| CHOKE TUBES
The modern American choke is measured by the difference between the
diameter of the bore and the diameter of the choke. This difference in
thousands of an inch is called the 'amount of constriction'. The tighter
the constriction, the tighter the choke. To a point of diminishing returns.
It does not matter the diameter of the bore, only the constriction. In
using 12g as an example, a .725 bore with a .690 choke has a constriction
of .035, or a full choke. A bore of .740 with a choke of .705 also has
a .035 constriction and is a full choke. However the larger bore will throw
a more even pattern due to less deformation of the lead shot on the trip
down the bore. Some very specialized shotgun bores may have a bore diameter
of .780, for a 12 gauge. This is interesting because the industry standard
for a 10 gauge is .775. The .780 12 gauge guns are mostly used for competitive
target shooting, in warm conditions, with special, very soft base, wads.
In the field .740 bores for 12 gauge is the largest which will work consistently,
under all conditions, and with factory shells.
Most choke tubes have the correct constriction but lack the proper
shape. The shot traveling down the bore needs a micro second to settle
down after just being forced through the choke constriction. This gives
the shot string the needed time to settle down and give a very even, consistent
Most fixed chokes can be bored to achieve the needed parallel section,
however as you bore out the end of the choke to get a parallel section,
you take away some of the constriction. The good news is most of the old
fixed chokes are throwing a good tight even pattern. It's the first choke
tubes on the market that have to be measured. Choke tubes in guns designed
after 1995 are in many cases much better. Fortunately there are several
after-market chokes tubes for sale which do a 150% better job than the
tubes which come with your gun. Ask your local full time gunsmith/seller
to measure your bore, and tubes, and apprise you of your options.
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LONG FORCING CONES
First let's describe the inside of most all Japan, Belgium, Italian,
and American shotgun bores. (popular guns used in the Spaniel Field Trial
game) The chamber is parallel, which tapers down to the bore. That taper
is called The Forcing Cone. The bore is again parallel, at the end of which,
the barrel tapers down to the choke, that is called choke lead, then, finally,
the very end of the barrel, the choke, should again be parallel.
The purpose of the Forcing Cone, is to provide a path from the end
of the shell to the bore. The longer and smoother this is, the fewer deformed
pellets in your pattern. The rounder the pellets, the denser the pattern.
In the past, the days of rolled crimped paper hulls, the forcing cone
was very short. This was needed to keep the gas from escaping past the
inefficient fiber wads. Also the shot had no sleeve or wad, so the bore
diameter was usually very close to the inside diameter of the hull. Often,
pre 30's, the forcing cone was just 1/16" long. The perfect Forcing Cone
was a small step, aligned so that when the paper hull unrolled it met the
very end of chamber. Ideally, it was then a straight shot into the parallel
bore. As time went on the next shell was still paper, but had a folded
crimp with the paper folding over to the center. The gun manufactures made
the chamber a little longer, and increased the length of the Forcing Cone
to between 3/8" and ¼" to accommodate the longer paper hull. However
the early folded paper hulls still had no shot sleeve. Soon after the first
plastic hulls appeared, the shooters complained it was a step backwards,
because they were like the old paper rolled crimp style, the shooters didn't
like the cardboard over the shot wad making holes in the pattern. The first
plastic folded crimp hulls still had no shot sleeve, or one piece wad/shot
sleeve as we know today, and the Forcing Cone was left as is.
When the first shot sleeves, and one piece wad/shot sleeves combos
came into use, the patterns improved so dramatically, the forcing cones
were still left as they were. The firearms engineers decided the improvement
was from the protective shot sleeve, most everyone was happy with the performance.
Except the Handicap Trap shooters. When a 50 M.P.H. target is traveling
away from you, and is launched 27 yards in front of you, you need every
pellet you can get to break that 1-1/2" x 4" target.
Most of the Handicap Trap targets are usually broke at 45 to 60 yards away
from the shooter. Add to that, the best score can win hundreds or even
thousands of dollars, you can see why this calls for not only tight patters,
but efficient, consent, and even, patterns. The Trap shooters continued
to alter the bores, chambers, and Forcing Cones of their guns in the pursuit
for more efficiency in their patterns.
