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I have an old JC Higgins model 20 full choked 12 gauge. I know it going to mark up the barrel but if i had to hunt geese with it

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  • I have an old JC Higgins model 20 full choked 12 gauge. I know it going to mark up the barrel but if i had to hunt geese with it

    I have an old JC Higgins model 20 full choked 12 gauge. I know it going to mark up the barrel but if i had to hunt geese with it what would be the # steel shot that i should shoot that will be the less damaging but would kill geese?

  • #2
    How this myth does persist! I have been shooting steel through my fifty year-old 870 here for at least fourteen years. And I shoot thirty to forty geese a year. I'm a fairly good shot (actually just particular about the shots I take) but that's still a lot of rounds put through an old fixed full choke barrel. And as far as I can tell it's still as bright and shiny as it was forty years ago. If the steel shot has wrecked it, I sure can't see it!

    Use the modified barrel as much as possible. You will be safe to shoot steel through modified in any event. And it will probably give you the better pattern with steel. DO NOT shoot anything larger than BB and you should be okay. Size #1 is good too. Shoot fast loads for most effectiveness. For 2.75" go with 1 oz shot at 1500 or 1550 fps.

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    • #3
      Adam
      1. I'm not sure I would shoot anything but lead out of a gun that age.
      2. I don't know that I would shoot a vintage J.C. Higgins at all until it was checked over by a competent gunsmith!
      No offense, but J.C. Higgins was never known as a high quality arm.
      Do as you wish, but I would approach shooting it with caution.

      Comment


      • #4
        From everything I have read Hi Standard did an exceptional job making these for Sears. Very high quality pump action. This gun is likely same vintage as most Model 12 shotguns and I know many people who shoot steel through them.

        Bubba, Sears didn't make their own guns. Various manufacturers made them. Some did a good job and some not so good. Frankly, I have never seen anything that Hi Standard put out that wasn't good quality.

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        • #5
          Sorry about the confusion in my first post. I thought this was a double barrel.

          Scarring is not an issue and I doubt pressure would be either as long as he stayed with BB and smaller. However, if he really wants to be on the safe side he could have a gunsmith open it up to modified choke.

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          • #6
            Honk
            You're so smart!
            Are you aware that Sears also did not manufacture Browning, Ted Willuams nor Revelation?
            In fact, I'm not sure Sears ever "manufactured" anything.
            Whats more, I really don't care.
            Next, J.C. Higgins won't make a pimple on M12 Winchester's butt!

            Now, if you think advising a young man to fire modern steel ammo through a questionable firearm designed for lead shot without being thoroughly checked out by a qualified gunsmith, you're dangerous!
            But you know what Mr. Know-It-All!
            I will cede to your superior intellect!

            Adam!
            Get you some high velocity steel shot and shoot that old boat anchor!
            The "HONK" had spoken and deemed your firearm SAFE!
            Best if luck sir!

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            • #7
              It is all about choke! Full choke shooting steel in that gun is a no-no! Your forcing steel that does not deform through tooooo small of hole. Phil would tell you no, and so will I.

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              • #8
                Sorry Bubba, but it seems you're the only one I have been able to find who has a complaint about the Model 20. This gun was manufactured from 1946 to 1966 and even through the 1970s as the essentially same but more dressed up Model 200. So this isn't a real old design. It was made to handle the rather hot modern magnum lead loads. Consider that the Remington 870 was introduced only three years later in 1949, and I haven't heard anyone say it's not safe to shoot steel.

                The consensus seems to be that shooting steel shot (BB or smaller) through a fixed full choke is okay in most modern well-made guns, and by all accounts this gun was very well-made. I consider anything designed and manufactured after WWII as "modern." The Higgins Model 20 is in fact reportedly one of the smoothest pumps ever produced! Looking at it I don't see an abundance of stamped metal crap like the 870 or 1200.

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                • #9
                  As usual, Honk, you've missed the point!

                  ...and I still stand by my advice!
                  Before shooting modern "steel" ammo through a shotgun that age, have it checked over by a qualified gunsmith!
                  Yes! The M20 was built by Hi Standard!
                  Yes! Hi Standard built an "ok" product!

                  BUT!!!
                  ...and I point out! YOU, Honk, have absolutely NO idea of the firearms mechanical or physical condition!
                  WITHOUT said information (data), you're suggesting shooting modern, steel ammo out of a gun, 50 or more years old, designed for lead ammo WITHOUT having it's condition at least checked, is ludicrous!

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                  • #10
                    Adam
                    Sorry about the disagreement, but I retract my previous statement.

                    Have your gun checked out by a qualified gunsmith! It'll be well worth your time should the gun have a defect only detectable by a trained eye!

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                    • #11
                      Adam, Ditto FirstBubba answer.

                      If you do shoot steel out of full choke barrel, it won't be full choke for long.

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                      • #12
                        A friend of mine has an old Higgins and has shot steel shot out with no ill effect. It is fine to shoot steel shot out of full chokes like OH said shoot BB or smaller. If you could shoot steel through a full alot of choke tube company's would be out of buisness.

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                        • #13
                          Those J.C. Higgins pumps were very sturdy (a bit chunky). I have seen two and both are going strong today. I've always heard that steel will/could/may/might bulge a tight choke barrel. I never tested that, because my mod chokes were the tightest I used for my waterfowling anyway. I know you can't go wrong throwing a shot or two on a pattern sheet.

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                          • #14
                            Ontario....you fell for a false consensus. Modern gun, or no modern gun steel should not be forced through a full choke. At best, and if you are lucky you will just lose the choke in your full choked gun. My friend used steel through his well made Browning, and ruined the gun.

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                            • #15
                              Dangle, my Browning has a factory modified choke. I did my research and also determined that Browning fixed full choke barrels are risky. Not as well-made as we thought. Their barrels are on the thin side to cut down on weight.

                              Many of the problems encountered with steel shot early on have been eliminated by changing the wad materials. Jimbo, I just dropped a dime down the barrel of my 1960s production Remington 870. It's still a full choke after fifteen years of shooting countless rounds of high velocity 3" mag BB at geese. So much for your theory. The biggest drawback to continuing using the fixed full choke with steel has been that the pattern is not that great. Too tight. That might be helpful for long distance shooting except that the density properties of steel pretty much make it ineffective for those applications.

                              Comment

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