Previous Post
Next Post

I love shotguns, and I love historic firearms. You mix the two, and I’m a fan. I’m quite fond of ‘Trench’ guns and ‘Riot’ guns from a historic and shotgun appreciation perspective. Most actual historic shotguns are quite pricey, and they aren’t guns I’d torture and enjoy. This is why modern replicas like the Rock Island Armory TPAS are guns that I can’t help but love.

What does TPAS stand for? I have no earthly idea. Uhm, maybe Trench Pump Action Shotgun? That’s all I got. The TPAS replicates the Ithaca 37, specifically the old school riot or trench gun version. Well, it does lack a bayonet lug, which is disappointing, but I can get over it. Rock Island’s website might be confused as the description lists it as the T1897 pump gun. It’s very clearly an old-school Ithaca 37 clone. (Although, I hope this means Armscor might be importing an 1897 clone, and someone just got the description wrong.)

Anyway, it’s a Turkish-made shotgun from Derya Arms. I’m really picky about my imported shotguns, and I know nothing about Derya Arms, but I trust Rock Island Armory. They’ve imported a ton of great shotguns. I’ve shot their VR series a ton and enjoyed them immensely. I had high hopes for the TPAS.

The TPAS – An Ithaca by Another Name

The Ithaca 37 is just “one of those guns.” It saw widespread use by the military and numerous police forces and is one of the hall of fame combat shotguns. Like a lot of shotguns, the Remington 870 came on in and replaced it with dual-action bars, a slick action, and a fairly affordable price point.

I hope you don’t mind a single action bar (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Even so, the ability to own a classic without breaking the bank and to enjoy it without babying it is fairly attractive. The MSRP is just $599, but they seem to be sold for less than 500 dollars on a good day. The TPAS is an attractive gun overall. The stock and pump are both wood. The wood features a shiny clear coat. No M-LOK handguards in sight.

It’s slick and glossy (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The pump is a classic corncob-style design. It’s small but fairly accurate for the guns at the time. The wood stock has nice checkering along the pistol grip that’s tough to hate. We get sling swivels and even a sling, but the sling seems rather dainty. Across the barrel, we get a fixed metal heat shield for those trench gun vibes.

Heat shield? Sure, why not? (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The TPAS gives us a shiny black finish that’s not quite blued, but it looks like a classic gun. My only real complaint is the paragraph worth of text on the absolutely huge receiver. We have tons of text that takes away from the gun’s appearance.

The Layout

The TPAS clones the Ithaca 37 down to the controls. This includes the larger pump release forward of the trigger guard and a safety that sits behind the trigger. It’s a simple and effective layout. Ergonomically the controls are easy to run either left- or right-handed, with little advantage for shooters of either stripe.

You’ll also notice a lack of a side ejection port. The Ithaca loads and ejects out of the bottom of the gun. It’s not throwing shotgun hulls anywhere but downwards. The lack of an ejection port means an emergency reload isn’t easy, and a slug select drill requires a different manual of arms than most guns.

The controls are simple, and effective (Travis Pike for TTAG)

At the end of the TPAS barrel sits a rifle-style Ithaca sight. It’s not exactly a replica of the Ithaca deer slayer sight, but fairly close. There are no rifle rear sights, which would have been an amazing touch if Rock Island Armory went that route. Even so, the height of the sight makes it just perfect for putting buckshot where you want it.

At the Range

Oh man, one of the most impressive things about these affordable, imported shotguns is the action. It’s abnormally smooth. I didn’t expect a gun imported from Turkey to be this slick. The TPAS action glides rearward, and you’ll feel the pressure when the action meets the hammer, but it’s still super smooth.

The Corncob grip is great, although small! (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Color me impressed. The ejection is positive, reliable, and consistent. The front sight has a white color applied to the ‘bead-like’ portion that’s easy to see. I ran a series of snap drills with clay pigeons, which, as you’ll note, are relatively small. Against a timer, I started with an empty chamber, with the hammer down, so it was cruiser ready. I landed plenty of sub-second shots on the clay pigeon at 10 and 15 yards with a standard load of 9 pellet buckshot.

The TPAS gives you a pretty authentic Ithaca experience (Travis Pike for TTAG)

I fired two rounds on two targets in 1.35 seconds. The sights work, and the action is slick and smooth, which makes those follow-up shots easy. The pump is very small but allows me to tight grip the gun and work the action without it slipping from my hand. I tried the snap drills with the chamber loaded and safety on and did find the small safety tougher to hit and engage.

