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#561800 - 01/02/20 04:45 PM Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels
Drew Hause Offline
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Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 8044
Loc: AZ but dreaming of KS
Have been working on barrel steel composition for a long time, and thought I'd post the information I have so far. Other opinions are of course valued.

Winchester Standard Ordnance Steel used on the Repeating Shotgun Model of 1893 and (initially) the Model of 1897 was very likely “cold rolled” Bessemer/Decarbonized steel with an ultimate tensile strength of about 60,000 and yield strength of about 40,000.

1902 "rolled steel barrel"



1909 Sporting Life Winchester 1897 ad with "Winchester Rolled Steel"



Winchester Nickel Steel was introduced for the Model 1894 rifle about 1896; with a reported ultimate tensile strength of 100,000 - 107,000 psi with an elastic limit of 81,000 psi.
Ordnance steel was initially used on the Model 12, then Nickel Steel until 1926 when it was discontinued, reportedly for corrosion and barrel failures, and was replaced by an unknown composition “Winchester Stainless Steel” with a “Japanned” (black lacquer) finish. - ?Krupp Chrome Nickel?

Winchester “Gun Barrel Nickel Steel” for rifles was surely different that the nickel steel used in shotguns
“Report of Heat Treatment of Barrel Steel Rolling”, 1902
http://books.google.com/books?id=YzhUAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA181&lpg
From Bethlehem Steel Co.
Carbon - .50%
Manganese - .77%
Phosphorus - .026%
Sulphur - .037%
Nickel - 4.0%
Chromium <.01%
Molybdenum <.01%
Tensile Strength - 107,000 psi

Midvale Steel Company c.1900 Nickel Steel
Carbon - .59%
Manganese - .765%
Phosphorus - .027%
Sulphur - .03%
Nickel - 1.57%
Chromium - .065%

I have found no composition report for shotgun barrel Winchester Nickel Steel, but it was likely AISI 2330 with a nickel content of 3.25-3.75%, carbon content of about .30%, and ultimate tensile strength of about 110,000 psi.
AISI 2317 has a carbon content of about .20% with a tensile strength of only about 60,000 psi.

Winchester Proof Steel (AISI 4140 or possibly AISI 4340) was introduced in 1931 for the Model 21 and in 1932 for the Model 12; with a reported ultimate tensile strength of 115,000 - 120,000 psi and an elastic limit of 105,000 psi.

Edwin Pugsley in a letter to F.W. Olin April 11, 1932 stated:
Both (Model 21) frames were heat treated, then one was case hardened and the other blued. The case hardened frame had a tensile strength of 94,200 psi, an elastic limit of 85,400 psi, and elongation of 2%. The blued frame had a tensile strength of 174,600 psi, an elastic limit of 160,950 psi, (and) an elongation of 12%.

An undated document, presumed to be from the 1930s in The Winchester Model 52: Perfection in Design by Herb Houze on p. 92 states that barrels used in Winchester rifles and shotguns have a tensile strength of 129,150 psi and elastic limit of 112,500 psi, but there was no mention of the steel composition.

Winchester catalogs in the 70s state Proof Steel was “cold forged Chrome Molybdenum”.

Winchester's Finest The Model 21 by Ned Schwing states Chrome Molybdenum alloy.

Other sources state “nickel-chrome-moly alloy steel”.

Summary of “cold rolled” barrel steel tensile strengths.
All can be heat treated for different applications (rifle receivers) to much higher strength, and yield strength matters also.
AISI 1005: 40,000 psi
Twist and Crolle Damascus: about 55,000 psi
Winchester Standard Ordnance and other "cold rolled" Bessemer/Decarbonized steels and AISI 1020: 60,000 psi
c. 1900 “Fluid Steel” (Siemens-Martin & Krupp Open Hearth Steel AISI 1021-1034): 75,000 – 85,000 psi
AISI 1140: 85,000
Krupp Fluss Stahl (Homogeneous Fluid Steel) was introduced about 1890 and by reported composition was similar to AISI 1045: 85,000 psi.
AISI 1040 (and modified), Bohler “Blitz”, 4140 Chrome Moly (not used until after 1930s): 95,000 – 100,000 psi
Winchester Nickel Steel and Marlin “Special Smokeless Steel”: 100,000 – 105,000 psi

When discussing the use of Nickel or Proof Steel with steel loads, it is helpful to compare the hardness of the historic and modern shotgun barrel steels:

Rockwell B Hardness…..Brinell Hardness
(All numbers for non-heat treated cold rolled steel)
Grey Cast Iron – 63……………100
Wrought Iron – 65……………..105
AISI 1012…………….…..……...105 (likely similar to damascus barrels)
AISI 1020 – 68……..…………...121 (the usual pre-WWI barrel)
AISI 1030 – 80………..………...149 (commonly found post-WWI +/- low alloy)
AISI 8620 Ni/Cr/Mo – 80…..149 (used for modern doubles' frames)
AISI 2330 Ni – 86…..….……….167 (Ni = 3.25-3.75%; C = .28-.33%)
AISI 2340 Ni – 92…..….……….194 (C= .38-.43%)
AISI 1040 – 93………...……….. 197
AISI 4140 Cr/Mo – 93…….....197
AISI 4340 Cr/Mo/Ni – 96…...217

Steel shot is about 95 Vickers DPH = 52 Rockwell B = 85.5 Brinell. Hevi-shot is harder. 5% antimony lead is only 9.5 Brinell; 3% 7.76. NICE shot about 15 Brinell.

Current manufacturers do not reveal the composition of their steel load compatible barrels. The Beretta website states that “Steelium/Excelsior HSA Steel (is) proprietary tri-ally steel (Ni/CR/MO)”

Carlson's is willing to disclose the composition of their Benelli Nova and Remington 870 replacement barrels and they are AISI 4140. Their barrels in the past were made by Verney-Carron SA, but the website does not now state the maker.

When the Benelli M1 Super 90 was introduced the barrels were advertised as 4140.

SO barrel steel composition is only one factor is steel shot compatibility; the others being the design and engineering (wall thickness, profile, and esp. choke constriction), fabrication, and proof testing thereof; and the modern thick plastic wads.
Despite the anecdotal testimonies, I have found no statement that Winchester Nickel Steel may safely be used with steel loads.

With the appropriate choke constriction, it would seem reasonable that 4340 Winchester Proof Steel CAN be used with steel loads.

Possibly we could skip the "steel sucks" verbiage - that's not the topic of the thread.



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#561804 - 01/02/20 06:37 PM Re: Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels [Re: Drew Hause]
Run With The Fox Offline
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Registered: 05/16/08
Posts: 7135
Loc: Michigan
FWIW- Drewbie- I have been shooting steel shot in the 2 older M12's I have been shooting for over 40 years, to wit: (1) M12 12 gauge Tournament grade 30" solid rib barrel, full choke, WPS- mfg. 1937- (2) M12 Heavy Duck 12 3" Mag ( I usually shoot 2&3/4" Federal or Kent steel in this M12 heavy-weight-30" full solid rib mfg. 1949-- No signs of any bulging at the muzzles of either of these "Perfect Repeaters" plus thousands of light 1&1/8 oz. AA Trap loads in these M12's in the off seasons for crows, pigeons, etc. Given proper care, I seriously doubt you could ever "wear out" a M12-- The late Ernest Hemingway apparently thought otherwise, in his last years he sold his 1928 mfg. 30" full solid rib field grade M12--I'd love to have it just as it was when he decided to sell it- big mistake, IMO.. But at least he didn't kill himself with that shotgun, he used a 12 bore double gun..
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#561825 - 01/03/20 08:23 AM Re: Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels [Re: Drew Hause]
Drew Hause Offline
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Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 8044
Loc: AZ but dreaming of KS
With all the Winchester and Model 12 research, it is odd that there is still confusion (on the internet anyway) regarding the use of nickel steel for only the M12 barrels.

This is the first Model 12 ad I could find in Sporting Life; August 23, 1912 "nickel steel for all its metal parts."



October 19, 1912 ad similar - "all metal parts throughout being made of nickel steel"
https://digital.la84.org/digital/collection/p17103coll17/id/25620/rec/483
The same ad was in the Oct. 19 Forest & Stream, and was the first Model 12 ad I found
https://books.google.com/books?id=nUkcAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA503&vq

November 8, 1913 16g "nickel steel construction throughout" and "twice as much tensile strength as ordinary steel"
That would fit AISI 2330



January 31, 1914 12g



Possibly Researcher has an early Model 12 listing Ordnance Steel barrels, but all the ads in Sporting Life list nickel steel

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#561827 - 01/03/20 09:08 AM Re: Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels [Re: Drew Hause]
Drew Hause Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 8044
Loc: AZ but dreaming of KS
So if someone would like to send me a chunk of Winchester Nickel or Proof Steel I'll run the sample over to METL wink
It only takes 1" for composition analysis; 3" for tensile testing.

