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Aug 5th, 2016
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Joined: May 2015
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I find the Crass and Flues to be the most appealing. Some of the engraving was tops, and the designs were sound...they just dont have the same sex appeal of other makes. The NID, while strong, has always stuck me as particularly inelegant.

Some of the trap guns are highly finished and lovely. They definitely found a niche there.

High grade guns were just such a small % of their overall production. Contrast that with Lefever, who made a large % of higher grade guns...certainly prior Dan's departure. The same can be said of Sneider over the entire life of the make - father, son and son. They saw themselves as competing with English guns. They made leaser finished guns only to pay the bills.

NDG

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To my eye the earlier Ithaca hammerless doubles were rather ungainly in their profiles compared to an Ansley H. Fox, Lefever or Baker, but they had some lovely engraving in the higher grades. The later "bold" engraving styles, McGraw for Ithacas, Gough for A.H. Fox, etc. met a price point but are pretty unimpressive.

The Flues Model Ithaca was far from a "sound design" with all its frame cracking issues.

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Originally Posted by Researcher
The Flues Model Ithaca was far from a "sound design" with all its frame cracking issues.

This notion concerning Ithaca Flues frame cracking, especially in 20 gauge guns, was discussed here once again several weeks ago. In spite of considerable hand-wringing about the alleged design flaw, nobody was able to demonstrate that any significant number of Flues frames have cracked. In addition, it appeared that the majority of those few that did crack were abused in some manner, such as firing excessively heavy loads, or doubling. If there is any proof showing that a significant number of Flues frames have cracked during normal use with reasonable loads, we have not seen it.

Of course, we keep hearing that E.M.Reilly had 300 gun-making employees.... But we still don't have any evidence of that either. I remain willing to be convinced, but simply saying things isn't going to do it. No arguments from me concerning the opinion that the Flues was not as good looking as some of the competition. However, there are worse looking guns, and a lot of crappy guns that really have worn out and self destructed due to poor design and poor materials. Flues shotguns simply aren't bad for a mass produced machine made gun. People who own and use them shouldn't be worried that their frames will crack under normal and proper use.


A true sign of mental illness is any gun owner who would vote for an Anti-Gunner like Joe Biden.

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LetFly,
I have a fair accumulation of Ithaca examples. I have observed that as Ithaca made model changes they used existing model frames and incorporated the new model lockwork. In respect to the bolsters: They can be found on 3rd style Crass, almost all Lewis models, some Minier models and a scant few Flues. The lockwork is what defines the models, not the frames. I am still searching for a transition Crass/Lewis model. I have examples of Lewis framed Minier, and Minier frame Flues. There is also an odd example transition Minier/Flues with 4 pins.

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Researcher + Keith,

I was not aware of prior threads discussing this, nor of either real, or suppossed, cracking issues with Flues. I also don't own one, but have dusted clays with two (both 12's) belonging to shooting friends on multiple occasions, and they have always struck me as well balanced and soundly reliable.

FWIW...those two have no cracks. Although "two" is clearly only a small sampling.

They seem like great guns...just...a little too Mary Ann for me. I prefer Ginger.

NDG

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I should add, that if the cracking question were to turn toward L.C. Smith...it's a different matter entirely. That I can speak to firsthand, having owned, and known others who have, guns with cracks behind the plates.

Even if one asserts 'hot loads' as the culprit, you would have to explain away why other makes aren't affected in similar numbers.

Even so, I hesitate to call it a "design flaw," as some have said over the years. More, an unfortunate drawback. Lots of things we buy are susceptible to unintended wear affects.

They're still pretty guns that work. Made by New Yorkers!

It's hard to believe, given current regional politics, that up until a few decades ago, the vast majority of guns ever made in the U.S. came from Connecticut, New York, and too a lesser extent Massachusetts.

NDG

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I am not an Ithaca collector. I do collect early, Damascus barreled American maker SxS, Parker, Remington, Lefever, Ithaca, Smith, etc. Mainly lower grades accustomed to the woodcock covers, and usually in need of rescue from abuse.

I came across this Ithaca Lewis two barrel set, 28", 32" with original case at a LGS and added it to my set. My understanding is that Ithaca added the bolsters to the late Crass and then Lewis models, not out of any design flaw or engineering concern for cracking but as an accommodation, perhaps marketing ploy, to the growing preference for smokeless powder shotshells. I do not know the fact of this. I do know I like the look these added to the frame.

Last edited by LetFly; 04/01/22 10:11 AM.
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Drew,

That's nuts! I thought we were talking abiut WOOD, because of wood/metal fit. Cracked frames?

How many of these have come to light?

Was Ithaca known to use some specifically different steel blend? And, has such a thing manifested in other models (earlier or NID)?


NDG

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Ok, so now I read that whole thread. As was pointed out by others, anthing mechanical can be run too hard, and fail. And as was pointed out by another, hundreds of thousands of these were made.

Im not inferring an opinion here, Im genuinely curious what people think. That of...where do we draw the line at acceptible chance failure?

You do it in your car, on a plane...everytime you plug in a cheap device like a shaver or toaster. So, at what percentage do we say something is a failure?

It it 10 Flues in the whole bunch? One poster said something along the lines of, "we've all been hearing for decades about cracked Flues." Well...i shoot vintage doubles regularly, amongst a circle of friends and acquaintences who have far more experience than me...and Ive never heard this.

So...have people been hearing the same 4 tales for so long they dont realize it was only 4? Or 10 actual occurances?

Im not asserting this is an example, but I am ever wary of 'the telephone game.' The age of the internet has only amplified it.

Remember when all of a sudden every Chevy Blazer was going to blow up because the gas tank was between the frame and the body? How many times did that actually happen?

Let me phrase the pertinent question this way: If I were to own a 20 ga Flues, and only shoot loads of a pressure that is in spec for a gun of that age...should I be legitimately, rationally concerned, that the frame may fail?

NDG

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