffed the load in a 2 1/2 inch shell.

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I had a very late Flues 20, 1925, s/n 3961xx, seemed like it was built on a heavier frame than the early wands, it was 2-3/4, I have no reason to think it was not original. It weighed about 1/2 pound more than an early 20 I had.


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By the mid-1920s, Ithaca had beefed up their Flues doubles quite a bit. In the 1912 through at least 1915 Ithaca catalogues they give their smallbore weights as --

16-ga 5 3/4 to 6 1/4
20-ga 5 1/4 to 5 3/4
28-ga 4 3/4 to 5 1/4

In the July 1919, Ithaca catalogue --

16-ga 5 lbs. 14 ozs. to 6 1/2
20-ga 5 1/2 to 6
28-ga 5 to 5 1/2

In the December 1, 1919, Ithaca catalogue --

16-ga 6 to 6 3/4
20-ga 5 3/4 to 6
28-ga 5 1/4 to 5 3/4

In the 1925 Ithaca catalogue --

16-ga 6 1/4 to 6 3/4
20-ga 6 to 6 1/2
28-ga 5 3/4 to 6 1/4

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it is sad that the increases in powder pressures, resulting from the deveopment of better ways to kill each other is one of the negative results of ww1...

apparently this change in powder technology carried over to post ww1 shotgun loads as well...resulting in preww1, light guns, such as many ithacas to develop mechanical and reliablity issue that were unknowm prior to ww1 and before the new higher pressure powders came into common use for factory ammo...

and this is why so many fine side lock guns also suddenly started to show fatigue issues...

like the wise man said...an ole hoss can only take so much abuse, before it breaks down an quits on you...


"Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." Ronald Reagan, 1981...
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Fortunately we have numbers to prove that ed is incorrect.

DuPont Ballistic Table that was published in Parker Brothers' “The Small Bore Shotgun” c. 1920
http://parkerguns.org/pages/PDF%20Documents/Small%20Bore%20Shotgun.pdf
It is clear that this table converts Long Tons to PSI simply by multiplying by 2240; NOT using Burrard’s conversion
“All powders referred to on these pages are of the bulk nitro kind ranging from 12 (“New Schultze”, New “E.C. Improved No. 2”) to 13 1/3 (original DuPont Bulk) grains per dram…”
DuPont Bulk was introduced in 1893
"New Schultze" and "E.C. Improved" in 1903
Dense Smokeless powder pressures were higher. "Infallible" was introduced by Laflin & Rand in 1900

[Linked Image from photos.smugmug.com]

Numbers require adding 10 - 14% for modern piezo transducer pressures.
12 gauge
3 Dr. Eq. 1 1/8 oz. = 8,110 psi
3 1/4 Dr. Eq. 1 1/8 oz. = 8,960 psi
3 1/2 Dr. Eq. 1 1/4 oz. = 9,900 psi
16 gauge
2 3/4 Dr. Eq. 7/8 oz. = 7,035 psi
3 Dr. Eq. 1 oz. = 8,980 psi
20 gauge
2 1/2 Dr. Eq. 7/8 oz. = 12,655 psi

Very similar to modern pressures when adding 10-14%, and the 20g far exceeds the SAAMI recommended max. of 11,500 psi

If ed has post-WWI pressure data documenting higher pressures he is invited to post the information.

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Originally Posted by ed good
it is sad that the increases in powder pressures, resulting from the deveopment of better ways to kill each other is one of the negative results of ww1...

...apparently this change in powder technology..

No such thing occurred, ed.

The change in powder technology was the development of progressive powders.

They develop higher velocity without an increase in pressure.


"The price of good shotgunnery is constant practice" - Fred Kimble
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Shot loads have increased since the 1920 numbers cited. The max load for 20 gauge was 7/8 0z., not the ounce or more we see now. The greater recoil would create a demand for heavier guns.


Caution: Hunting and fishing stories told here. Protective footgear may be required.
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so then, why did ithaca beef up the flues guns shortly after ww1? and then eventually replace them with the heavier nid in 1926?


"Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." Ronald Reagan, 1981...
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