View Full Version : Shot gun no nos

June 9, 2012, 08:39 PM
Can someone explain the no nos for shot guns?

I keep seeing don't shoot this with this choke don't do that with this..

Can someone explain what are the dos and donts? I didn't think shot guns had anything like this and any can shoot anything (accept rifles of course)

June 10, 2012, 07:30 AM
Older shotguns don't like steel shot, only lead. Some say no steel shot for full chokes too. Rifled slugs are for smooth bores, and sabot slugs are for rifled barrels. It's not a good idea to shoot a slug through a tight choke. I'm sure theres more, but that's the basics.

June 10, 2012, 12:41 PM
General firearms safety precautions apply to shotguns and are typically included in a new gun's instruction manual. Don't worry about compatibility as long as you're using a modern gun with the right size ammo. Think about the legal problems, with the gun and ammo makers, if there were hazards. Conventional and sabot-type slugs can be safely used in rifled or smooth barrels; but, not necessarily with optimum results.

Like all guns, shooting with an obstructed barrel is to be avoided. A 20-ga shell can easily lodge itself in a 12-ga barrel. So, it's not a good idea to have 20-ga shells in your pocket when shooting 12-ga.

If your shotgun has screw-in chokes, don't shoot it without a choke in place. And, check your chokes from time to time to make sure they haven't become loose.

With pump guns, they like to be operated briskly. If you're a real slow poke stroking your pump, it may jam.

Many of the no nos have to do with best practices, and are learned with experience. Take rifles for example, certain barrel twist rates favor certain bullets; but, that doesn't mean you can't shoot any bullet. It's a lot the same with shotguns, some combinations work better than others. And, there are no hard and fast rules. It's often what works best for you in your specific gun. Look at any thread about choke selection and you'll see that there is generally a lack of consensus. Even worse, check out a thread about what's the best load for HD -- everyone has a different opinion. You'll learn by trial and error and the shared experiences of others.

CK 32, perhaps if you were to rephrase your initial question and give us an idea of what you're looking to do with a shotgun we could give you some insight more specific to your application.

June 10, 2012, 01:15 PM
Clear your barrel of the wad before firing another shell if you have a squib or blooper. ( The primer ignites but the powder charge isn't sufficient to properly propel the shot which falls to the ground a few yards out. The wad is usually stuck somewhere in the barrel.)

June 10, 2012, 03:02 PM
A 20-ga shell can easily lodge itself in a 12-ga barrel. So, it's not a good idea to have 20-ga shells in your pocket when shooting 12-ga.

+1 Zippy

also, the shell length is the FIRED length - do NOT put 3" or longer shells in 2-1/2 or 2-3/4" chambers because the unloaded ammo fits (like the "gunsmith" at Gander did to tell me the chamber length)

DON'T overthink choke selection for anything

DON"T go mall ninja and add all types or gizmos and gadgets that add more weight to your HD gun

DO go and practice after getting lessons - remember - "Practice does NOT make perfect, PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect

A shotgun is not a rifle (except for deer and turkey hunting) do not aim, point it like an extension of your arms and eyes - your success rate will be higher

June 11, 2012, 07:34 AM
Also... You see warnings when a feller buys an old gun too... Chambers were not always 2 3/4,3 or 3.5 inch... A modern shell in one of these would not only have the higher pressures of modern powder loads but where the crimp opens in a bore diameter area would be even worse...

The guys who find OLD guns often bought what these guys call "wall hanger" art as they do not have steel barrels... They have the "hammer welded wire" damascus type construction and these were only the best option when they were the only option....


June 11, 2012, 07:49 AM
Do not forget to actually take your shotgun to the range regularly.

Do not forget to find a range that will let you put your hunting/SD loads on paper at 15 yards, so that you can see the pattern. You will likely be shocked at how it's not what you expected.

Do not expect that the sound of a pump gun being cycled will prove a magic talisman that will ward off evil juju.

Do not expect to make any changes to a shotgun without some unexpected and unanticipated second-order effect (which may be either positive or negative).

Do not forget to take your new shotgun home and clean it thoroughly of the shipping preservative (including the chamber and bore). Failure to do this may result in your shotgun not shooting particular ammo types well.

Do not forget to get a shotgun that fits YOU, regardless of what your friends recommend. Since shotguns are pointed, they must fit your body so that they shoot where ya look. Holding a shotgun awkwardly in the store for ten seconds will not tell you how it fits you; you need to (at a minimum) mount it to your shoulder repeatedly to verify buttstock placement, cheekweld, and bead placement/rib alignment.

Do not shoot shotshells through a rifled barrel unless you like donut-shaped patterns. Shotshells are for smoothbore barrels.

Do not shoot steel shot through any barrel that does not use removeable choke tubes unless your gunsmith tells you in advance that it's OK.

Do not forget to verify that both the barrel and the receiver/action are rated for the shotshell that you're fixing to use, before you use them. Because barrels can be swapped on many types of shotguns, it's not inconceivable to find a 3" barrel on a 2 3/4" receiver, or an older 2 9/16" barrel kicking around.

June 11, 2012, 08:27 AM
rbernie above makes a good point about THOUROUGHLY CLEANING the new gun. I was always under the impression that a shotgun or rifle is always fired for test function before leaving the factory. A couple years ago, fellow at my shooting club bought a new rifle. Took it home & proceeded to clean it as you should, first clean patch through the bore comes out with a little steel sliver on it, about the size of a finger nail clipping. Looked like a remnant from the machining process. Had he fired it first, it probably would be imbedded permanently in the bore. Always clean a new gun.

June 11, 2012, 11:27 AM
Something often overlooked: The first thing to do with a new shotgun is to read the owner's manual! If your gun didn't come with one, Google is just a click away.

June 11, 2012, 12:06 PM
If you have screw in chokes, check them often to ensure that they are tight. If you shoot when they are backed off so as to expose threads the shot could damage them.

Do not use shot larger than permitted at a range or club, even if you think you can get away with it. One reason for limiting the size of pellets is the larger ones travel further and may hit somoeone or something beyond the shot drop area.

June 11, 2012, 01:49 PM
If you have screw in chokes, check them often to ensure that they are tight. If you shoot when they are backed off so as to expose threads the shot could damage them.

Corollary to that is don't screw them in too tight and make sure they have some kind of anti-seize lubricant. Getting one stuck is a bear.

June 11, 2012, 02:16 PM
Getting one stuck is a bear.
Another reason to get fixed chokes for specific applications. :)

Nick S.
June 13, 2012, 11:40 AM
I always use Carlsons choke tube lube.