Inland M37 Trench Shotgun Review

Inland Manufacturing released the M37 Trench Shotgun in 2016. The M37, made by Ithaca Gun Company exclusively for Inland Manufacturing, is a dedicated re-creation of the original Ithaca 37 Shotgun. This shotgun was used by U.S. servicemen throughout WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

Inland Manufacturing, LLC, was formed in 2013 and focuses primarily on reproducing iconic firearms from the WWII era. Some of their products include 1911’s handguns and historical variations of the M1 Carbine. Just like Ithaca, Inland makes all of their firearms right here in the United States, and the M37 Trench Shotgun is their latest offering for 2016.

The Inland M37 Trench Shotgun ships from the factory in a simple cardboard box and with a user’s manual. Even so, the M37 itself is a good looking gun. It has very pretty ‘Oil Finished Walnut’ furniture and a matte black Parkerized finish. Also, it is a 12 gauge pump-action, with a 20 inch smooth bore barrel, and the M37 can accept 2 3/4 inch and 3 inch shells. The choke on the barrel is Fixed Cylinder Bore (.73 inches). Furthermore, the front sight is a simple bead, and it has no rear sight. It has a 4+1 shot capacity, a 4.5 lb trigger, and a total weight of 6.7 lbs. And finally, the Inland M37 Trench Shotgun has an MSRP of $1259.

OCt 2016 038

The Inland M37 Shotgun right out of the box.

OCt 2016 041

Perhaps the most striking features of the M37 Trench Shotgun are the M1917 Bayonet Lug and the 15 inch heat shield on top of the barrel. However, another noteworthy characteristic of the M37 is that it loads and ejects shells from the bottom. This quality makes it uniquely suitable for ambidextrous use.

I began to have some fun with the Inland M37 out in the desert, and the first box of shells through it was Federal “Classic Field Load,” 7 ½ shot, 1 1/8 oz. Loading the four shells into the magazine tube was smooth and easy. Upon shooting the M37 I was immediately reminded of the potent recoil of a 12 gauge shotgun. With just a simple polymer butt plate, recoil is felt in full force. Despite the recoil, emptying five shells as fast as I could was a bunch of fun. However, I must say I am not a big fan of the heat shield which I found to be uncomfortable on your fingers unless I kept them low on the pump.

M37 Ithaca 044

I fired three different bird shot loads for field testing. Also tested were three different buckshot loads, and two different sabot slug loads. I checked the spread at seven yards with bird shot loads from Winchester and Monarch, and buckshot loads from Winchester, Remington, and ‘military grade’ ammo from Olin Corporation. In order to test slugs from Hornady and Remington, I fired a three shot grouping at 15 yards from a rest. While the slugs are accurate enough to around seventy five yards, maybe more, the bead sight makes shooting accurately at distance a challenge.

M37 084

The ammunition tested.

The Inland M37 Shotgun ate up the first box of 25 Federal shells without a problem. Next I fired Winchester ‘Upland Shotshells.’ Upon extraction of the seventh shell the extractor somehow jumped the rim of the shell, resulting in a failure to extract with a partially extracted casing. Fortunately, this was remedied by re-chambering the casing, utilizing the action release lever and pulling the fore end rearward. This successfully extracted and ejected the shell casing. The M37 performed excellently for the remainder of shooting, and the results of the shooting are as follows.

Winchester Upland Heavy Game Loads. 6 shot, 2 3/4", 1 1/8 oz.

Winchester Upland Heavy Game Loads. 6 shot, 2 3/4″, 1 1/8 oz.

 

Monarch High Velocity Lead Shot. 7 1/2 shot, 2 3/4", 1 1/4 oz.

Monarch High Velocity Lead Shot. 7 1/2 shot, 2 3/4″, 1 1/4 oz.

Winchester ammunition had the best centered spread of the two bird shot loads tested. Nevertheless, the Monarch shells performed well enough. I did not test the spread of the Federal shells because I fired those on a separate shooting occasion and did not record the data.

Remington Slugger. 2 3/4", 1 oz.

Remington Buckshot. 2 3/4″, 8 pellets.

Winchester Super X Buckshot. 9 pellets, 2 3/4."

Winchester Super X Buckshot. 9 pellets, 2 3/4″, 00 Buck.

Military Grade MG Buck from Olin Corporation. No further details provided.

Military Grade MG Buck from Olin Corporation. No further details provided.

The buckshot patterns were all fairly similar. Surprisingly, the military grade buckshot from Olin Corporation had the best centered spread of the three. However, any of them would do the trick.

Shooting 1 oz slugs at 15 yards.

