Old 16 gauge double barrel

Discussion in 'Turkey Hunting' started by a__l__a__n, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. a__l__a__n

    a__l__a__n New Member

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    I have a Nitro Special 16 gauge double barrel shotgun I inherited from my father. I carried it when deer hunting with him back in the day. Now I'm wondering whether it would be appropriate for turkeys, and what ammo I should use.

    One barrel is marked #2 and one is #4 - corresponding to modified choke and full choke, respectively.

    I know people recommend a "turkey choke" for turkeys (imagine that) but I also am pretty sure my dad and maybe even my grandfather took turkeys with this gun.

    I've heard about the Hevi-Shot Classic Doubles line of ammo. But that stuff is expensive! I also know about Flight Control and Versatite lines of ammo which reportedly give significantly tighter patterns but haven't seen them in 16 gauge (and maybe those designs don't perform well from the chokes I have).

    As a last option, I have a defense-oriented 12 gauge cylinder bore shotgun which might be appropriate with a Flight control style load, if I can find one in #4 shot or etc.

    What do you experts think?
    Thanks!
    Alan
     
  2. Gator

    Gator Member

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    If you can find some #4 shot and get the bird inside 40 yards, you should be good too go. Get the bird inside 35 yards and it is even better.

    Many a gobbler has been taken with a full choke.

    Screw in, extended, extra full chokes have only been around for the past 20 years or so. Turkey have been harvested with shotguns for a century or so.
     

  3. dogsbreath

    dogsbreath Member

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    Hey Alan, that's not a Damascus barrel is it? They make nice wall hangers, but you might not want to shoot it. If not, have at it, and enjoy. As to which choke, one is an improvement over another. It is not a go/no go thing. Take out some big cardboard and patter your gun with your shot load and see what ranges it hits a tight enough pattern in.
    Happy hunting,
    DB
     
  4. a__l__a__n

    a__l__a__n New Member

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    No idea about whether it is a Damascus barrel. I know my Dad shot standard 1960's vintage #1 buckshot in it, 2 3/4" shells. I've read elsewhere that these guns might be chambered at 2 9/16" though that was disputed by others, but I didn't find any shells in 2 9/16" in my Dad's inventory. I guess a trip to the gunsmith is in order...
     
  5. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker New Member

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    gunsmith trip

    Yes, I'd take that gun to a gunsmith and find out what it's made of and how safe it is for modern loads. There was a short time period when Damascus steel barrels were still being made while black powder was being phased-out and replaced with "nitro" (smokeless) powder, but even if your gun was made for smokeless powder cartridges, and if it's in great mechanical shape, I'd avoid putting a heavy load in there. All the "turkey" or "waterfowl" loads I know of are high-brass hard-kicking shells. Not the kind of ammo like you'd use for busting clays, or bagging rabbits or quail or squirrels.

    If you decide to shoot it, aside from my suggestion that you follow the gunsmith's recommendations on ammo choices, I also suggest you pattern it. I'm thinking that you will want to be pretty close, like 25 yards, to bag a turkey. Even though a modern "turkey choked" turkey gun with special 3" or 3.5" magnum shells might kill turkeys dead at 50 yards. Using an old general-purpose shotgun instead of a specialized gobbler-slayer has some advantages and some disadvantages.

    P.S. You might want to have the thing appraised, too. A 100-year old Damascus-barreled shotgun might be worth $1000 - $3000, and you should know this before you decide to risk damaging the gun with modern turkey loads or just damaging it in the field through the rigors and tribulations of hunting.
     
  6. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker New Member

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    Ithica?

    I see from the CHUCKHAWKS .com website that at least one shotgun called a "Nitro Special" is in fact a modern (1920s-1940s) gun, suitable for standard factory ammo if the gun is in good shape.


    QUOTE:


    Ithaca acquired the Lefever Arms Company and in 1921 capitalized on the Lefever name by introducing the Nitro Special, a gun that was basically the forerunner of the famous Ithaca N.I.D. design. The Nitro Special action was entirely designed by Ithaca and bore no resemblance to any earlier Dan Lefever design. The original price of a Nitro Special was $27.50. The Nitro Special, along with all Ithaca doubles, was discontinued in 1948.

    This was an economical field grade gun intended to compete in the marketplace at a price point below that of the Ithaca brand guns. ... the Lefever Nitro Special was only sold as a basic gun with a color case hardened receiver.

    The reliable action is kept closed by a rib extension and top bolt and is powered by coil springs. Double triggers (although a single trigger could be had at extra cost) and plain extractors were standard fare... the 16 and 20 gauge guns only came with 28 inch barrels. Chokes were Modified/Full or Cylinder/Modified. ...

    The Nitro Special came with a standard grade, American black walnut stock built to standard dimensions and a black Bakelite butt plate. A rather limited three panel checkering pattern was scratched into the underside of the forend and both sides of the pistol grip. The buttstock was attached by a drawbolt, making the wrist stronger than most double guns, in which the buttstock is attached by tang screws. The splinter forend was secured by spring tension, not a mechanical latch. ...

    Although a plain field gun, the Nitro Special was built of good quality materials and designed for use with modern ammunition. Many remain in service to this day. They are tough, well made and reliable guns. ...
     
  7. a__l__a__n

    a__l__a__n New Member

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    That is what I have. The serial number dates to 1924.

    Sent from my GT-I8190 using Tapatalk
     
  8. howl

    howl New Member

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    Heaviest load of lead 6s or 7.5s you can find and keep the shot inside 30 yards. The HD gun needs a barrel with a modified or full choke to bother with the FliteControl style wad.