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How short should I cut my shotgun barrel?

gmerkt

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I may have become infamous for posts that involve "many years ago" but at my age, it's pretty much unavoidable. So here goes.

Many years ago, when I was about 15 or 16, a friend of mine came over toting an LC Smith field grade side by side double gun. He'd scrounged it from somewhere in his neighborhood. The barrel was way too long for us, we took it out to my dad's garage and with a hack saw removed enough barrel to get it down to about 18-1/2 inches. Somehow, even as young turds we knew this much about the law.

I've since regretted my involvement in that act. That was a nice old double, made I think as it turned out around 1916. We lowered the value of the piece about 75%.

After lead shot was banned for hunting waterfowl, 20 gauge shotgun values plummeted around here. One time about 15 years ago, I bought an early Remington 870 in 20 gauge, plain bbl. I cut it back to 18-1/2 inches for a house gun. I even put a new bead sight on it. Turned out to be a fairly sano job. But the gun wasn't very valuable.

In this case, I vote against cutting the barrel. I endorse getting an accessory barrel. Like a 20 inch with rifle sights, easy to acquire a target picture. Before you buy an 870 barrel, check what version you have because not all 870 barrels work interchangeably.
 

DirectDrive

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Let's get this back on track.
I recommend a *Peanut Grinder and a cut-off wheel to do the dirty deed.

Sawzall and belt sander to do the Shockwave grip !



*Peanut Grinder
Constructionese for 4"-5" angle grinder
Where little things are "peanut" and big things are "bull"
 

ma96782

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IF I were dead set on a shorter bbl for my Rem 870 and I currently had a 28" vented rib bbl on it......

Hummmm....... maybe, if I cut that ribbed barrel it can/could/maybe it'll undo itself like a zipper? But what do I know? I've only cut down the barrels on a Winchester 1897 (plain bbl) and once I had a SxS cut down. That rib between the two SxS barrels was a concern.

So then, if it were ME.....
1) I'd consider trading or buying a new bbl. Think : "dear slayer" barrel or a plain (non-vented rib) bbl.

2) If the new plain bbl is too long. It can be cut it. DIY or with a gunsmith's help.

3) Either way, you'll probably want to add a new front sight bead put on it. But, that's your call.

4) Also, pattern your SG after you are done.

Aloha, Mark
 
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Personally I would go as short as legally possible without tax stamp, plus 1/2” (ie 18.5” barrel). Having small and handy allows easy storage and carry etc. perfect for me for home defense use. U can add a pistol grip and folding stock (example shown below) for around $50 which makes it incredibly handy and easy to store and you still get good shooting stability when u unfold the stock. A strong light is a big plus for home defense also but that’s up to you of course.

As mentioned in posts above, please read how to measure barrel length properly according to how ATF measures barrels. Follow the length rules and life is easy don’t mess around with anything else. Overall length too of course but that shouldn’t be an issue. Double check lengths before cutting.
31D7B591-DB6C-4A04-BF5D-0EF8AD601A5D.jpeg
 
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Siglvr

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I think may HAVE a prized Mossberg made 18.5" barrel for the 870 Remington. They don't make it anymore. I don't know why I bought it anymore as I tend to not drink when thinking about or touching guns but I'm totally blank on why I bought it (overpaid**cough**$100 plus a $3. paypal fee, guy called it a "870 Breacher barrel"), but I'd be open to a trade for your vented 28" one. Not sure what version I have and I'm not sure how to even pull a barrel off an 870. Suspect it's a simple process. If you have interest, let me know by private message. On this site they are called Conversations.

I'll need to go dig it up, and I can send you photos and stuff as my memory is going to crap these days and I'd want to verify what I have before I wasted your time. I'd need the same from you if you are interested.

Looks like it's unavailable now and the price had gone up. Remington 870 12 Gauge Security Barrel, Breacher - 18.5" - Matte
Midway claims they can order it but it's $199.99, which is pretty close to $200, which seems like about what the whole shotgun might go for. Mossberg Barrel Remington 870 Special Purpose 12 Ga 3 18-1/2 Cylinder

Says "Note: Not compatible with 870 12 Gauge 3.5" Magnum models. "
 
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bbbass

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may have become infamous for posts
For me to become infamous, members would actually have to read my posts. I better keep them short. :p;):D


*Peanut Grinder
Constructionese for 4"-5" angle grinder
Where little things are "peanut" and big things are "bull"
We call that a "Sidewinder". :)


:oops:
4) Also, pattern your SG after you are done.

Aloha, Mark
Now we have to explain what "patterning" is...
 

ma96782

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Patterning explained.....


Counting the larger size shot holes is easier (cause I'm lazy). For me, it's more about knowing where the "hits" are. So, if I have to....I'll adjust my aiming point.