One of the many things the experimenting Trap shooters found is, if
you gently squeeze the shot down to the bore size, (longer forcing cones)
you will again have less deformation of the shot pellets. Less deformation,
less flyers, more consistent pattern. Another side effect of a long forcing
cone is less recoil, a factor in trap shooting, where one may shoot hundreds
of rounds in one afternoon. Almost all the Belgium Brownings, Japan Brownings,
Berettas, Japan Winchesters, S.K.B.'s, and like guns have forcing cones
from ½" to ¾" long, and almost all those guns can benefit
from a 1-1/2" to 3" long forcing cones. Further proof is in the 'New Improved
Sporting Clays' guns which are now on the market. The 'improvement' is
a long forcing cone and larger diameter bore, or back boring from the factory!
More on back boring in the next article.
While a quality 'back boring' job costs around $125.00, a quality Long
Forcing Cone job costs, around 35.00.
In the quest for a denser, more even pattern, the second step, behind
checking out your chokes, is the long forcing cone. Just a small increase
in the percentage of pellets placed on target can make quite a difference
between a crippled runner and a clean hit.
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Back boring is the process of removing metal from the bore of your shotgun
and leaving the metal in the choke. This will effectively increase the
difference between the bore diameter and choke diameter, thus increasing
the choke of your gun.
One benefit is increasing the choke on a favorite shotgun you don't
want to trade off. Or shortening the barrels of that shotgun, and still
have a tight choked shotgun, or (if you have changed your style of hunting)
changing that I/C & Sk choked gun into a Full/Mod. Another benefit,
is having being better patterns. So far the Trap shooters have been doing
almost all the experimenting is this field. (In the last few years the
steel shot shooters have also caught on.) Remember the average bore diameter
in a 12 gauge is .725. The Trap shooters have experimented with bores as
large as .780. Perhaps that doesn't sound so big, but when I tell you the
average bore diameter of a 10 gauge shotgun is .775, that sounds huge.
As in the case of choke constriction, all dimensions have a point of diminishing
returns. The .780 seems to be the limit in a very controlled situation,
such as special wads so the propelling gas doesn't escape, and the temperature
of the shells are above freezing so the wad is flexible enough to prevent
gas blow by. The best bore diameter for a field, or sporting 12 gauge,
using shells commercially available, is .735 to .740. Many firearms
'experts' are still putting a dime in the end of a 12 gauge shotgun and
declaring the choke by comparing how far down the bore the dime goes. That
used to work in about 80% of American made guns, just like a longer barrel
used to have more power. (Still will, if you use black powder shells) Today
with the Hunting, Sporting Clays, Sporting, Trap, Skeet, Upland, and any
other special name the manufactures stamp on a gun, the bore diameter,
and the quality of the chokes, (tubes), is not a given, you need to check
or know what features each of the different 'models' have, or don't have,
and if those will benefit your kind of shooting.
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How many of you have had a sore shoulder, bruised or stinging, cheek,
or even a welt on your cheek bone? You know what is causing it, just not
how to fix it. Well here are some suggestions to help you make your shooting
experience more enjoyable.
The title is a bit misleading, because you really can't reduce recoil,
only change it. When you pull the trigger the energy that is released,
which we call recoil, can be slowed down, but it is the same amount of
energy. Just as a sharp slap can be the same amount of energy as a strong
shove, the slap is more painful than the shove. The goal than is to reduce
the 'felt' recoil.
One of the reasons to reduce the felt recoil, besides 'it hurts' is
to improve shooting skill. If recoil is bothering you, you will be losing
concentration on the task at hand. Mainly, establishing proper lead, and
following through on the target. To check if recoil is bothering you, shoot
some clay targets with a friend. Have your friend load your gun, and not
tell you if it's a live shell or a empty. After you have shot a few rounds,
and you pull the trigger on the empty, you may find yourself yanking down
the forend, crunching up your shoulder, or moving your face off the stock.
