ithaca shotgun

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An hour before noon on August 20, 1982, 51-year-old Carl Robert Brown went to a gun store a block away from his home and purchased two shotguns, a rifle, and ammunition. With a 12-gauge Ithaca 37 shotgun slung over his shoulder, he then rode his bicycle to Bob Moore’s Welding & Machine Service Inc. in Miami, Florida, where he had argued with an employee the previous day about a lawnmower engine he thought they had repaired poorly and the $20 bill they wouldn’t let him pay with a traveler’s check. Brown entered the building’s offices and shot to death the five employees in that area before heading into the machine shop, killing one and injuring three others huddled near a table. He continued to the welding shop and murdered a foreman hiding in the office, then killed a welder as he tried to escape outside. Afterwards, Brown fled on his bicycle “as calm as can be,” one witness recalled, adding, “he got on his bike and pedaled off as if he were going for a stroll.” Mark Kram, who was working in a nearby metal shop heard of the massacre and grabbed his .38-caliber revolver, pursuing the gunman in his car with his friend Ernest Hammett. They caught up with him six blocks away from the crime scene and Kram claimed he fired a warning shot over his head, causing him to fall to the ground. Brown reached for his shotgun, and they ran into him with their car, forcing his body against a light pole. He was deceased when authorities arrived, and an autopsy revealed the shot Kram fired hit him in the back, which was the cause of death.

Brown was described as an incredibly patriotic man, who “kept a military bearing about himself,” sometimes waking up neighbors in the early morning hours chanting, “United States! United States! United States!” but his behavior preceding the shooting had become unusual and incoherent. That March, he had been relieved of his teaching duties at Drew Middle School, so he could seek psychiatric help, due to his constant trailing from school curriculum and threatening behavior, including describing his sexual relations with a girlfriend to the class and chasing a group of students around with a stapler. A former student revealed the class took advantage of his ramblings: “All you had to do was come to class, ask one question, and he’d talk the rest of the period about everything. He was off his rocker. You could ask him a question about a bicycle tire and he’d talk about  how the tire was made and how much air goes into it. I never remember him smiling.”

Before the massacre, Brown also called his 10-year-old son and asked him if he wanted to join him in “killing a lot of people,” then he revealed he planned to target Hialeah Junior High School, the school he worked at before being transferred to Drew Middle School.

When investigators searched his home, they found a recording where he’s speaking as “a mythical figure he considered to be the controlling principle of the universe.” On the tape, Brown was heard saying, “This is the Logos speaking. God through me is responsible for the good and bad sounds in your head. Now I shall say a few good words in your head before I return you to the bad sounds in your head … The Logos is the spark of God, the most logical. I am indestructible on Earth.”

The Riot Gun: The Ithaca 37 - 12 Gauge

The pump shotgun world is quite a bizarre one. A market filled with brand new Remington 870′s and Mossberg 500/590′s, older model High-Standard, Winchester and a long line of department store boom sticks litter used racks across the US. And yet, in all of this, there’s just been one constant. The Ithaca 37.

This shotgun is one of, if not the oldest continually produced shotgun on the market, dating all the way back to the late 1930′s, and yet somehow hasn’t stopped being so popular.

The Ithaca’s beginnings lie not with Ithaca, but with Remington. In 1915, John Moses Browning patents a shotgun design, hammerless and bottom-ejecting and sells it to Remington. Remington let their big designer, John Pedersen work on it and two models came to the market. The Model 10 in 12 Gauge that was Pedersen’s design and the Model 17 in 20 Gauge that was both Browning and Pedersen’s work. These sold decently well, with a lot of Model 10′s sold to the US Army during WWI. However in 1931, Remington released a new shotgun, the Model 31, that replaced both the Model 10 and Model 17 in production. 

Ithaca, primarily making double-barreled shotguns at the time, decides to snatch up the designs for both guns, and began tweaking them while waiting for the patents to go out. They did and thus the Ithaca 37 began production.

It came in 12, 16, 20 and 28 Gauge, a series of different barrel lengths, sight choices, magazine tubes from 4 round Riot tubes to 7 round extended tubes. For the post-Depression US, it was a success in the civilian and military/police market.