It’s retro, and awesome(Travis Pike for TTAG)

The gun is a little hefty at 8.10 pounds unloaded, but the weight helps with recoil. What also helps with recoil is a good push/pull technique. The downside of the TPAS is the length of pull. Like a real Ithaca 37, it’s fairly long at 14 inches.

Loading Up

The TPAS keeps things close to the real Ithaca 37 and only chambers 2.75-inch shotshells. That’s mostly okay. In terms of practical application, there aren’t any issues with using 2.75-inch shells. The only real downside is how small the loading port is. You can barely get your thumb behind the shell to shove it in. Doing fast reloads isn’t as easy as a gun that chambers 3-inch shells.

Like most imported shotguns, you are limited to a five-round magazine tube. The nature of the TPAS design means adding a magazine extension isn’t possible.

RIA delivers another nice surprise with a crisp and short trigger pull that’s too good for most shotguns.

the sight is simple, but effective (Travis Pike for TTAG)

The older 37s could slamfire, but the TPAS can’t. Slamfire isn’t really useful, but it’s fun. The first thing I did with the TPAS was load two rounds, go outside, and see if it slam fired. Sadly no, it does not.

I used a mix of 100 rounds of Fiocchi birdshot sent by RIA, 100 rounds of birdshot from Federal, 25 rounds of buckshot from Monarch, and 100 rounds of buckshot from Sterling. Inside of all of those rounds, I only had one small issue.

One round of Monarch seemed to do something to the action after the round was fired. It became heavier and took some effort to eject. Upon inspection, I couldn’t see any reason why. The shell looked fine. Monarch ammo is fairly cheap and not always the most reliable or consistent ammo.

You can’t beat a classic, even when it’s a Turkish clone (Travis Pike for TTAG)

Patterning was predictable from a shotgun with a cylinder bore. With standard buckshot, it patterned nine pellets within a 10.5-inch circle. Not bad, not super awesome. With Federal FliteControl, it punched a golf ball-sized hole into a target at 15 yards.

I’m curious how compatible the TPAS would be with Ithaca stocks and accessories, but unfortunately, I didn’t have any on hand to test. I’m picturing this being a good way to make the Ithaca 37 Stakeout I’ve always wanted.

Specifications: TPAS Pump Shotgun
Barrel Length – 18.5 inches
Overall Length – 40 inches
Capacity – 5 rounds
Caliber – 12 gauge – 2.75 inches
Weight – 8 pounds 10 ounces
MSRP – $599 (about $499 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * * * *
Not only is the gun easy to shoot accurately, but it’s also easy to shoot accurately and quickly. The big blade sight works, especially at shotgun ranges. I know that it’s an Ithaca 37, but I wish I could toss a red dot on.

Reliability * * * * *
While one round gave me a tougher action, it didn’t shut the gun down or even cause a malfunction. The TPAS is plenty reliable and does the Ithaca 37 well.

Ergonomics * * * *
My main complaints are the small safety and a long length of pull. Honestly, these are accurate replicas of the real 37.

Overall * * * * ½
The TPAS gives us an affordable, easy-to-shoot, accurate weapon. It’s not modern by any means, but it’s not trying to be. The TPAS is a fantastic shotgun, and it’s an impressive import.

 

 

Previous Post
Next Post

47 COMMENTS

  1. 8 pounds 7 ounces? From memory I don’t recall the 37’s we had in my youth being that heavy and they had hunting length barrels. We had two of the 37’s. A 20 and a 16. Mostly because my brother was a left handed person and they eject from the bottom. We also had an older Remington pump that operated the same in 12. I think it was a model 10 but wouldn’t swear to that. None of the 3 had 3 inch chambers.

    The Ithacas were decent, functioning guns. I really liked the 20 for rabbits and quail.

    • I have my 37s for the same reason (leftyness.)

      The Remington Model 17 was what the 37 was knocked off of. They literally waited for the patents to expire then started making them.

  2. Love my old 37!
    My southpaw daughter learned to bird hunt with that elderly 12 ga.

    Now, if they offered this in a comparable version to the parkerized Ithaca 37 Police DS from the 70’s I’d definitely order one.