Hornady American Whitetail. 2 3/4", 1oz.

Hornady American Whitetail. 2 3/4″, 1oz.

Remington Slugger. 2/34", 1oz.

Remington Slugger. 2/34″, 1oz.

The slug patterns were deadly as well. Two out of three Hornady slugs landed right on top of each other, albeit high and left of my point of aim. While I wouldn’t want to take the M37 deer hunting, it could be done out to 25 yards quite easily, even with the lone bead sight.

Of course this wouldn’t be the United States if there weren’t some perfectly good food destroyed for entertainment. So for fun two watermelons were sacrificed to the gun gods, and as you might expect from 7 yards the buckshot annihilated the watermelon. Unfortunately, I failed to capture a good picture of this process. I was able to get a few better pictures of the slug destroying the watermelon, which when firing from 15 yards the destruction of the other watermelon was absolute.

The sacrifice.

The sacrifice.

What a 1 oz. slug does to a watermelon at 1500 fps.

What a 1 oz. slug does to a watermelon at 1500 fps.

Nothing left to eat.

Shooting the Inland M37 Trench Shotgun at watermelons was awesome. Nonetheless, the MSRP certainly makes it a niche firearm. If you or one of your loved ones once carried this shotgun in the services, or you are a reenactor, collector, or history buff you may rejoice with this new offering from Inland. Otherwise, it is unlikely to be considered worthwhile for the average person. Although the M37 could be used for defense or hunting, there are other guns in the market that are well suited to the those tasks and at a fraction of the price.

In conclusion, shooting the M37 Trench Shotgun was a lot of fun. This iconic firearm has served the United States on the front lines during major wars and conflicts in the 20th century. It is also a powerful, simple, inelegant, and beautiful firearm all at the same time.

The M37 Shotgun.

The Inland M37 Shotgun.





Michael G

Michael Gomez resides in the tri-border city of El Paso, Texas. He graduated Cum Laude with a BBA in Economics from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. With experience in firearms retail, he is currently an AR-15 armorer, pistol instructor, TFB writer, mule deer hunter, and pomegranate farmer.


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  • RavishedBoy

    I can’t deny that I like it, but $1259….aargh!

    • McThag

      Because it’s an old design, I don’t think you can get the price down much without making huge sacrifices in reliability.

    • DW

      Get the regular defense version, it is nearly a grand less.

      • McThag

        $1,259 – $863 = nearly a grand? It’s less than $400.

        A vintage heatshield is $175 of that difference, then $32.50 for the correct rear swivel, so just $192.50 more for the nostalgia and someone else assembling it for you with a warranty. That doesn’t even account for the extra costs of shipping and the loss of time waiting for the parts, then assembling them.

        I’ve seen much steeper mark-ups for nostalgia purchases from other vendors (COUGH COLT COUGH).

        • DW

          I have seen M37 defense for far less than 700. But it was 4 or 5years ago

          • McThag

            I haven’t seen a street price for the Inland yet, it’s bound to be lower; like the Ithaca Defense is less than $863.

            But the proportions should be similar.

            The heatsheild and swivel ARE street prices.

  • Sianmink

    They should make a version that comes with a reproduction M1917 sword bayonet.

    • TVOrZ6dw

      No point in owning this if you don’t have the bayonet!

      • Martin M

        Don’t give them any ideas! They’ll charge $5600 (an original goes for about $250).

        Apparently Inland thinks a bayonet lug, heat shield, and parkerized finish cost a grand.

      • Eric S

        Repos only run about $100. Course, a heat shield/lug kit also run about $100 too. So maybe they’ll sell the bayonet for about $500.

        • Martin M

          You know, I actually meant to enter 5-600, not 5600.

  • AC97

    With that price tag, tell me another joke.

    • AC97

      And while we’re on the topic of shotguns, would a roller-delayed blowback mechanism work on one?

    • derpmaster

      This is strictly a collector’s market gun. The Browning BPS, which is a clone of the Ithaca design, is a far better gun for under half the price of this thing.

      • Raginzerker

        Ithaca is making the 37 again I believe

        • DW

          For many years already, and their defense models are not expensive .

          • mike

            Not expensive, but I have never seen one.

          • Raginzerker

            Yeah I looked at them, always loved these shotguns

    • John

      It’s STILL better than a Remington.

      *rimshot*

    • Dakota Raduenz

      So Inland is in Ohio, and highly active this last year (and either past or future years as well) in D-Day Ohio.

      If you know anything about reenactors, this is par for the course. And these guys gave a nive chunk towards D-Day this year.

