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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All, I'm looking to buy a 4E SBT Flues Model (re: history/ nostalgia), but have a couple questions. Please advise/ comment on these as possible:

1) The S/N is over 306,000 making it a 1920 production (according to Ithaca's online list), from what I have read this seems to be a 2nd Model Flues (i.e. an improvement over a 1st Model), am I correct on this? And is it a fairly durable gun to use for some periodic fun shooting (i.e. not planning on frequent ATA events)?
2) Also read that Flues models may not take current shotshell pressures, but could not find a specific pressure limit or whether I could use factory loads (e.g. 1-1/8oz target loads such as AA127s that I shoot regularly). Last thing I want to do is buy a nice peice of history and ruin it. Any suggested factory loads would be appreciated.

Many thanks for anyone's help on these.

Steve.
 

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I own two flues singles. I have never had any trouble with any load I used. Yes, the Flues had two sub models. The second is generally preferred. Look at the thickness of the barrels at the breech. Thicker than any other shot gun I own.
My guns are not for sale.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks Mapper!

So would 306,000 plus mean the 2nd model Flues from what you know?

Also, good to know on the loads, maybe there was a concern with double guns and not singles??

Thanks again!!
 

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I,too, purchased a 4e Flues model recently, made in 1916 as best I can tell. They are a beautiful gun and shoot very well. I did, however, find out that they have some quirks associated with them. Mine started light striking the primers and would not fire, perhaps once or twice in a round of 25 on occasion. Talked to my local gunsmith and he suggested that this may be due, in part, to the advent of steel primers in cheaper shells. I did some research and found the apparent preeminent Ithaca gunsmith whose name is Les Hovencamp. He is located in Ithaca NY and was a longtime employee when Ithaca was around when Ithaca was still in business. I contacted him and he shared with me that the Flues model was, and has been, notorious for this kind of fault. It is either the main spring, or the firing pin that needs repair or replacement. My gunsmith where I live ordered the parts and is in the process of making the repair. I hear that the newer "Knick" guns are more desirable because they do not have this problem associated with it, and as such are more expensive in the marketplace. Mine is a 34" barrel with an English stock and, when firing, is a joy to shoot on the line. There is a disparity in what you can find them for price wise, so do your due diligence and keep this contact in case you need help with repairs. I will defer to some of the others here on this site, if they have conflicting info, since I still consider myself a neophyte when it comes to these old shotguns. I simply wanted to share with you what little I have found out about these cool old shotguns. Good luck! Pete
 

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It has been said many times over the years if you want a 4E the ser# should be over 400,000. There must be a reason for this.

Just like K-80s ser# over I believe 124,000 they have all the updates w/o having to spend money on older models for them.

Gary Bryant
Dr.longshot
 

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Gary, Hate to rattle your chain but Ithaca's did not have updates. It was a complete redesigned gun. The first by Emil Flues the second by Fred Knickerbocker. The Flues guns are just fine, they are however more complicated to work on. You are spot on on the Knicks gun being more desireable.
 

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Pete's comments conform to the conventional wisdom regarding the Flues guns, namely that they have a couple of little weaknesses and may require expert smithing from time to time. Otherwise they are safe and shootable. The later Knicks are pretty much bullet-proof.
 

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More desireable depends on what you deisre it for.


A Honda Civic or a Jeep Wrangler can sometimes be more desireable than a '63 Vette.

I find a first gen Flues in high condition to be more desireable than a late model Knick. But then, neither would replace my Perazzi at an ATA shoot.
 

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Les Hovencamp is the best and a fine man to do business with if you ever need any type of repair on an Ithaca trap gun. His web sight is www.diamondgunsmithing.com.
 