Or a combination of all three. This is called flinching. Some cases of
flinching get so bad a shooter can't even pull the trigger, in that case
a release trigger is installed. (Absolutely forbidden in the field, the
release trigger functions by holding it in the normal fire position, and
when it is let go, the gun fires.) The release trigger fools the brains
established automatic response that moving the finger in a certain way
cases pain. However most people install a release trigger, than forget
to fix the underlying problem of recoil, which establishes a new automatic
response of letting go of the trigger, and it hurts.
The effect of recoil is also cumulative. After many years of pounding
you will become more sensitive. All the more reason to fix the problem
as soon as possible.
The quickest, easiest, and cheapest way is to just add 2 or 3 pounds.
The more the gun weighs, the slower the recoil will be. Of course that's
impractical for field uses, so the first place to start is the recoil pad.
This can be as simple as putting a thin layer of a space age material called
Akton or Sorbothane in your shooting vest or coat. Both of these have extremely
resilient qualities, and will not bottom out, so the recoil is spread to
a larger part of your body, thus the illusion of being softer. You can
also purchase a recoil pad made of one of these materials. A recoil pad
of Sorbothane, and a under garment pad of Akton would do wonders in softening
rearward recoil without changing the weight of the gun.
The next step is to add something to the inside of the stock. Under
the recoil pad is a hole for the stock bolt. In this hole you can put a
number of things. The most popular being just weight, 6 to 12 oz will change
things around enough to make the gun feel different, this will be trial
and error on your part. If you feel comfortable with the added weight and
change in balance go out and purchase a C&H Mercury, or Edward's recoil
reduction system. The mercury in the C&H has to flow uphill when the
gun recoils, this extends, or slows down the time of rearward movement.
The Edwards uses a system of weights and springs to basically do the same
thing. Based on this system you can also purchase a Hydraulic recoil pad.
These pads are wonderful and can be adjusted for the load and the guns
weight, however they are very expensive.
Ports, slots, or holes in the end of the barrel, just before the choke
is a very effective way of reducing muzzle rise. The ports produce a 'jet
effect' that pushes the muzzle down just as it wants to rise. This is a
very effective way to reduce the cheek bruising, which results in head
lifting, which produces a missed bird. Many guns are now factory ported,
and the best known after market gun porting is done by Mag-n-Port, or Laser
Ports. Check with your local gunsmith. Drilling holes in the end of the
barrel works, however they are not smooth and need to be cleaned much more
Soft tops are adjustable cheek pieces which have a Akton or Sorbothane
cover. This soft cover prevents the cheek bruising associated with the
muzzle rise, and because it's adjustable it will correct the placement
of your cheek on the stock. If cheek bruising is the big factor in your
flinching, a soft top may well be the ticket. Even if you don't opt for
a adjustable soft top, make sure your cheek piece on your gun fits you.
Take a straight edge 4' long and lay it on the rib of your gun. Look at
the edge over the stock. If your comb slopes down, as it goes to the muzzle,
or is parallel with the rib then you shouldn't have a cheek bruising problem.
If it slopes up, think what it is doing. As the gun recoils to the rear
is also lifting. That drives the comb right into your cheek. Put on a soft
An old trick with a new twist is adding weight to the muzzle of your
gun. The old way was to take sheet lead and glue it to the barrel. This
settled a whippy barreled gun, reduced muzzle rise, and slowed down the
rearward recoil. Today there is a mercury tube which is attached to the
end of the barrels which contribute to less muzzle rise due to it's weight,
and the action of the mercury. It's also easier to put on, and change position
of, to effect the balance of the gun.
Using any of the above methods, in any combination, will certainly
help with that recoil problem. And when you feel less recoil, you will
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THE SHOT SHELL
After all your work on your shotgun mechanics like, L.F.C.'s, Backboring,
Choke Tubes, your pattern still won't improve unless you have quality shot
shells. To look at a box of shells and determine what the quality is inside,
is relatively simple. The secret is price. You will always pay for what
you get! For example, in the store you will see many "promotional" loads.
These will usually be 1 to 1-1/8 oz of shot and 3 or 3-1/4 dram equivalent.
