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The sixteen ga model 700's were the rarest of the 700 model guns. If you have one originally chambered for 20ga and it patterns well I think you may have a very good and super rare gun. I would not bother with a reproof since the gun in in America and the chamber sleeve was likely done here...Geo

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I have had two, both hammer guns (my favs).
Still have one, works very well as a "overbored 20"
Fiber wads might be less effective, but with plastic wads there is no difference to my real 20ga.

For added info:
I did the sleeves on my two guns.
No material was taken out of the 16 chambers, so I have zero concern.

Last edited by DmColonial; 05/13/22 12:04 PM.

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I chamber sleeved a 16 sterlingworth from 16 to 20. Two paper shells left in the chambers for 50 years had altered them to Swiss cheese. On a whim I put a couple 16/20 chamber adapters in it and shot a couple patterns. They were great. So I had the chambers reamed out and a set of custom made chamber adapters installed along with a reworked extractor for a 20 gauge. One of my kids still has it in his gun case. It worked well for pass shooting dove, Sporting Clays and crows of opportunity.

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I had a smith chamber sleeve a 24ga to 28. My favorite quail gun.

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On close inspection with a magnifier I can see that the chamber has been sleeved. There is no obvious seam but I can see a slight difference in the direction of the tooling marks between the outside of the barrel and a concentric ring on the inner side. The ejectors also have been reamed out and metal added so they are concentric with the rest of the chamber and there is a slight seam there.. It looks like a very professional job but it worries me that the gun is not in proof.

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If you’re going to keep the gun you may rest assured that pressures will be well below those published for 20 gauge. We don’t have proof houses in the US so don’t worry about that.


It ain't whether you hit a bird that matters, it's the fun you have even if you don't.
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On close inspection with a magnifier I can see that the chamber has been sleeved. Obviously, I now know, but I didn't know chamber sleeving could be done. There is no obvious seam but I can see a slight difference in the direction of the tooling marks between the outside of the barrel and a concentric ring on the inner side. The ejectors also have been milled out and metal added so they are even with the rest of the chamber and there is a slight seam there.. It looks like a very professional job but it worries me that the gun is not in proof.

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Not in Proof by U.K. standards possibly but it has not had the strength compromised but I would in no way put 3" cartridges through it as the pressure would be an issue then. A 16 bore can be between .661 and .681 and still be marked as a 16 bore. The Bore is on the tighter side of the 16 bore barrel. I'd consider having it put back as a 16 bore and using it as such. Lagopus.....

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Aside from possible pressure issues with 3” cartridges , as it weighs “just 6 pounds” you should regard a 1 ounce load as the maximum for recoil management and will find it more comfortable and possibly more effective with 3/4 and 7/8 ounce loads.

It may be worth patterning it with both plastic and fibre wads to see which it likes best.

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Originally Posted by Michael in NH
On close inspection with a magnifier I can see that the chamber has been sleeved. There is no obvious seam but I can see a slight difference in the direction of the tooling marks between the outside of the barrel and a concentric ring on the inner side. The ejectors also have been reamed out and metal added so they are concentric with the rest of the chamber and there is a slight seam there.. It looks like a very professional job but it worries me that the gun is not in proof.

Michael;

Your concern that the gun has not been re-proofed is prudent. If the gun was chamber sleeved by someone like Kirk Merrington, then one can assume with some reason that the chamber sleeve boring away of the original chamber was carried out in a workmanlike manner, and maybe it will stand up to pressures you submit the gun while firing it. If it was not Kirk or another of his caliber, then your worry continues as you cannot "see" how much of the barrel bore might have been cut away beyond the distance that it is safe to do.

What does the original seller to you say about this conundrum?

We do not have proof houses in the USA, and accordingly shotgun and rifle manufactures here use their own proof loads in their factory. I wish we had a USA proof house, but I suspect the lawyers do not.

With the last double rifle I built which had a service pressure of 38,000 psi I loaded heavy loads of 54,000 psi and shot two of these loads in each barrel (while I was behind a protective barrier). Even that does not make the rifle I built absolutely incapable of blowing the barrel, but it gave peace of mind somewhat.

Last edited by bushveld; 05/13/22 05:04 PM.
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