Project Gun Syndrome

HELLO. My name is Jerry, and I have PGS.

Project Gun Syndrome.

Not just any Ithaca Model 37 pump gun. A Model 37 in 16 gauge, plain barrel, modified choke, and rattail slide handle.

Each winter, for as many winters as I can remember, I have devoted my shut-in time to tinkering with a project gun. Some of these projects have been as extensive as the Ruger Model 10/22 semi-automatic .22 rimfire rifle that I converted to an accurized target rifle: Green Mountain heavy barrel, Volquartsen trigger group, custom-machined bolt, Hogue overmolded stock — in fact, every single part of that rifle except the receiver cover. (It shot marvelous 1-inch groups at 100 yards with subsonic ammunition; and, of course, I stupidly sold it.)

Others have been as simple as renovating an 90-year-old old Eastern Arms single-shot 12-gauge shotgun: reshaping and lengthening the buttstock, cutting the barrel length to 28 inches, re-choking the bore, rebluing the barrel and case hardening the receiver.

However, I have not worked on a project gun for the past three winters, and I am experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Anxiety, depression, nervous tension, memory loss, apathy, ennui, inability to concentrate, and worst of all – actual interest in the NFL football playoffs. I have also ceased smoking cigars and drinking beer, and I fear these bizarre behaviors may spiral completely out of control.

At least I recognize the cause of this affliction: the PGS problem. It is often said that the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. That is incorrect. The true first step toward recovery is wanting to change. I admit I have a PGS problem. But I have no compelling desire to change.

In fact, since winter began I have been lusting for a project gun, a pump shotgun. Not just any pump gun, but an Ithaca Model 37 in 16 gauge, plain barrel, rattail slide handle, modified choke. I could accept a 20 gauge, but that’s as far as I will go.

This is a curious desire because I do not shoot a pump gun well. Since I wrecked the rotator cuff in my shoulder and dislocated my elbow in an accident several years ago, a pump gun is no better than a single-shot for me because I can only spasmodically operate the slide handle.

But shooting the gun well is not the point. My father had an Ithaca Model 37, so it’s sort of a family tradition. More importantly, I like playing with a pump gun. I used to take one out of my gun safe, shoulder it, work the slide, and say “pow! pow! pow!” as I shot an imaginary triple on pheasants. Currently, I do not own a pump gun, and each time I open the gun safe I feel bereft.

Did you know, by the way, that the slide action (pump action) and the lever action are the only exclusively American action designs? All other action types are copies or variations of designs that originated in Europe, even John Browning’s famed long-recoil semi-automatic Model A5 shotgun.

I do own three lever-action rifles, Marlin models in .22 caliber, .35 Remington caliber, and .44 Remington Magnum caliber. I could, of course, take one of these all-American rifles from the gun safe, shoulder it, work the lever action, and say “pow! pow! pow!” as I shoot an imaginary triple on deer or squirrels, But somehow that is not as satiating as play time with a pump shotgun, and it leaves a man unsatisfied, as when he imagines having sex some fifty-plus years ago with his high school girlfriend Joanna, who was quite plain and a bit chubby and small breasted, as compared to imagining sex with Raquel Welch, who was not.

Surfing the web for the perfect Ithaca Model 37, I have fortunately found very few and those few are overpriced, probably because there are many other PGS addicts out there.  I have toyed with the idea of using our anticipated stimulus check from the federal government to purchase one of these pump guns, but I am conflicted. We donated the previous stimulus money to agencies that need it much more than we do (the local Food Pantry, for example), and there will be much self-induced pressure to do the same with the next potential stimulus check, rather than spend it on another shotgun that I do not need.

That I clearly do not need.

I do not need this shotgun. This pump-action shotgun. This Ithaca Model 37 pump-action shotgun in 16 gauge with plain barrel and rattail slide handle.

There, I’m feeling better already.

No. No, I’m not.

Get thee behind me, Satan. I can overcome this PGS addiction.

All of you pray for me.


About Jerry Johnson

Curmudgeon. Bird hunter and dog trainer. Retired journalist and college public relations director. Former teacher, coach, mentor. Novelist and short story writer. Husband, father, grandfather.
This entry was posted in Ithaca Model 37 Pump Shotgun, Pump Shotguns and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Project Gun Syndrome

  1. Y – I am certain that there’s probably a certain shop in a nearby town to you that would have the gun you seek. Just sayin’ …

  2. Probably. But I will have to exercise caution to venture into his shop. Wearing a mask as I enter, I risk risk being shot 🙂

  3. Thanks for the follow 🙂

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