I have been thinking about the many reasons some people are so against shooting composite, twist or Damascus barrels. It seems there is a short list of reasons that I fail to agree with unless you consider all the facts.
First is the blanket statement that all composite barrels are weaker than steel barrels. It’s just not true. Some may be, but some of the early cast Steel was much weaker when new and has not gotten better with age. Then the argument that barrels are 100+ years old so the are automatically defective just due to age. Well maintained guns should show no inherent weakness just due to time. Then the claim that black powder has lower pressure is just not true if you load properly loads. In fact chamber pressures tend to spike high for black than non black.
So why do we worry about low pressure so much? I think a bit of it is a comfort level of thinking a low pressure load will give us a safety margin. That’s a bit of a mistake I think. A set burst barrel at 5,000 psi I suspect will be just as hard on the hand as one at 7,8 or 10,000. I do think low pressure load are a bit easier on old wood and old shoulders. Velocity and payload combined to produce recoil and stress on wood and low pressure loads tend to be slower or lighter as a rule. That should reduce cracked stocks on guns with wood dried for a century or more.
I’ve stopped worrying about low pressure loads these days. I have basic moderate pressure loads for both 12 and 20’s. If a gun is deemed safe to shoot after close inspection I will only use those shells in them. 6,500 psi in 12 and >8,000 in 20. Both are 2 1/2” shells which I use in longer chambers when needed. That has reduced my components and on hand by about half. Plus just by looking at the 2 1/2” loaded shell I know it will be safe for all my shootable guns.
As to all writers these days, who make wide reaching, blanket statements, I choose to question them until they show facts instead of just exposure opinions. It is impossible to say anything is safe or unsafe without careful examination and testing. Even then things change so opinions need to be reconsidered as time goes by.
Last edited by KY Jon; 07/08/20 02:56 AM.