I had a Model 51, used it for duck hunting. It was the only auto I ever had that would eject every reload I ever put through it. Others I owned would hang up sells on a regular basis. Not with new shells only reloads. That Model 51 never missed a lick and was seldom cleaned.
I have owned 3 Ithaca 51s, Trap, Skeet and 20ga field. They functioned very reliably and due to the design of the gas piston were very easy to clean when needed. The only weakness that I found was the design of the action bars. One of the bars on the trap model broke and I was not able to find a replacement.
I bought my wife a Model 51 when she first started shooting, what a piece of junk ... It broke the action arm, and I replaced it one time ... It lasted all of two weeks and broke again ... The gun sits in the corner of the closet and ain't worth the trouble of moving it out of the way ... I might just burn it but if it burns like it shoots it won't last very long ... I bought her a Model 12 after this experience and never looked back ... Talk about Garbage, its just another way to spell Ithaca, its no wonder that went out of business ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
Ric, that might be an option, but I right now I don't have a clue as to what to ask for it. It has an Anton stock on it, and I think somewhere I have the original stock too.
I probably haven't shot the gun for 20+ years or so, but it shot okay then.
One time a guy was shooting a 1100 Remington and his gun broke down, so I let him borrow my Ithaca 51. Well, he just inkballed the next 25 and then he wanted to know if I would sell it. At the time, I wasn't interested, but we could talk about it if you'd like.