Next to these boxes you will find the 'trap' loads listing 1 or 1-1/8 oz
of shot, and 2-3/4 to 3 dram equivalent. The promotional shells will sell
for a dollar or two less than the trap loads. On the outside they look
like quite a bargain, and we all need to save money for entry fees and
travel expenses. However on the inside you get what you pay for. First
the hull is not designed to be reloaded, it contains a separate base wad
which can come loose during repeated loading, and if just one or two grains
of powder get under the base wad, it can be pushed out into the bore of
the gun, a sure bulge or burst of the barrel should you fire another round.
Second is the hardness of the shot. All lead shot is not created equal.
The harder the shot, the more expensive. It may only be a cent or two per
shell, but if you multiply that by millions of shells manufactured each
year, that manufacture saves, or makes, a lot of money. Suffice to say
the cheep promotional shells have the softest lead available. The soft
shot deforms easily, and you get a poor and erratic pattern. Third is the
shot cup or wad. In the cheaper shells it is thinner and in many cases
it is just a sleeve with a bit of Styrofoam as a gas seal, or a disk of
hard plastic which has a poor gas seal, and has no cushioning effect. Already
I hear you saying "...so what, I only use those cheep loads in training,
and I kill my share of birds..." Well we all have had the training sessions
with a fringe hit, on a 'must get retrieve' only to see the bird sail on,
and on, and on. Perhaps the harder shot, or better cushion of the wad would
have put one more BB in the bird to achieve that retrieve which was so
If you gun at Field Trials it makes a lot of sense to shoot a like
shell in training, what better practice could you have. This doesn't mean
you should spend all your training shell budget on premium, copper plated,
buffered, magnum shells. But you can shoot a shell with the same velocity,
or Feet Per Second. This will keep your timing on those crossing shots
sharper. Re-loading shot shells is a money saver, if you have the time.
But lately I have run into several people who load the same hulls long
past useful life. Each time you re-load a hull, you loose 20 to 30 F.P.S..
If you reload the same hulls with what the book says is a 1200 F.P.S. load
10 times, you could be training with a 1000 F.P.S. load by the end of the
summer. Consider your pattern is approximately 30" diameter and 5' long,
and while training with the slower loads your bird is flying into the very
end of the pattern. When the first fall Trial comes, the Gun Captain gives
you shells that are probably 300 F.P.S. faster than you are familiar with,
the same situation would be a clean miss, as the shot string is gone long
before the bird reaches it. And now you wonder why you've missed those
crossing shots. Below is a chart showing approximate speed of shot shells,
use it to gauge your shooting situation.
Shot size is another important factor in determining how skillfully
you shoot. Most people have a preference strictly by a single "golden BB"
experience which is ever present in ones mind. To be certain you should
pattern your shotgun with different sizes, and loads. Just as rifles shoot
better with certain brands and weights of bullets, shotguns will pattern
differently with a change in shot size, load, and choke. Also look below
for a chart from the Lyman Shotshell Handbook published by Lyman Publications,
on pellet counts per oz of shot, and Foot Pounds of energy.
Dram Equivalent, is an old and arcane way of telling us the speed of
a shot shell. The Dram refers to a measure of black powder. When the first
smokeless powder shells were loaded, the people then had know idea how
powerful they were, they wanted to know how this new power compared to
the black powder loads they were using. Thus the Dram Equivalent. But today
it would be like sending out Premiums in Latin. The people who entered
Trials would learn how to read it, But the newcomer would have great difficulty
reading it. Perhaps if we all keep writing the Ammo companies and tell
them to put F.P.S. on the shot shell boxes, some day, they may.
The more things we can do will be cumulative, and the result will improve
our gunning at a Field Trial, training, or out hunting.
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Equivalent / Wt. of Shot / F.P.S. (for lead shot)
Approximate Number of (lead)
pellets in a load
Oz of shot
(lead) Pellet Foot Pounds of Energy
Ounces of Shot
at 40 yards - Per Pellet
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NEW GUN/USED GUN
The purchase of a new gun, whether that be a 'new in box' gun, or a
used gun that's 'new to you', should take some time and consideration.
