Benelli Super Black Eagle III

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SHOT Show 2017 Beretta Shotguns

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Winchester SX4

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Laser Measuring Cast

Dear Technoid,

I may have found a new, easy and accurate way to measure stock cast.

First, apply a bit of masking tape to the top edge of the stock at the heel and mark the longitudinal center of the stock on the tape with a fine-line felt marker. Next, rest the gun on a table with the trigger-guard hanging over the edge of the table. Now, hold a laser pointer at the front bead and direct the beam so that it “rakes” along the center of the rib. When the beam is visible near the mark on the masking tape, the cast can be read with a ruler.


Dear Readers,

The above is a great example of why gun readers are smarter than gun writers. I have spent some time with a stock maker’s measuring stick, but find Dave’s “new tech” approach to be refreshingly simple.Normally, to measure cast I have to pad the gun in a vice and use a specially constructed tool or fool around with a straight edge and square. The laser is quick and easy to use for casual measurement, though there will have to be some tinkering to get cast at toe. The little laser pointers are available everywhere and are quite inexpensive. The knife catalogues all carry them if you can’t find them at the corner stationary store.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid at <>
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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Shortening Barrels

Dear Mr. Buck,

I have a grade 1, 1951 Superposed, with 30 inch barrel, choked F and IM. It is the best fitting gun I have ever held, But I have little use for a 30 inch full choke. I am considering having the barrel shortened to 28 inches and having it rechoked to IC and M or having tubes put in. Most of my shooting is skeet and upland bird hunting.The gun has been refinished, so I probably would not be ruining its value by further modification.

Please let me know your thoughts on the wisdom of modifications on this gun, costs, possible gunsmiths, and recommendations re choke tubes versus regular choke.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated thoughtful and wise response.


Dear D,

Briley Manufacturing, <>, can both shorten and screw choke the barrel. I am sure that there are others who could also do it, but I have had good luck with Briley in the past.

Watch out when shortening barrels. I have done it to a number of guns, including an FN B25, and have always regretted it. I kills the value of the gun and often causes problems with the barrel convergence. It never seems to look quite right either.

You might instead consider lightening the barrels by backboring. A backbore from the present more or less .725″ bores to a standard backbore of .735″ will pull out 2.75 ounces from those barrels. That will make the gun about as fast as it would be as a 28″, but with a little silkier feel. Many skeet shooters shoot 30″ tubes today. Even a 26″ gas gun is the equivalent of a 29-1/2″ O/U in length because of the added length of the auto’s receiver. Briley may or may not be able to screw choke after backboring. It depends on how much steel your particular barrel has. If they can’t backbore, they can still leave you with just about any solid choke that you want.

Still, it is your gun. Do as you wish. I certainly screwed up enough of them when they were cheap. I wish I had them back in original condition. Live and learn.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid at <>
(Often in error, never in doubt.)

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The Technoid Has A Crush…

Some time ago I evaluated an experimental shot crusher from Stuart Crane at Clay Shooting Magazine in the UK. The crusher is basically a heavy steel dowel centered in a guide tube over a steel plate. The dowel is raised to a witness mark, a pellet is placed underneath the point of impact, and the dowel is released to fall 3″ and impact on the pellet. The motive power is pure gravity. The crusher is built of heavy steel and will last a millennium or two. The crusher was thoughtfully accompanied by a .0001″ digital micrometer.

Use of the device was simplicity itself (just as well). The micrometer is first used to measure the original diameter of the pellet. The pellet is then crushed and a new measurement taken on the “flats” of the crushed pellet. The “after” measurement is divided by the “before” measurement and subtracted from 1 to produce a percentage “crush” value. This level of mathematics is basic enough even for the Technoid to deal with.

In actual use, things were not quite as easy as they looked. Most shotgun pellets are not round, so two or three initial measurements and some averaging were required for most pellets before crushing. Measuring the flats after was easy. Due to the initial lack of roundness, the results are approximate, but probably pretty good anyway.

Here is what the surgically clean test laboratories produced on their first test batch. Seven examples of each pellet were tested. A lower percentage means less crush distortion and thus a harder pellet.
#8 Lawrence Magnum bagged shot 26%
#8 Remington Gun Club factory 30%
#8 Federal Xtra-Lite factory 31%
#8 Peruvian Magnum bagged shot 35%
#8 Victory 480 factory 41%

#7.5 Lawrence Magnum bagged shot 25%
#7.5 Remington STS factory 27%
#7.5 Victory 480 factory 30%
#7.5 Peruvian Magnum bagged shot 34%

What does this all prove? Not much yet. Cursory pattern tests have shown that the #7.5 Remington STS and Victory 480s pattern just about exactly the same (and very nicely, thank you), while reloads using the #7.5 Peruvian Magnum bagged shot had noticeably inferior patterns containing an average of 12% fewer pellet strikes. The crush tests of the #7.5s indicate that the Victory’s are in between the STS and Peruvian loads in hardness, but pattern quality does not reflect this. The Victorys produce excellent patterns, right in there with the benchmark STS shells. Perhaps Victory’s use of a superior powder or a clever wad design makes up for the difference in shot softness. Obviously, more experiments are in order, especially with the #8 sizes. Anyone want to volunteer to conduct some more tests? I thought so. Then you will just have to wait.

Bruce Buck
The Technoid

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Remington Wingmaster Supermag vs. Mossberg 835 UltraMag


I am considering the purchase of a 3.5 inch pump shotgun. I have been trying to find review information on the above 2 guns without any success. I have the manufacturers catalogs. I am looking for some objective comments, or information. Any information you could provide would be helpful.


In the spirit of the Securities Act of 1933 for full disclosure of all material facts, I have not owned either or handled either the Remington Wingmaster Supermag or the Mossberg 835 UltraMag extensively. Having established my high level of ignorance, I still have an opinion.

I don’t think you will go wrong with either one. The basic design of a pump action shotgun is relatively simple and robust. The likelihood of you wearing either of the guns out is small. You will probably wear out your shoulder and back before anything breaks on one of these guns.

The advantage of the Remington is that it has been around forever. No, not forever, but a very long time. Parts and accessories are abundant. The design is has not significantly changed since its introduction in 1950. That in itself it testament to solid design and manufacturing. The Mossberg has also been around a long time, though I don’t think it is as long in the tooth as the Remington. I’m not really sure about parts and accessories. Also a solid design.

Both these things are anvil tough. Maybe more like hammer tough. When was the last time you broke a hammer?

Selection between the two will be more on the subjective elements such as looks and feel and quite possibly price. Always remember the cost of a shotgun is a small fraction of total shotgun ownership cost when ammunition and targets are factored in.

The recoil from either gun is (ahem) stout when shooting heavy target loads, and can be expected to clear your sinuses (sneeze, cough) if you are shooting 3.5 inch shells. Shooting overhead shots as one would do at waterfowl magnifies the felt recoil as your body doesn’t move as much when shooting horizontally.

Good luck in your eventual choice. When I have used pump guns I really enjoyed the action. There is a rhythm to using a pump gun that is very pleasing. For many in the heat of a hunt, the second shot from a pump gun tends to be more accurate than the second shot from a semi-auto because working the action on a pump tends to bring the muzzle back down.

Roland Leong, Managing Editor
Shotgun Report, LLC

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