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Real Information About Steel Shot For Trap?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by LukeG, May 29, 2009.

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  1. LukeG

    LukeG Member

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    I work pretty close to Skyway Trap and Skeet in St. Petersburg, Fl. Some of you may be familiar with the range, and that it is a steel shot only facility. It's a nice place and easy for me to go after work on Wednesdays. From what I understand they have been steel shot only for a while now.

    Before I start shooting with my gun there I wanted to do some research and have been reading everything I can find on the forums and Google about using steel shot. So far nearly everything I have come across seems like a lot of hearsay without a lot of facts/experience backing it up.

    I see a lot of people talking about ruining chokes and barrels, but no one ever actually chimes in and says it did just that. I can't imagine all the guys at Skyway continuing to use their nice guns if it actually did any of that.

    Anyways, I'm just looking for some good information regarding using steel shot in a fixed full choke barrel that isn't designated for steel shot. I've read about some people saying they do it and it is fine, and others saying it will ruin the barrel and/or the choke over time.

    Thanks ahead of time.
     
  2. Mapper

    Mapper Member

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    I used to shoot some at a Winchester club that shot steel shot at skeet. They also rented guns. The manager told me they sent the rental guns back perodically to re-chrome the barrels. WE did not use steel for trap. That was some time ago. Perhaps things are different now.
     
  3. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    <i>Anyways, I'm just looking for some good information regarding using steel shot in a fixed full choke barrel that isn't designated for steel shot. I've read about some people saying they do it and it is fine, and others saying it will ruin the barrel and/or the choke over time.</I>

    There's a bunch of ifs, ands, buts, hedges, shaded answers and anecdotes (of which it sounds like you already have plenty) ... why don't you ask Wright, Allem, Laib or Briley?

    And either believe them, or not.

    You already KNOW the answer ... yes, you'll booger your choke over time, and the time will be shorter, rather than longer.

    Besides, by the very nature of steel shot, full choke is very likely to be counterproductive. Take your 870, a handful of chokes and a couple of boxes 1300fps 'target steel' #7 to a grease board and satisfy yourself.

    I asked a variant of your question a couple of months ago to 3/4 of the above: occasionally using small HUNTING steel in a 3200. Briley was, as usual, the most succinct: "If you don't get blue-steel chokes now, you'll get them next year, but the difference is they will have to be custom chokes then."

    Laib has seen a lot of guns that have shot target steel. I'd call him first.

    I guess this is one more anecdote for your collection, huh?

    Bob
     
  4. LukeG

    LukeG Member

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    I'm a little confused as to how the steel shot can do much damage. Isn't it held in the wad and not even touching the barrel the whole way through?
     
  5. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    Steel (actually soft iron) is not compressible like lead, so you have, essentially, a bore-diameter solid slamming into a constriction that is very little harder than the shot.

    Thick wads - made FOR steel, but not found much in 'affordable' loads - help cushion, a little, but there is only so much you can expect when you have those kinds of clashes happening repetitively at 1330fps.

    The old-steel barrels are somewhat elastic, but also cold-work, and a thousandth or two distortion and you no longer have your original barrel. Barrels made for steel are harder and less elastic.

    Take your 870 to the pattern board first and learn how steel is different.

    For what it's worth (1), Trulock has seen 'creep' in 'regular' chokes in less than a box of steel.

    For what it's worth (2), my 3200 is at Briley now (and I loath everything about tubes) and mine is just a $900 commodity gun with a plywood stock and even a little pre-rust, and easily replaceable in part or whole.

    I suspect yours is both more costly and more sentimentally important & valuable.

    Bob
     
  6. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    Get the steel rated chokes. Load your own shells at slower speeds. Ask if you need reloading help.

    Goatskin - Give us the details on your 3200. You must be having it fixed. How many shells...

    I shoot a 1225 fps steel load with the VP60 wad (find above at BP, at reasonable prices I might add) and 1 oz of shot. This is in a Mach One with a lead choke rated full. I'll let you know if/when it goes out of round. We shoot #7 shot. I watch it carefully. Pulled the choke out the other day and everything was fine. Unscrewed it by hand after loosening with wrench. Unfortunately, I didn't measure the choke before I started shooting steel through it.

    The real problem is measuring the change. There's enough rumor around for a couple of months of analysis.

    If you want to shoot hunting speeds at the trap range, which is what 1330 fps is, then your results will vary from mine. I don't need that speed to break targets and neither does my shoulder. My goal is 1250 fps at yardage.

    If somebody cares to do the test it would be good to see a documented shooting schedule in terms of # of shells; pre-measure choke inside dia; shoot 5-10k rounds; re-measure choke every 1000 shots. Give statistics on shells, of course. Some stretch may occur on a new choke with lead shells, so that needs to be factored out by the testing. You can see why regular shooters don't do these tests. It's involved and costly.

    I'll bet you can push a lead choke out of spec with steel loads, but at my speeds, I'd be surprised.