The Ithaca 37 was a success in every way. It served the US Military from WWII all the way to Vietnam. It served and still serves the LAPD and NYPD as standard shotgun and while recent guns have been undercut by competitors like Remington and Mossberg as well as Chinese copies, Ithaca guns are solid, reliable and nigh-on indestructible. Whether it be a DSPS, Defense, Featherlight or otherwise, Ithaca 37′s are as iconic with police as the S&W Model 10.

The Silver Screen and the Ithaca 37 have been together ever since Cool Hand Luke. Ever since, almost every type of film has featured an Ithaca 37. Horror movies like The Thing and Aliens feature them, crime dramas like Miami Vice, Dirty Harry, Magnum Force and Cobra feature almost every model from Riot Models to Stakeouts. Even science fiction like They Live, The Terminator, Robocop and so many more feature the Ithaca 37. If it’s a movie, it will end up featuring at least one Ithaca 37.

Despite having a filmography on par with Sylvester Stallone, the Ithaca 37′s video game appearances are a bit lacking, with only period games like L.A. Noire and some combat games featuring the big old Ithaca either sawn down to a smaller size or other modifications. But it’s large size and distinct looks will always tell you that it’s an Ithaca.

And that is the Ithaca 37, the king of the pump action shotgun world. Despite the changing times and modernization of police forces, the Ithaca 37 has remained as popular as it was all the way back in 1937. It might be on the replacement block by a lot of police forces, but even when any other shotgun has broken or jammed, the Ithaca won’t. From the mud of Vietnam to the urban jungle of New York City, the Ithaca 37 is a favorite of those who wish to put out a lot of punishment without fearing a jam.

I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubblegum”

The North Hollywood Shootout: Game-Changing Crime

(left) Larry Eugene Phillips, Jr., (right) Deceba Stefan Emilian “Emil” Mătăsăreanu, perpetrators of the North Hollywood Shootout.

On 28 February 1997, at 0917 hours, two would-be bank robbers walked into the Laurel Canyon Boulevard Bank of America branch in the quiet community of San Fernando Valley, a semi-independent urbanized area of north Los Angeles. Dressed in matching suits of aramid body armour and each armed with one Norinco MAK-90 semi-automatic rifle, the two men stepped over the threshold of the bank, and into American law enforcement history. 

Inside the bank, the robbers acted quickly. Spraying gunfire throughout the bank to intimidate the customers and employees, they issued demands to the employees for all the money from the vault. However, unbeknownst to Phillips and Mătăsăreanu, two Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers, Loren Farrell and Martin Perello, had seen them enter the bank.  Sitting in their cruiser, the two officers called in a 2-11, LAPD code for an armed robbery, and waited for backup. As gunfire was heard from inside the bank, Farrell reported shots fired, calling more officers to the scene.

Meanwhile, the robbery was lasting longer than expected. Due to recently improved security methods, Bank of America branches stored all monies in separate lockboxes to slow down thieves. As the robbers hastily loaded cash into their duffels, LAPD officers surrounded the bank. At 0924, Phillips and Mătăsăreanu had secured around $300 000 (along with three dye packs secretly placed by the bank’s assistant manager), and Phillips chose this moment to exit the building.

Map of the North Hollywood shootout. The bodies of Phillips and Mătăsăreanu are shown in red.

As he emerged into the street, Phillips spotted Sergeant Larry Haynes and Officer Martin Whitfield, in partial cover behind their cruiser across Laurel Canyon Blvd. He then opened fire, riddling the vehicles with bullets and wounding seven LAPD officers. The officers frantically returned fire, but it soon became clear that their Beretta 92FS pistols were not powerful enough to penetrate Phillips’ body armour. Even Officer James Zboravan’s Ithaca 37 shotgun proved useless, and after a four-man SWAT team arrived, Phillips reentered the bank.

Shortly after, he reemerged with Mătăsăreanu and the duffel bag containing the stolen money. At this point, the dye packs in the bag went off, ruining the money and rendering the robbery a failure. The two men resorted to “Plan B”– simply to escape with their lives. They opened fire indiscriminately on officers and civilians, further injuring Ofc. Whitfield and Sgt. Haynes and wounding Officer. Stuart Guy. As they moved towards their getaway car, a white 1987 Chevrolet Celebrity, several officers attempted to flank them from a lot on Archwood Street. Phillips fired on the group, severely wounding Detective Earl Valadares. 

Ofc. Stuart Guy lies wounded near his cruiser.

