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Joined: Dec 2003
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HOS Offline
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Well said, indeed. By the way, I have a 60's era Westley marked 3-1/4 tons per square (it is actully a square, not the word) inch. Where does that fit in?

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This has been a rather enjoyable thread for me. I always enjoy civil and well expressed thoughts and often, certainly in this case, I learn something new.

Where does HOS's Westley fit into the proof scenario?


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Hi all, very interesting thread indeed!! I enjoyed all the various ideas and thoughts on this subject.

I do think that COL Brown has hit the nail on the head. In the "old" days when Brit guns were first started to be imported here in numbers, 2 1/2" loads were not common at all, in fact rare. Many owners and importers for that matter did let chambers out to 2 3/4" for our market. At that time British proof was either ignored or not understood by and large.. Thus chambers were let out and our ammo used. The results were mixed of course, some guns could and did withstand our higher pressures, others did not fair so well.

Then, thanks to forums like this one and publications like the DG Journal we got wiser and more informed. Also, 2 1/2" became more common and we found out that they work just as well and sometimes better than our "standard" American loads. It seems like it just took time to overcome our "bigger is better" with regards to Brit guns. Still we Americans do fall into the "Bigger is Better" high velocity hype with autos and pumps when it comes to hunting loads. But at least we know better now about there use in Brit guns.

The 3 1/4 Tons PSI is the standard service pressure for 2 3/4" chambered Brit guns. It works out to be 9682psi as opposed to our 2 3/4" at 11,500psi.

Great post!!!

Best!

Greg


Gregory J. Westberg
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Originally Posted By: oldmanriver
JohnfromUK and others on this BBS have said they use fibre wads. Is that because the UK requires them to avoid litter on the shooting grounds (since they decay), or is there some safety or superior function motivation? I assume 90%+ of the shells available in the US have plastic wads/shot cups.

The reason for me is that most game shoots I go on request (often require) felt wads for biodegradability and animal compatibility (there are reported cases of animals eating plastic wads with ill effects). The clays ground I shoot at regularly requests felt wads. They pattern slightly more open I believe, but are otherwise fine for me.

When I ran a game shoot over several different owner's land - one landowner was very firmly 'felt/fibre wads only', so much so that if he found plastics wads he threatened no more shooting - period. Hence I had to be very strict that people shooting and their invited guests only ever used felt/fibre wad cartridges.

Last edited by JohnfromUK; 01/26/13 02:39 PM.
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Interesting post! There is yet another issue: If indeed a 2 1/2-inch chambered gun will sell at a discount over a 2 3/4-inch gun, then remember that it already sold at a similar discount when you bought it!

So you bought it for less and will sell it for less if your model is correct, which I do not think it is (but again, that's just my own opinion)

The comments regarding proof pressure of the CIP vs SAAMI loads are important. Most of us, me included, do not use commonly available domestic loads in our European guns proofed for European shells. Given that, then any difference between 2 1/2 and 2 3/4-inch shells just about disappears.

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I know that I promised not to post any more on this thread, but this is getting interesting, I think. I do not know too much about how the London or Birmingham or, for that matter, other proof houses work, but I do not think that the proof marks necessarily indicate the maximum pressures for a gun. I believe that the proof houses prove guns as and to the pressures instructed by the manufacturer or other person requesting the proof. In fact, it may be that a manufacturer would ask that its guns be proofed for significantly less than the maximum pressure, so as not to fail proof. Put another way, because a gun has proofs for, say,
850 bars, it doesn't necessarily mean that it could not be proved to a higher standard. For instance, I purchased an Italian pigeon gun some time ago at an auction in London. I believe that British proof marks are required to sell a gun in an auction in England. Accordingly, immediately before it was auctioned, it was proved in London and Is so marked for 900 bars. Given the heft of this baby and considering that it is a pigeon gun, I cannot believe that it could not have been proved to higher standard, but there was no real need for the consignor or auction house to request a higher proof.

Last edited by HOS; 01/26/13 04:24 PM.
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HOS, I think you have the horse and the cart reversed. The British proofhouses no longer offer a range of proofs. You did find different bars markings when those were used (until 2005). In part, that was to accommodate the fact that small bores are proofed to slightly higher pressures than 12's. (Same deal with SAAMI service pressure standards in this country. 12's and 16's are 11,500 psi; 20's, 12,000 psi; 28's and .410's, 12,500.) So the proofhouses had to make allowance for those differences. For example, I recently saw a vintage British 20ga with chambers lengthened to 2 3/4" and reproofed at 950 bars.

However, the bars are now out (as of 2005), and they have been replaced by 3 levels of proof, or actually only two with a variation attached to one. Those are marked STD for standard (which replaces the old 850 bars for 12's, or slightly higher for smaller bores); and SUP for superior, which replaces the old 1200 bar magnum proof. There is also now a steel shot proof, which is the same as the superior proof with the exception that the proof load uses steel rather than lead shot. And that's it. The gunmaker could request any of those three levels of proof with a 2 3/4" or longer gun. If he were to build a new 2 1/2" gun, or if he were to build a very light game gun with 2 3/4" chambers, then he'd request the standard proof. Of course they all try to build their guns so that there's some built-in cushion above that to which it will be subjected at proof.

And just as SAAMI does in this country, the CIP sets pressure standards for ammunition manufactured in the UK and European countries. If the ammo makers want the CIP seal on their ammo, then they have to comply with the CIP standards. And the shell box will specify the proof level of the guns appropriate for the shells in question. I have yet to see any boxes marked with STD or SUP, but I expect some of our British posters have.

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Thank you for that very cogent explanation. It is very helpful. My point was only that a gunmaker, for commercial reasons, might not necessarily request the highest proof, even though the gun in question might be able to satisfy the higher proof test. Incidentally, how does one ascertain what the pressure of one's ammo is? Is all standard 2-3/4 inch US ammo roughly the same? Does it make any difference if it is Rio, Winchester, Fiocchi or Estate (I.e., foreign or US manufacturers or licensees)? Is the SAAMI standard a maximum? P. S. When you feel up to it, I wouldn't mind a short course on other countries' proof houses. Interesting stuff I think. Thank you.

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HOS, you might find this link helpful:

http://www.16ga.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3428

It has a lot of stuff on proof but also shot weight/size and other good info.

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I look at it this way. The guy who is shooting an 870 pump or an auto loader as his main guns is not the guy who would likely be buying your Purdey. People interested in classic SxS are a small crowd in the gun world and that is who you need to market to if you sell. I see the short chambers being more of an issue for American SxS vs English.

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