I have had a Model 12 12 gauge 30" full choke since 1962 and have shot many boxes of lead shot shells. My son has been shooting the steel shot now for serveral years. Last week, Duck hunting (steel shot) the barrel split on his second shot. I called a gun smith and he said it was a combination of full choke and the old type barrel. The steel shot does not compress like lead and will eventually score the barrel and finally weaken it to the point of splitting.
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That can happen......I have been shooting steel out of some of my old guns for years with no problem. Some do and some don't.
I'm a side by side shooter who gave up the ducks when steel shot became necessary. You are fortunate that Model 12 barrels are available. Find one with a less than perfect bore and open the choke to CYLINDER and your gun should be usable again. That's not something I can do with my Parkers or my Purdey. They're strictly grouse guns.