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#561829 - 01/03/20 10:07 AM Re: Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels [Re: Drew Hause]
L. Brown Offline
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Registered: 01/01/02
Posts: 10826
Loc: Iowa
I owned a Remington 1889 hammergun that had decarbonized steel barrels.

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#561953 - 01/04/20 08:13 PM Re: Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels [Re: Drew Hause]
2-piper Offline
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Registered: 12/31/01
Posts: 12743
Loc: Lynchburg TN
I believe that Nickel Steel barrels appeared on the 1894 Winchester in 1895 with the .30WCF chambering & also the .25-35 before the year was out. Winchester introduced the 1894 initially only in .38-55 & .32-40 because they had to wait on suitable barrel steel for the Smokeless .30WCF (AKA .30-30)
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I Didn't Say Everything I Said, Yogi Berra

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#562070 - 01/06/20 01:51 PM Re: Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels [Re: Drew Hause]
Drew Hause Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 8044
Loc: AZ but dreaming of KS
1928 Pigeon trap with stainless steel barrel
https://www.gunsinternational.com/guns-f...un_id=100715897

In the 1920s, stainless steel was referred to as “18/8” to indicate the percentage of chromium and nickel; now referred to as Type 304 and with a maximum of .08% carbon. Still no data about the Winchester stainless.
The industrial standard ultimate tensile strength is 73,200 psi/yield 31,200 psi. Rockwell B hardness is 70/ Brinell 123.

Lots of images of M12s with stainless barrels, but I have yet to find an early M12 with Standard Ordnance Steel

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#562080 - 01/06/20 03:43 PM Re: Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels [Re: Drew Hause]
2-piper Offline
Sidelock
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Registered: 12/31/01
Posts: 12743
Loc: Lynchburg TN
You can touch a magnet to it & if it sticks it's not a 300 series stainless. Most stainless used in the manufacture of firearms has traditionally been a 400 series, which are magnetic.

Some 300 series stainless is notorious for "Work-
Hardening" but are not typically Heat-Treatable as such & would be an extremely poor choice for a barrel in my opinion. If you let a drill bit make a couple of revolutions without cutting, as in stopping to clear chips, it likely will not begin cutting again when you go back. Yep, I've cut hundreds of pounds of the stuff, wore that T-Shirt.

I believe the Winchester Nickel Steel was simply an alloy steel, not classified as a Stainless, but do not know its exact annalysis.
_________________________
Miller/TN
I Didn't Say Everything I Said, Yogi Berra

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#562297 - 01/09/20 01:20 PM Re: Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels [Re: Drew Hause]
Drew Hause Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 8044
Loc: AZ but dreaming of KS
The plot thickens. No idea as to the source of Bro. Landis' information

Twenty-Two Caliber Varmint Rifles by Charles Landis
https://books.google.com/books?id=GUd9CgAAQBAJ&pg=PT394&lpg
The original Winchester Model 21 double barrel shotguns of 12 gauge were made with frames and barrels of 3% nickel steel. Those 3% nickel steel Winchesters were very good, remarkable strong...but wore out machine tools. So along came Winchester Proof Steel, which was just as tough and probably as strong but not as hard...

He is mistaken regarding the hardness of Chrome Moly steel.

AISI 2330 Nickel is 3.25-3.75% with .30% carbon

A post by Mike Hunter in 2015
https://winchestercollector.org/forum/general-discussions-questions/receiver-steel/
Winchester’s Nickle Steel had 3 1/2 % nickel and .30%-.40% carbon. I know that Winchester sourced this steel from the Midvale and Crucible Steel Companies.
He states that Proof Steel was 4140.

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#562298 - 01/09/20 01:29 PM Re: Winchester Shotgun Barrel Steels [Re: Drew Hause]
Drew Hause Offline
Sidelock
***

Registered: 01/18/06
Posts: 8044
Loc: AZ but dreaming of KS
So in summary:
Winchester Standard Ordnance Steel was “cold rolled” Decarbonized steel.
Winchester (shotgun barrel) Nickel Steel was likely AISI 2330. It is possibly that the Model 12s internal components were a higher carbon nickel steel.
Winchester Stainless Steel was probably Type 304 “18/8”
Winchester Proof Steel was likely AISI 4140

Send me a chunk of any of the above, and we'll know for sure wink

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