Smoothbore question

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The only way that I would attempt shooting steel shot would be to 1) Insure that there is “no choke”, a true cylinder boring. 2) Utilize a 20ga plastic shot cup with the appropriate sized cup to accommodate the volume of shot in your load. Use a fiber over-shot disc over the plastic cup. The key is to keep the steel shot off the barrel. If there is any choke(constriction), unlike lead, the steel resists confirming to the choke, and can damage the barrel.
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The closest I came to it was buying plastic shot cups for steel shot, for a 12 gauge that I had. I got them for a reloading supply. The waterfowl hunting opportunity went away so I just used them for lead shot. An over powder wad and cushion wad went in first, and an over shot card last. Your biggest challenge might be bore fit with modern 20ga shot cups.
 

TraderVic

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Good question. Art - would a choke equal to or more open than a modified choke be OK?
Some public hunting areas in some states require non toxic shot. Guessing one just wouldn't hunt with a smoothbore in these areas (?).
 

Rock Home Isle

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Is it possible to safely shoot steel shot from a smoothbore flintlock? Specifically a 62/20 gauge. If so would you share information about loading to safely protect the barrel?

Thank you
I have used my Brown Bess to hunt geese for the last 30 years…the gun is unchoked. I’ve had zero problems the barrel is nice and bright. If your gun is choked, use shot cups and buffers to protect the bore from being eroded away and damaged.
 
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There are quite a few options available for "non-toxic shot" these days that kill far better than steel and bismuth in particular is more effective than lead b/c of better penetration. I use plastic shot cups (All 12 gauge) in both original and modern-made shotguns for non-toxic shot. Fiber & cardboard for lead.

One problem with steel shot is its tendency to "bridge" in tight chokes (regardless of whether modern or antique), because steel does not compress/deform as does lead shot. All of my m/l shotguns are cylinder bore, so I've never had that problem. At the Remington armorer class I attended, the instructor showed examples of what can happen when "bridging" occurs. It's not pretty.
 

Pilgrim

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There are quite a few options available for "non-toxic shot" these days that kill far better than steel and bismuth in particular is more effective than lead b/c of better penetration. I use plastic shot cups (All 12 gauge) in both original and modern-made shotguns for non-toxic shot. Fiber & cardboard for lead.

One problem with steel shot is its tendency to "bridge" in tight chokes (regardless of whether modern or antique), because steel does not compress/deform as does lead shot. All of my m/l shotguns are cylinder bore, so I've never had that problem. At the Remington armorer class I attended, the instructor showed examples of what can happen when "bridging" occurs. It's not pretty.

Is it possible to safely shoot steel shot from a smoothbore flintlock? Specifically a 62/20 gauge. If so would you share information about loading to safely protect the barrel?

Thank you
To add clarification. I reload shotgun shells using smokeless and black powder. I'm familiar with the modern non-toxic shot. I'm also familiar with the dangers of bridging and shot harder than lead contacting the barrel. I am considering a trade gun for my next build. 62/20 gauge smoothbore. Lead shot is becoming more difficult to find. I was asking if steel, or possibly one of the other not-toxic shot was an option if lead was not available. I didn't mean to mislead, I just didn't want to write a dissertation for the primary post.
 
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Good question. Art - would a choke equal to or more open than a modified choke be OK?
Some public hunting areas in some states require non toxic shot. Guessing one just wouldn't hunt with a smoothbore in these areas (?).

While one can get way with a mild choked using steel in modern shotguns not approved for steel shot, I’d be hesitant to try with a muzzleloader not knowing the grade of steel used. I know that using steel in my side by side modern shotguns can loosen the solder joints used to mount the ribs, even with mild chokes ie.<modified. I would recommend using bismuth shot instead of steel if your ML has any choke restriction. I’d still use a plastic shot cup though. I have found that Winchester AAA plastic shot wads fit well in my .62 cal TVM Fowler. My old (modern design) side by sides with IC/M chokes are un-harmed, and shoot fine with bismuth shot.
 

Pilgrim

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While one can get way with a mild choked using steel in modern shotguns not approved for steel shot, I’d be hesitant to try with a muzzleloader not knowing the grade of steel used. I know that using steel in my side by side modern shotguns can loosen the solder joints used to mount the ribs, even with mild chokes ie.<modified. I would recommend using bismuth shot instead of steel if your ML has any choke restriction. I’d still use a plastic shot cup though. I have found that Winchester AAA plastic shot wads fit well in my .62 cal TVM Fowler. My old (modern design) side by sides with IC/M chokes are un-harmed, and shoot fine with bismuth shot.
Thank you
 

hanshi

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I had a very nice Pedersoli 12 ga dbl some years back. It had a chromed bore. I checked with Pedersoli and was told that steel shot can safely be used in a gun with a chromed bore. I had some steel shot but never did try it.
 
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if fedex ever shows up with my parts, i am starting a 20/.62 fowler and am going straight to bismuth. mostly because of it's ballistics and the 20/.62 is on the low side for the geese i intend to harass, and i need all the umph i can get. plus the worry of messing up a nice Rice barrel with steel would make my hair turn brown.(it's already gray/white?) :ghostly:
 

Brokennock

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If you are planning to hunt waterfowl with your potential new gun, I suggest you have it jug choked rather than having a constriction choke. And, if steel shot is used, a shot cup of some type is advised regardless of choke.
One of your replies leads me to think you might not be hunting waterfowl, but the property you are hunting has a non-toxic shot requirement. If that is the case you could skip the jug choke,,, or not 😉
 
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NO! The grade of steel in a ML barrel differs from that of a modern shotgun and even some manufacturers recommended against steel shot in some of there barrels. On occasion you can find some of the modern barrels marked “Lead Shot Only”.
 

dave951

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...... Lead shot is becoming more difficult to find. I was asking if steel, or possibly one of the other not-toxic shot was an option if lead was not available. I didn't mean to mislead, I just didn't want to write a dissertation for the primary post.
There is a gun shop in Lexington that carries reloading supplies and every time I've been there, they have plenty of shot- #6-8. If you have to order, Ballistic Products caters to shotgunners and has some stuff for us black powder guys at prices under Tracks.

 

Pilgrim

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There is a gun shop in Lexington that carries reloading supplies and every time I've been there, they have plenty of shot- #6-8. If you have to order, Ballistic Products caters to shotgunners and has some stuff for us black powder guys at prices under Tracks.

I have bought from BPI several times. Unfortunately, I can's seem to find lead shot in stock when I need it. I'm looking for alternatives for lead when/if lead becomes unavailable for shotgunners. Thank you for posting.
 

Mike in FL

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Is it possible to safely shoot steel shot from a smoothbore flintlock? Specifically a 62/20 gauge. If so would you share information about loading to safely protect the barrel?

Thank you
If using steel means a plastic shot cup, I personally would not do it. Too modern for me, sort of distracts from the era. Just me. Good shooting and be safe.
 

Pilgrim

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If using steel means a plastic shot cup, I personally would not do it. Too modern for me, sort of distracts from the era. Just me. Good shooting and be safe.
Mike, thank you for the comment. I understand and agree with you about the era issue. I was considering a trade gun as my next project and was curious about using steel because the lead shot is becoming harder to find in my area. And I'm a shotgun shell reloader. I order most of it but paying to ship it is very expensive.
 

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