Aloha, Mark
 

bbbass

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Patterning explained.....


Counting the larger size shot holes is easier (cause I'm lazy). For me, it's more about knowing where the "hits" are. So, if I have to....I'll adjust my aiming point.

Aloha, Mark
That's great info Mark!!

The trap club I used to frequent has a patterning board. We hung up 4' wide shipping paper with a 30" (I think) circle drawn. Seems like one could use a smaller circle for tighter chokes. Anyway, I patterned my hunting loads and target loads in each shotgun I used/owned. Didn't count shot for figuring the accuracy of choke sizes, but it was very handy for finding out where the center of the pattern was. Nice to know for hunting and for clays... maybe for hallway guns too?
 

Joe13

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That's great info Mark!!

The trap club I used to frequent has a patterning board. We hung up 4' wide shipping paper with a 30" (I think) circle drawn. Seems like one could use a smaller circle for tighter chokes. Anyway, I patterned my hunting loads and target loads in each shotgun I used/owned. Didn't count shot for figuring the accuracy of choke sizes, but it was very handy for finding out where the center of the pattern was. Nice to know for hunting and for clays... maybe for hallway guns too?
idk, a hallway gun probably only needs to be patterned if it has a rifled barrel since that’ll fling shot everywhere.

A smoothbore will most likely only spread 3-4” tops unless you live in a huge house
 
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The simple process [Rib or no rib.] of cutting a barrel to 18.5" sure got long winded. LOL!!
Cut the rib one step behind where the barrel will be cut, shape with a file, done.
Drill for the sight, thread with a bottom tap, done.
Popcorn.png
 

bbbass

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idk, a hallway gun probably only needs to be patterned if it has a rifled barrel since that’ll fling shot everywhere.

A smoothbore will most likely only spread 3-4” tops unless you live in a huge house
Yes, but not patterning for spread, patterning for center of shot pattern. (Esp from a hacksawed barrel. ;):D) Do we want to blow an arm off when we are aiming for the head or heart or the nards? We do aim, right? :p;):D
 

gmerkt

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Now we have to explain what "patterning" is...
Yeah, I was just reading an article written by a gun journalist about the magnum shotgun shell concept. Which he criticizes as being the cause of many blown-out patterns. Then he said that not all that many scattergunners every went to the trouble of patterning them anyway. Which all may be mostly true. But in this case, a house gun with a chopped barrel, we can assume that's gonna be cylinder bore, looking that up will show the general coverage at X distance, not that critical for the purpose intended.
 
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A video with some info. re penetration FYI. Everyone has their own favorite loads and opinions on what is best for home defense. Potential overpenetration is more important in some living situations than others but something to know about.

Also keep in mind that stacking different loads info at the end of the video. I used to use different loads when pheasant hunting using one shell for closer range and the last shell with heavier load for longer range. Whether u want to do it for home defense is personal preference. What's nice about a shotgun IMO is that it gives you the option.

 

bbbass

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Yep.

Mine is for external/yard/perimeter/neighborhood defense. I alternate 00 buck and slugs. I also have a reflex optic that is sighted in for the slugs at 100yds. And a under-barrel mounted 1200 lumen taclight.

Note: I use an AR pistol (with brace) for part of my internal home defense strategy.


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Break:

I highly recommend a mounted taclight to the OP for home defense use. No shooting in the dark. It can be good to leave a few 7W-12W lights on but it's still best to absolutely ID the threat before pulling the trigger.
 
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Yep.

Mine is for external/yard/perimeter/neighborhood defense. I alternate 00 buck and slugs. I also have a reflex optic that is sighted in for the slugs at 100yds. And a under-barrel mounted 1200 lumen taclight.

Note: I use an AR pistol (with brace) for part of my internal home defense strategy.


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Break:

I highly recommend a mounted taclight to the OP for home defense use. No shooting in the dark. It can be good to leave a few 7W-12W lights on but it's still best to absolutely ID the threat before pulling the trigger.
That’s a sweet setup for a home defense shotgun imo. Kinda reminds me of that Texas? guy they have the 911 call on YouTube where crims were breaking into his neighbor’s house. They said something like both criminals were found dead at the scene. Then I looked at what he was using, 12 gauge. A12 Gauge with 00 buck or slugs is quite the defensive gun.
 

bbbass

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That’s a sweet setup for a home defense shotgun imo. Kinda reminds me of that Texas? guy they have the 911 call on YouTube where crims were breaking into his neighbor’s house. They said something like both criminals were found dead at the scene. Then I looked at what he was using, 12 gauge. A12 Gauge with 00 buck or slugs is quite the defensive gun.
I remember that one.... He told the operator he was going to shoot those guys, then he did. Texas law allows for defense of neighbor's property... Whoa!!! :eek:
 

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