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Thread: Cutting down a shotgun... Legally

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Cutting down a shotgun... Legally

    I've got an old, cheap, moss egg 500 with a 28" birding barrel I'm thinking of cutting down. Had a discussion about this on another thread a while back, seems the big advantage to cutting it down instead of replacing is the cut down barrel is much thicker at the end, and therefore stronger. Has a nice flat surface on top for mounting a rail on too. And ill probably never use it for anything that needs a 28" full choke barrel.

    So anyways, the law says it has to be 18" to be legal, and most manufacturers go 18.5 just to be safe. But where exactly is that measured from? Breech face? End of chamber?

    Here in WA, our benevolent overlords have decided that SBSs are entirely too much fun for us peons to be legal, so that's not an option.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhead47 View Post
    Here in WA, our benevolent overlords have decided that SBSs are entirely too much fun for us peons to be legal, so that's not an option.
    Solution: Install a pistol grip. We get to have this little guy, figured you can make an AOW similar to it:



    Plus, it's only a $5 tax stamp :P

    (would probably have to do it at an approved gunsmith though)

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    You can not cut the barrel of a shotgun to less than 18 inches legally in Washington because it would be a short barreled shotgun. Adding a forward grip would not change it to an AOW.
    The Serbu shown was made from a shotgun that never had a shoulder stock on it ever. It came from the factory with a pistol grip stock instead of a shoulder stock. That is why it is legally an AOW.
    It costs $200 to make an AOW not $5 as mentioned. The transfer of an AOW is $5.

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeeper1 View Post
    You can not cut the barrel of a shotgun to less than 18 inches legally in Washington because it would be a short barreled shotgun. Adding a forward grip would not change it to an AOW.
    The Serbu shown was made from a shotgun that never had a shoulder stock on it ever. It came from the factory with a pistol grip stock instead of a shoulder stock. That is why it is legally an AOW.
    It costs $200 to make an AOW not $5 as mentioned. The transfer of an AOW is $5.
    What he said

    That, and I'd like to actually aim at what I'm shooting at. Might make for a nice "fun gun," but not a practical home defense shitgum.


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    ATF measures by putting a rod down the barrel on an empty chamber.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Quote Originally Posted by onlurker View Post
    Solution: Install a pistol grip. We get to have this little guy, figured you can make an AOW similar to it:



    Plus, it's only a $5 tax stamp :P

    (would probably have to do it at an approved gunsmith though)
    Depending on how an SBS is defined in state law that might not make it. And its certainly more than adding a pistol grip, to not be an SBS is must never have been a shotgun.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylen View Post
    ATF measures by putting a rod down the barrel on an empty chamber.
    Cite plZ?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhead47 View Post
    Cite plZ?


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    That's a hard one to find, sorry. If you really want to know, its hidden on the BAFTE website in their publications, or was when I read it probably a year ago.
    Don't believe any facts that I say! This is the internet and it is filled with lies and untruth. I invite you to look up for yourself the basic facts that my arguments might be based upon. This way we can have a discussion where logic and hints on where to find information are what is brought to the forum and people look up and verify facts for themselves.

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Daylen View Post
    That's a hard one to find, sorry. If you really want to know, its hidden on the BAFTE website in their publications, or was when I read it probably a year ago.
    search terms = atf shotgun barrel length measured

    brings this http://www.atf.gov/publications/down...-chapter-2.pdf as the first item

    Either my Google-fu is superior or it's really not that hard. Want to bet on which one is most accuratre?

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    OK, so I know how to measure the length now. Seems a hacksaw is the most common thing to use for the cut, any thoughts on using an abrasive chop saw? Or would that heat up the metal too much and mess up the tempering?
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    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    I would stick with the hacksaw. Just make sure you have the barrel held tight and cut straight. It would be cool if you post pictures of your work in progress if you decide to go through with it.
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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebigsd View Post
    I would stick with the hacksaw. Just make sure you have the barrel held tight and cut straight. It would be cool if you post pictures of your work in progress if you decide to go through with it.
    Well that's my big concern with using a hacksaw... straight cuts are NOT my friend. I might need to solder/weld on it anyway afterward to keep the vent rib from sliding off.
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    Regular Member John Canuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhead47 View Post
    OK, so I know how to measure the length now. Seems a hacksaw is the most common thing to use for the cut, any thoughts on using an abrasive chop saw? Or would that heat up the metal too much and mess up the tempering?
    If the barrel is without a vent rib, I would use a tubing cutter. I've cut down a few barrels with vent ribs and have used a chop saw, but you have to go slow. I have used these barrels numerous times and have yet to have a failure.

