My buddy got a Harrington and Richardson 20 ga break action shotgun recently with the aim of chasing grouse and bunnies. The only thing he didn't think about was the choke. It is a full choke. It's also from the 1970s but in damn near new condition. He'd like to use steel shot.
As I understand it, a full choke shrinks the barrel diameter a bit at the end. I think that's fine for lead but maybe a problem for steel.
1. If he shoots steel will it be unsafe?
2. Will steel shot damage the gun?
3. Will steel shot damage just the choke part of the barrel?
4. If the last X inches of the barrel were sawed off, would that change it to a different type of choke and then steel would be fine? What would X" be?
It doesn’t seem like the best of ideas to use the steel shot. I seem to remember someone telling me smaller shot would be Ok. I an thinking #5 or so. But while the person I spoke to knew his guns, this conversation was a long time ago. I would call a gun shop and ask.
Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. Mark Twain
I think when shooting 3-4 shot the consensus is that it ok to shoot steel shot. Even though the H&R is a relatively moderately priced shotgun I don't know that cutting of the choke section is something I would do. Shooting the 3-4 shot shouldn't erode the barrel or cause any belling of the muzzle. Should you want to shoot birds at some time the full choke would still be there. H&R/NEF has toll free customer service lines for inquiries and should be able to set your mind at ease. Bismuth is an alternative.
Our inability to change everything should not stop us from changing what we can.
I think he was going to use #6 or 7 for those critters if that changes anything (or if he's wrong). Ok, I'll have him check with a gun shop and call the company. Did some internet searching and the answer from some reputable sources varied from yes to no so apparently it's not clear cut.
It's hard enough to find steel around here, not to mention bismuth...