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Thread: how short can a shotgun barrel be ?

  1. #1
    Boolit Buddy
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    how short can a shotgun barrel be ?

    Have tried to find out what fed. law allows but no luck . I am sure some on here will know.

    Thanks in advance .

  2. #2
    Boolit Master Shawlerbrook's Avatar
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    18”unless you have some special license

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub hwilliam01's Avatar
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    Shtgun barrels need to be 18 inches or greater, rifle barrels must be 16 inches or better AND the overall firearm length must be 26 inches or greater.

  4. #4
    Boolit Master knifemaker's Avatar
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    Be very careful on measuring that shotgun barrel for the proper 18 inches. ATF requires you to close the breech and insert a rod in the barrel and have it touch the breech face. From the breech face to the end of the muzzle is the barrel distance. I would cut off at 18-1/4 inch for added safety of violating any ATF rules.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    18” but go a bit more for regulation reasons.

  6. #6
    Boolit Buddy
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    A friend has a break open that was his dads and he was concerned that it was to short. I measured it at 18.20 inches. Whoever cut it must have known you guys .

    Thanks for the input.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master Drm50's Avatar
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    I've cut dozens off and always leave the Devils Share, 181/2". No point in getting in a jam over a
    fraction of a inch. What gets me is the Shockwave type guns that don't fall under the shotgun laws
    You can buy one of them legally but you can't have a 171/2" barrel on a otherwords legal gun. The
    most of the guns I cut off were to make slug guns and I found out that 24-26" worked better for
    slug purposes.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master wonderwolf's Avatar
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    Its been awhile since I've cut down a shotgun barrel but like others I usually leave about 1/4-1/2" when I do one extra just in case a certain officers tape measure is an import and not to scale Best one I did was a SB1 for rabbits. No action really so that made for a HANDY package.
    My firearms project blog

  9. #9
    Boolit Master
    GOPHER SLAYER's Avatar
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    All good advice, it pays to play it safe. Remember what a quarter inch cost Randy Weaver?
    A GUN THAT'S COCKED AND UNLOADED AIN'T GOOD FOR NUTHIN'........... ROOSTER COGBURN

  10. #10
    Boolit Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    My Remington Express 870 HD has a 18-1/8" barrel from the factory. I cut to 18-1/2" when I cut one. My river rat Toppers are 18-1/2" and no handier shotgun exists as wonderwolf stated.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Boolit Buddy
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    ATF, or whoever is making their rules, is a strange duck to say the least. A shotgun has to have an 18 inch barrel and rifle 16...a pen gun is absolutely illegal, but a bang stick is not even considered a firearm!! Most scuba divers and gator hunters make their own.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master




    RED333's Avatar
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    and then you can buy this
    http://www.mossberg.com/category/series/590-shockwave/
    Legendary Mossberg pump-action reliability in a compact 14” barreled package.
    or this
    https://www.remington.com/other-prod...del-870-tac-14
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  13. #13
    Boolit Master wonderwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RED333 View Post
    and then you can buy this
    http://www.mossberg.com/category/series/590-shockwave/
    Legendary Mossberg pump-action reliability in a compact 14” barreled package.
    or this
    https://www.remington.com/other-prod...del-870-tac-14
    The tac-14 to me is a lot more comfortable to wield than the shockwave but that is more subjective than anything else. The Tac-14 can be made to hold 6 rounds and you can dump all 6 in 2 seconds easy and on target with little practice. Thats a lot of power in a VERY small handy package.
    My firearms project blog

  14. #14
    Boolit Master



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    The fastest Jerry Miculek can shoot 6 rounds with a pump action is north of 2.5 seconds
    Saying you can "dump" 6 rounds out of the Tac-14 "...in 2 seconds easy..." makes no sense to me.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
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  15. #15
    Boolit Master WILCO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOPHER SLAYER View Post
    All good advice, it pays to play it safe. Remember what a quarter inch cost Randy Weaver?
    Yep. Randy Weaver popped into my mind as I read the title...........
    Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. - Albert Schweitzer

    Yeah, I love cast iron cookware.

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  16. #16
    Boolit Master GoodOlBoy's Avatar
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    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	erm no.jpg 
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Size:	23.1 KB 
ID:	214011

    how short CAN it be?
    how would you get chokes to work in that I wonder?

    *DISCLAIMER* Image was snagged from the internet I have never and will never posses such an item. It is just a picture from the internet posted for laughs.

    Seriously keep it legal + at least a couple of inches would be my advice. Personally I don't like short shotguns, but that is mainly because I always hunted with mine and always had better patterns out of long barrels with fixed chokes.

    God Bless, and One Love.

    GoodOlBoy
    Yes I can be long winded. Yes I follow rabbit trails. Yes I admit when I am wrong. Your mileage may vary.

    Keep your powder dry. Watch yer Top knot.

    "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition!"

    Yes there were "Short" 45 Colts! http://www.leverguns.com/articles/taylor/45_short_colt.htm

  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by GoodOlBoy View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	erm no.jpg 
Views:	38 
Size:	23.1 KB 
ID:	214011

    *DISCLAIMER* Image was snagged from the internet I have never and will never posses such an item. It is just a picture from the internet posted for laughs.


    GoodOlBoy

    I doubt you would have to worry even if you did own that thing and got caught with it, if you will look closely you can see it wouldn't even fire anyway. Those barrels (chambers?) are just lying loosly on the frame and aren't even attached, notice the swivel portion of the frame and all the missing parts that latch the barrels down!
    Statistics show that criminals commit fewer crimes after they have been shot

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    It fires just fine and is perfectly legal!


  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Just not very practical! Seriously, required length depends on you country of residence, Canada gets to have less than 18 but the op is in USA so 18+ it is.
    A side question for you tac14 owners, did Remington do something to keep that 14 inch barrel from mounting to a normal 870 frame? Seems it could get uncomfortable for those of us with multiple frames and barrels, if someone desired to make someone's life miserable.
    “You don’t practice until you get it right. You practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Jason Elam, All-Pro kicker, Denver Broncos

  20. #20
    Boolit Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by rking22 View Post
    Just not very practical! Seriously, required length depends on you country of residence, Canada gets to have less than 18 but the op is in USA so 18+ it is.
    A side question for you tac14 owners, did Remington do something to keep that 14 inch barrel from mounting to a normal 870 frame? Seems it could get uncomfortable for those of us with multiple frames and barrels, if someone desired to make someone's life miserable.
    It's the same receiver and barrel as their NFA/military MCS. Takes the same barrels as current 870s.

    Sent from my SM-J727P using Tapatalk

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