No, shotshells will not lead or damage your handgun barrel. The shot is incapsulated in a plastic capsule. I live in the desert and have been loading .38 and .44 shotshells for my revolvers for over 40 years for snake and rodent control. I have even dispatched rabbits at 25 feet in the yard and garden in the past, using the .44. I keep .38 shotshells in my Mod. 10 snubby during the spring and summer when working outside or walking in the desert.
Location: Third bunker on the right,Central Virginia
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As Jim said- That shot loads will hurt your gun is an old urban legend. However, DO expect limited usefull range. Rifling imparts a spin, which will result in the shot pattern opening up, and n severe cases, giving you a "doughnut" shot pattern. Thomspon Center actually had a reverse rifling muzzle choke to STOP rotation for shot loads. Have carried 45 shot loads for snakes for years. Do not expect shot loads to cycle autoloaders.