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10 Gauge Chamber Lengths:
Unread 08-02-2022, 11:51 AM   #1
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Bruce P Bruner
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Default 10 Gauge Chamber Lengths:

The sales listing on my recently acquired 1880 10 Gauge Lifter stated the chamber length of 2.5". I felt that 2.5" was possible but not probable. Lacking a chamber gauge, I cut a piece of thick glossy card stock the width of the chamber and tested for length. Although somewhat crude, repeated testing confirmed a chamber length of 2-5/8". A 10 Gauge chamber length of 2-5/8" would be more standardized than a 2-1/2", I would assume.
The factory letter should remove all doubt, providing the information is still legible.
Feeling confident the chambers are 2-5/8" I ordered some reproduction all brass cases from Track of the Wolf. The cases incidentally are head stamped Parker Bro's Meriden, Conn. 10 gauge "A" (thin wall).
What were the most popular chamber lengths for the Parker 10 Gauge in or around 1880? Pardon my ignorance, I never paid much attention to the 10 Gauge until recently, when I decided I needed one.
One more question, what is meant be the phrase "short ten", cut barrels or just short ones, 30" or less? Okay, short chamber.
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Unread 08-02-2022, 12:41 PM   #2
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Hi Bruce, That is a nice and unique 10 gauge lifter you just got. I use and like those Track of the Wolf shells as well in 2 5/8". Most(not all) of the 10 gauge lifters before Top Lever production I have and have seen are 2 5/8" chambers. In addition, all of mine have what is referred to as stepped chambers and you can feel the step/ridge inside the barrels. I like shooting black powder loads with fiber wads in these.
I have experienced what I would call excess recoil with plastic wads in these guns in 1 1/8 loads(RST).

Having said that...I do have a nice 2 5/8" 1 oz. Red Dot target load that I fold crimp with the Remington Sp-10 wads that works great. That is as far as I would go with plastic wads and stepped chambers. They look neat to0...kind of like 2" 12 gauge shells. Just my opinion. I need to try some Red Dot loads with fiber wads.
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Unread 08-02-2022, 12:54 PM   #3
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The term i believe is to separate it from the 3 and 3 1-2 tens.
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Unread 08-02-2022, 01:10 PM   #4
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I have always been of the belief that the 2 5/8" chambered 10 gauge was the "short ten" while all others were not.

I have a 10 gauge 3-frame Grade-3 Lifter with the stepped 2 5/8" chambers that I shoot nothing but 2 3/4" cheddite plastic 1 1/4 oz. loads in.

It is my favorite turkey gun - if I don't have too far to walk.






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Unread 08-02-2022, 04:22 PM   #5
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I have an 1874 and an 1880, both 2-5/8. Both of these are 9 gauge barrels which was the norm until later in the century. Even unmolested, the barrels are quite a bit larger than a regular 10 bore barrel and Parker even made reference as to the best load being with 9 gauge wads. This is also what is recommend by Magtech with their shells. I have a number of the cases you mention, and load them with 9 gauge wads under the powder and 8 gauge overshot. They fit perfectly and work well. I have also used a couple of brands of plastic uniwads, and they function fine, but are a little loose in the brass hulls. If your gun has a typical barrel,I would have no qualms about the stepped chamber, unless it gives problems in cold weather. The wadsare actually a little undersized for the bore size.
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Unread 08-02-2022, 04:32 PM   #6
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The 1877 E. Remington & Sons catalog offers 2 5/8-inch No. 10 brass shells in A & B.

The 1880 UMC catalog offers No. 10 brass shells 2 5/8-inch and extra-long to 3-inch.

1880 empty brass shotshells.png

A & B shells are mentioned in the 1880, 1882, 1884 & 1885 UMC catalogs. No mention that I've seen of A & B shells in the 1887 and later catalogs.
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Unread 08-02-2022, 05:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Shaffer View Post
I have an 1874 and an 1880, both 2-5/8. Both of these are 9 gauge barrels which was the norm until later in the century. Even unmolested, the barrels are quite a bit larger than a regular 10 bore barrel and Parker even made reference as to the best load being with 9 gauge wads. This is also what is recommend by Magtech with their shells. I have a number of the cases you mention, and load them with 9 gauge wads under the powder and 8 gauge overshot. They fit perfectly and work well. I have also used a couple of brands of plastic uniwads, and they function fine, but are a little loose in the brass hulls. If your gun has a typical barrel, I would have no qualms about the stepped chamber, unless it gives problems in cold weather. The wads are actually a little undersized for the bore size.
I'm thinking my barrels could be 9 Gauge, though I have yet to see any information regarding 9 gauge Parker barrels. They seem very large and thick, wall thickness of .078+ at the muzzles, weighing a stout 10lbs. 2.5oz. Unstruck barrels stamped 5lbs. 14ounces. The butt-stock is also very large and stout. Photo comparison: 1-1/2 frame 12 gauge and 3 frame 10 gauge.
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Last edited by Bruce P Bruner; 08-02-2022 at 08:55 PM.. Reason: Comparison photos
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Unread 08-02-2022, 10:01 PM   #8
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Bill Jolliff gave me a couple of notebooks full of vintage shotshell info. Among the info is a copy of an 1886/7 Chamberlin Cartridge Co. catalog. For every style of their ammo there were specific 10- and 12-gauge loadings for Parker Bros. guns with over-size wads.

1886-7 page 7 Parker Load Highlighted.jpg
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Unread 08-03-2022, 07:46 PM   #9
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I like the prices on these old shells....looks like 1 1/4 ounce for the 10 ga was normal..i have a few old shells with these loadings....thanks researcher....charlie
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Unread 08-03-2022, 07:52 PM   #10
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Just to return to the first post: I have found it not uncommon to see guns advertised having chamber lengths different than what my own measurements reveal. I think here is much to be desired in some of the "for sale" information that gets posted.
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