View Full Version : Steel shot in a 1952 Stevens 311

May 14, 2007, 09:33 PM
There is a lot of conflicting info out there about steel in an old SxS. This gun does NOT have screw in chokes. Is it safe to shoot steel shot because the steel never touches the barrel? Or is it unsafe and if not safe, why? The question is pretty moot since I will be using it for grouse with lead shot but I want to know the answer.

May 14, 2007, 10:28 PM
I would not use steel shot in any shotgun unless it was marked as safe for it's use. To easy to damage something including you.
Just my opinion.

Jeff Mulliken
May 16, 2007, 08:31 PM
It's not about scoring the barrel, proper wads made for steel should prevent that, it's about squeezing it through a choke...

The soft steel and thin walls of most older doubles will not handle the steel shot when it gets to the chokes. It will baloon the barrel just in front of the choke. Steel shot acts a lot like a solid projectile at 1350 fps, and as it wont deform like lead something else has to give....

By the way, you should not shoot steel through any full chokes regardless of the age of the gun.


May 16, 2007, 10:12 PM
I posted this over on THR but they were down for a bit. I got the same answer over there as you just gave me and now I understand why not to. It is all a moot point since this sweet little 16 gauge is only going to be used for grouse and there is no problem with using lead for that. I spent the last 3 days walking around my apartment shooting at light fixtures and door knobs and I still can't get over how nice the gun handles. Work related things will keep me from the range for the next week, but anticipation is killing me. Normally I would not let work get in the way of shooting but I am taking command of my first Coast Guard station on Friday so I made and exception this one time;)

May 17, 2007, 01:08 AM
I've got an old (1954) 311c and i wouldnt dare run steel through it. I'm terrfied of splitting a barrel. I dont hunt ducks, so I'll stick to my dove shot and my #1 buck.

To be whats considered a low end double, the Stevens really is a well handling gun. Mine comes to shoulder well and throws a good pattern. (took forever to get used to the barrels being choked differently though)

If you've got a picture of the old girl, post it! I'd love to see it :)

May 17, 2007, 05:34 AM
I just moved and my cables to connect my camera to the computer are in one of the many boxes stacked in my spare bedroom. It has the old tennite plastic stock which I am going to replace with walnut. The bluing has been worn completely off.

Jeff Mulliken
May 17, 2007, 09:00 AM
Low end is defined by your point of view. It could be cosmetics, mechanical attributes or just plain price....depending on what you like.

Personally, if I find a gun that fits me like it was part of my body since birth nothing else matters much. But I'm a wing shooter so instinct shooting with a gun that always comes up to my shoulder "just right" with no warning is critical.

Just remember that you may acquire your perfect fitting inexpensive gun and shoot it a lot, and in the process learn that it will not hold up over time to heavy use...so the mechanical limitations of a "low end" gun can surface as "high maintenance".


May 17, 2007, 08:17 PM

I paid 159 bucks for this gun. If stuff starts to break I will just hang it up on a wall and go buy a more reliable double. No big deal, but if I have some fun with it then great! The shop I bought it from also has a pile of old Winchester 94s, all of them pre 64, half the fun of getting this shotgun was digging through the piles of guns in there;)