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 Post subject: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 8:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 7:37 pm
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Location: Winnipeg
i know this subject has been beaten to death numerous times, but i'm gonna ask anyways. i have a '69 vintage Auto 5 Magnum 20 ga. I would like to use it for a duck hunt or two this fall. it is of course a full choke. i know steel shot and a full choke are most often a harmful combination. however, every case i know of that resulted in bulged or blown barrels involved B or bigger sized shot. years ago i used a lot of #4 steel in an old full choked Stevens 820b, never causing any damage, with the understanding that #4 is too small to bridge when it passes through a full choke, but i'd be rolling the dice using anything larger. now in theory should that not also apply to my A5? i'm well aware that Browning says no steel shot in any Belgian gun, and have heard to other side of guys who've gotten away with it for years. Kent Tungsten Matrix is the only shell of its kind available locally but at $28 for 10 isn't really a viable option. and i do have other steel safe guns, but i shoot my best with this old 20.


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 Post subject: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:27 pm 
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I hear ya on the 4 shot & you may be able to "get away with it" but if it were me & it were my gun I'd order some NiceShot or buy the TM.


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 9:48 pm 
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Best case is a bulged barrel. Worst case, you're blind/disfigured/dead. Or maybe not. Your call. Or there's Nice Shot. I can't say you won't get any bulging with NS duck loads, but it's a safer option than steel.

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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:46 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 31, 2009 3:14 pm
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I have been shooting #2 and #4 steel through a fixed full choke barrel on my 1961 870 Wingmaster for years. Nothing to show for it except a lot of dead ducks, and no damage. i don't know if the same would go for your A5 as I'm no Browning expert.

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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:55 am 
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I have heard nothing over #2 steel in full choke. I know lots of guys that use long range duck chokes (full) for steel, and I have a set of factory chokes that are steel OK. As long as your barrel is steel shot approved, I would not have any problem shooting #4's or #3's .

Of course you realize shooting steel is like shooting one choke tighter than lead, so it would be like shooting and extra-full choke with lead.. it patterns really tight.


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:27 am 
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Location: Long Island, NY
Kevin,

Your delima is not unique. Browning's recommendation that no steel be shot through any Belgian gun is more a level self protection than it is a danger flag. If you search around on the internet, there are some documents that are either direct from CIP or are "explainations" of the CIP recommendations for the use of steel shot. CIP did a pretty good job with its' recommendations (they are recommendations, not specifications like the proof specs). I have pdf copies of the actual CIP document and a couple of explainations that may be of interest to you (they are available on the web, but I don't have the actual links.) If you'd like a copy (or anyone else), drop me a pm with your email address.

Basically, with respect to your particular case, here's what CIP recommends. Use no shot larger than 3.25mm (US #4). Keep the velocity less than 1395fps. Keep the momentum of the shot charge (shot weight in kilograms x velocity in meters/sec) below 12Ns. This last requirement translates into a one ounce load at 1395 fps. And lastly (and this may be the killer) for "traditional lightweight game guns" no choke tighter than half (modified). CIP divides its' recommendations into a couple of categories based on the shells, the chamber length, the gun's proof and the cartridge pressure. The recommendation has been interpreted by some as being applicable to "High Performance Steel loads" and not standard loads, so it is a bit ambiguous.

Those are the "official" recommendations. That said, I have a friend who, up until two years ago, used an older than your Browning Remington Model 11 with a full choke for all his waterfowling. He shot only 2 3/4 inch loads, but used #2s for duck and #1s for geese. Eventually, the gun wore out, as much from neglect as from actual shooting. But, the last time I saw the gun, it had no sign of a walnut behind the choke. The choke may have worn out altogether, but there was no bulge.

Frank

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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 9:19 pm 
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while it is not a Browning,I have a Remington 1100 made in the late 60's with a 30" full choke barrel on it,and it has made quite a few trips with me on some duck hunts over the years.I have always shot #4's and 3's,nothing bigger and never had any problems


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:36 pm 
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Location: minnesota
I was under the impression that steel would scratch the entire barrel eventually. :( :? The steel barrel was softer then the steel shot. This is before my time.


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:04 am 
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You are right marbleeye, make sure the barrel says steel shot ok or you talk to the mfg and get their approval before you shoot it. But with today's wads you dont have much to worry about, but the risk is still there.

Its ok to shoot with a full choke that is steel shot approved, and/or in a barrel that is steel shot approved.


