View Full Version : The effects of steel shot thru a lead choke tube....

June 9, 2008, 07:43 PM
A REMINDER TO ALL! Check your gear, stay safe THEN have fun!

Last duck season, shot skeet all summer, got syked for duck season, left lead mod choke in the tube.....only shot 5 shotshells that day. Took me 8 hours of soaking in ALLOT of CLP, working and scratching the hell out of the top of this thing to get it out. Luckily, I then hunted the next morning :P
I was fine, gun was fine....Small mistake im lucky.


June 10, 2008, 12:05 PM

June 10, 2008, 12:20 PM
What split the choke? during removal? What is the difference in a lead and a steel choke?

June 10, 2008, 12:27 PM
The choke was split upon firing, I HAD NO IDEA! The only thing I did to it(Besides not put a steel choke in ) Was scratch up the divets made for removal because I needed to smack away with a hammer to take the tube out.

The steel shot is FAR more dence than lead shot. Therefore steel choke tubes must be made out of tougher material like hardened steel. This was meant for lead and even though I only shot 5 shotshell, it sliced it like a hot knife through butter.
Hope that helps! Read the choke tube it will tell you steel or no steel. Check your firearm as well! Most modern firearms are fine but old ones can be iffy.

Jeff Mulliken
June 10, 2008, 01:52 PM
Steel shot may swage out a choke that is designed for lead. That is because it does not compress at all at the choke and at high velocities hard shot "bridges" and acts more like a solid than a liguid. The evidence is a bulge right behind the tightest part of the choke.

It looks like this:


This damaged choke at the beginnig of this post shows evidence that the wad and shot charge hung up on the inside edge of the choke tube and peeled away a piece. This is often caused by failure to completely seat the choke in the barrel or it can be caused by a choke is even slightly out of round.

I once saw a friend drop a choke tube....pick it up and screw it in with no obvious trouble and the same damage occurred when he shot a 1 1/8 oz load of lead #8's through it a few minutes later. Dropping it had damaged it the minute amount necessary to allow the wad to hang up on the tube where the choke tube intersects the barrel.


June 10, 2008, 02:58 PM
I have read that with the new style wads that steel shot wont damage barrels or chokes because pellets dont contact the bore surface. I guess they were wrong.

Jeff Mulliken
June 10, 2008, 03:04 PM

There are special wads designed for steel shot, however all they are designed to do is protect the barrel from scoring. They do nothing to prevent bulging at the choke.

And there is no wad made that will save your choke if there is an edge exposed that the wad can catch on to as it goes by at 1250++ FPS.


June 10, 2008, 03:41 PM
i am glad that you and any bystanders were not hurt. i see the NO STEEL on the choke tube in the first pic. what make was the shotgun/choke tube?

June 10, 2008, 06:49 PM
too tight a choke will do that as well. Rule of thumb is at least one choke more open for steel versus lead. NEVER use a full choke with steel

June 10, 2008, 09:48 PM
Oneounce, You very well can with small steel shot, Not the large stuff. Its even rite on the back of Federal's box with choke recomendations for steel shot. Brileys Goose tube for large steel is even an Improved modified and my Browning patterns T steel and Hevi-Shot great with it. I always thought an open choke is better also but thats not always the case anymore. I hunt alot of waterfowl and choke makers are trying new things all the time. I upgrade my tubes every season because someone comes out with better.:D I even have a Remington factory Full choke tube that says "for lead or steel". Now why would Remington label it like that if you couldnt?

June 11, 2008, 12:06 PM
My shotgun is a H&R pump 12 gauge. That was the standard choke tube that broke, Luckily I had a replacement in improved that I now use for skeet, and ducks :P