Really, really stupid shotgun ammo question.

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Really, really stupid shotgun ammo question.

Post by Valarius » Sat Feb 24, 2007 4:47 pm

I own a 20-gauge single shot Stevens shotgun.

Went to Wal-Mart yesterday and bought some Federal, 20-gauge, #6 brass and lead shot, 2 3/4 inches long. Standard shell.

Will this ammuntion work in my shotgun? :oops:
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Post by randomusername » Sat Feb 24, 2007 4:50 pm

To my limitied knowledge, as long as it is the same Gauge, it will fire from your weapon.

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Post by Rus » Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:02 pm

Sandman wrote:To my limitied knowledge, as long as it is the same Gauge, it will fire from your weapon.
+1

The chamber length must also be equal to or greater than the shell length... so shooting 2 3/4" shells from a 3" chamber is good.
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Post by TheMonkeyMan » Sat Feb 24, 2007 5:06 pm

Im not up on the 20ga round but make sure your gun is chambered in 2 3/4". Longer shells than the guns chamber is cut for will fit into it but bad things can happen if you try to fire them. So as long as the shells are less than or equal to the length your chamber is cut to you are good to go.

Same deal with shooting 3" 12ga in a 2 3/4" gun... BAD!!!
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*EDIT* Did little research and 2 3/4 is the shortest 20ga length... So yeah, your good to go.
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Post by Big Mac » Sat Feb 24, 2007 6:03 pm

Really isn't a stupid question. What would be stupid if you:

1.) Shot it and it blew up and made you mark "blind" on your tax return, given you lived through it.

2.) Ask something like "Should I make it a sawed-off and go Mad Max like a Postal Worker?"

We won't bite if you ask a reasonable question. No good being arrogant dicks (even if everyone here has massive wee-wee's like me) when it comes to guns. That turns people off and makes us look a like a bunch of knuckle-dragging maniacs.
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Post by TDW586 » Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:08 am

Like the others said, it's always best to ask someone if you really don't know.

And, as you were told, yes, that will work fine in your shotgun.
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Post by CorathSS » Sun Feb 25, 2007 8:13 am

Since we're on shotguns...I'll ask my own Dumb question..

With a 20 gauge break. Is it generally bad to snap it shut with a wrist snap upwards?

I know, can I be more hollywood..but I'm wondering if it is a bad idea..because I was hunting, and me and buddy switched guns....well. Ever try to shoot behind on a tree stand? I used it one handed to reload for a second shot.

Granted, one time didn't hurt it..but would repeated performance do her in?
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Post by RGNY » Sun Feb 25, 2007 9:12 am

yes, 'snapping' the breech closed is likely to damage the lock-up in the long run. i was taught to close break open shotguns/rifles with two hands and a deliberate 'push'.


on the original question: don't most shotguns have the chamber length stamped on them, something like "20ga. 2 3/4" "? i don't have a Stevens, but i haven't seen one yet that didn't. i'm not saying 'duh', i'd just be surprised if it didn't.
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Post by Rus » Sun Feb 25, 2007 11:52 am

Snapping an action closed is harder on the action than a push, so I'd expect at least greater wear on the mechanism.

Not all shotguns are marked on the reciever. My 870 is a "police magnum".. which means it's strong enough for 3" shells. However, you could mate it with an aftermarket barrel only rated for 2 3/4" shells... not horrrible, unless you like shooting 3" shells. In that case though, the barrel is marked.
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Post by Towanda » Sun Feb 25, 2007 1:52 pm

I have a stupid shotgun ammo question of my own.

I have a 16-ga shotgun which belonged to my grandfather. My father gave me some ancient (like, sometime in the 70s or 80s) Eastern European-made ammo for it. Is ammo that old safe to use? Or should I take the ammo to the local police department and ask them if they would kindly dispose of it for me?

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Post by Rus » Sun Feb 25, 2007 2:34 pm

Towanda wrote:I have a stupid shotgun ammo question of my own.

I have a 16-ga shotgun which belonged to my grandfather. My father gave me some ancient (like, sometime in the 70s or 80s) Eastern European-made ammo for it. Is ammo that old safe to use? Or should I take the ammo to the local police department and ask them if they would kindly dispose of it for me?
Wait... 70's is ancient?!?! Christ, it's official. I'm old.

:lol:

Questions: Is the ammo plastic or paper hulled? Any discoloration, fluids leaking... that sort of thing?

