I shoot a Remington 870 Super Express Magnum (chambered for 2 3/4", 3", and 3 1/2" shells) that is about 3 years old.
I thought I heard that it was a bad idea to shoot steel through a full choke, the idea being that the stress of forcing the steel through the greater constriction of the full choke may cause the barrel to stretch and thin and thereafter, as a result of the thinning, bulge and ultimately burst. Part of the analysis may involve understanding that some steel loads are high velocity, up to 1550 FPS, maybe even 1600 FPS. Part of the analysis may further consider shot size, for example advising against using full chokes with large steel shot -- #2, BB, BBB, T.
Does anyone have a comprehensive understanding of this issue that can provide some clarification? Can I get a full choke and use it in my 870? If I do, are their any restrictions on size of shot, muzzle velocity of shoot, or shot material that I need to be aware of? I am most interested in using either Hevi Shot (just as hard if not harder than steel) and steel.
I have shot steel through full chokes, but the patterns are too tight for my close in work. So really due to the lack of compression in steel shot, a modified with steel shot is comparable to regular lead shot through a full choke.
I also shoot a super mag. I have shot the full with steel but after patterning and the close shooting I do know I shoot a improved cylinder with 3in 4 shot or 1 shot. I have killed ducks out to 45 yards with this setup and have the best pattern out of them all. I will switch to the modified choke if I am going to be hunting on the river and going to be consistently taking shots out past 30 yards. Just what I have come up with. Shooting the full choke was blowing the pattern out and had less pellets in a 10 inch circle than a modified did out at 40 yards.
07' Ross Cardiac
67# DW 28.5" DL
G5 Optix ME sights
Lore Stabilizer and sling
Bohning Panther Quiver
27.5" Goldtip 5575 arrows
TN Deer Hunter: Very interesting. I appreciate the information. What brand of chokes do you use? I have a Redhead brand remington improved cylinder choke tube and a Redhead brand remington modified cylinder choke tube. I think my information so far indicates that it would be useful for me to actually pattern my shotgun with my chokes and preferred loads. Maybe I'll find my patterns are OK for my shooting capability. I have been concerned that a full choke -- if it works as it is intended, which you indicate is questionable using hard shot -- may just make my imperfections as a shotgunner more apparent!
Many shotguns will explicitly say in the user's manual that steel shot shouldn't be shot through full choke. For the reason you alluded to. Steel doesn't compress like lead putting greater pressure at the point where full choke compresses the pattern.
Many would say full choke isn't needed for the ranges you typically shot with steel anyway. From personal experience I'd agree. For shooting over decoys improved cylinder or more likely for all around waterfowl, I find modified give good results for patterning with steel. I think there is even an improved modified choke that's between modified and IC.
You'll hear people say they shoot steel through full choke from time to time and "nothing bad happens". Well that may well be true. However, if the manufacturer says for their shotguns/models "don't shoot steel through full choke..." of similar warnings, it's best that you follow their warnings. Doing this or anything explicitly not recommended with firearms is dangerous. It may be that over time shooting steel through full choke will stress the end of the barrel to the point where it will without warning fail.
"Now there you go again..." "I'm not going to hold your youth and inexperience against you." -- Ronald Reagan
We shoot skeet chokes, and one of my hunting partners shoots a cylinder choke when hunting ducks and geese over decoys. The tighter the choke, the worse the patterns I've found. When you send steel through a full choke,the pelletsactually bounces off of each other, resulting in poor patterns. When sent through a minimal constriction, steel surprisingly holds alot better of a pattern. Try it....you may be surprised.