Ithaca releases Phoenix O/U and Single Barrel Trap Models
After several years of development and testing, Ithaca Gun Company of Ohio released their Phoenix O/U and single barrel trap models at the 2012 SHOT Show In Las Vegas. Along with the much-anticipated Phoenix O/U, Ithaca has expanded their 1911 handgun line, their Model 37 Tactical and Home Defense Models, introduced a very limited Sousa Grade Phoenix, and is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Model 37 this year with a commemorative model. They have also hugely expanded their dealer network which you'll be hearing about soon.
It was three years ago, at the SHOT Show in Orlando, where Ithaca first displayed the Phoenix prototype O/U. In 2010, we shot pre-production examples in Las Vegas. Since then, the Phoenix has gone to Argentina for high volume testing and several slight changes have been the result, including mechanical triggers.
Gun Company's roots go back to 1883, when Ithaca shotgun production started.
Ithaca introduced their single barrel trap gun in 1914, the Flues Model
Single Barrel Trap. In 1922, it was replaced by a new model designed by
Frank Knickerbocker, affectionately known as the Knick. As documented
by noted firearms historians Ned Schwing and Walter Snyder, the Knick
was the gun of choice of champion shooters for many years, winning the
Grand National several times. The Knick was in continuous production until
1988, with the Grade 7, the $1000 grade of 1936, the $2000 grade of 1952,
the $3000 grade of 1965 and the $5000 grade model of 1974. These were
some of the most impressive trap guns ever produced. Today, a used $5000
grade SBT model regularly fetches $10,000 and up. The price more than
doubles for a new in the box SBT, if you can find one.
At the muzzle, the barrels are free floating with a dovetail joint. At the breech end, the barrels are fastened to the mono-block without the use of soldering or brazing. Each barrel is threaded at the end and drawn tight to the mono-block by recessed sleeve nuts. This method eliminates any potential distortion to the barrels and provides 100% reliability to the joint. No heat is applied to the Phoenix barrel set; this Ithaca "solderless" technology is why they are able to show that their barrels are the straightest shotgun barrels possible with no warping during manufacture and no restraightening after brazing.
The box lock has a rack of three massive lugs at the bottom of the mono block that precisely lock up with three mating grooves in the Phoenix's receiver. For maximum strength and durability, the combined area of the mating surfaces of these lugs exceed that of the typical hook shaped lug found in conventional box lock double barrel actions.
The Phoenix has a manual safety that incorporates a pendulum type barrel selector. The riggers are factory set to 3.5 - 4 lbs. With a 30" barrel set, the Phoenix weighs approximately 8.5 lbs. This combination along with barrel forcing cones of 1.5 degrees are designed to give the Phoenix low recoil and keeps the barrels on target for an instant second shot. The trigger assembly on the Phoenix drops out quickly with the removal of just two screws. The Ithacas I shot were soft shooters, swung smoothly and steadily and had excellent triggers. It is apparent that the Phoenix is designed to be an O/U that can take high-volume shooting with no hiccups. The metal-working experts at Ithaca have high-precision equipment along with tool and die making expertise, all that is being brought to bear on this new model that promises to be the most precisely, uniformly made O/U shotgun ever made in the United States.
wait is over and Ithaca is accepting orders for the Phoenix and the single
barrel trap models right now. The Phoenix starts at $2500 retail, exactly
as targeted three years ago. Expect a full review of a production Ithaca
Phoenix in the very near future.
Copyright 2012 by Randy Wakeman. All Rights Reserved.