Question about shotgun shell pellet materials

Discussion in 'Shotgun Forum' started by LT4, Dec 16, 2016.

  1. LT4

    LT4 Registered Member

    Nov 30, 2016
    Charleston SC
    I have an antique 108 year old shotgun. References on the internet say to only use shells with "lead" pellets.

    I go to the local gun shop today and start looking for shells with lead pellets.

    I find:

    Copper coated lead pellets
    Nickle coated lead pellets
    Steel pellets
    Boxes with no pellet material specification

    The salesman recommended the Copper coated lead pellets

    I found that all of the boxes of shells in the size pellet I wanted, did not specify the pellet material. They have no pellet material specification on the entire box.

    I asked all the salesmen what the pellet material was in the unmarked boxes. They did not know what the pellet material was but told me it was "likely" the one I wanted. Typical salesman bullshit answer.

    Not knowing what to do?

    Any information will be appreciated.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2016
  2. Bailey Boat

    Bailey Boat Club Subscribed Club Subscribed

    Nov 23, 2007
    If the gun is 108 years old it probably has Damascus steel barrels, NOT safe for modern loads. They were used in the black powder days and will NOT withstand the pressures of a modern shell. Take it to a qualified gunsmith for verification.
    As an aside, it is possible to "tube" the gun to the next smaller gauge and use it in that form.
    As for your pellet material question, most all shells are loaded with lead, either hard (magnum) or soft (regular) unless noted otherwise.
    DO NOT fire the gun with a modern shell until a gunsmith has inspected it. I'd do it for you but you're too far away..... If you need further info PM me.....
    RetiredUSNChief likes this.
  3. GoWolfpack

    GoWolfpack Scofflaw Cyclist Club Subscribed

    Aug 3, 2009
    Suffolk, VA (formerly Rolesville and Tarboro, NC)

    I quoted that so you would be sure to read it twice.

    This gun may not be safe to shoot and definitely isn't with full-power loads meant for modern shotguns.
    RetiredUSNChief likes this.
  4. Catfish

    Catfish 'Murica! eh? Club Subscribed

    May 18, 2010
    Charlotte, NC
    To add to what BB said, a gun that old might be chambered for shorter shells than modern ammo. Dont shoot it without doing lots of homework! !!
  5. chiefjason

    chiefjason Vendor Vendor

    May 14, 2009
    Hickory, NC
    I have a non damascus barrel side by side that I shoot occasionally that's about that old. Barrel rings like a church bell. I only use lower power bird shot. And I have not shot it in a few years. Whiles it's fun to shoot and show off, the thin high comb just beats my face up. Thing feels good on the shoulder though.

    Most bird shot target loads will be lead. If it's fairly cheap, it's lead.

    And the advice above is spot on. Have a GS look at it. Verify the chamber size. If it's OK look at low power loads or get lower FPS shells.
  6. Cochise

    Cochise Registered Member

    Jun 11, 2016
    Cary, NC
    Please post picture of said gun and state make and model. All the advice you have received is excellent but it would be nice to see what we are talking about.

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