    Patterning - there's a way to test that too, but it would take some effort. Pattern software, shoot comparable speeds with lead and steel, same gun, same distance, same choke, bench rest, etc. We haven't done it because we don't see the need. We shoot full chokes.

    I'll tell you what. I'll get a buddy of mine to measure my lead rated choke now and at the end of the season. We'll also check his fixed choke on his 870 as well. He knows the constriction. Let's see if it changed.

    No need to argue, get mad, or guess. Let's find out.

    Later.
     
  7. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Luke -

    Lot's of info from people with no experience - which is about par for a forum like this.

    Talk to the guys at Skyway - after all they have more experience than anyone that's posted on this forum (besides Joe and I - we both shoot at a steel-only facility).

    We've been shooting steel at our facility for around 9 years, and in those 9 years we haven't had one person that had to "throwaway" their barrels or guns due to shooting steel shot. No bulges, no chokes that wouldn't come out of the gun. I've shot for the past seven years with steel and the next problem I have will be the first.

    As for patterns, it's just like shooting lead - there is no answer that works for everyone. Some guys get the best patterns out of a mod choke, some with a full.

    As for the "clashes" that go on when steel hits the choke, maybe Bob could help out here. What I can't understand is if this "clashing" is actually happening, why aren't there holes in the wads after firing? The plastic of the wad must be softer than the steel of the barrel and the steel of the shot. It seems like if there was "clashing" to the extent that Bob indicates that the steel shot would penetrate the wad, but when we retrieve spent wads they don't have any holes in them, just some dimples but no penetration of the plastic.

    Talk to the guys at Skyway - they've got the experience to answer your questions.

    Scott
     
  8. LukeG

    LukeG Member

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    Okay, just got off of the phone with a gentleman at Skyway (I think he said his name was Bob). He did recommend that I get a steel shot barrel with a removable choke rather than using my older fixed full choke barrel on my 1100.
     
  9. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    <i>...As for the "clashes" that go on when steel hits the choke, maybe Bob could help out here. What I can't understand is if this "clashing" is actually happening, why aren't there holes in the wads after firing? The plastic of the wad must be softer than the steel of the barrel and the steel of the shot. It seems like if there was "clashing" to the extent that Bob indicates that the steel shot would penetrate the wad, but when we retrieve spent wads they don't have any holes in them, just some dimples but no penetration of the plastic. </i>

    Nor do you get holes in 'hunting' wads, and there is, very clearly, a difference in the effects of larger shot and higher velocities, but the point is the incompressibility of steel shot, 'ring pressure', cold-working, metal fatigue, etc.

    Scoring a barrel, via shot that has penetrated wad petal (or trapped outside a petal in a reloading 'woopsie') is a different matter, and WILL happen, in old, soft(er) barrels. Don't ask me how I know that ... :-(

    I, personally, have no issue with shooting 'a few' light steel loads in an old gun (and have on several occasions), but 'a few' and a marathon are not the same.

    LukeG's question was very contextual, ending <i>"... (older) non-steel barrel ... will ruin the barrel and/or the choke over time."</i> The physics are the physics: irresistible force and immovable object.

    I just provided more anectdotes to the lore - albeit from those who see and deal with the physics.

    I don't shoot at a 'steel club', but I have shot at three, and the thing that struck me immediately was the lack of p- and k- guns on the line and the abundance of autos, 870s, and 'modern' O/U and combos - all of which have hard barrels.

    Bob
     
  10. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    <i>Goatskin - Give us the details on your 3200. You must be having it fixed. How many shells... </i>

    Pre-emptory 'fix'. This coming season will be it's first as a heavy duck gun.

    The gun is a mid-80s un-updated MC trap gun, shot a few thousand times until the timber cratered, and has been a poorly-maintained safe-queen since. I am re-making it into a nasty-conditions (days of salt-water, salt marsh, mud & slop w/o cleaning, etc.) heavy waterfowl gun. I put one of those Wenig hammer-fit plywood stocks on it and bedded the head

    It's basically an O/U '870', if you wish.

    98%+ of the time, I'll shoot 2¾ Bismuth loads, but ... there will come a time when I'm out of loads and I have to go to Wal-Mart and buy 3" Fasteel or Black Cloud or Dry-Lok ...

    I want the chokes to be the constrictions I want, each & every time - and I believed Laib and Briley - so I'm 'pre-solving' a (possible) non-issue. I'm getting 'semi-removable' tubes, meaning they are glued-in, but not silver-soldered.

    I don't recall talking to Briley abt 'target' steel loads, but Laib indicated w/o any stuttering or prompting that untubed 3200s and target steel were NOT compatible.

    And yes, I absolutely agree that 1500fps #3 steel is a different world than 1200fps #7. That said - the physics are the physics - and it seems silly NOT to have steel-rated tubes in a gun that is shooting steel.

    A few bucks spent on tubes (esp if your gun is already tubed) is cheaper that buying a B&S inside micrometer to chase the boogers that can keep you awake at night.