Mătăsăreanu entered and started the getaway car, while Phillips retrieved a Heckler and Koch M91A3 rifle from the vehicle and laid down cover fire. Soon after, however, the rifle was struck by several police bullets, destroying it. Hit in the shoulder, and disoriented from the phenobarbital he had taken before the robbery, Phillips grabbed a Norinco Type 56-S1 and attempted to fire one-handed. The weapon jammed repeatedly, and Phillips discarded it but continued firing with a Beretta 92FS. Hit in the hand, he dropped his pistol, and, upon retrieving it, committed suicide by shooting himself in the head.

Seeing Phillips go down, Mătăsăreanu abandoned the Celebrity (now with at least two flat tires and a shattered windshield). Fleeing on foot, he then attempted to hijack a Jeep pickup belonging to aeronautical engineer Bill Marr. Mătăsăreanu took a Bushmaster XM15 E2S “Dissipator” rifle from the trunk of the Celebrity, boarded Marr’s vehicle, and attempted to start it. However, the Jeep had a manual transmission, which Mătăsăreanu did not know how to operate. This rendered the Jeep useless and left Mătăsăreanu effectively trapped.

At this point, a SWAT team armed with AR-15 rifles closed in. Noticing Mătăsăreanu was wearing no armour on his legs, they fired under the cars, hitting the robber over twenty times. Mătăsăreanu fell, then surrendered, and the SWAT officers quickly surrounded and cuffed him. As Mătăsăreanu dared them to kill him, the officers radioed for an ambulance but not offer medical treatment of any sort themselves. At 1001 hours, he expired from blood loss and bullet trauma; the ambulance arrived nearly 70 minutes after, far too late.

The shootout’s aftermath was nothing less than the progressive militarization of America’s police forces. Mindful of the fact that standard service weapons had proven ineffective against the robbers’ combination of aramid and homemade body armour, the LAPD began to consider issuing more powerful weapons to their officers. Several months later, a Department of Defense shipment of 600 surplus M16s arrived; these were issued to each patrol sergeant. By the next year, regular officers were allowed to carry .45 caliber semi-automatic pistols (previously restricted to SWAT team members) and Kevlar plating had been installed in the doors of all LAPD cruisers.

That same year, Congress approved the 1033 program, a controversial scheme that allowed the DoD to transfer any type of surplus equipment to police forces at little of no cost. In particular, the program states that "all law enforcement agencies [may] acquire property for bona fide law enforcement purposes that assist in their arrest and apprehension mission". This is considered to have been a direct response to the North Hollywood shootout.

Mătăsăreanu’s Bushmaster XM15 E2S, modified to fire automatically and equipped with a high-capacity “Beta-mag”.

Phillips’ suit of body armour, which offered excellent protection from police firearms.

Phillips takes cover behind an abandoned police cruiser.

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This is my new build Ithaca 37HD (Home Defense / Heavy Duty) From the Ithaca Gun Company now in Sandusky Ohio. Right now I’ve got it as far as I can take it because the aftermarket for it is almost nonexistent. Starting from the muzzle to the buttstock I have an XS 24/7 Big Dot sight. A new in box SureFire 624 forend light ,back when it was Laser Products Corporation, that has been discontinued since 1996 that I upgraded with the LM2 LED head. Shot shell index cards by Esstac. Finally an Original SOE single point sling. I plan on getting SOE shot shell index cards and changing out the buttstock for a Choate pistol grip youth/tactical model.

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As you all know, I’ve been rethinking my first handgun list amid the aftermath of the Paris terror attack. I also have created a new list for my first rifle. Originally I was between the Remington 870 and the Ithaca 37. Both great shotguns. But after this happened, and after talking to @evolutionofthear15 about the G30, I’ve decided I’d rather 30 rounds of 5.56/7.62 than 8 12 gauge.

So here are my choices:

-The WASR 10. That’s right up @therevenantrising’s alley. I am also considering one of DDI’s new AKs but I don’t know enough about them.

-The VZ58. I love this rifle, and have fired one.

-The IWI tavor. I really want one, and if I get it as my first rifle, so be it. But Imma get one regardless.

I did have the BCM RECCE 16 and the Daniel defense DDM4 on here, but I’ve decided that I want my first AR15 to be a build project.

Again, message me or reblog here with any information you have on these rifles. Thank you