      Look it up. If you are within 12 hours, it is definitely worth the drive!

    • TonysTake ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ

      Much to long for practical home or trench defense. To ugly for trap shooting. Priced way to high. Give me a short Mossberg for $225 on sale any day anywhere in the US for what I want in a shotgun.

    • Darren Hruska

      It’d be great if M37s were just as readily available as, and competitively priced to, the Remington 870 and Mossberg 500. From my understanding, that seemed to be the case a few decades ago.

  • Joe

    Does it slam fire like the original Ithaca 37?
    Nice, but not $1300 nice; I’ll stick with my 1947 mfg Model 37.

    • Steve

      Other reviews have said ‘no’, the slam-fire feature has been removed for obvious legal reasons.

      • Martin M

        I’m curious. What is the legal reason? Or is it a potential product liability reason?

        • Flounder

          Supposedly it makes it a “machine gun” because you can fire more than one shot per pull of the trigger. So total BS and I also don’t think anyone has ever been prosecuted for it but at the same time no manufacturer wants to run the risk.

          • Darren Hruska

            It depends on what kind of “slam fire” we’re talking about, of which there are two main kinds. The first is the design-intended slam-fire found on some manual-action shotguns and rifles (such as the Winchester Model 97, Ithaca Model 37, and Mondragon M1908). As far as I’m concerned, there’s no legal issues with these at all (at least at federal level anyways). The other kind is the not-so-intentional slam fire (malfunction). This occurs in some semi-automatic, burst, and automatic firearms (usually when not properly maintained). If your semi-automatic rifle or shotgun malfunctions in such a way, you can most certainly be facing a serious felony as the ATF would see that as the user redesigning their firearm into a machine gun (even if completely unintentional).

            Overall, I’d say this change with new production M37s is for user safety, not for any potential legal issues. Some people don’t even know that slam fire is an intentional feature of their firearm until they’ve accidentally stumble across it.

          • jcitizen

            If you have to do more than pull the trigger this does not violate the NFA on machine guns. Operating the pump nullifies that definition. Now, I got to agree I did not ever like that propensity of Ithaca to do so. Never have.

  • 22winmag

    Very nice, but I’ll take a used gun shop 1930s Remington pump and a mountain of ammo instead.

  • Nathan Alred

    Way too expensive for me just to get a gun with a bayonet lug I’ll never use.

    Side note: Not a big fan of shooting reviews that appear to leave the firing area littered with broken bottles, shot up appliances and watermelon entrails. We piss off enough people just having guns – no need to gratuitously piss off anybody else by acting like slobs with guns.

    • lagann

      Agreed. Looks like that area hasn’t been cleaned up in a while.

    • Michael.g

      As long as I can remember that is generally the way its done down here out in the desert. There are at least a dozen of these such informal shooting sites around, and often effectively double as dumping sites. I can use a more pristine and unused area in the future.

      • Celtsrevenge

        No, just clean it up if you’re going to use it.

    • TonysTake ✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ

      Amen on Slobs with guns. It’s disgusting. Leave it the way you find it or better. Haul it in, haul it out.
      Ps. Why give the anti gunners any more free ammo? Desert shooters need to grow-up.

      • Michael.g

        Everyone could be better, but this is the public we’re talking about. Shop at any Wal-Mart and you might lose a little faith in humanity.

      • Celtsrevenge

        Thanks Gents. I thought I was the only one who looked at that site with disgust. Police your shooting area boys, or you’ll lose it. Here in Colorado we have already lost shooting privileges on some public lands because of porcine-like habits.

  • BattleshipGrey

    I’d forgotten that I’d always wondered how the ejection and loading happened from the same port. I found this vid just now in case anyone else is curious.

    https://youtu.be/Mbxqmw_Lgig

    • guest

      now that’s pretty cool actually

  • michael franklin

    Really, by now I think we all know what happens to a watermelon when you shoot it with a shotgun.

  • ozzallos .

    Okay, even I’ll admit that’s pretty damn smexy, but that price… lol? That’s starting to get into premium double barrel territory there.

  • A bearded being from beyond ti

    Looks really slick. Btw, why haven’t more shotguns been made with that sorta load/eject from the bottom type setup?

    • Mazryonh

      It could be because of a patent. But I don’t think there’s enough demand for ambidextrous shotguns to really get manufacturers’ attention to produce more bottom-loading, bottom-ejecting shotguns, partly because lefties are a minority.

  • Jake

    looks janky with that short ass mag tube

    • Mazryonh

      It was made in the days when 5-shot bolt-action rifles were the most common kind of military rifle around, so 4+1 shots for this shotgun were probably considered “enough for anybody.” You can also see from the photos that you can’t just simply screw in a tube magazine extension like you can with some more modern shotguns.

