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Joined: Nov 2019
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Sidelock
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Sidelock

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I know we obsess on here and other vintage sites about being extra careful with these old guns as well we should. In particular with regards to using 2-1/2” RST shells in the vintage Parker’s, Foxes and such. What did people do with these guns the 60-70 years before RST existed? I’m guessing they were hunted with regular 2-3/4” off the shelf shells with no issue.

My father in law did that all through the 50s- 70s hunting and shooting a lot of pheasants with his grandfather’s 1889 Parker GH 12 gauge. Even with Damascus barrels he never gave it a second thought and never had a problem.

Now with the low availability of shotgun shells, components and RST shells, I’m tempted to use 2-3/4” shells, and have to confess that I have this season, used them in my 1924 Parker VH. It has the original 2-5/8” chambers but with lengthened forcing cones. It has shot well with low recoil and probably killed 60-70 ducks and 20 pheasants.

Right now I’m looking at a 1928 16 gauge Sterlingworth with original chambers, but I’m worried about the availability of 2-1/2” 16 gauge shells. I have tons of 2-3/4” on hand.

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For what it's worth, I've fired about 1000 reloads using 2.75" AA hulls (about 2.68" actual measurement) out of my 2.5" chambered 12 gauge. I load them light pressure anyways


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If you load the 2 3/4” hulls to about the same pressure the gun was designed for, you’ll be fine. There is much hand wringing over the length of the cartridge, but, little focus on the pressure they make.

Best,
Ted

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Sidelock

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I usually shoot 1-1/8 or 1-1/4oz loads

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Lead or bismuth

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Neither of the facts you posted relate anything about actual pressure. If you are using off the shelf ammunition, realize you are using stuff that is designed to help dirty autoloading guns run, and the stuff is by no means low pressure.


Best,
Ted

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Sidelock
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I figured, but not as much a the old magnum 2-2/4” loads I used in my wingmaster. My Parker is 6#-15oz, original hard buttplate and it barely kicks.

I just looked at the boxes, they don’t list pressure, but do velocity; 1165 and 1235 in the other box.

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The consensus on the PGCA website seems to be that Parker cut its chambers 1/8 in shorter than the expected shell length, feeling that the overlap into the cone sealed the shot charge better. Thus, 2 5/8 in chambers were for 2 3/4 in shells. That said, I shoot 2 3/4 shells at 1165 in my 2 9/16 inch 16 gauges without incident. If the barrels are sound, and the chambers original, you should be OK.

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This might be helpful, and includes a summary of Bell's study
http://parkerguns.org/forums/showthread.php?t=34360&page=2

I would emphasize again that we have NO pressure data regarding 16g and 20g long shells in short chambers, and that, esp. 20g, run higher pressures than 12g. IMHO using longer than chamber shells in a lightweight 20g is not wise.
And BTW, in the past when lots of shells were available, it was not hard to find 16g loads that (of course after being fired) were shorter than the nominal 2 3/4"; esp. Fiocchi.

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Most of the concern about low pressure is to protect the wood as much as the metal. Period shells were loaded to much lower pressure and lower velocity than current shells. These 1300-1500 fps shells put unwanted stress on both stock and action. If you load correct pressure and velocity shells the shell length is not super critical. You do get a slight increase shooting longer shells in shorter chambers but it has been estimated to be under a thousand psi which good condition guns can handle.

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