Ithaca Tactical SRT 12 Gauge Slug Gun


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn

February 22nd , 2008




Police shotguns have come a long way in the past few decades. For many years, just about every police cruiser in the United States had some type of shotgun, usually a twelve gauge pump, locked up in a rack or in the trunk. Mostly these were loaded with buckshot, but usually a few slugs were also available if needed. The old smoothbore shotguns did pretty well loaded with buckshot, but the accuracy of the weapons with slugs left a lot to be desired. However, at close range, a thumb-sized slug carried a big punch on target. As slug technology advanced, the shotgun technology failed to keep up. Brenneke and a couple of others developed good sabot slug loads, but shotguns were not readily available to take full advantage of their accuracy potential. It took advancements in slug hunting for big game to develop the shotguns which could shoot as accurately as many rifles can. The Ithaca Deerslayer is one such shotgun which has earned a good reputation for accuracy with hunters in states where hunting regulations disallow the use of centerfire rifles. In these states, most hunters use shotguns or muzzleloaders, and the newest shotgun slugs on the market have taken full advantage of the accuracy exhibited by sabots in muzzleloading rifles, and many saboted slug loads are available now to shotgun hunters.

With the new SRT Tactical shotgun, Ithaca has taken the built-in accuracy of their Deerslayer III and packaged it in a shotgun better suited to resolving the social conflicts upon which our police officers are called to resolve. In other words, Ithaca has made a fighting shotgun out of their Deerslayer. Police officers today, more than ever before, seem to have run-ins with barricaded and body-armored thugs. Needing powerful weapons that will penetrate such obstacles, many patrol cars are now equipped with centerfire rifles, usually an AR-15, but there is still a need for police shotguns. A twelve gauge loaded with a heavy slug packs a heck of a wallop up close, and with more accurate shotguns available, like the new Ithaca SRT, an officer can accurately deliver that hard-hitting slug at ranges out to 150 yards, and beyond.

The Ithaca SRT wears a twenty-two inch rifled, ported, and fluted barrel rigidly fixed to the receiver to provide the highest possible degree of accuracy from modern slug loads. The porting helps to reduce the recoil of these heavy loads. The SRT has a Knoxx buttstock that does a wonderful job of absorbing recoil. Even shooting this SRT from the bench for a few hours, not once did the Ithaca hurt my shoulder, even when shooting the heaviest three inch magnum slug loads. The buttstock is adjustable in length from a 12.25 to 15.375 length of pull, to accommodate different sized shooters, and also to adjust to allow for the various vests and other equipment that might be worn by a police officer in the line of duty. The Ithaca came to me already equipped with a Nikon Slughunter scope and a Harris Bipod. Outfitted as such, the SRT weighed in at just over ten and one-half pounds, which also helped attenuate the felt recoil of the heavy loads. The Nikon scope has a reticle that has different aiming points to help the shooter accurately place his shots at long range, and the magnification is adjustable from three to nine power. The scope is mounted atop the receiver by a Weaver-type rail. The trigger pull on the SRT measured four and one-quarter pounds, and released crisply, as a rifle trigger should. Even though the SRT is a twelve gauge shotgun, for all practical purposes, it is a twelve gauge rifle, and is capable of rifle-like accuracy. The safety is a crossbolt type that blocks trigger movement, and it pushes to the left to ready the trigger fire.

I tested the SRT for accuracy at 100 yards using four different twelve gauge slug loads. Air temperatures hovered around the forty degree mark (Fahrenheit) during the testing. Elevation is about 450 feet, and there was a slight wind blowing from behind the shooting position. I had three new Winchester slug loads on hand, and also some older Western Foster-type slugs. Velocities were recorded over the electronic eyes of a PACT Professional chronograph, with the readings taken at ten feet from the muzzle. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps), and group sizes listed in inches and fractions thereof. All groups are three shots at 100 yards, measured center-to-center.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity Group Size
Winchester 3 inch Supreme 300 Grains 1913.8 2.25"
Winchester 3 inch Rack Master 492 Grains 1591.7 1.75"
Winchester 2.75 inch Win Lite 400 Grains 1395.9 4.25"
Western 2.75 inch Foster 438 Grains 1403.4 3.875"

The Winchester Rack Master slugs performed wonderfully in the SRT, exhibiting the best accuracy, and packing a hefty punch. The Rack Master is also a pretty reasonably priced slug compared to some others on the market, and is popular with hunters of the big corn-fed deer in some of our northern states where shotguns are the weapon of choice for most hunters. The Ithaca cycled reliably with every load tested, but like most pump guns, it worked more smoothly when the action was worked positively. Loading the Ithaca from the bottom also eliminates the side port prevalent on most pump guns that allows moisture, dust, and debris to enter the action.

The Ithaca Tactical SRT Slug Gun proved to be the most accurate shotgun firing slugs that I have tried so far. A bit more experimenting with other brands and types of slugs will likely improve the accuracy a bit more, but under two inch groups at 100 yards from a slug gun is entirely satisfactory accuracy for me. The SRT is also the most comfortable slug gun that I have ever fired, due to the porting, the weight, and the excellent stock design. It is just not painful at all to shoot this thing all day long.

Now comes the disappointing part: this SRT slug gun is not offered for sale to the public, not yet anyway. It was built up special at the request of a police department. However, It is much the same as the Deerslayer III, and Ithaca does offer the Nikon Slughunter scope as an option on their Deerslayer III. As Ithaca gets up and running with new shotguns, look for more product reviews here on

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.


Ithaca Tactical SRT 12 Gauge Slug Gun.



Knoxx Axiom recoil-absorbing stock.



Buttstock is adjustable for length of pull.



Barrel is rifled, ported and fluted.



Harris bipod.



Crossbolt safety.






Comes complete with sling attachment points.



Nikon Slughunter scope.



Ammunition used for testing.



Ithaca's Tactical SRT 12 Gauge Slug Gun proved to be very accurate.