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Shotgun barrel steel

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Slater, Aug 7, 2003.

  1. Slater

    Slater Well-Known Member

    Are shotgun barrels and rifle barrels both made from the same grade of steel?
  2. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Not to weasel here, but it depends on what you mean by grade. Barrel steel is some of the strongest ever made, but no one grade is used for all firearms. The kind of alloy varies from maker to maker.

    Maybe DML can weigh in on this.
  3. harrydog

    harrydog Well-Known Member

    I think the majority of barrels are made from 4140 chrome-moly steel, but certainly not all of them. Then there is the heat treatment, which goes a long way towards determining the strength and hardness of the steel.
    Also, some barrels and formed by hammer forging, which makes for a strong barrel, while others are drilled from a blank. Some have hard chromed bores which is extremely hard and corrosion resistant.
    Probably all of the barrels from the reputable manufacturers are of good quality.
  4. DML

    DML Well-Known Member

    I don't know what the various makers use, but there is a lot of difference from brand to brand. Older Remington barrels are fairly soft. The newer 3" magnum barrels are much harder and thicker. Mossberg barrels are softer then Remington barrels, but much tougher. I don't do a lot of work on Winchester or Benelli barrels, but they seem fairly hard.

    I am baseing my opinion on drilling close to a million holes in various barrels. After a while you can tell the quality of the steel by how it reacts while machining.

    I'm sure that most of you don't remember the class action law suit against Dupont. The suit claimed that Remington made defective shotgun barrels. At the time, DuPont owned Remington. Dupont lost the suit and even though they claimed that there the barrels were safe, the steel was changed and the barrels were made thicker.

    I will not work on the old 2 3/4" barrels. Of the thousands of barrels that I have worked on, with only 3 exceptions, the only ones that had problems were the old thin pre-law suit barrels.
  5. sm

    sm member

    I recall a suit, forget the year, guessing the same one though.

    Sounds like your porting and such?
    Curious about the bbls in the old Winchester's like model 12's, SX1's, 101's Ithica 37's, old Brownings...seems as if the Citori made by Miroku (sp?) bbls bit "better" on the Citori's than the BPS for a bit. Old 870's for a bit seemed as if a difference in the plain bbl and ribbed existed? I still want a '55 Wingmaster or old police gun...just thought the thickness on police a bit meatier than the sporting versions. I could be wrong.

    Thoughts on Hasting's bbls.?
  6. DML

    DML Well-Known Member

    Most of the work I do involves back-boring, porting and mounting sights on "tactical" shotguns. 99.9% of the barrels I work on are 14" and 18" with a few 20". The problems occur when there is a choke. There is a pretty good "bump" when a load of buckshot hits the choke and if the barrel is old and thin, there is a chance that it will bulge or split at the muzzle.

    I don't work on O/U, SxS or Brownings. I have done a few Ithaca barrels, but I don't like to. Some are very hard and some are fairly soft. You never know what you are going to get until it's too late.

    Most Hastings barrels are rifled and have very little practical use as a tactical shotgun. IMHO.

    By the way, where did the idea that Mossberg makes the barrels for Remington start? I know that Mossberg makes a barrel for the 870, but the idea that they make all the barrels for Remington is silly. (That's a polite way of saying BS) All you have to do is compare the way they are made and the difference is obvious.

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