View Full Version : Steel Shot in Old Shotgun

March 16, 2001, 01:10 PM
Just what is the problem with shooting steel shot thru old shotguns? Is it a pressure thing or an abrasive thing?
Should this rule be strictly followed?

Mike Irwin
March 16, 2001, 05:16 PM
It's partially an abrasive thing, but it's also the ability of the barrel to physically withstand the outward pressures that steel shot places on the barrel.

Lead shot compresses both as the shot is fired and as it moves through the choke, so the stress on the barrel is relatively minor.

But steel shot doesn't compress. That's why steel shot is loaded with buffering material, and loaded into a pretty thick cup wad. Because the steel won't compress, you have to provide padding that will compress.

Even with the buffering and the shot cup, it's not uncommon for steel shot to chew right through the cup.

In a new shotgun made for use with steel shot this can eventually score the barrel.

In an old shotgun, the barrel can rupture anywhere along its length. Most commonly, though, the failure is at the choke.

Dave McC
March 18, 2001, 08:04 AM
I've seen old guns with belled muzzles from steelshot through too much choke and too little bbl metal.

ANY old shotgun should be checked out by a decent smith prior to firing.

And, as inexpensive as used but modern pump guns are, 870s, 1200s,500s, etc, there's a mess of steel tolerant shotguns out there at reasonable prices.Those make more sense for this than Great-Grandpop's duck gun...