Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Ammo for vintage shotgun

    Rather than sharing a tip with you, I am hoping you can share some info with me. I have an Victor Ejector 12 gauge shotgun made by American Gun Company, circa 1920. I believe I have discovered the correct ammo for this gun but gun stores are reluctant to suggest ammo to me for this gun for liability reasons. As far as I can tell, this gun should use 2 1/2 shells, lead, not steel and with a with a psi below 10,000. If anyone knows how I can verify this it would be a great help. Thanks so much.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Ammo for vintage shotgun

    Do a little research on the gun and the company and identify the type of steel in the barrel.

    The fears of modern shells in old guns is based on the Damascus barrels that were limited to smokeless powders, which have lower pressure and a different pressure curve from modern.

    Damascus builds stopped as early as 1903 with some companies, and as late as the 1930s with others. Adding to the confusion, during the transition from Damascus to modern steel, some makers applied a faux Damascus pattern to the barrel as some folks liked and wanted the look.

    If Victor is just one more company making a common design, break-open single, and the steel is not Damascus, and the action is sound, it is probably safe to fire modern 2-1/2" shot shells in it. The shells back then had paper wads, the modern ones have have a plastic "sabot" wad cup. Other than that, they are pretty similar.

    Some believe "low brass" to be lower pressure. I read years ago that the height of the brass (or lack of height) is not a reliable way to gauge pressure differences.

    I'm just passing along what I have absorbed over the years. Best of course would be to find someone who knows that shotgun company and the ability to physically evaluate the gun for physical condition.
    Last edited by Bang; June 24th, 2020 at 03:48 PM.
    There are only two kinds of guns. Those I have and those I want.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Ammo for vintage shotgun

    MidwayUSA offers 2-1/2in and 2-5/8in shells for older doubles.
    I don't speak English , I talk American!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Ammo for vintage shotgun

    I shoot with a Vintage shotgun group with most guys shooting damascus side by sides (Parkers, LC Smiths). These guys use RST shells exclusively for the most part. They are designed to be lower pressure for the older shotguns. It looks like they make a full line including non toxic. http://www.rstshells.com/

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Ammo for vintage shotgun

    As some of you may get into old British doubles as well (Fox, Rigby, Brown, etc) be careful of proof marks. There was a point about a century ago (1910-1920) where they were all proofed, but were they were proofed for black or nitro? There*s a period of about a decade where you may be risking your life thinking you*ve got a proof mark for higher pressures. RST is the way to go, and here*s a quick guide to proof marks for those looking to shoot older UK doubles:

    http://proofmarks.tripod.com/englishproofs.html
    Last edited by Jhaydeno; October 3rd, 2020 at 03:20 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Ammo for vintage shotgun

    Like someone else said "Research it". I know after 1900 you could still order a damascas barrel for a Winchester 1897. You drift into odd ball names and who knows. I believe most black powder shells were 1 9/16" ?

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Ammo for vintage shotgun

    contact www.rstshells.com they are in pa. they make all types of low pressure short shotshells for vintage guns. I use them in my 1919 Ithaca with great results.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Ammo for vintage shotgun

    You can also get adapters to use 20 gauge shells in a 12 gauge. There are chamber adapters, which I wouldn't recommend in this instance, and ones that are the full length of the barrel. The full length ones are made of modern steel which allows you to use modern shells in old Damascus or odd length chambered barrels.
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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Ammo for vintage shotgun

    I use RST 2.5" shells in my 16 gauge Winchester Model 12 circa 1925. It has a 2.5" chamber but it isn't a damascus twist barrel.
    If you can't do it, get someone in the family to Google some data on the gun. Find out what that barrel is and what the chamber is. Only then you'll know for sure what you can and cannot do with it. I can't blame anyone for not recommending what to use in it in these daze of attorney's behind every tree!
    Engineers make things idiot proof! Evolution makes better idiots!

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Ammo for vintage shotgun

    https://www.proxibid.com/Shotguns/Si...ation/48659707

    Described as stamped on the barrel Armory Steel. Is yours stamped Armory Steel? If so, what more could you question?
    There are only two kinds of guns. Those I have and those I want.

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