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 Post subject: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 12:43 pm 
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I know this maybe a stupid question, but... I noticed several brands of shotgun shells (2 3/4") differ in actually length. Why is the shotgun able to handle differences in tolerances that would be totally unacceptable in rifles?




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 Post subject: Re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 1:11 pm 
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cmdrstp wrote:
I know this maybe a stupid question, but... I noticed several brands of shotgun shells (2 3/4") differ in actually length. Why is the shotgun able to handle differences in tolerances that would be totally unacceptable in rifles?


http://hunting.about.com/od/shotgun/l/a ... unfaqb.htm

Q: The barrel of my 12-gauge shotgun is marked for 2 3/4-inch shells only, yet a three-inch shell will easily slip into its chamber. Does this mean it is safe to shoot three-inch shells in my gun?


A: Absolutely not. The linear dimension used to identify a particular shotshell refers to the length of its fired case and not that of the loaded round. Actual length will vary slightly among various brands of shells, but those designated as 2 3/4 inches usually measure around 2 5/16 inches before firing and 2 5/8 to 2 11/16 inches after firing. Three-inch shells usually measure from 2 1/2 to 2 5/8 inches before firing and lengthen to just under three inches when fired. Since the 2 3/4-inch chamber of a shotgun will usually measure at least that long, and sometimes slightly longer, you can see how an unfired three-inch shell will drop right into it. Firing shells of excessive length for the chamber can generate dangerously high pressures for the following reason: The inside diameter of a shotgun barrel rapidly becomes smaller just forward of the front end of the chamber in an area called the forcing cone. When a three-inch shell is fired in a 2 3/4-inch chamber, its crimp section opens into the forcing cone and in doing so effectively reduces bore diameter at that point. If the shot charge and wad column are required to squeeze through this partial obstruction, chamber pressure can increase.


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 Post subject: Re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 1:21 pm 
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cmdrstp wrote:
I know this maybe a stupid question, but... I noticed several brands of shotgun shells (2 3/4") differ in actually length. Why is the shotgun able to handle differences in tolerances that would be totally unacceptable in rifles?


Simply put:

Rifles are a high pressure cartridge that must "headspace", (fit the chamber in a rimless case), to safely contain that pressure.

Shotguns headspace on the rim and are "low pressure" critters. Much more forgiving circumstances. Also why the barrels can be thinner.

They are also measured differently as stated before. Shotgun shells being as "after firing".

Clyde


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 Post subject: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 2:32 pm 
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Slick13, I would NEVER fire a 3" shell in a 2 3/4" chamber! I was only refering to the 2 3/4" shells that don't measure equally in length. Thank you.


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 Post subject: Re: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 2:53 pm 
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cmdrstp wrote:
Slick13, I would NEVER fire a 3" shell in a 2 3/4" chamber! I was only refering to the 2 3/4" shells that don't measure equally in length. Thank you.


I know you were only talking about 2 3/4" shells, and what I posted explains why it's not a big deal that not all 2 3/4" shell measure the exact same before they are fired:

"those designated as 2 3/4 inches usually measure around 2 5/16 inches before firing and 2 5/8 to 2 11/16 inches after firing"

"Since the 2 3/4-inch chamber of a shotgun will usually measure at least that long, and sometimes slightly longer"

So, since the shells start out and finish shorter than the chamber, it doesn't matter if they aren't all the exact same length.

Michael


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 Post subject: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 5:10 pm 
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Ah. I see. Thank you both very much.


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 Post subject: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 5:45 pm 
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Confused, I think understand to a degree. IE I have a 1924 s/s elsie in 12 ga. and do not know chamber. There is no marking on barrel reference 2 3/4 or 3". I have shot dove, duck and turkey with 3" with no problem so far. Have I been wrong and careless?


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 Post subject: Re: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 7:56 pm 
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southgadog wrote:
Confused, I think understand to a degree. IE I have a 1924 s/s elsie in 12 ga. and do not know chamber. There is no marking on barrel reference 2 3/4 or 3". I have shot dove, duck and turkey with 3" with no problem so far. Have I been wrong and careless?


:shock:

Well, I don't think 3" shells came along until the 1930s, and I don't think 2 3/4" was even setteled on as the standard for 12 ga. until the 1920s, so your gun is probably 2 3/4", maybe even shorter. I wouldn't be shooting anymore 3" shells in it!

Michael


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 Post subject: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 8:29 pm 
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Thanks Michael, Have other guns for heavy long range , will retire my old love on the 3's.


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 Post subject: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 9:43 pm 
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Go to this link from Brownells, great info on the subject. http://www.brownells.com/aspx/NS/Genera ... st-100.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 9:59 pm 
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southgadog wrote:
Confused, I think understand to a degree. IE I have a 1924 s/s elsie in 12 ga. and do not know chamber. There is no marking on barrel reference 2 3/4 or 3". I have shot dove, duck and turkey with 3" with no problem so far. Have I been wrong and careless?


If you really value that old gun, I wouldn't be shooting any "baby" mags, or even heavy field loads in it either. That is getting back far enough that today's loads are getting into the "bit too much" area. Light to medium pressure and target loads should be no problem.

The steel anywhere in that gun, back then just wasn't designed to take today's hotter loads.

Have a gunsmith measure the chambers.

Clyde


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 Post subject: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2007 10:21 pm 
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I have four kids and I love them dearly. Each one of them knows that to put a 3 inch shell in any old side by side I own chambered for 2 5/8" or 2 3/4" shells would at the very least rapidly accellerate wear on the old guns, especially the stocks. It could also blow those old smokepoles up like a hand grenade. They weren't made for such loads. They weren't even made for "baby magnums" or "turkey loads" or anything at all except the lightest 2 3/4 target or game loads.

The more I read on here about people shooting 3 inch mags in old side by sides, and getting away with it, the more I worry about passing down my old guns when I'm gone. My kids know, but will their kids? And they'll have steel shot 3 inch mags, if not 3 1/2 inch steel shot mags, as the everyday loads lying around the house.

Here's the words, in plain English:

Do not shoot anything but the lightest lead shot target and game loads in 2 3/4 inch in old American classic doubles. If you do you'll surely wreck your gun in time, and you may even blow it up. Never ever shoot any steel shot in them, or "Hevi Shot". It's dangerous, and not just theoretically dangerous. You are playing roulette with your gun and your body parts, or even your life.

Mossberg Mavericks cost $160 at Wal Mart and will shoot the heaviest, nastiest 3 inch mags made, steel or lead shot. Go buy one of those to shoot the nasty stuff in. Give that poor old Elsie, and your eyes, fingers, and hands, a sporting chance to keep on being in one piece. :lol:


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 Post subject: re: Shotgun shell lengths?
PostPosted: Tue May 22, 2007 11:07 am 
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Went to wallyworld last nite and purchased the mav. Have other more modern guns that handle 3 and 3 1/2, but won't worry about knocking the Mav. around. Thanks for the info.




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