    I wonder about internal parts compatibility? The projected street price is decent.

  3. 37’s are my jam. new york ones held their value and ohio ones (new) ain’t cheap. worth finding used.
    and slam fire mode is a grin.

  4. I like RIA and wish them well, but this seems very niche. I understand the 37 uses a milled receiver and costs more to make, but how many people:

    -Are nostalgic for this shotgun in particular,

    -Are willing to buy Turkish,

    -Are willing to pay $599 when not only the Turks but even Mossberg make so many shotguns for less?

      • Agreed, and even amid Bidenflation, a US Maverick 88 MSRPs for $245 (street as low as $200). Most buyers (even / especially those who know how much more it costs to build a stressed receiver) know the difference between cost to produce, and actual value-added.

        • I have 3 mossbergs. One 88 and two 500’s. I bought my 88 and one of the 500’s years ago. Neither cost more than 180 bucks, new. My newest 500, which is about 8 years old still cost less than 240.

          For cost and utility I think the mossbergs may just be the best bang for buck on the gun market.

        • I don’t know how they do it. As others have said, I wonder how much of the manufacturing is actually done here.

    • James Reeves of TFB destroyed 2 or 3 Turkish shotguns with his 500 round burn down, so that’s a hard NO for me. Especially when Mossberg dared him to burn down their budget pump and it passed with flying colors. The Mossberg 940 even passed. A real WWI Trench Gun, sure. A Turkish replica? No way.

      • He also managed to get a Maverick for $200, and it did quite well. No, despite today’s appearances I am neither a Mossberg employee nor trying to sell my own.

      • I watched the video and when any firearm makes a light primer strike and it resists clambering it’s not time to keep on driving it’s time to put it on a work bench, tear it down and find what is causing the problem and correct it. Unless the barrel blows or something breaks there is no reason why the Made in Turkey shotgun tested could not pass a 500 round test. Shotguns have been Made In Turkey since 1888 and by now they should know a little about making firearms…and they do. The video did designate a difference between expensive shotguns and inexpensive shotguns. Inexpensive shotguns are for people on a budget or they are for DIYs who see the glass as half full.

  5. For a cheaper Ithaca 37 knockoff look at the Savage Stevens 350. Plastic furniture and rifle sights with rear peep.

    For an “Improved” model 37 look at the BPS shotgun from Browning. Among other nice touches it moves the safety to the back of the receiver.

    • I got a Stevens 350 from Big 5 when they came out – a Chinese Ithaca 37 clone. Solid gun, heavy but never had an issue. Mine has the home/field combo barrels. Finish is rough, but it seems like my magazine was longer than factory said it would be. Also I think I only paid $249…

  6. Travis, this is an interesting article for me on a couple of levels. First, I have an old friend that used to use an Ithica 37 in 20 when we would squirrel hunt together. (I used a .22 rifle. It was an effective combination.) Anyway, Sonny was given this shotguns by his uncle who was a Marine Pacific war vet. All of Sonny’s uncles were Marine Pacific war vets. His Uncle Nig gave him this shotgun. It had a 26″ imp. cylinder choke and a had plastic butt plate with the Globe and Eagle. Otherwise, it looks like a commercial 37. Sonny has asked me to look. I can’t find a thing and no one I know can. Any ideas?

    • Travis, I said it was commercial except for the butt plate. I forgot to mention, the receiver was marked, “U.S. Government Property.” You understand how things were after WWII.

      • Hey GF, about 6 or 8 years ago the nra american rifleman magazine ran an article on wartime Ithaca 37s that I saved, but damned if I can find it now. Anyhoo, iirc, there were a couple of thousand long guns like you describe that were used by the marines for anti aircraft gunnery practice to teach target lead. Shortly after ww2 started, Ithaca switched production to the even rarer 1911s. Maybe someone has a stack of old nra magazines to look through.

        • PB. During ww2 air gunners in the AAF used shotguns for early training. They drove the trainees in trucks and fired on the move so they could get experience before they moved up to aircraft and machine guns. I don’t know if the navy and marine air gunners ran the same drills.

  7. “Like most imported shotguns, you are limited to a five-round magazine tube.”

    This line piqued my interest? Why is this? Is there an import rule I don’t know about or is that just the way it is?

