Bulging of a Shotgun Barrel Caused by a Change from Lead Shot to Iron Shot
A shotgun barrel fabricated from 1138 steel deformed when test firing alternative nontoxic ammunition. The test shells contained soft iron shot, which at 72 HB, is much harder than traditional lead shot (typically 30 to 40 HB). An investigation based on ID and OD profiling supported the conclusion that the iron shot increased stresses in the choke zone of the barrel, causing it to deform. Variations in the amount of bulging were attributed to a lack of uniformity in wall thickness. Recommendations included making the barrel from steel with a higher yield strength, making the barrel walls thicker and more uniform, and/or developing an alternative nontoxic metal shot with a hardness in the range of 30 to 40 HB.