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CIP Shotgun proof pressures by gauge

We get asked a lot about the difference between standard and high performance steel, the short answer is its a Polar Bear of difference. Yes I know that sounds silly, but read on and it will make sense.

In regard to pressure nothing has really changed and the best way to simplify it is both standard lead/steel cartridges have to fit into the lower pressures in the chart below, whereas High Performance Steel is effectively tested at the magnum pressures in each of the calibres. So for example the average proof pressure for a 12 gauge is 930 bar for standard and 1320 bar for High Performance. To help you understand this, 1 bar is 1kg of pressure per centimetre. So, 930 bar is 930kg of pressure per cm and so on.

To help you visualise the proof pressures in a 12 gauge shotgun, the standard proof pressure of 930 bar is roughly the equivalent weight of an early 1970’s Porchse 911 on 1cm of your barrel. Then if you go up to the High Performance Steel/Magnum pressure of 1320 bar, it is an extra 390kg of pressure per cm which is roughly the same as an average adult male Polar Bear. Don’t forget, this pressure/weight is all on 1cm of your gun barrel.

In the chart below;

  • The gauge/bore is on the left along with the cartridge case length, so 12/65 is 12 gauge/65mm (2/12″).
  • The PTmax is the maximum cartridge pressure of the standard cartridges. This is what commercial cartridge manufacturers have to achieve to get CIP approval. So standard 12 gauge is 740 bar.
  • The PE is the average mean bar proof pressure a gun is proofed at, the gun fired at this pressure 3 times per barrel to meet CIP proof standard. This pressure is measured at 1 inch from the chamber. So standard 12 gauge is 930 bar.


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