    Good review, but I’m not interested in Turkish shotguns. There’s really no excuse why America isn’t making its own shotguns. I’m suspicious my favorite shotgun manufacturer Mossberg is importing more than their over/under and probably sourcing parts from abroad.

    Production economy of scale and less shipping and import costs should trump lower labor costs. Not to mention potential for higher quality. IMO

    • From the internet:

      A shotgun with a telescoping stock or a magazine greater than 5 rounds is prohibited from importation into the United States under the provisions of section 925(d)(3) of Title 18, United states code (U.S.C.). Assembly of such a shotgun from imported parts is prohibited under 18, U.S.C. Section 922(r). The implementing regulations in Title 27, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 478, Section 478.39 (formerly Part 178, Section 178.39) prohibit assembly of such a shotgun that contains more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of the regulation.

  8. Love me some retro shotties, but I’m 12-gauged out at the moment and one of the many I already have is a Norinco 1897 clone.

  9. I’ve an Ithaca 37 pre trigger disconnect.
    To say this gunm is an Ithaca is to say a Savage Fox is a Parker.
    It is but it aint.

  10. Got a 37 also. Blue steel and wood and Yes it SLAM Fires…..hehehehe

    Got it from the boss, well his wife. He died 5 years ago. She and the son run it now. The owner had 4 full notebook pages line by line of firearms. Family kept what they wanted. He had a note by the Ithaca, that if I am still there he wanted me to have it. They put what was left to auction.

  11. That’s why I say we have no hope for change except by force. This country has been taken over by corrupt politicians for over 45 years. Everyone one that in government from the past 45 years has baggage. They all need to be put on trial and investigated.i do home work ….. 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤𝐬𝐜𝐥𝐢𝐜𝐤.𝐜𝐨𝐦

  12. $599 for a Turkish shotgun is insane.

    Especially when TFBTV has run multiple torture tests with Turkish shotguns and found them all to be unreliable heaps of shit.

    Spend $200 and get a Maverick 88 from Mossberg.

    • Why doesnt Mossberg just assemble all of those parts in Mexico where they are made, and have illegals carry them across the border into Texas eliminating assembly and shipping costs?… could probably get the cost down around $100

    • Mega-dittos on the Mav 88. Decent shotties for not a lot of money for the occasional hunter who isn’t going to to pound the snot out of it doing cases of clay birds… reliable, but not a 500.. or an 870…

  13. “Well, it does lack a bayonet lug, which is disappointing, but I can get over it.”

    Pass, one of the defining characteristics. At least get someone to make something that we could add on after purchase if there are import issues.

  14. One thing that bothers me, rock island website. The specification sheet for the T1897 says it uses 3”. The gun is clearly stamped 2 3/4” on the receiver. Customer service (on 06-02-22) told me it uses 3” but could not explain the 2 3/4” on the receiver.

  15. pg slot สล็อตเว็บ PG-SLOT.GAME อันดับ 1 ทางเข้าเล่นสล็อต PGSLOT แตกง่ายที่สุด เกม พีจี แตกบ่อย โปรโมชั่น ฟรีเครดิต PG SLOT GAME โบนัสฟรีทุกวัน พร้อมให้บริการ 24 ชั่วโมง

  16. I decided to roll the dice and order one of these. I’m excited to pick it up from my local FFL dealer. After shipping and taxes I paid $519. Years ago I had a Maverick 88 but I never got around to shooting it. I traded it for something else. When it comes to Turkish guns I already own three Turkish made pistols (SDS 1911 .45 GI model, SDS 1911 9mm GI model and a Zigana F in 9mm) and all of them function very well. So, why did I buy this shotgun? Well, there are several reasons: I’m new to shotguns so I didn’t want to drop $1,100 on a high quality brand name shotgun, but I’m just not excited by the Maverick 88 or any of the other budget models. I’m a huge C&R fan but I can’t find nor afford a milsurp shotgun at the present time. Turkish firearms can be either high quality and high value or low quality/low value. I’ve had good luck with them so I am willing to pick up one more. If I like shooting shotguns then I’ll pick up a Mossberg or a real Ithaca in the future and the Turkish 37 clone will become a truck gun.

  17. You will find a real talent for composing Exclusive substance. I like the way you’re believing that and just how you express your sights in this post. I’m impressed by your composing structure and elegance a great deal. Thanks for earning my experience excess Charming.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here