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I recently blew out the end of my shotgun barrel shooting some old shells that may have gotten wet. My first shot sounded strange and I missed and my follow-up second shot "Elmer Fudded" the end of my barrel. The gunsmith said the wad from the first shot probably stuck in the choke because of wet powder didn't burn well and the second shot peeled back the end of the barrel. I guess I am lucky I didn't get hurt. If the sound and recoil are strange don't shoot again until inspecting your barrel for obstruction.
 

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Steel can get moisture inside the shell, causing the pellets to rust unto a solid "slug". The pellets can't move going through the choke, and without that movement to allow the shot load to compress slightly, the barrel is expanded outwards instead. As you found out. I have no trouble shooting 30 year old steel shells that have been stored dry the entire time.
 

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Did that once duck hunting. Had a dud that went "THUD" instead of "BOOM!" Had heard of this happening, so didn't shoot a follow up. Still had the wad stuck ~2/3 down the barrel. Glad I listened to myself...

-jokester
 
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I recently blew out the end of my shotgun barrel shooting some old shells that may have gotten wet. My first shot sounded strange and I missed and my follow-up second shot "Elmer Fudded" the end of my barrel. The gunsmith said the wad from the first shot probably stuck in the choke because of wet powder didn't burn well and the second shot peeled back the end of the barrel. I guess I am lucky I didn't get hurt. If the sound and recoil are strange don't shoot again until inspecting your barrel for obstruction.
You aren't alone...I did this last year on my first hunt of the season...Greenhead made me not think haha. I throw away any shells nowadays that show slight rust on the neck or if I know they have been in a "wet" environment for too long.

My new Berretta A400's first and last hunt...still at the gunsmith...as of this month it's been a year since I dropped it off.
 

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Shooting reloads during my clay target days it wasnt uncommon to have a shell or two that didnt get powder in them.

They would almost always leave the wad in the barrel.

If you cant find a stick or something to clear the wad you can use your knife and cut a shell just ahead of the brass. That removed the powder and everything else leaving a live primer in the brass. Drop the brass into the breach, point in a safe direction and fire the primer. The wad should clear. Always check before resuming shooting.
 

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It's a hard lesson to learn - I blew my barrel out years ago, after stumbling and falling down, while running in a standing corn field row chasing a run away rooster. Tripped and didn't' realize the barrel end had scooped up a little soil. Bulged and cracked the barrel end of my Winchester 1500.
 

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Had a cousin do that with an 870, had the wad stick in the barrel then shot the next round and mushroomed the end. How it didn't kill one of us is a miracle! Gun shop on Woodstock wanted the old barrel.
 

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Shooting reloads during my clay target days it wasnt uncommon to have a shell or two that didnt get powder in them.

They would almost always leave the wad in the barrel.

If you cant find a stick or something to clear the wad you can use your knife and cut a shell just ahead of the brass. That removed the powder and everything else leaving a live primer in the brass. Drop the brass into the breach, point in a safe direction and fire the primer. The wad should clear. Always check before resuming shooting.
Waaaay back when we loaded a bunch of Fed hulls with Winchester wads and ball powder. The powder would migrate past the sealing section of the wad and fill the cushioning section, resulting in a "poof" and a stuck wad. There are rarely any sticks in chukar country, so we would carry a few cut-off bases with live primers, sealed with wax, just to push out stuck wads. Memories!
 

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Waaaay back when we loaded a bunch of Fed hulls with Winchester wads and ball powder. The powder would migrate past the sealing section of the wad and fill the cushioning section, resulting in a "poof" and a stuck wad. There are rarely any sticks in chukar country, so we would carry a few cut-off bases with live primers, sealed with wax, just to push out stuck wads. Memories!
I carried a cleaning rod while chukar hunting before I figured out this is enough! Lots to learn loading shells in my late teens with an old mec junior loader.
 

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You can cut them open and dump the shot and powder. I've done that on the occasional cartridge that did not go boom. If I had a bunch to dispose of, I'd figure out a safe way to dispose of the powder (probably burn it off) and there are plenty of guys here that might take the lead shot.
 
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