    A hacksaw does work if you have a way to square it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by John Canuck View Post
    If the barrel is without a vent rib, I would use a tubing cutter. I've cut down a few barrels with vent ribs and have used a chop saw, but you have to go slow. I have used these barrels numerous times and have yet to have a failure.

    A hacksaw does work if you have a way to square it up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhead47 View Post
    OK, so I know how to measure the length now. Seems a hacksaw is the most common thing to use for the cut, any thoughts on using an abrasive chop saw? Or would that heat up the metal too much and mess up the tempering?
    You can use whatever you want to cut the metal as long as you have a way to cool it. Running cold water onto the cutting surface and apparatus won't harm the tempering if you were to use a cutting disk. Wouldn't hurt to be gentle either, cut a little bit at a time and let the water run onto the barrel for a short moment when you separate the barrel from the disk. As long as you don't heat up the metal you'll preserve the tempering.

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    Founder's Club Member Brass Magnet's Avatar
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    A chop saw is fine; just cut through it fast, no dilly dallying. That's the mistake most people make with chop saws. Go too slow, and the metal get's annealed and becomes softer. If the metal changes color beyond or darker than a "straw yellow", you went too slow.

    Also, you probably already know this but just to put it out there: If it's got a vent rib barrel, pick the nearest rib to the size you want and cut the barrel so that rib remains attached near the muzzle. You don't want the last 3/4" or so flopping in the breeze.

    If there isn't a vent rib you could probably use a heavy duty tubing cutter as well, to get a nice straight cut.
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    DO NOT use a tubing cutter on a shotgun barrel.
    I bought a Mossberg shotgun many many years ago that someone had shortened with a tubing cutter and it as it was cutting it also rolled a lip into the bore between 30 and 40 thousandths. It took a long time to file it out.
    If I was doing that now I would a friction saw and have pour a coolant on the cut as I was cutting it. Even with that you will need to de-burr the muzzle and touch-up the end with cold bluing.
    You will also have to drill and tap a hole for the new front sight which will also require shortening the stud.

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    Founder's Club Member Brass Magnet's Avatar
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    ^^^^^^^Problem Solved... Deburring tools.
    .
    Last edited by Brass Magnet; 12-05-2011 at 03:56 PM.
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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brass Magnet View Post
    A chop saw is fine; just cut through it fast, no dilly dallying. That's the mistake most people make with chop saws. Go too slow, and the metal get's annealed and becomes softer. If the metal changes color beyond or darker than a "straw yellow", you went too slow.

    Also, you probably already know this but just to put it out there: If it's got a vent rib barrel, pick the nearest rib to the size you want and cut the barrel so that rib remains attached near the muzzle. You don't want the last 3/4" or so flopping in the breeze.

    If there isn't a vent rib you could probably use a heavy duty tubing cutter as well, to get a nice straight cut.
    This is what I was thinking. Yes, it has a vent rib so I can get it nice & square in the saw clamp. I was eyeballing it yesterday and I'll probably go with 20". The rib closest to 18 is a little too close for comfort. I can always cut further anyway.

    Don't have a pipe cutter that size, but. Yes I've read that they can crush the barrel. It'll have to be deburred either way, I'm pretty handy with metalwork so that's no big deal.


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    The worries about heat treating are understandable, but overblown. There will not be a pressure problem at the last quarter inch of barrel.

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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KBCraig View Post
    The worries about heat treating are understandable, but overblown. There will not be a pressure problem at the last quarter inch of barrel.
    You are probably correct. However I have a grand tradition of overthinking things.


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    Regular Member okboomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhead47 View Post
    You are probably correct. However I have a grand tradition of overthinking things.
    Probably why you still have all your parts
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    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okboomer View Post
    probably why you still have all your parts
    does this look like it still has all its parts???

    Attachment 7545
    Last edited by Metalhead47; 12-06-2011 at 01:35 AM.
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    Regular Member okboomer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metalhead47 View Post
    does this look like it still has all its parts???

    Attachment 7545

    Ah, so sorry, you don't have your 'back end' any more?
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