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5806

Will steel shot damage my barrels?

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A question for you guys, especially any gun smiths out there.

I have a Winchester Model 21 12 ga side by side. I'm not sure of the exact date of manufacture but I believe it was in the 40's or 50's. The gun is in very good condition for its age. It originally belonged to my grandfather who was an avid hunter and downed many a duck with it before he passed away in 1981. My father then had it who then gave it to me a few years ago. Some day I will pass it on to my son.

I currently only use the gun for hunting grouse and woodcock, but I want to return it to it's original purpose of hunting ducks. The only problem is that I am very worried about damaging the barrels by shooting steel shot through them. I've asked a couple of friends their opinions on this and was told that steel would damage a full choke but that it would probably be OK in a modified or improved cylinder choke. There are two sets of barrels that go with the gun, one has full and modified chokes, the other has modified and improved chokes. I also read in a post from last month on this board that bismuth and other non-toxic loads are softer than steel and shouldn't damage an older gun. I don't mind paying a premium if it will spare the barrels.

Any opinions and info would be appreciated. Thanks.

Aaron

[This message has been edited by 5806 (edited 10-11-2004).]

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Im not a gunsmith by any means i even have problem putting in a plug sometimes but i was told that it can damage older barrels even with the second set of chokes you mentioned. I would use the Bismuth because it is much softer than steel but it is much more expensive.

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That gun is too old and far far too valuable to risk putting steel through it. Use bismuth or tungsten/poly if you want to put nontoxic shot through it.

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Thanks guys, that's what I thought re steel. I'm going with a bismuth or some other soft non-toxic. I haven't duck hunted since I was a kid and hadn't heard of these alternative loads until recently so I don't really know too much about them. Are they safe in the full choke too?

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Bismoth is the only way to go with older shotguns. It can be fired in any shotgun that is safe to fire lead in. Bismoth is also slightly heaver than lead, so it will hit very well and hard. I only wish it was cheaper.

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