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:16 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:08 am
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when Don Zutz was alive and writing for shotgun magazines he used steel in full chokes and claimed that it was the goose shot sizes that bulged barrels. While I ahve not used it much in full chokes, I have shot a lot of steel and have not seen a bulged barrel. I even shoot the stuff in modern doubles where some nay sayers claim it will break the barrel rib joints. As others have recommended I would use nothing larger than 3's in a 20 bore anyway and 4's if they pattern would work. Also use the plated shot as listed on the boxes as they have plated shot to lubricate the loads to eliminate bridging as well as eliminating rusting which might be aproblem after long storage and cause a bunching issue. When I handload steel I get better patterns by rolling the shot around in motor mica and adding a small amount to the load (its not at buffer level). I also buy Precision Reloadings zinc plated shot. My favorite shot size for steel in small bores like the 20 is #5 which the ammo manufacturers in their wisdom do not offer so I have to handload it. #6 will also surprise you abnd performs about like #7 or 7.5 lead. Works over decoys. The 2 size rule only holds for a small range of shot sizes as 5 performs a lot like lead 6. Also smaller size steel shot performs and flows more like lead. The 20 bore is not a long range item anyway so the shots will have to be closer. You will have tight patterns with the full choke and with steels shorter shot strings will have to be more dead on.
While like others I think lead would make life simpler and is better, I have not found steel shot to be the Devil's instrument like some do. Also the patterns tend to be less than one degree as a IC will often pattern like a Skeet 2 and a IM gives a better full choke pattern than modified with smaller sizes.

DP


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:50 am 
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Location: Long Island, NY
marbleeye wrote:
I was under the impression that steel would scratch the entire barrel eventually. :( :? The steel barrel was softer then the steel shot. This is before my time.


A myth! Shotgun barrels are made of steel. Steel shot is actually soft iron. Plus, with todays loads and thick shot cups there is very little chance of the pellets coming in contact with the barrel.

Doesn't mean it can't happen. Just that it is more likely NOT to happen.

Frank

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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Sat Sep 24, 2011 12:25 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:08 am
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When SAM wads came out they got a lot of questions about their 2 3/4 wads as they did not seem to totally cover the shot column. Their claim was that the set back forces caused the shot to fill the column and there was no worry. Seemed to work. If one picks up the modern wads used in steel loads after firing you see that they contain the shot and permit no bore contact. Also the wads are thick enough to permit some compression at the choke. Older vintage shotguns like the 97 Winchester as an example had a few more points of constriction at the full choke than one sees today. I think even by 69 they started to loosen the constriction due to the use of plastic wads in lead shells even.

DP


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Fri Sep 30, 2011 4:47 pm 
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Um....I don't think shooting steel through a full choke is going to blow up the bbl. Not saying it won't harm it, just don't think you will see it rupture as in the case of an obstructed bbl.


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2007 11:08 am
Posts: 1483
There was also some concern that in early steel loads that had gotten wet that the shot would rust and form a slug if stored over time. One reason they started plating shot. Many of the even cheaper brands of shot shells have a excellent seal on the crimp to prevent this even for non plated shot. I store my shot for reloading in my basement and have seen a small amount of rust on the shot if not stored right, but nothing like a slug issue.

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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:48 am 
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Sounds like this gun has some sentimental value to you that is beyond its monetary value. I wouldn't take a chance on damaging the gun if you can avoid it. If it was an old beater I wouldn't mind shooting steel through it, but an old favorite...another story. I'd either use another gun or spring for the expensive shot. Hard to justify saving money on ammo when you ruined your shotgun. In the big picture, spending $30 on ammo pales in comparison to what it cost to fill your gas tank to get there.
Gofer


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:03 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:47 pm
Posts: 193
If it were me (and it is not), I would just have a gunsmith open the choke to modified. Any gunsmith could do it, and you would end up with a more versatile gun. I would'nt want to use a full choke for birds at ranges any closer than about 35 yards-especially if using steel. My local 'smith would charge about $45 for the job. Open choke=less chance of a "bridge"
Drew


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:08 am 
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Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2011 12:47 pm
Posts: 193
Just realized I posted on a thread that was a couple months old. So Kevin, did you ever take the plunge?
Drew


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 1:05 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:50 pm
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I can honestly say, I have been using steel/full choke combo(Carlsons tubes) in my 870 for 3 years now with no ill side effects. Just saying that I have yet to see any issue with it. I called Carlsons after buying these tubes and was told as long as velocities are 1500 fps and under and no larger shot size than bbb you will be fine in a newer shotty!!


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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 9:53 am 
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Location: Maumelle, Arkansas
The only actual ringed barrel I have seen was in South Africa a few years ago. It was a Stevens 311 double I borrowed from one of the Professional Hunters. The gun was choked Full and Mod and the ring bulge was very obvious to the eye in the choke area in the FULL barrel only. The Mod barrel had no visible bulge and the rib was not separated. They did not know when the bulge occurred but it didn't seem to affect the usefulness. I shot ducks and large geese (Egyptian) with both barrels with no issues. The shells I was provided were standard 2 3/4" Winchester steel #2 1 1/8 oz loads.
FWIW I would not shoot steel shot in the Browning if it were my gun, but of course it's your call.

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 Post subject: Re: steel shot, full chokes & bridging
PostPosted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 10:47 am 
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kevin.303 wrote:
i know this subject has been beaten to death numerous times, but i'm gonna ask anyways. i have a '69 vintage Auto 5 Magnum 20 ga. I would like to use it for a duck hunt or two this fall.


Get a Miroku barrel for it and blaze away. Other than that, you're on your own.

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