Shotgun Blast From the Past: Cleaning an Ithaca Model 37 with 725 cleaner



Ithaca Model 37 Dirty to clean before and after

The Ithaca Model 37 was one of the most popular pump action shotguns in the United States for a long time. And as a result the gun has a lot of history behind it. The longest production run of any pump action shotgun is just the start. It has served in many wars, and was popular with the police too. So it’s no coincidence that many of these guns have a good story that goes along with them. This one in particular, belonged to my grandpa.
Shotgun Disassembled

My grandfather bought this shotgun to help at work 70 years ago. He worked on a rice farm, and ducks would eat the newly planted rice. Because of this, it was common practice to fire a gun over the water to scare them away. My grandpa Carl got his hands on this gun for just that purpose. Only, there is a strange part to this story that you may not expect. When he bought this gun, he was only twelve years old. That’s right twelve. This doesn’t sound like all that big of a deal, plenty of parents have gotten their kids guns, but the details are what make this… interesting. He not only bought it when he was twelve, but he did this alone, with no ID. Wow, times have really changed haven’t they? Just wait it gets better. He actually walked across the street after school to pick the gun up, then walked back to the school with the gun and ammo. Then he proceeded to ride the school bus back home with the gun… Nobody batted an eye. Today they would call the cops! Getting a new gun sure isn’t that easy anymore.

So, the gun has been in my family ever since, and it has certainly served us well. To be honest, I have no earthly idea how many shells this gun has seen, but it still keeps firing true. That’s the thing about pump action shotguns, they just keep working, and this one is no exception. Taking that in mind, this gun gets passed between quite a few people on a regular basis, and that means it’s cleaning schedule isn’t exactly normal. Actually, I don’t even know how many rounds it had through it before this, other than it was over a thousand. Needless to say it was past due.

When I first took the adjustable choke off I could see just how bad it was. Caked on carbon had filled the gaps in the choke to the point where there weren’t any gaps to speak of.
Dirty shotgun choke

And that was just the beginning, after taking off the stock, I could see the carbon on the back of the trigger group and bolt making a fine black coating. Which meant there was even more inside.The trigger was stubborn to remove which was not surprising considering how it looked when it came out.The bolt was a mess other than the face, which I am sure was sprayed down at some point because the gun was having trouble extracting. The entire receiver was a filthy mess. Everything was covered in black sludge.

So I got to work, using nothing more than Slip 2000 725 degreaser. It was simple enough, spray the parts down, give them a light rub with some cotton swabs (a little scrubbing where it was really on there) and then rinse with warm water. I was amazed at just how effective it was. It ripped off everything. Bare steel was all that was left after I was done.

It got the trigger group cleaner than I thought was possible at this point. The bolt was easier to clean than I would have believed.

Seriously they should call this stuff elbow grease, because it does all the work for you. I even saved the choke for last thinking “There’s no way it can get all that out of there easy, but boy was I wrong. A light spray and sawing a cloth patch through it made it look brand new again. I’ve never been more impressed with a cleaner.


The only thing left to do was wipe everything down with Slip 2000’s Gun Lube and put it back together. Everything went back together easier than it came apart, every piece was smooth. And when it was all back in place, I was amazed.

Not only did the gun look 30 years younger, but it was the smoothest action I had ever felt on any shotgun. I know it’s almost pointless to say it now, but I’m hooked. This stuff really works, and it doesn’t have any harsh fumes or toxic chemicals in it. What more could you ask for?

In hindsight, I wish I had done this sooner. Not just because this gun really needed to be cleaned, but because if I had known how well 725 worked, I wouldn’t have been putting it off in the first place. But the most rewarding part about this whole thing for me, is knowing that this gun is going to keep on working for a long time. And with Slip 2000’s products, I know it will still be around for my grandchildren.

Best regards,

Robert Sullivan

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