The first consideration should be which gun. This comes from trying your
companions guns, (as a courtesy always use new shells in a borrowed gun,
never re-loads) or asking to shoot a used gun from your local dealer's
rack. If you borrow someone's gun, friend or dealers, that is not the gun
to take out in the swamp, and cross barb wire fences with. The gun must
be brought back in the same condition and make sure you clean it before
returning it. In the case of a dealer, you probably will be asked to 'purchase
the gun', this means leaving a check or charge, and filling out a 4473,
(the yellow form). The other important factor is where you purchase it.
Here, price, is not the most important factor. Just as with a car, new
furnace, or household appliances, purchase that gun from your local full
time dealer who will service the product, and take care of you. Many people
know someone who is someplace in the industry, through which you can buy
a new gun at "just over cost". This person seldom, if at all, can service
your gun. The Dealer, (which you have established a relationship with),
on the other hand can, and will take care of your needs right away. Suppose
you snap off your front bead during training, and are shooting a trial
the next day, who is going to fix you up. Suppose something major breaks
on your gun, and it may be questionable as to warranty. Your local full
time Dealer will send it back, and in most cases get warranty coverage
with minimal, if any, cost to you. In purchasing a used gun, you can go
to a gun show, purchase from a private party, or again go to the local
Dealer who will have already checked over the used firearms and warranted
When looking at new guns, make sure you look for a 'new' gun. Many
of the latest improvements have only been introduced in the last 5 years.
If your going to go new, look at one of the backbored, ported, and long
choke tubes, models. The reason I emphasize 'new' is, it's entirely possible
to find a new in the box (NIB) firearm that is 5, 10, or even 20 years
old. This gun can certainly be 'new' but it doesn't have the latest features.
Each year when a gun company introduces new models, the continuing models
don't change looks, features or names. For example, on the Browning Citori,
Hunting model with choke tubes you could not know, unless you knew the
serial number code, which year that model gun was made. You could buy a
NIB gun which was made in 1982 which would look, and function, exactly
the same as a 1993 gun. And if that's what your looking for, it makes no
difference if that gun is 10 years, or 10 months old. However if you want
the latest features, you have to know the new models. So if your looking
for a Browning O/U, don't just ask for a Citori, ask to see the new models
which feature backboring, porting, Invector Plus choke tubes, (Browning's
trade name for it's version of better choke tubes). Some of Browning's
newest models are, GTI, 325, Lighting Sporting Clays, Special Sporting
Clays. By using Browning as an example, I am not necessarily recommending
that brand. Ruger also makes the Red Label in a new configuration called
the Sporting Clays, and SKB has changed all of it's models to the new configuration,
all the new models now have a 8 in the middle of it's 3 digit numbering
system. For example the old models were 500, 505, 605, 805, the new models
are 585, 685, 885. And Remington has hopped on the bandwagon with
the Premier. The bottom line is which ever manufacture your looking at,
including Perazzi, Valmet, Krieghoff, Sauer, etc., know the features you
want, and understand which models have what features.
If your excited by the "thrill of victory" be prepared to accept the
"agony of defeat" when you go to a 'Gun Show' to purchase a used gun. I
have said this before, and I have been chastised within the industry for
saying so, yet I will say it again. The overwhelming majority of people
who sell at gun shows live by one credo, and that is, caveat emptor, let
the buyer beware. Time and time again I have heard gun dealers say a particular
gun has too many problems to fix economically so they will just 'dump'
it at the next gun show. These dealers have absolutely no intention of
telling you what these problems are. In fact many of these dealers will
know a great deal about the firearms they offer for sale, but will act
like they just fell off the truck, when you start asking questions. If
you see your local dealer with a table, one who you have done business
with in the past, you will most likely see guns on his table which you
haven's seen in his shop. And when you inquire about one of those guns,
he will probably say, "Bill...that's not a good gun for your needs". Read
that as, "this one has problems, don't buy it".
