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Firing "magnum" shells through a gun not marked magnum

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Gingerbreadman, Feb 21, 2008.

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  1. Gingerbreadman

    Gingerbreadman Member

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    I recently bought a box of 3" magnum 12 guage shells. Through a moment of total ignorance I missed the work "magnum" on the box. My 870 is not marked magnum anywhere, but it is chambered for 3" shells. Would it be a bad thing to shoot these from my gun?
     
  2. 41magsnub

    41magsnub Member

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    Magnum and 3" are synonymous in 12 ga shotguns. The only thing you most likely can't shoot are the 3.5" shells.

    More to the point I have a 870 wingmaster from the early 70's that I use 3" "magnum" steel shot shells on for ducks and geese since I am too cheap to spring for the bismuth or hevi-shot. It is not marked magnum either, just 3".
     
  3. marksman13

    marksman13 Member

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    Shoot 'em. Like 41magsnub said, synonymous.
     
  4. Gingerbreadman

    Gingerbreadman Member

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    Good to know. Thanks.
     
  5. Ragnar Danneskjold

    Ragnar Danneskjold Member

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    I have a box of 2 3/4 Magnum 00buck shells from Federal. Is the word "Magnum" in this case just a marketing thing, or does it denote an actual rating on the shell? I have a Mossberg 500 12 ga, and it also doesn't say anything about being able to fire "Magnum" rounds. I'm new to shotguns, so I have no idea.
     
  6. Moonclip

    Moonclip Member

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    If they are marked magnum and 2 3/4" I bet they are 12 pellet loads in 00buck instead of the standard 9 pellet load. Any standard 12 gauge in good shape and modern should handle them fine though with increased recoil.
     
  7. rantingredneck

    rantingredneck Member

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    /\ Yep.

    "magnum" in 12 ga terms typically means heavier than standard payload at less than standard velocities. You gotta trade one for the other if you stay in the same length shell.

    Standard 00 buck in 2 3/4" 12 ga is 9 pellet, Magnum is 12.
    Standard 00 buck in 3" 12 ga is 12 pellet, Magnum is 15. (don't see many 12 pellet 3" loads anymore though)
    at 3.5" most loads I've seen are not marked "Magnum" on the box but the standard loads seem to be 18 pellet, with "high velocity" loads of 15........

    bottom line is look at what size shell it is chambered for measured in inches and all will be right in the universe.
     
  8. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Magnum usually just means more powder and shot in the shell. There are 2 3/4" magnum shells too.

    Shell LENGTH however is a different deal. You shouldn't fire 3" magnum shells in a 2 3/4" chamber- the hull mouth of the 3" shell will protrude into the forcing cone of the shorter chamber and can cause dangerous overpressure at the moment of firing.

    With 12 gauge 870s, M is for 3" shell capable receivers. That is, if the last digit of your serial number is the letter M, then your receiver is coded for 3" shells. Remington has always used a code system to ID 870 receivers this way, by gauge and shell length.

    If the last letter in your serial number is a V, then your 12 ga. 870 receiver is set up for 2 3/4" shells.

    The only difference is in the location of the ejector and that's all, there's no strength issues with the receivers. Oft times V coded guns with 3" chambered barrels installed will load, chamber and fire 3" shells but then have trouble ejecting the empty. Remember, the shells aren't really 3" long till after they're fired and the crimp unfolds (and unfired 2 3/4" shells are usually only about 2 1/4" long).

    To be sure of proper function with 3" shells, you need a 3" chamber in the barrel AND an M coded receiver.

    hth,

    lpl/nc
     
  9. rantingredneck

    rantingredneck Member

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    Good point Lee. I didn't think about the possibility of him having a 3" chambered barrel on a non-magnum receiver. It can and does happen.
     
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