Marlin model 90 16gauge - The Outdoor Community
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Marlin model 90 16gauge

Hopefully somebody can help since marlin was no help at all. I have a marlin model 90 16 gauge over under that is choked modified and improved modified. My question is does anybody know is it safe to shoot steel shot out of it.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-29-2017, 12:45 AM
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Did a little research on the Model 90. Seems to be made 70 years ago or some where in that area. As for price they are all over the place running from a couple hundred to five plus depending on condition. If it were me I would stop at a gun smith and have them check it out. Since we are talking 16 gauge if you don't reload shot size is limited to 2 or 4 from Federal. But the speed is dismal. Limiting your shooting range. If you reload, BPS has a nice load with 7/8 oz loads that have nice speed 1550 fps and you can use any small size shot. The loads are just as low or lower than lead loads in the psi range, 9800-10,000.

I happen to use a 16 gauge double that is from the 30's and I shoot steel through it. Not a lot of shells maybe 2-3 boxes a year. Usually use it early in the season when woodies are the primary target. If you are concerned about steel you can go the Bismuth route but shells are going to cost you in the $30 a box range. I only shoot small size shot 3's and 4's. I do load a few shells for the occasional goose that happens by with 2's.

If I own it it would be used in the swamp, BUT that is me. Your not dealing with high pressures, wads are heavy enough to protect your barrel, and they are fun to shoot. You will have the nay Sayers say not to use it but altimately it's your decision.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-29-2017, 10:13 AM
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Firewacker, the gun was never intended to be used with steel loads as they hadn't been developed when your gun was made. Softer/better alternatives to steel, such as Bismuth, are readily available and are not overly cost prohibitive. Yes, Bismuth is more expensive (1.5x-2x the cost of 16 ga steel) but is designed for guns like your Marlin. If you shop smart (stock up when you see sales such as those Cabela's recently ran on Bismuth) you can close the cost gap considerably. Reloading can save even more on ammo costs.

If you choose to shoot steel, the risks are varied. A box or two a year and you may never see an issue. Or, that first shot could cause a bulge at the choke(s) and possibly rib separation which would render the gun useless unless you wished to spend considerably more to repair (if a competent gunsmith even deemed it possible) than the value of the gun itself.

If you wish to learn more about your Marlin, consider joining the 16ga Society forum ~ Index There are a number of members who specialize in the Marlin model 90 and could give you a bit more info on the gun itself.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-30-2017, 09:30 AM
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Your gun should be able to handle steel but choke constriction is a concern. Most modern manufactures recommend more open choke constrictions like modified or improved cylinder. They specifically tell you not to shoot steel out of IM or full choke.

My first concern with your gun would be shooting a steel round out of the IM barrel. It could be perfectly safe in your individual gun but then again it could cause a bulge. I believe some Model 90 barrels are soldered together. A bulge would probably affect both barrels.

A second concern would be "what is the real constriction"? What is modified choke to one manufacture could be full choke to another. You need to measure the actual constriction to determine the true choke constriction.

If it was my gun and I determined that I could shoot steel out of it I would use smaller steel shot just to be safe. Smaller shot is less likely to bridge in the choke. This would be especially true in a smaller gage like a 16.

Last edited by Dogface; 12-30-2017 at 10:13 AM.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 12-30-2017, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input and info from everybody
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