Yet with all the foot falls at a gun show, you can find jewels within
the mud. Educate yourself, and know exactly what your looking for. Some
of the things to look for in any used shotgun are dents, which can be raised,
usually without damaging the finish. Bulges which will usually require
dealing with the outside finish after the repair is dealt with. Pitted
bores which may or may not affect performance. Pitted chambers which can
affect ejection. Scratched bores from steel shot, which may signal a host
of problems to come later, especially in a SxS or O/U which is not rated
for steel shot. Buggered screw slots, a sure sign that someone was inside
the gun who did not have the proper tools, and if someone was inside the
gun without the proper tools to get there, you have to ask yourself, what
else was done inside? And specifically in the hinge gun category, the opening
lever. In a new gun this should be slightly to the right of center, on
a used gun if it is in the center, there is still a lot of life in that
action, but if it noticeably left of center, it needs expensive repair.
You may see some guns which the lever is to the right of center, and locks
up tightly, but the exterior looks like it's seen a lot of use, take the
barrel off the frame, (ask first), and look at the hinge pin on the frame,
if it is peened, or not round, smooth, and shinny, or, if under the barrels,
where the cut fits into the hinge pin, the sides look like they have been
hammered in, and the underside is not a perfect mate to the pin. This gun
has had a 10 second repair, which will last just as long in the field.
Also look where the forend mates to the frame, look for a smooth and clean
surface, if you see hammer marks, peening, or galling, this gun needs at
least $300.00 worth of repair, and unless the price leaves room for this
repair, leave it on the table. Another common problem is rib or barrel
separation that you cannot see with your eye. Perhaps the easiest is to
take the barrels off the frame, place your finger out and hang the bbl
by the 'hook', or lug under the bbl., and ring the barrel with your fingernail.
They should ring, not thud. To gain experience in this sound try several
of your, or your friend's guns, then have someone else pinch the barrels
between their thumb and forefinger, while you are holding it by the ejectors
and flip the barrel with your finger again. Notice the difference. When
you come across a separated top or center rib you cannot see, you will
really notice the difference. This is an expensive and delicate repair,
which will also require the re-bluing of the barrels once the repair is
done. One more important area to examine when purchasing a used gun is
to check for alterations. This may be as simple as a shortened stock, to
which spacers, or a longer recoil pad can be added. Perhaps a shaved comb,
to which a piece of wood could be added (ugly), or better and perhaps cheaper
than a new stock, an adjustable cheek piece, or soft top. Check the chokes,
look inside the barrels from the muzzle while holding the breech so a bright
light source shines through. You can see the choke constriction, and with
practice you can see if they have been opened up. Ask what are the bore
and choke diameters. If the dealer puts a dime to the muzzle and says,
"yup, sure enough, she's a full choke", or if the dime falls in, "yup...she's
a open choke". Seek a more competent opinion, (See Choke Tubes).
All in all, pay attention to detail. Don't be in a hurry. don't be
swayed by sharp salesman talk of what a beauty she is. Beauty comes after
the gun is found mechanically sound. And get a guarantee. Don't ask for
the impossible, just sufficient time that you can return the gun for a
full refund if it doesn't check out by someone you can trust. A responsible
dealer will have no problem with this. If the purchase is at your local
full time stocking gun dealer, the guarantee may be as simple as the gun
dealers word, at a gun show get it in writing, and have him sign it.
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Today, with so many devices, equipment, and solvents, there should be
absolutely no reason for a pitted bore or chamber, or an oxidized (rusted)
surface, on any gun. Sometimes I find it amazing so many fine old guns,
which were used with Black Power, and corrosive primers, have survived
to today, considering the cleaning solutions of even 20 years ago are archaic,
compared to what we have now. Hot water and soap kept many guns in fine
shape. The only extra ingredient was time. Taking the time to clean your
gun, is harder than the cleaning. Though it hurts more to see a grade V
Browning with pitted bores and all rusted, than a Savage 67 in the same
condition. No reason exists today for ether to happen.
Surface. For everyday use, purchase a rag with silicone, or
moisture displacing oil in it. Or you could make your own with a new clean
cotton rag, a baggy, and any quality lubricant. Make a practice of wiping
down the gun after each outing. That is right after training, or hunting,
before you put the gun in the case. Many guns rust in the case, on the
way home. If the conditions are right, a blued steel gun can rust in the
case in just one half hour. Late Summer, early Fall, on those cool damp
evenings, many gun owners are surprised to find a fine orange/red substance
on their gun the next morning, when they finally take it out of the case.
