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10 gauge steel shot question

Trigger Mike

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A buddy bought him a sxs 10 gauge with full choke made in Spain. 32 inch barrell. He bought steel shot since that was all he could find and now some are telling him if he shoots the steel shot in a full choke gun it will blow it up or scratch the barrell. is that so?

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As we wrote about this a month ago in the regular wire (which is probably a better place to ask this question), steel is hard. It does not squeeze down (deform) like lead does when it gets to the choke.


Guns that have been made and tested for use with steel shot are almost always marked "Safe for Steel" Acero is the Spanish name for steel that you could see marked on the barrel, but make sure it's talking about steel shot in the load, not some type of steel that the barrel is made of.


If the gun is older than about 1985, it is not very likely to be certified for steel shot. A double barrel is not very often certified for steel shot and is the most likely to be damaged, because double barrels use very thin barrel walls to keep the weight down, and those thin walls allow the ribs to be shot loose off the barrels up by the chokes, or even to have the barrel split open.


The tighter the choke, the worse the problem. Full choke double, made in Spain, is a bad bet for being safe with steel.


Scratching the barrels is not much of a problem, as the higher quality wads now used with steel shot protect the bore from scratching by the shot.


Bottom Line: Yes, if the gun is not certified safe for steel, you can damage the barrels. And even have the barrels split and be dangerous to the shooter or bystanders.


Unless he wants to do a good check on the safety of that double, he ought to stick to lead or bismuth shot. Reloading can easily produce shells he can use.


There are very few commercial sources of lead or bismuth shotshells for 10 gauge if the gun is chambered for 3 inch shells. Unfortunately, this gun sounds like something that he needs a good reloader to help him out.


Good luck, GJ

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A lot of those big Spanish Zabala made guns had the barrels cut to 30" to get rid of the chokes after the advent of steel shot, my Richmond branded version included.

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