Blowing up shotguns I have mentioned my buddy Dave before, but for those who have not read that preamble I will give a little background here. Dave came in to one of my Hunter Safety classes in the early 1970's, This was in the Kansas City, MO area, my former home. After the class I announced that I would be teaching a class on how to be a Hunter Safety Instructor and invited all adults in the class to attend and be certified. Of the more than a dozen that attended that class Dave was an outstanding one. I also required (actually the State of Missouri required) for a new Instructor to co-teach for one year before getting his/her final certification from the State. So for the next year I had 4 assistant instructors and Dave was one of them. We got along so well that even after his final certification he continued to partner up with me. Finally I moved to Colorado and Dave and I were separated. We had both gone through divorces and I got out of Missouri just a hop and a jump in front of my ex's lawyer. Dave stayed in Missouri and suffered. Finally I talked Dave into coming out to Colorado and looking for a job. I told him he could stay with me until he found employment. Well that was a long background but now that Dave and I were back teaching together again, we also getting into trouble together. Which brings us to Blowing up Shotguns. In our classes we have followed the DOW (Division of Wildlife) safety principals and warned the students about the dreaded 20 ga.-12 ga. syndrome with shotguns. It goes like this. If you carry 20 ga shotgun shells in your pocket and are shooting 12 ga. it is possible to put a 20 ga. shell in your 12 ga. shotgun in the heat of the fly over and when all you get is a 'click' you work the action and then load a 12ga. shell and touch it off. The result is a blown up shotgun and perhaps a blown up hand and other damage of the bloody kind to you the shooter. But sometimes just telling students something is not enough so Dave and I decided we would buy some old shotguns and under controlled conditions, "blow them up"! Dave found a old Stevens pump 12 ga, and I came up with a Sears & Roebuck single bbl. 12 ga. We took ourselves down to the Boulder Rifle club on the highway North of Boulder, CO. and with a movie camera and assorted equipment we began our experiment. There was at the range many old tires that were used to keep the dirt birms from eroding in the rain. We got a stack of the biggest ones and built us a wall about 5 ft. tall x 5 ft. wide. Up front from our safety wall we put a huge truck tire on the ground. To one side of the big tire I set a open ended box with glass replacing the removed end piece. In this I set up Dave's movie camera. We then tied down the Stevens pump shotgun and loaded first a live 20 ga. shell in the chamber and as we told the students it fell to the bottom of the 12 ga. chamber and then hung up on the forcing cone. After that came a loaded 2 3/4" 12 ga. shotgun shell. A heavy string was run from behind the wall and then tied to the trigger. I turned the camera on and hot footed it to the safety wall. As I slid to the ground behind the wall I yelled to Dave to "FIRE!" He jerked the string and Boom!. A pretty ordinary shotgun sound. Of course we had ear muffs on so maybe it was louder than just Boom!. We went forward and with my camera we were ready to take pictures of the damage. No damage. We untied the shotgun and looked down the barrel and nothing. Empty. Looking closely on the outside of the barrel we found no bulges or cracks. The shotgun as I mentioned was a Stevens pump made in early 1900 before Savage bought the company in 1920. It had a square hole in the top of the receiver that the single locking lug raised up and locked into. That was it. So we tried again. Boom, same results. Then we tried putting a 20 ga 3" shell in the front of the chamber. This time the shotgun jumped up and the front rope came loose. On inspection we finally found a bulge in the barrel just behind the choke area. The gun still locked up and everything still worked with just a standard 12 ga. shell all alone in the barrel. My God, what did Stevens make those shotguns out of?. so undaunted we brought the old Sears single bbl. shotgun up on the sacrifice throne. Repeat loading with 20 ga/12ga. shells. BOOMMMM!!!! and pieces of something flew over our heads,it knocked Daves camera box over and raised a big dust cloud that we were suprised didn't bring on the Boulder Fire Dept. AT LAST! we had our bad example. We rushed up to the shotgun. Well I did, for some reason Dave was more concerned with his busted camera. The forend had dissappeared, the butt stock was split and the barrel had a bulge and a split from approximately end of the chamber to 6 inches or so toward the muzzle. The gun also opened up by it's self. It could have been the empty 12 ga shell that flew over us. Now you are probably wondering what happened to all those 20 ga. shot shells. We were too. So we walked the entire length of the 100 yard range where we had set up this little experiment and found only one shread of yellow plastic. Considering the direction the barrels were, after the shot, it is very likely it shot North at an 45 deg. angle up and elevation of 500 yrds. We heard nothing on the news of anyone in the nearest town (Longmont) being struck by hunters shot or by fully loaded 20 ga. shot shells. (The town was 18 miles to the North) Do I or my cohort Dave suggest you can shoot two shells at the same time in your Stevens pump shotgun or any other brand. NO! This was a very scientific and controlled experiment with no danger to humans not counting Dave's camera.