old Winchester 101


December 31, 2008, 04:12 PM
Hi Guys,

I'm new to this forum and shotguns, glad I found this place.

I've decided to try some hunter clays at our club. We have to shoot steel shot here. My dad has an older Winchester 101 (mid 70's) in 20 gauge that he has offered to let me try. The gun has been shot very little and never had steel through it. I don't believe it has screw in chokes and I am concerned that the steel shot might damage the gun. Should I find a cheap pump gun to start or bring the 101?



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December 31, 2008, 05:55 PM
The 101 will be fine. As fas as I know all 101's have chrome lined bbls. The only problem might be if it has improved mod or full choke. Generally speaking, whatever the choke is marked is for lead shot. Steel makes it one size tighter. So if it is marked improved cyc shooting steel will make it a mod choke. I have shot steel through a mod choke many times with no issues. Buy I wouldn't want to shoot it through anything tighter.

December 31, 2008, 08:20 PM
I disagree to some extent.

I bought a new 101 12 ga in about 1972.
It did have chrome-lined barrels.
But it also had very thin, European style muzzle thickness.

In those pre-steel shot days, they were not terribly concerned with heat treatment of the barrels either I doubt.

No way would it be a good candidate for steel shot.

And I would never do it to my old honey!


December 31, 2008, 10:36 PM

No doubt it's a beautiful gun. Much nicer than many of the new ones I've seen. It doesn't say what type of choke it has but they are not screw in and the gun is made in Japan. Since it is not mine I really don't want to abuse it but I'd love to shoot it.

January 1, 2009, 03:18 AM
Just be safe and get a used 870 at the local shop, they're cheap and good. Or, do you have a newer gun you could use?

January 1, 2009, 08:23 AM
At the moment, I don't have another shotgun. If I do get a shotgun should I just go to 12 gauge or stick with 20? Our club provides steel ammo in both gauges.

January 1, 2009, 10:51 AM
Do not shoot steel through that gun.

January 1, 2009, 12:21 PM
12 gauge:D

January 1, 2009, 12:34 PM
Glad I didn't talk to you guys before shooting several hundred rounds of steel through my 1974 Winchester 101 12 ga. Or SXS Winchester 20 ga model 23. Look at all the fun I would have missed out on. AND with ZERO problems, both with fixed chokes, 101- IC & Mod, 23 - IC & mod. There is so much histearia over steel shot, and a LOT of it comes from lack of experince with steel shot. I have since sold these 2 guns, but I still shoot steel through my Winchester Super X 1 (1975)with a fixed mod choke and will keep doing so.

January 1, 2009, 12:41 PM
your shoulder will thank you if you stick to 20ga and your wallet will thank you if you go to 12ga.

take your pick.

January 1, 2009, 02:19 PM

Thanks for your responses. I'd love to shoot this gun but I think I'm stuck with steel shot no matter where I go around here. The gun is not mine and it has only had about 25-50 rounds through it so it is like new and I don't want to damage it. I think it is about the same vintage as yours and the fact that you had no problems makes it very tempting. I guess I'll have to see what chokes it has; there doesn't seem to be any markings on the gun to indicate what it has. Do you know where that information would be?

January 1, 2009, 02:25 PM
You can get non-toxic shotshells that are made for guns that are not steel-approved.


The bummer is the price. However, if what you want to do is go out and shoot a couple pheasants (WMA limit here is 2 per day anyway), the price isn't prohibitive. I wouldn't use the stuff for skeet or anything.:)

January 1, 2009, 02:42 PM
Pull the forend off and it should be marked on the left side of the bbls just in front of the chambers. Look at this picture, you can see where this one says "skeet" on the bbls. http://pics.gunbroker.com/GB/119707000/119707058/pix1716089781.jpg

January 1, 2009, 02:55 PM
An old friend hunted ducks with a 101 choked full and modified. When steel shot became mandatory he had a smith open the full barrel to about improved cylinder and kept hunting. I have the gun now and it still shoots fine. I don't hunt ducks anymore but I do use it on clay targets.

January 1, 2009, 10:12 PM
I would think your club uses # 7 steel shot. If you all have never cut open a steel shot shell, here is a picture of one. You should note the extra thickness of the steel shot wad, thus the steel never comes in contact with the barrel of your gun. .... see pic here >>>> http://socialshootingclub.org/blog/uploads/20071229-BlalockLakes/SteelTargetLoad.jpg

January 1, 2009, 10:23 PM

You're right, shot no larger than #7. So in this case I should have no worries about using the gun. Being new to shotguns, I didn't realize the wad protects the barrel from the shot. Thank you!

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