I have aquired a 16 ga. Belgium guild gun. It's in wonderful shape. However, it's short chambered for the 2.1/2" shells. Now I know they are available, the 2.5" shells that is, but I really don't want to shoot that shell. How can I determine if the gun's chamber can be lengthen to 2.3/4"? There are all kinds of proof marks on the barrels, crowns with letters and numbers and the such. Or, can I lengthen the forcing cones to allow the gun to shoot the 1/4"longer shell?
Joined: 08 Jun 2005
I have done this also, but remember that most all current ammo is actually 2 5/8 and not 2 3/4. The English tests also indicate that shooting the longer shell in the shorter chamber only raises the pressure about 100psi
This is an area where you have to exercise some caution. If it's a newer Belgian gun, and if it's a 2 1/2" 16ga, one of the proofmarks will be "16-65" inside a sort of capital C, or horseshoe. If it's an older gun, the proofmark will be 16 over a C, inside a diamond. The newer ones were built to somewhat higher proof standards, and if it were a 2 3/4" gun to start with, I might not worry too much about US factory ammo. At 2 1/2", I'd definitely be concerned with an older gun, still somewhat concerned with a newer one. (The proof laws changed in 1924.) Simply lengthening the forcing cones will probably reduce recoil somewhat, and maybe pressure as well. You can do that on either gun. You can do the chambers as well, although that won't really gain you much--and it certainly shouldn't give you the idea that just because your chamber is now 2 3/4", you can go ahead and shoot any American 2 3/4" shell. What you can do, even without lengthening the chambers or cones, is shoot low pressure reloads in 2 3/4" hulls in that gun. (It's the pressure that's the issue, not the length of the hull--and the longer hull in and of itself does not equate to higher pressure. If you join the 16ga reloading group, you'll see some very low pressure reloads using 2 3/4" hulls, down in the 7-8,000 psi range.)
If I were you, I'd use low pressure reloads for target shooting. For hunting, where you're not shooting up that many shells, I'd recommend something like the B&P 29 gram loads, or the Kent Gamebore shells. They're both appropriate for short-chambered guns and both work quite well. (The B&P's are definitely "hotter"!) Good luck!
There was a healthy thread on this issue between Larry and 16gaugeguy on April 26-27. (No my memory is not that good, the forum just has a good search option). I recommend you reading that thread. It is truly a healthy exchange and both parties make good points.
To give some genuine support to Larry's position on pressure, I have been shooting 2-3/4 inch shells in my 65 mm J.P. Sauer sxs for years, BUT MY TARGET LOADS ARE LOW PRESSURE AND MY HUNTING LOADS ARE MODERATE PRESSURE LOADS EMPHASIS ON THE PRESSURE OF YOUR SHELLS, not necessarily the length.
Joined: 09 Apr 2005
Location: Schuyler County, NY.
Have you stuck a chamber gauge in this gun to see just what you have?? If no do it cause you could be suprised. You never know whats been done to a shotgun so whats stamped on it don't mean much. Years ago a 2 1/2" chamber could be a total of 2 5/8"-2 3/4" or it could be 2 1/2" you don't know till you stick that gauge in it. As far as shooting 2 3/4 ammo in a 2 1/2 chamber its not much of an issue pressure wise just make sure your not using any Wal Mart crap, stick with the low pressure stuff. Best -BILLY-
From what I've found, on European guns, if they're marked 65MM, then the gun will measure 2 1/2" (or very close to it) unless the chambers have been lengthened. On American guns, before the changeover to 2 3/4", the standard 16ga chamber length was 2 9/16". If I find an unmarked American 16 that's 2 3/4", I'm always suspicious that it's been lengthened. The vast majority of American 16's that were 2 3/4" from the factory are marked 2 3/4". In fact, I don't think I've ever seen an American 16 marked anything else. Either they're marked 2 3/4", or else they're not marked at all--and probably weren't 2 3/4" originally.
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