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Steve:

I've had a Flues Victory model (same action as the 4E) of about the same age as the one you're looking at, and also a 4E Knick. They are both great guns but I liked the Flues better. I liked the Greener type locking bolt on the Flues, the Knick doesn't have this. The Flues locking bolt gives a very solid lockup. The Knick relies on two tapered wedges on the face of the barrels and a spring loaded sliding cam in the receiver, smooth but not as solid as the Flues. Both guns were designed to use with regular trap loads (not over 3dr.) Both of these guns are a pleasure to shoot and very well made. I never had any break downs with either.

Phil
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
WOW!! Thanks to all that responded, much appreciated. So it seems I am fine with my AA127s at 2-3/4drams. Also, that the Flues in question would be fine for limited shooting, but not an everyday ATA gun. I’ve reached out to Les as well at his shop, Diamond Gunsmithing, great support to my endeavor for sure.

In all, just something about the Flues locking system that intrigues me similar to Phil and with regard to desire as Mike notes, my 88yr old WWII veteran father always reminds me some people like vanilla ice cream and some chocolate……

Again many thanks to everyone, truly appreciated!!
 

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A great historical thread.

To change the subject slightly, anyone know the Dan Lefever/Ithaca Lefever connection??

Years ago an old friend of mine said the Dan Lefever guns were superior to "those Ithaca guns".

However, he collected Sharps rifles, and didn't care much for shotguns.



Regards....Gerald
 

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Bill Grill:

In talking with Walter Snyder, there were some design changes made in the Flues during the last 3 - 4 years of production that improved them, but the guns themselves were still the overall Flues model.

Steve, if the Flues you have or are contemplating is in solid mechanical condition, I wouldn't hesitiate to shoot it with modern target loads. Note that given the design of shotgun shells in the 1920s, they compensated for the lack of what we now know as a plastic wad that holds the shot together by making the chokes tight. On mine, both are choked .040, so when you connect with the target you really connect.

While not my standard gun for trap, I make a point of getting them out and shooting 2 - 3 times a year; they are too good to sit in a gun safe. Fun breaking targets with an 80 - 90 year old gun.

Pete

1930 Knick 5E

1929 Knick 7E

(Looking for an early Sousa)
 

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I guess one thing all of us neglected to mention was/is that occasionally the chamber needs to be sleeved. If those old guns got the care a modern Krieghoff or Prazzi gets, they would shoot for 200 years.
 

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Bill:

I posted pics here shortly after buying it:

http://www.trapshooters.com/cfpages/thread_archive.cfm?Threadid=236281&ShowDeleted=Yes&SortBy=DESC#1049064

Just had it out a few weeks ago at a local vintage shoot/

Pete
 

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I was told that there are only 16 Sousa grade guns made which would keep the prices hi I would think. I also was informed that the Sousa guns were completely made by one master gunsmith, That means metal/wood/engraving complete. I received this information from a friend with a Sousa grade Ithaca Flues Model so was wondering if they made any Knick Sousa's
 

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There were 15 single barrel Sousas. 9 Flues, 6 Knicks. All engraved by Bill McGraw. Info. by Ithaca historian John Morrison in early 70s.
 

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On page 200 in Walter Snyder's book it says the company estimated 9 flues and 12 knicks were built in the Sousa grade.

The folling info is from Frank Conley's book The American Made Single Barrel Trap Gun. In 1937 the name "Sousa" was changed to the $1000.00 Grade. Ithace thought the name had lost it's glitter from the 1920's when Sousa had been one of the most famous men in the country. In 1945 it became the $1500.00 Grade, 1955 the $2000.00 Grade, 1959 brought the price to $2500.00 and the $3000.00 Grade was introduced in 1965. In 1970 it was a $4500.00 Grade, 1975 the first $5000.00 Grade was engraved in September. The first $6500.00 Grade was engraved in November of 1979. In 1980 it was changed to just DILLAR GRADE.

Anybody that is interested in this info should buy a copy of Walt's and Frank's book. Walt's book can be bought direct from him He posts on doublegunshop.cpm and shotgunworld forums.
 
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