• The First Left-Hand Pump-Action Shotgun

    Did you know that Savage Arms was the first firearms manufacturer to make a dedicated left-hand pump-action shotgun?

    Prior to 1960, if you were a left-handed shooter and wanted a repeating shotgun that didn't spit shells out in your face you had very few options. Aside from break-actions, the only real option available was the Ithaca Model 37.
    The Model 37 was a fairly ambidextrous design with it's bottom ejection, but it still came standard with a right-hand push button safety from the factory that needed to be converted for lefties. Fortunately someone at Savage Arms saw that there was a market being ignored by the rest of the firearms industry - however small - and decided to address it.

    The Savage Arms Model 30 was first introduced in 1958 and was offered in 12, 16, 20 and .410 gauges with 26, 28 and 30-inch barrels with various chokes. The barrels featured a vent rib, a bead front sight and a bead mid sight. The furniture was plain walnut with a pistol grip stock - no checkering.

    Several different models or grades were offered over the years, including a Slug and Trap models, as well as take-down versions.

    Most variants of the Model 30 were discontinued in 1970, but a couple of the take-down versions continued on until as late as 1975.

    In 1960 Savage added a left-handed option to the line designated with an "L" after the model number (i.e Model 30L). Offered only in 12-gauge, the Model 30L had the ejection port relocated to the left side of the receiver and the safety was reversed for left-handed operation. Additionally, the stock featured a slight amount of cast-on rather than cast-off to provide a proper fit for left-hand shooters.

    A true mirror image of the right-hand design, the Savage Model 30L was the first true 100% left-hand pump-action shotgun to be brought to market. The left-hand model was never a huge seller, and was ultimately discontinued with many of the other Model 30's in 1970.

    To this day, nearly 57 years later, there have only been a small handful of true left-hand pump-action shotguns manufactured. Besides the Savage Model 30L, Remington Arms has produced the Model 870 in very limited left-hand configurations and numbers. Today only the 870 Express in 12-gauge is offered in a left-hand configuration from Remington.

    One could also easily consider the Browning BPS to be a left-hand shotgun, even though it's a truly ambidextrous design rather than a dedicated lefty. The BPS differs from the Ithaca 37 in that it features a top tang safety rather than a cross button safety on the trigger housing.

    Mossberg is the most recent manufacturer to hear the plight of southpaw shotgunners and has released several left-hand versions of their popular Model 500 pump-action shotgun.

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. maggiejcampbell's Avatar
      maggiejcampbell -
      You stated that the Ithaca model 37 lacked a left hand safety. This isn't exactly true as I have a Ithaca 37, 12, with a factory option left hand safety, that I purchased way back in 1984.
    1. mjzman's Avatar
      mjzman -
      Have a 30L with adjustable choke in the back of my safe. Bought it new in 1963 when I was 16. Lots of rabbit, squirrel, and crow hunting with that gun through high school.
    1. J.Baker's Avatar
      J.Baker -
      Quote Originally Posted by maggiejcampbell View Post
      You stated that the Ithaca model 37 lacked a left hand safety. This isn't exactly true as I have a Ithaca 37, 12, with a factory option left hand safety, that I purchased way back in 1984.
      The LH safety on an Ithaca 37 wasn't standard fair, but LH buttons were offered that could be swapped in or a dealer could custom order the gun with it from the factory (still can from the new Ithaca Gun Co. as well).