On a similar vein, is the shotgun in good working order? Any corrosion? When was the last time it was cleaned?
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Post by Gunny » Mon Feb 26, 2007 12:55 am

If only we had a thread started by an in-house shotgun expert.

;)

Let me answer a few questions.

Valarius:

Most of the 20g hunting ammo you'll find at Wal-Mart will be what's called 'high brass' More than likely, this is what you have. Don't hesitate to use it in your Stevens.

That being said, most all public clays ranges (think trap, skeet, sporting clays) won't allow you to shoot #6's due to shot travel. That's something to keep in mind ;)

CorathSS:

I have literally hundreds of thousands of rounds through my Beretta 626 and 686's (over and under 12g shotguns) and typically close them with more force than normal to ensure proper seat.

To this day I have yet to have an issue with my 'lock up mechanism' (breach lock) as RGNY mentioned. It would be very damn hard to damage such a mechanism on a decent firearm.

Towanda:

For the most part, if your shotgun is an older 16g model, you won't have an issue shooting older shotgun ammunition. Older model shotguns are typically made with stronger materials (before an emphasis on light weight firearms was enacted).

That being said, if you have old paper hulled ammunition, it is worth far more in collection value than you may think. Save it, store it and sell it later on on gunbroker or something similar for personal profit.

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Post by CorathSS » Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:02 am

Ahh, good. I want to purchase one of them single shooters, because you can conceivably one handedly slam it shut with a good wrist motion. Not that I'd saw it down or the likes.
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Post by Blasphemous » Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:48 am

The only stupid question is the one that isn't asked.
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Post by doc66 » Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:21 pm

Rus wrote:Wait... 70's is ancient?!?! Christ, it's official. I'm old.
Hehe.

Me too.

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Post by doc66 » Mon Feb 26, 2007 1:21 pm

Oh and I've shot ammo from the 1870's, so you should have no problem.

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Post by Big Mac » Tue Feb 27, 2007 9:11 pm

I have a question here as well.

The ammo I bought for my 590 A1 seems to be 3" possibly. It's a little longer than my birdshot stuff and also a little skinnier. I assume it should be safe to fire in a military weapon, right?
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Post by TDW586 » Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:07 pm

Big Mac wrote:I have a question here as well.

The ammo I bought for my 590 A1 seems to be 3" possibly. It's a little longer than my birdshot stuff and also a little skinnier. I assume it should be safe to fire in a military weapon, right?

Most 590's have a 3" chamber. Don't try to eyeball it, ammunition has markings for a reason. Check the barrel, usually near or over the chamber portion, or on the receiver of your shotgun. It should state the caliber/chambering of the weapon right there. Match that up to the markings on the ammo. If your shotgun has a 3" chamber, then it is safe to fire any shells marked 2 3/4" or 3" in it. Make sure the gauge is correct too. 16 or 20 gauge ammo might chamber in a 12GA once, but it'd be firing from a completely unsupported chamber. That would be bad.
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Post by Gunny » Tue Feb 27, 2007 10:55 pm

TDW586 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I have a question here as well.

The ammo I bought for my 590 A1 seems to be 3" possibly. It's a little longer than my birdshot stuff and also a little skinnier. I assume it should be safe to fire in a military weapon, right?

Most 590's have a 3" chamber. Don't try to eyeball it, ammunition has markings for a reason. Check the barrel, usually near or over the chamber portion, or on the receiver of your shotgun. It should state the caliber/chambering of the weapon right there. Match that up to the markings on the ammo. If your shotgun has a 3" chamber, then it is safe to fire any shells marked 2 3/4" or 3" in it. Make sure the gauge is correct too. 16 or 20 gauge ammo might chamber in a 12GA once, but it'd be firing from a completely unsupported chamber. That would be bad.
I've only one thing to add: Big Mac, all 12g shells should be the same thickness. The length will vary and the weight will vary, but all will be the same width. If yours isn't, then it VERY probably isn't 12g.

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Post by slopemeno » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:58 am

If you have ANY DOUBT, STOP!

Read this: There is a syndrome called the "12-20 burst". Learn to fear it. A 20 gauge round mixed in with 12 gauges will go into a 12 gauge magazine, and will probably cycle through the magazine too. Then , when it makes it to the chamber, its so small it falls about 4"-6" inside the barrel and lodges n the forcing cone. You pull the trgger....."click". Huh, better rack it again, a 12 gauge round chambers, you yank the trigger..."BOOM!"... you can probably kiss the figers on your left hand goodbye, and lets hope you were wearing eye protection. The barrel will look like a grenade went off in it.

