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Old April 30, 2008, 06:27 AM   #1
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low brass shotgun shells

hunting ammo is always high brass, the cheap bird shot is low brass.

Are low brasss shotgun shells more likely to jam a pump gun than high brass?

Does anyone have any problem with low brass shells no matter what type of shotgun they use?
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Old April 30, 2008, 06:49 AM   #2
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Low brass shot shells typically are used for skeet, trap, sporting clays, target shooting, ect…
They have less powder and are usually cheaper. Some semi-automatic shotguns have problems cycling low brass as there’s not enough recoil to cycle the action. Some semi auto shotguns will cycle either low or high brass without any problems so it really depends on the gun.

Shooting low brass out of a pump will not have any cycling issues as the pump is manually cycled by the operator of the shotgun.
Hope this helps.
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Old April 30, 2008, 07:02 AM   #3
Jeff Mulliken
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If you go back 75 years or so the sealing of the chamber from gas leakage was more of a problem and the longer brass was used on shells that were loaded to higher pressures. Shells with lower pressures were loaded with low brass because it cost money and was not needed. There is no longer a direct relationship between low/high brass and power or velocity other than for marketing purposes.

You can load either with a lot or a little powder and shot. You dont even really need the brass anymore and there have been shells marketed with no brass at all. The only real difference is marketing hype.

In fact these shells typically have steel heads with a brash "finish". That is one of the reasons we have some extraction problems with the cheapest shells. The cheaper steel heads with more steel in the base expand like brass but dont "relax" or shrink as much as the real brass heads. That makes themm harder to extract.

High quality target loads are low base because they can be reloaded more times without the risk of splitting the brass heads. That makes the shells more attractive to target shooter who reload or sell their once fired empties to those that do reload.

The statement that hunting ammo is all high brass and low brass are cheap is rubbish.

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Old April 30, 2008, 08:27 AM   #4
Scattergun Bob
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Hi Dave,

Boy, you sure do keep the electrons flowing!

I somewhat agree with what Jeff said in his post, (except for the rudeness).

The issue of shotgun shells jamming your pump shotgun is a different matter. During the 1950s my introduction to shotgunning, we had some cardboard shotshells which could swell (if they absorbed moisture) and stick in the chamber. Or if you reloaded them incorrectly and kinked the hull they might split and stick. This was regardless of base height or hull manufacture. Since the advent of plastic hulls this is a thing of the past.

Today, you might find a individual manufacture that has poor workmanship and his ammo is suspect. But more to the point, THE BIGGEST problems for extraction and ejection of hulls in pump shotguns are worn extractors and dirty fouled chambers. If it were me, I would concentrate on these issues. Dave, I think we have talked about the chamber issue in a previous thread, so I will not belabor that point.

The issue of a worn extractor is a very real issue especially in earlier 870 express models. Shoot me a message if you fall into that category and I can give you the right P/N to fix that.

Good Luck & Be safe
First, with the most, WINS!
Regards, Scattergun Bob
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Old April 30, 2008, 08:48 AM   #5
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Depends on the game you pursue to determine if you need the x-tra range of high brass. I tend to like low brass for most of my small game hunting(quail, squirrel, rabbit, etc.). When I get into larger game like pheasant or chukar thats when I break out the high brass. Other wise I feel no need to use hi base shells except when needed.
Mike B.
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Old April 30, 2008, 08:59 AM   #6
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I stopped using semi-autos years ago after a jam nearly cost me body and life.
All the hanguns Ive owned over the last 15 years or so have been revolvers. All the rifles bolt actions, and the shotguns we own presently are either single shot or pump.
In any of these types of guns Id think that shell extraction might be the only main problem that could occur.
My wifes 22 the other day refused to let go of a cheap round so I had to pry it out, but that is one of thousands of rounds that have been fired through that gun without a hitch.

The problems with semi autos often has less to do with the guns (assuming its not junk) and more to do with the ammo used in them.
When I used cheap ammo even in my Beretta 9mm sometimes even it would act a bit funny and that gun seemed like a jam was pretty near impossible.

Semi autos are just too much work for me
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Old April 30, 2008, 11:48 AM   #7
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the main underlying theme is the use of "cheap" ammo - high quality ammo from respected manufacturers will lessen your odds of problems ammo-related; they should also give you better patterns since they are made with better components
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Old April 30, 2008, 01:30 PM   #8
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The biggest problem I've had with jams in a semi-auto were related to how much crud the ammo left in the chamber. I bought a Sig P220 (rock solid you'd think) and at first I had a heck of a time with it jamming. It wasn't the gun. It was the ammo. It was Winchester Win Clean. I guess that actually meant shoot once and clean because a single shell shot through the thing would leave enough crud in the chamber to cause a mis-feed. I would clean the gun every time I shot it and I was amazed how much crud was coming out. I quickly switched to a different brand of ammo (practically any other brand) and the problem instantly went away. Now I never have a problem except that recently a magazine went bad on me. I've shot a lot of rounds through that gun and it never causes me any problems.

Semi-autos can be very susceptible to problems with not cleaning the chamber after shooting. Some of them can go on for years without a problem but some will start having trouble pretty quick if you don't keep things clean.
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Old April 30, 2008, 02:27 PM   #9
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High vs low brass is irrelevant in terms of functioning in a pump - or semi-auto for that matter. I've had shells that jammed in a gun / pumps, etc but it was because they were cheap shells ( like Estate today ) and they had problems in deforming after they were fired and sticking in the chamber.

You should clean any type of gun after you've been hunting, to the range, etc - so dirty shells should not be an issue. In a gas operated semi-auto like Beretta, Remington, Browning, etc if they are real dirty the gun may have a problem after it's fired 150 rounds or so - but its not typically a problem on a one day trip to the field or to a range.

Low brass is common on target shells these days - and they are easily reloadable / high brass are not typically reloadable - so many of us that are reloaders use only low brass shells. But I load low brass shells for my use in the field too ( at least up to 7 1/2's ) in 28, 20 and 12ga field loads.
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