What shot shells for a 1940s Iver Johnson?

Discussion in 'Technical Questions & Information' started by 9 fingers, Aug 3, 2009.

  1. 9 fingers

    9 fingers New Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    Northwest NJ
    Hi, just bought an early 1940's Iver Johnson 16 gauge and have some questions about what shells are safe for this gun. Are rifled slugs OK?
    Are all the modern target or game loads ok for a gun of this age. The bore is perfect on this one and I don't want to damage it. Since 16 gauge is uncommon I have found ammo by Rio at Natchez and of course a little here and there by Federal and the other common brands. Is the Rio stuff OK? It is pretty inexpensive which suits me fine.
    9 fingers
  2. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Can't speak for the Iver Johnson, but I believe that you will have to stick to the low brass/low base field/pheasant loads in a gun this old. The modern high brass/base loads just might be to much for an older gun. I'm sure someone with more knowledge than I on this one will show up soon, and get it all straightened out. My suggestion is to take it to a compentent gunsmith and ask him/her.

  3. 9 fingers

    9 fingers New Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    Northwest NJ
    Thanks Carver. I am new to shotguns, or at least very out of touch as I have not shot my Franchi 12 Ga in 26 years (soon to be rectified). In general, are kind of low velocity lead loads then OK to use? I do not know what you mean by "low base".
    Rio makes a sort of soft recoil load that I thought might work. But I will ask my gunsmith as he found a 410 Topper for me to add to the collection. Are rifled slugs OK in guns from this era?
    Thanks, 9
  4. The Rebel

    The Rebel New Member

    Check Classic Shotshells Co's Shotgun Shells in Friendsville, Pennsylvania...

    I got some 12 Gauge & 16 Gauge "Low Brass" "Light Loads" for my "Older Shotguns." Mine are not 2 3/4" chambered and these are 2 1/2" shells.
    One is a Husqvarna 12 Gauge Double BBL circa 1926 - 2 1/2" chambered. I feel those will work good and be safe. They were $100.00 for 250 12 Gauge shells & $105.00 for 250 16 Gauge.
  5. The Rebel

    The Rebel New Member

    Also, Classic Shotshell Co's phone is:

  6. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    First, find out what size the chamber is. If it is not marked on the gun (2 1/2", 2 3/4", etc), find a gunsmith with chamber gauges.

    You cannot tell by using a loaded shell. Shotshells are measured after they are fired. A loaded 2 3/4" shell is 2 1/2" long. It will fit in a 2 1/2", 2 5/8" or 2 9/16" chamber. Shooting it in one would be bad.

    I don't think "high brass" shells would hurt it, as long as the chamber was long enough. It's not like you are talking about damascus proofed for black powder. They knew how to make steel in the 40s.
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009
  7. RJay

    RJay Well-Known Member

    Feb 22, 2004
    Goodyear, Arizona
    Alpo, of course is correct, the steel in 1940 was more than adequate. Good grief guys, that was only 70 years ago, they were even using steel on the tips of their arrows and spears when they went Mastodon hunting :)
  8. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    My newest 16Ga is a 1926 Browning pattern. I shoot modern LEAD shells in it. The only reason I reload is because the Model 12 won't eject the plastic hulls reliably (2 3/4" chamber, ejection port cut for paper shells.)

    Make sure you use only LEAD shot in it. Steel shot will ruin it very quickly.

  9. 9 fingers

    9 fingers New Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    Northwest NJ
    OK, so it seems as long as I stick with the less expensive, standard lead rounds from Federal or Rio I will be fine. This suits me fine as I don't really want to pay $16 a box anyway. I am guessing that 10 or 20 rifled lead slugs a year will be no problem also?
  10. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    Forster slugs should not be a problem. They are the ones that caused "rifled slugs" to be called rifled. They look like they have rifling ridges on them. The purpose of the ridges is to swage down when the slug goes though a tight choke. They don't impart any spin. The slug flies straight for the same reason a badminton bird does - it is nose-heavy. You did not specify, but I'm guessing it's a single-shot, and they are usually full choke. I wouldn't shoot any sabot slugs though it, if it was mine.
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