I ALMOST did this once. When I was 'smithing, I was shoveling rounds to my partner Doug, and we were running ammo through a 12 gauge Auto 5 as fast as we could (in for a reliabilty problem). Same symptom, round cycles through the mag, "click"..Doug paused and put his hand on the op handle, and paused again. He slowly cleared the gun, and pulled the barrel off. I was wondering what he was doing. He took the seperated barrel and peered down it. He reached for a clearing rod and knocked a live 20 gauge round out of the forcing cone....man- think of an ounce of shot going 6" up the bore and colliding with a live round blocking the bore..ouch.

20 gauge rounds are yellow for a reason. ALWAYS check and keep different gauge shotguns seperate for a reason.

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Post by Gunny » Wed Feb 28, 2007 9:57 am

slopemeno wrote:If you have ANY DOUBT, STOP!

Read this: There is a syndrome called the "12-20 burst". Learn to fear it. A 20 gauge round mixed in with 12 gauges will go into a 12 gauge magazine, and will probably cycle through the magazine too. Then , when it makes it to the chamber, its so small it falls about 4"-6" inside the barrel and lodges n the forcing cone. You pull the trgger....."click". Huh, better rack it again, a 12 gauge round chambers, you yank the trigger..."BOOM!"... you can probably kiss the figers on your left hand goodbye, and lets hope you were wearing eye protection. The barrel will look like a grenade went off in it.

I ALMOST did this once. When I was 'smithing, I was shoveling rounds to my partner Doug, and we were running ammo through a 12 gauge Auto 5 as fast as we could (in for a reliabilty problem). Same symptom, round cycles through the mag, "click"..Doug paused and put his hand on the op handle, and paused again. He slowly cleared the gun, and pulled the barrel off. I was wondering what he was doing. He took the seperated barrel and peered down it. He reached for a clearing rod and knocked a live 20 gauge round out of the forcing cone....man- think of an ounce of shot going 6" up the bore and colliding with a live round blocking the bore..ouch.

20 gauge rounds are yellow for a reason. ALWAYS check and keep different gauge shotguns seperate for a reason.
Sage advice.

I yanked a gun out of a kid's hands when he did the same thing with an over/under. He was talking and not paying attention.

The only way I caught his mistake was by the odd 'clunk' sound the 20g shell made when it lodged in the barrel. He had loaded another 12g round behind it and nearly had his breach closed before I stopped him.

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Post by Big Mac » Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:35 pm

Gunny wrote:
TDW586 wrote:
Big Mac wrote:I have a question here as well.

The ammo I bought for my 590 A1 seems to be 3" possibly. It's a little longer than my birdshot stuff and also a little skinnier. I assume it should be safe to fire in a military weapon, right?

Most 590's have a 3" chamber. Don't try to eyeball it, ammunition has markings for a reason. Check the barrel, usually near or over the chamber portion, or on the receiver of your shotgun. It should state the caliber/chambering of the weapon right there. Match that up to the markings on the ammo. If your shotgun has a 3" chamber, then it is safe to fire any shells marked 2 3/4" or 3" in it. Make sure the gauge is correct too. 16 or 20 gauge ammo might chamber in a 12GA once, but it'd be firing from a completely unsupported chamber. That would be bad.
I've only one thing to add: Big Mac, all 12g shells should be the same thickness. The length will vary and the weight will vary, but all will be the same width. If yours isn't, then it VERY probably isn't 12g.
The 590 A1 states 2 3/4 and 3" shells and the round is the former. It is buckshot and I'm comparing it to birdshot. Not to mention the buckshot is S&B (The Czech company) and the birdshot is Winchester. I suppose there is a difference but the S&B chambers fine and I doubt it will do any damage.
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Post by Towanda » Thu Mar 01, 2007 12:06 am

Thanks for the answers about the 16-ga ammo. Didn't mean to make anyone feel old, but I thought that maybe thirty was ancient in ammo-years.

The shotgun is an Iver Johnson Champion, made sometime in the 1930s, that belonged to my grandfather. I've hunted small game with it, but it's been a long time since I've done any hunting. I clean it regularly and keep it cased. Without getting up to go look, I'm pretty sure the ammo is plastic-hulled.

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