I’m drawn to impractical things like hammer guns, black-powder shotgun shells, and doubles with damascus barrels. It’s also why I like Ithaca’s Flues side-by-sides, particularly this 16 gauge, Grade 2E (already sold, btw).
Even though Ithaca’s Flues was never America’s sexiest shotgun, it was one of the country’s most popular. From when it was introduced in 1908 to 1926 when it was replaced by the NID, Ithaca made 223,000 of these shotguns. (Parker made 95,000 side-by-sides in the same period.)
An American gunsmith named Emil Flues came up with the design and Ithaca turned it into a simple, reliable double available at a price point well below other quality shotguns available at the time. Here’s a bit more about the gun from Michae; McIntosh’s book Best Guns (you can read more here in Michael’s book Best Guns).
Today, the Flues is one of the more affordable of the classic American doubles. There are a lot of them out there–especially 12 gauge Field models–and most of them are available for short money. The smaller gauges —16g, 20g & 28g— are also common, but the prices climb as the bore size shrinks. There are also a number of grade above Field, and as you go up in these, the price you’ll pay follows.