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Overbored Ithaca Crass?
Old 03-14-2017, 02:23 PM   #1
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Mike Poindexter
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Default Overbored Ithaca Crass?

I have an 1892 Crass Grade 1S, s/n 19508, with 30 inch twist barrels and hand engraving typical of the time. Just a few pics posted below. The reason for this post is I have mic'ed the bores and wall thickness per the attached chart, and was struck by the overbore dimension of .755. Suspicious of back bore and or excessive honing, I noted the barrels had a few moderate pits in the first 6 inches from the breech, and mild pitting or frosting further down, which would contraindicate extensive honing (usually), but the MWT was .033 L and .035 R at 24 inches from the breech and .045 at the proverbial 9 inch mark. Also, the choke constriction measured .020 in the L and .032 in the R. (I know, I checked it three times to make sure I didnt have my hands confused.)
So, the question is, is this a case of possible factory overbore in the 1890-1892 period at Ithaca Gun roughly the same time that Parker Bros. were doing it? Several old threads from Austin and others document that practice, and linked it to the use of brass shells and short step forcing cones. Austin found that .755 was a fairly common nominal 12 ga. bore in the Parker guns before s/n 70,000. Ithaca didnt have the history Parker did, only coming online in 1885 and making their first hammerless Crass in about 1888, but it stands to reason they would have reverse engineered Parker guns for whatever tips they could learn. With the wall thickness and overall barrel condition, I am not hesitant to shoot the gun with low pressure loads, but am just wondering if anybody has run across something like this before. There is nothing in Walt Snyder's book on barrel overboring, and nothing in John Houtchins' book that I could find either. Only TPS and the Parker Pages. Thanks for any insights.
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File Type: pdf Ithaca Crass grade 1S Barrel Measurements.pdf (22.6 KB, 7 views)
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Old 03-14-2017, 02:33 PM   #2
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Dean Romig
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The gun doesn't appear to have been refinished and being as nice as it is, I would find it hard to believe it was honed, also judging by the other facts you stated about the barrels.

The reverse chokes seem to indicate the gun was ordered for pass shooting incomers. I have a 10 gauge Parker DH with heavy Damascus 2-frame barrels choked similarly.






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Old 03-15-2017, 11:36 AM   #3
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It has been my experience that the Ithacas I've run a bore mic in have all been over-bored up through the cocking indicator NIDs. I had a 1928 vintage No. 1E 12-gauge with .744" bores. The later NIDs without cocking indicators have been right in the .729", .662", .615" ranges. Maybe over-boring was Uncle Bob's "secret" --

Uncle Bob Edwards.jpg
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Old 03-15-2017, 01:16 PM   #4
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It's really interesting. I have a 1905 Ithaca Field grade Lewis model 16 ga with 26 in nitro steel barrels, believe it is all original, that has .653 and .651 bores, respectively, choked to .643 and .631, IC and Mod. Very mild pitting in the first third. I have no clue what is going on with these bores. You wonder whether there was a concerted plan to bore guns differently, which seems unlikely, or whether they just used barrel reamers until they were so worn that undersized bores resulted, then choked to suit. This doesnt explain the oversized bores in 12 ga, however. I guess I'll just file it away in "imponderables." Thanks
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Old 03-16-2017, 05:42 PM   #5
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Austin J Hawthorne Jr.
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I don't have any Crass models, but I do have a 1912 vintage 10 gauge Flues with .775 bores in both barrels. I believe that is the standard 10 gauge bore size.
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