Ithaca Model 51


Nice web site.

I’ve had a Ithaca model 51 semi auto 12 gauge for a bunch of years. Didn’t use it much. I recently gave it to my son to use for skeet and he’s doing well with it. However a it’s needed repair on 2 occasions in the past few months.


Can you refer me to a source for parts for this gun?

As experts, how do you regard this gun?

Are the low end over-under imports any good for skeet?

Thanks for your help,


Dear Jack,

It just so happens that I spent a lot of time with an Ithaca 51. A friend and I bought Supreme Skeet 51s new in the mid-70s. We used the Ithacas for International Skeet and started to put some serious rounds through them. The guns had a lifetime guarantee, but Ithaca would only send us one part at a time when something broke. We couldn’t build up an inventory of those fragile action bars and the like. We’d break a part and then would have to wait to get a replacement. That got old fast. I remember the designer Tollinger mentioning that the gun was designed as a field gun, not a target gun. I finally gave up on the gun and sold it.

The 51 was a very soft shooting gun and I liked it a lot while it worked. It was very easy to disassemble. I ended up going to Remington 1100s. They weren’t any more reliable, but I could get parts more easily.

I don’t have a clue where to get parts for the 51. Ithaca has been in and out of business a couple of times in the past 20 years. I think that they are currently back up and running with the Model 37 pump. Track them down in King Ferry, NY and see what they know about Model 51 parts. That’s all I can suggest.

Any low end O/Us good for skeet? That’s pretty subjective. The best deal is probably a used Browning, Beretta or similar. These are not “low end”, but often can be had for a good price. They last forever and parts aren’t an issue. I wouldn’t get a true low end O/U if someone is at all serious about skeet. It will end up being a poor investment in the long run.

If you would reconsider a gas gun, the modestly priced Beretta 3901 (based on the 390 action), is excellent. It’s durable, reliable and ought to be available from a large store for around $600. A used 1100 might also make sense as you can still get all the parts you need. Of course, a used Beretta gas gun would also be a good choice and probably more reliable, but they have a different feel than the 1100s which you may or may not prefer.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

This entry was posted in Shotguns and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Ithaca Model 51

  1. Robert kennedy says:

    Thank you Bruce for your information. My dad and and I both bought medal 51’s in 1976. The same part broke two times with both guns. I talked to one of the engineers and he tried to convince me that I didn’t take care of it which is a bunch of BS. It was a poor design. I broke them down and clean them every time after every use. I still have both shotguns today and they still remain broken. We paid $100 for repair parts each time because new parts were not available. We use them for some skeet shooting and dove hunting. If they weren’t meant for high-volume they should have stated so on outside of the box. Ithaca should remain closed and out of business.


  2. Ken W says:

    Contact Diamond Gun Smithing, Ithaca NY. They repair and restore certain Ithaca Models. They can repair the cracked slide commonly found on the Model 51. Also they can also supply the recoil spring and poly bolt bumper. which are related to the slide cracking issue. The recoil spring and poly bumper are considered to be wear items and should be replaced every couple of years, especially on heavily used guns. Some 51’s apparently came from the factory with springs which were too short to start with.


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.