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Many reasons. Construction methods and materials have changed over the years, so the metal used in the older guns may not be able to handle the pressure of modern ammunition. Also, a gun is nothing more than a machine and machines wear out over time and use. Headspace may be excessive, hinge pins and barrel latches may be worn, so on and so forth. It is only prudent to have any older firearm checked for safety before shooting. Unless, of course, you prefer writing by sticking the pen in your mouth. In addition to the differences in black powder, early smokeless 'nitro', and modern smokeless powder, the length of the shells has increased. In the early 20th century most shotguns were chambered for shells 2 9/16 inches or 60 mm long. It is still possible to purchase these in Europe, but no US companies make them today. By the middle of the century, the standard was 2 3/4 inches and today you will find only 3 inch shells in many stores. The longer shells will go into most shotguns designed for shorter ones but will not be able to fully open when fired. This can cause the pressure to reach as much as twice the intended maximum.

2006-07-31 05:25:34
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