Mystic mis-feeds

Q I use a gas-operated semi-auto shotgun for most of my clay shooting and it has proved reliable, up until quite recently at least.

I mainly use two types of 28-gram fibre wad loads but recently tried some 24-gram loads. The first ones I tried worked equally well with no mis-feeds. When I went for some more the shop only had a different make but the price was good so I bought 500; the problem is I am now getting a lot of mis-feeds.

Sometimes the empty case is still in the breech and has not been ejected but occasionally the new round is jammed against the fired case, which can be a struggle to remove. I do keep my gun clean; any idea why it now jams?
Nathan Abbot, Leicester

A It is likely that the second batch of 24-gram loads you bought use a different propellant powder to the previous ones. The fired case remaining in the breech indicates that the breech block did not come back far enough to eject it and the jammed situation is where it came back slightly further, enough to trip the feed mechanism but still not eject the fired case.

Cartridges can be loaded with powders of different burning rates and it’s very possible that the ones you are currently using are loaded with a fairly fast burning type. This can lead to the pressure inside the barrel dropping sufficiently low by the time the shot and wad passes the gas port in the barrel that there is just too little gas pressure remaining to reliably drive the action. If you wish to continue with 24-gram loads you will need to go back to the ones you know work, or buy just one or two boxes of some others to see which work best.

Gas-operated guns are generally very reliable these days but they do need suitable ammunition to feed properly, as you have discovered. Richard Atkins

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