Spanish barrel strength/current 10ga shell pressures


January 11, 2003, 02:00 PM
I recently purchased (for fun-no hunting involved) a Spanish Zabala Hermanos 10ga SxS imported by Armsport in 1979. The barrels are 24" in length and will be shortened to 20" with no chokes. They have mint bores, a pressure proof stamp listed at 1000 Kgs and a weight of 2720 gmos.

By way of reference, the site: says that the prooof stamp listing is the "maximum" pressure the shotgun will take before serious damage can occur and that recommended pressure is 2/3 of "maximum." So, a suitable pressure for a gun proofed at 1000 Kgs (14,081 psi) would be around 8,800 psi. Does anyone theoretically know whether my Zabala can safely handle currently manufactured 10ga buckshot & slugs. I'd appreciate any comments. Thanks


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Dave McCracken
January 11, 2003, 02:44 PM
Lots of magnum loads run up to 13K PSI,Mike.

Spanish guns range in quality from as good as ever made to pure junk, and I've no idea where this one falls along the curve. I'm fairly certain some light use with modern ammo won't hurt the shotgun much, but...

If there's a better way to turn a shotgunner into a former shooter than a short light 10 gauge, I know it not. Blast and flash 22" in front of one's face will be astounding.

Mag loads use slower burning powders than standard loads. These need longer barrels to burn up all the propellants. In short barrels, they burn outside, meaning lower velocity and one heckuva light show. Somehow, this doesn't seem to translate into less kick. All 10s kick like Bruce Lee.

Also,a 24" barelled double gun runs a few inches shorter than a riot barrelled pump or auto. Why not run some standard loads through yours and see how much fun it is as it sits?

January 11, 2003, 04:14 PM
Zabala is a maker of utilitarian grade boxlock guns for the most part. They were imported to North America by a variety of importers and are currently being brought in by Charles Daly and Weatherby. The Weatherby boxlock sxs is made by Zabala.

I'm not certain how Dave Dabaco at came to the conclusion that 2/3rds of the proof pressure is appropriate. It's not something that I've read or heard from anyone else. I own a Spanish sxs that I use for upland game that I ordered during a visit to Spain.

It is true that English ammo is lighter than North American but the Spanish ammo I've shot is pretty warm. I consider the proof numbers a "do not exceed" mark. Shotguns don't blow up due to heavier pressure ammunition, they just get loose. Blow ups are caused most often by barrel obstructions.

Barrels that are 24" and weigh a hair under 6lbs are beefy with a fair amount of metal in them. With barrels at that weight I expect the gun must be close to ten pounds. Sounds like it was meant to shoot heavy ammo. By comparison my 12 gauge, 2-3/4" barrels are 28" and weigh 1300 grams, less than half the weight of your 10. Were it my gun I'd shoot it with factory ammo and not cut the barrels.

But opinions are like (well you know the rest). Everybody has one. Get some others.

You might try posting the question at either of these two sites:


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