Storage. Don't make a habit of storing your gun in the car,
trunk, of behind the seat in your pickup. Besides being a poor safety practice.
The temperature swings, and the high humidify found in a vehicle make an
excellent environment for oxidation. Don't store your gun in it's case
when you get home. Take it out, give it a quick wipe down again, and if
you don't have a gun cabinet, or gun safe, use the corner of a room or
closet. Any where air can circulate around the gun. The problem with keeping
a soft substance next to the steel, is, it will wick away any oil, and
wick to the surface any moisture present.
Rain. Light rain, or misty conditions can be wiped away, heavy
rain, or shooting all day in rain will require heat. Hot air. Out in the
field turn on the heater in the car and try to direct the hot air vent
or defroster at the receiver. At home use a hair drier, don't use a hot
air paint stripper, to hot. In the hotel room lay some towels on the radiator
for support, leave some openings for air to flow over the receiver. The
point is to warm up all the metal parts thoroughly and safely so the moisture
will evaporate. Don't forget to totally dry out your gun case as well,
paying attention to both inside and outside. If you experience a dunking
in a nice acidic swamp water, take the receiver off the stock and put it
under boiling water. If you do this make sure the container is large enough
to immerse the piece of metal, and take the container off the heat source
before you put in the blued metal. If you don't the receiver will touch
the bottom of the pan, which is a much higher temperature than boiling
water and very likely will discolor the bluing. Leave in the hot water
until all the metal is toughly warmed, take out and shake it off. The water
will soon evaporate. Now apply a coat of good moisture displacing oil.
You could also pour boiling water over the parts, or use a faucet, if the
hot water heater is set high enough.
Bore. With modern ammunition, the most fowling in a shotgun
bore is plastic residue, un-burnt powder, soot, and lead. Non of which
is corrosive. In fact in one extreme case, this residue even protected
a bore. A gun that had laid on a flooded basement floor for 2 days under
water, and another week after the water was removed was brought in for
repair. As you can imagine every possible metal part was rusted and pitted.
Except the inside the bore, once the gunk was cleaned out the bore was
mirror smooth. Use any good solvent with a brass brush to loosen up the
fowling, and good old clean cotton cloths to wipe it away. Avoid using
stainless steel brushes. These are reserved for pitted or rusted barrels.
In reality a lightly pitted bore will not affect performance. The same
way Prickly Ash scratches on the side of your new Suburban will not affect
it's performance. But how long will they stay there? If your bore is pitted
talk to your gunsmith. Sometimes they can be polished out. Deeper pits
can be bored out, now would be a good time to consider backboring. It will
cost the same if you take out .001 or .010.
Chambers. The chamber will not have this protection of carbon,
and it is often the ruin of many a fine gun. Pitted metal is not smooth.
This will lead to poor ejection, and extraction of fired shells. If you
have rusted chambers polished out, the shells you fire in that gun will
have to be totally re-sized before re-loading. They may not fit in another
tight chambered gun. If you only clean one part of your gun, make it the
chambers. Purchase a chamber brush with a short handle, the chamber brush
is a larger diameter than the bore brush so make sure you don't mix them
Interior. At least once a year take your gun to a Gunsmith and
have it completely dissembled for a thorough cleaning and lubrication with
a dry surface product. If your gun experiences a dunking, and you field
clean it. As Soon As Possible take it to your Gunsmith for that through
Wood. Dry with hot air only. Moisture left on, or under the
wood can swell and crack the wood. If you anticipate many wet outdoor days,
ask your Gunsmith to seal the interior of your gunstock. This will not
do away with, but it will help considerably to eliminate wood swelling
under an all day rain, or dunking situation.
Disassembly. If you are going to dissemble your shotgun, by all means
purchase the correct sized screwdrivers. The first things you see on a
shotgun are the screw heads. If they are all buggered up it may drop the
value in half. After all if someone didn't have the proper screwdrivers
to take a gun apart, what else did they bugger up when they had it apart?