  • Ark

    I guess it’s cool, but I don’t see how it offers $900 worth of benefit or uniqueness over an off-the-rack 870 or something. Even the cool factor ain’t worth that kind of money.

  • Rimfire

    At least it isn’t a plastic bayonet lug like Inland puts on their M1 carbine repro!! (I hope it’s not) I’m sorry but still no way I’d pay that money ($1300) for a repro M37 when a vast assortment of defensive pump guns are out there for ~ $200 and up. No way to justify this cost. Price it fair and sell a bunch or overprice it and sell a few??? really

  • valorius

    My, what an inexplicably short magazine tube you have.

  • valorius

    Only $1300 huh? LOL.

  • Edeco

    Scaled down 28 gauger (they do make the recievers but only sell in sporting fettle) with slamfire capability restored please.

  • IFC_Buzzkill

    Comon gun blog guy. Those aren’t sabot slug rounds. Geez.

    • Nashvone

      I’m gonna go out on a limb and say he isn’t much of a shotgun guy. Case in point, he pointed out that it takes 2 3/4″ & 3″ shells. Every shotgun I know of that shoots 3″ shells will shoot 2 3/4″ shells with no problem.

      • Michael.g

        You would be right sir.

    • Michael.g

      Fair enough.

  • guest

    just as much innovation and creativity as another 1911 or AR clone.
    I get that the point here is to copy a historical firearm, but then again 90% of the whole gun industry seems to be doing just that, day after day.

  • Raginzerker

    I need this in my life……

    • Mazryonh

      The most modern equivalent to the old M37 is probably the Mossberg M590 variant that has a heat shield, a bayonet lug, and better tube magazine capacity than the M37, plus the ability to mount optics on a Picatinny rail.

      • Raginzerker

        I belive the new ones are drilled and tapped, I always had a thing for the 37 though

        • Mazryonh

          If you want to try mounting optics on an Ithaca 37 without having to drill and tap the receiver, there are scope rails you can mount without modifying the receiver, such as those made by Aimtech. Sure, using the bead sight is the most traditional way, but it doesn’t work very well with slugs at more distant targets, whereas a red dot sight or holographic sight would give you more versatility and easier target acquisition.

  • CharlesH

    What about the Model 1895? That’s a much better looking trench gun than the M37.

    • maodeedee

      Do you mean the Winchester 1897? I agree, it’s nicer looking and it’s also shorter and better balanced. But the Ithaca is a stronger action and is currently being manufactured and sells for $799. That means the reproduction heat shield, bayonet mount, and packaging is costing the potential buyer $450 bucks which is a pretty steep premium.

  • Realist

    I want…

  • SerArthurDayne

    Honestly, if this was $500 or less, I would be interested…. $299.99 and I think it would be *EXTREMELY* popular and I would set out to buy one… at this price, I think, they’ve, uh, overestimated the market….

  • Pedenzo

    Wow….looks like a bunch of slobs shoot at that pit….more garbage laying around than what is at the county dump…..

  • Mazryonh

    The bayonet lug on this repro shotgun wouldn’t be able to fit a more modern bayonet like the M9 bayonet currently in use by US forces, right? It’s a pity you didn’t get to test this repro’s bayonet lug then.

  • gte

    1200 $ ??? No…….I don’t think so….

  • Henry Servatt

    Wow, nice. I had occasion to own (for a very short while) an original Ithaca branded M37 (back in the day). This makes me ache to get another, but the price tags pushes me back. Who can tell how this battle will come out? (To Joe, below, my original Ithaca never “slam fired”…??? I thought that was more of a semi-auto issue, while the 37 is a slide loader.)

    • maodeedee

      “Slam fire” in this context means holding the trigger back and working the pump as rapidly as possible which is something you can’t do with most pump actions but was possible with the original 1897 Winchesters and the Ithaca 37’s, but is not likely possible with the current Ithaca’s.

      The Winchester model 97’s which were manufactured up until 1957 always had this capability but I think as some point Ithaca added a disconnector. And when Winchester replaced the model 97 with the model 12, the model 12 also had a disconnector.

      • Henry Servatt

        Thank you for the enlightenment. Never too old for enlightenment, tho nearly. I had a Winchester 1906 .22 rifle that would do that “slam fire” routine alla time. My teenage friends and I just thought that was a “feature”.

  • somebodystolemynamefatboy

    Besides military, the Ithaca M37 also used by LAPD, and if memory serves, NYPD.