Ithaca Firearms In The Golden Age


Ithaca firearms of the 1950s and 1960s would be primarily dominated by the Ithaca model 37 pump shotguns. My main purpose in these articles in at this point is geared toward the rifles and handguns of the golden age of classic firearms. The 1950s shotguns of that era would encompass a much broader time frame and could in fact occupy another whole area of firearms thinking.

It would not be until the late 1950s and early 60s that Ithaca Gun Company would start to engage in rifle production. By 1961 Ithaca would start manufacturing a lever action single shot model called the model 49 saddle gun. They would be produced from 1961 to 1978.They would also produce a slide action model. The model 49 saddle gun manufactured by Ithaca firearms would in my opinion not be considered a classic firearm. They were inexpensive and many were sold in the 60s and 70s.

The LSA model 55 and the LSA model 65 in the mid-1960s into the 1970s were some fine target and hunting rifles manufactured for Ithaca by the Sako firearms company. The LSA 55 would be the short action and made in the standard and deluxe model and some heavy barrel target rifles. The LSA 65 was the long action version and that was manufactured in the standard and deluxe models.


These were quality rifles of that period. They are very good collectible firearms and finding them in excellent condition is the key to collecting these firearms. They are very appealing to the eye and were very high quality firearms and had excellent styling. 

I would give them an excellent rating and if you can find them in excellent condition they are well worth buying at this time and they are still reasonably priced. I believe they are one great firearm that can still be purchased at a reasonable price for those looking to invest in classic firearms.

As a gunsmith in the 1970s and 80s, I would work on many of the LSA models and consider them excellent firearms. They did not have significant problems and I highly recommend their quality and ruggedness.

The Ithaca firearms in the model 49’s are one firearm that I do not particularly care for. The receivers were of a pot metal type steel and the finish on the receivers was primarily a paint type finish. They were not noted for keeping pins and extractors in place as the receivers would weaken around the pins because of the soft pot metal.

As a gunsmith I came to a point where I refused to work on many of these firearms as the repair would become more expensive than those guns were worth. They were a cheap gun and the customer wanted a cheap repair.

I do not care for the Ithaca model 49 rifles but there are people who do collect them. This is a good example of condition being the key. If it is in excellent condition and still has the original box it can be a nice find. The firearm would be also reasonably priced.

As a gunsmith I still grumble about working on them.