The correct tools are not sold at the Mart-Mart stores. Again go to your
Gunsmith and ask him to order you a set specifically for your gun from
Brownells. (A gun tool supplier)
Products. Almost all the gun cleaning products sold today are
good. A couple of products I have used over the years are Birchwood Casey
products. B.C. Sheath is a moisture displacing lubricant, great for wiping
down any exposed metal surface. B.C. Bore cleaner works well on plastic,
carbon, and lead deposits. Both these products come in a liquid form or
in a convenient aerosol spray can. B.C. Grease for the wear surfaces. And
B.C. Gun Scrubber is another recommended product. It is a non polluting
liquid which blasts out of the can under high pressure, washes away loose
debris, and evaporates quickly leaving a clean surface. The trick is to
use them. The good'ol WD-40 works well to just displace moisture, but remember
there is no lubricating value in the product. Also though it appears to
be light and thin. WD-40 will, if sprayed on liberally and not wiped off,
eventually gum up the action of your gun. Use products specifically designed
for firearms. Follow instructions, and you will be able to proudly hand
down that gun of yours to the next generation of Trialers and Hunters.
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Don't point a gun at something you don't want to shoot.
Recently, the news media gloating how Remington had lost a law suit,
and was ordered to pay out 17 million dollars. All because a person pointed
a gun at something he didn't want to shoot. The first case like this was
back in the early 70's when a young man was trying to un-holster a Ruger
single action revolver in the cab of a import pickup truck, while sitting
between two other people. He shot his toe off. In court he asked for $2,500.00
in damages. The Jury gave him 3 Million. The Remington case was a elderly
male, reportedly taking off the safety on a Remington 700 bolt action rifle.
The rifle reportedly discharged, taking the gun owners foot off. He asked
for just 3 million, the jury gave him 17 million. These are just two of
the hundreds of cases in the last 20 years.
I find it absolutely apprehensible that such blatant stupidity is rewarded
by supposedly educated people.
All across this county, 30 times more children are killed by household
poisons, than by firearms. 20 times more are killed by bicycles than by
firearms. 10 times more are killed by electrocution, drowning, falling
down steps, than by firearms. However when a firearm is involved in a tragic
accidental death, see the news at 5,6,and 10.
This prompts me to ask, If I get into a car accident, can I sue the
State, after all, I had my eyes closed while driving, and no where on the
license, or test, does it say you can't close your eyes while driving.
A firearm is not a tennis racket, golf club, or a bowling ball. If
you are careless with any other sport, not much of a chance you will hurt
someone else. With a firearm, you will be held responsible. Unless, even
through your own stupidity, you hurt yourself, then you will be rewarded.
All the stupid accidents come down to one item. The holder of the firearm
had the firearm pointed at something they didn't want to shoot. If this
one rule was followed, Don't Point A Firearm At Anything You Don't Want
To Shoot, I don't know of a single firearms accident that would have been
fatal, or caused bodily damage.
How many times have you seen someone violate that rule. Have you said
something? ''...oh he only crossed me with the muzzle for a second...''
well, with a shot charge traveling 1200 feet per second and you only 100
feet away, what fraction of a second is that? When is the gun broke? Is
the gun loaded? What would happen in a fall, especially in the Gallery.
Do you see people closing a gun when a dog is in front of them? Speak up.
Educate. Perhaps it's a little harder, but we all know you can teach an
old dog new tricks.
The best is to start when they are young. Help teach your local State's
D.N.R.'s Firearms Safety Training program. The attitude of many of the
youth today, (11 to 14 years old) is this is all they need. Perhaps it
is from the computer game era. Many just don't understand there is no reset
button on a firearm.
Help teach Firearms Safety Training in your area. Stress this learning
process is 60 years long, not just 16 hours. When you see a safety violation
in the field, at a Trial, or in training. Gently but firmly point it out.
Third, take out your pen and paper and write your congressman. The same
language which bans the AK-47's and SKS's, could also ban your two barrel
shotgun, with one trigger, because it too is a semiautomatic firearm. And
last, but most certainly not least, never point a firearm at anything
you don't want to shoot.
© Tom Radde