    Bob
     
  11. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    <i>If somebody cares to do the test it would be good to see a documented shooting schedule in terms of # of shells; pre-measure choke inside dia; shoot 5-10k rounds; re-measure choke every 1000 shots. Give statistics on shells, of course. Some stretch may occur on a new choke with lead shells, so that needs to be factored out by the testing. You can see why regular shooters don't do these tests. It's involved and costly.</i>

    If you want a N=1 example, I did that - kinda-sorta, anyhow, until I got bored.

    I had an MT-6 I used for columbaire and got new Briley series P-1 chokes. I had just bought, also, (for s & g, I guess) a .0001 B&S inside micrometer, and I played with my new toys.

    During the initial few hundred shells, the chokes 'fire-formed' into the threads and barrel, but the changes were in the few .0001 range and were consistent. Constriction in the final parallel section ... 3/8th" maybe? never changed, but that was the thickest part of the choke.

    I remember detail-measuring them a couple of years later, when the gun had been shooting trap instead of live birds and there was no change of note.

    <i>I'll bet you can push a lead choke out of spec with steel loads, but at my speeds, I'd be surprised. </i>

    Dunno, but as long as you can remove it, and it performs, who cares? Chokes are cheap when you need a new one.


    Bob
     
  12. b12

    b12 Well-Known Member

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    Just fall in with the rest and give up what has always worked. I think they will allow marshmellows only very soon.
     
  13. spitter

    spitter Well-Known Member TS Supporters

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    I've shot steel in my guns since I was required to in 2001 and I've reloaded steel shot using lead wads from pretty much about the same time... so I guess I have as much experience as anybody, when it comes to steel shot.

    Best of my recollection, no gun tubed or fixed is recommended to use steel ammo with a "full" choke. Further, manufacturers recommend no choke tighter than an IM, with most equating a modified choke with steel as equivalent to a "full".

    That said, us guys/gals at Naperville... many use tubed or fixed "full" chokes. We've patterned the guns, they pattern better with "full", so we shoot "full"

    I shoot fixed "full" BT99 and 90T. Others - M12s. Tubed guns include XTs and other misc. Citoris. The guys who shoot Kolars and Krieghoffs typically follow their manufacturers advice about opening 5 or 10 1000s - In my Kx5, I shoot the LIM.

    Now... my Belgium Superposed and A5 - nope.

    When I reload, I throw 3/4 oz of #7 into a AA wad, using Clays powder, not Universal Clays or International Clays... Clays. Had it tested, I throw light loads and beat the hell out of my wads...

    Had my BT & 90T examined at Kolar - no damage, no scoring. I load light, I can't speak for anyone else and make no warranties.

    Haven't heard of one gun blowing up from steel reloads, but these lead reloads seem dangerous! (LOL) Don't know what kind of gun you shoot, but if its a modern make within the last 30 years, just shoot the gun...

    Jay Spitz
     
  14. Bob Schultz

    Bob Schultz Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    One of the posters above suggested shooting patterns on a steel grease board. DO NOT DO THIS WITH STEEL SHOT! It comes back at you really fast from a steel plate! Pattern on paper or cardboard only!

    Bob Schultz
     
  15. joe kuhn

    joe kuhn Furry Lives Matter TS Supporters

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    LukeG,

    There's a steel rated 1100 barrel for sale on this forum. I pushed it to the top for you.

    Knowing there are steel rated chokes, barrels, wads, recipes for the reloader, factory shells (1200 fps, yes, I found some at WalMart), etc., the extreme responses we continue to see appear to be - extreme.

    On the one end we have, "When they mandate steel, I'll quit." On the other end, "What info do we have?" and "What do I need to do to shoot steel."

    Everyone's free to choose their own position, but before you commit hari-cari, we suggest you come on out, tell us your interested, inspect a few chokes, shoot a round, pattern your gun, or just watch some targets get smoked. We're in Naperville, IL. There's a club in FL...

    You can do some checking in your own area.

    It won't kill ya.

    Regards, Joe
     
  16. goatskin

    goatskin TS Member

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    <i>One of the posters above suggested shooting patterns on a steel grease board. DO NOT DO THIS WITH STEEL SHOT! It comes back at you really fast from a steel plate! Pattern on paper or cardboard only! </i>

    ::: waving hand</i> :::

    well, DUH! Of course. Sorry.


    Bob
     
  17. LukeG

    LukeG Member

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    Just wanted to update anyone who was following this or may come across a similar situation in the future.

    I spoke with a very nice rep at Remington and they recommended the 30" barrel that is used on the classic trap with an interchangeable Remchoke. They said a true "Steel Shot" barrel was not necessary, just that the choke I used was designated for use with the steel shot.

    The new barrel ended up running me $230 and I'll keep the older fixed full choke barrel for when I do get a chance to shoot some lead.

    Thanks to everyone who chimed in and offered some advice.
     
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