Student designed gun goes into production

Back in 2001 four Cornell engineering students designed a lightweight shotgun for their master of engineering project. Ten years later it has finally gone into production.


Ithaca Gun, an Ithaca fixture since 1880, ran into financial trouble soon after the students completed the design, and the company assets were sold in 2007. The students had graduated, and they assumed the gun would never actually get made.

Now based in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, Ithaca Gun recently informed John Callister, the students’ faculty adviser, that their long-dormant designs were to become reality after all.

“The folks in Ohio called me and said they were hoping I still had the computer files on a disk,” said Callister, senior lecturer in mechanical engineering and operations research.

All the parts, including the breech block, receiver, slide, carrier and trigger plate, were designed by the students. Dimensions and tolerances were specified to within four decimal places — possible because of the students’ precise calculations.

“It’s heartening to see it’s actually happening after all these years,” said Tupino, an industrial engineer at Northrop Grumman Corp. in Baltimore. He says he keeps a copy of the design report in his desk at work to this day and still gets asked about the unusual project.

The gun in question is the Ithaca 28 Gauge Model 37 II. I am please for the fellas that their project is finally being produced.

[ Many thanks to Jesse’s mom for finding the story. ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • jaekelopterus

    This is absolutely great. I would like to see more producers take risks like this.

  • The soviet APS-9 full auto pistol was started also just as a “master of engineering project” by Igor Stechkin.

  • Bill Lester

    A 28 ga. Model 37 sets this upland hunter’s heart a flutter. 🙂

  • CY

    Dad had a 16 ga. model 37 lightweight. I loved that gun. Don’t know which one of my brithers has it now. You could carry it all day and never get tired. Kicked like a 12 ga., and was damn near as effective as one.
    When i can afford it, i’ll pick up a new mod 37.. Love to see mfr’s supporting the starving artists.

  • It is nice to see a company take design inputs from students and use them in a production gun – at the very least, this is bound to encourage younger people with the skills to look at getting into the business of designing firearms in the future. I wonder, though, if the fact that the new Ithaca company calls this their Model 37 suggests that the original Browning designed Model 37 was used as the basis of the new design and improved upon? It would be interesting to know.

    In any case, these look like nice guns and the Deerslayer looks particularly nice as a slug gun.