View Full Version : Shotgun receivers: steel vs. aluminum

September 1, 2002, 12:50 PM
Certain shotguns such as the Remington 870 series and Ithaca have steel receivers, while others like Mossberg and Winchester use aluminum. Is there any real difference as far as longevity/durability?

September 1, 2002, 02:21 PM
For the average shooter....not really. The finish on the aluminuum may wear a little faster, and it can't be refinised very easily.
Most newer guns use a system where the bolt locks into the steel barrel, so the receiver isn't under that much stress.

Mike Irwin
September 1, 2002, 03:51 PM
Faris pegged it.

The receiver really only acts as a travel guide and holder for all the operating parts.

In older shotguns the bolt actually locked into the receiver, meaning that the receiver had to be a lot stronger.

With modern shotguns, the shell is fully encased in the barrel, and the bolt either locks into the barrel extension with a lug, or in the case of Winchester shotguns locks into the rear of the barrel itself with a rotary bolt head, not unlike a bolt action rifle.

Andrew Wyatt
September 1, 2002, 07:46 PM
Aluminum recievers also break in faster, since the steel bolt is harder than the reciever. I've noticed my mosberg becoming noticeably easier to operate in the last couple sessions.

September 3, 2002, 03:09 PM
After yesterdays foray into the James River, the steel parts of my Mossberg were covered with rust after the 3hours on the water, 1 hour journey home and 1 hour of gutting/cleaning. The aluminum receiver was one more part that didn't need steel wool and WD40.

Dave McC
September 3, 2002, 05:51 PM
Steel receivers WILL last longer, but I will furnish one great venison dinner to anyone turning over to me a modern, US made major brand alloy receiver'd shotgun that's been used up.

IOW, it's pretty much a non issue. Get whatever you like, shoot it lots, and enjoy.Pick it not for the receiver material, but how it shoots for you.

Note,an advantage to the alloy shotguns is rarely mentioned. On an upland shotgun that's carried miles and miles while only shot maybe a dozen times or so per outing, the lighter weight helps reduce fatigue.

Frankenstein serves nicely as an upland gun and runs about 7 lbs. A 500/1300 set up like it would run maybe 3-4 oz less.