Legality of shortening shotguns


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rexelbion
December 22, 2004, 10:50 AM
Does anyone know what the legal shortest length you can shorten a shotgun to? Does it differ from state to state? (Florida)

Any input is greatly appreciated. :rolleyes:

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bogie
December 22, 2004, 10:53 AM
1. Pay a gunsmith to have it done. Keep the receipt.

2. 18" is the minimum non-regulated length.

3. If you want to have something shorter, call your local ATF office, and ask them about how to do it. Since this is regulated, it will cost you, but it is possible.

CAS700850
December 22, 2004, 11:08 AM
From a practical perspective, I would suggest that you don't go shorter than 18.5" without Class III issues, even though 18" is the legal limit. You avoid any problems with someone having a shorter tape measure than your gunsmith does. Plus, the extra half inch will be of little consequence in you performance and handling.

jsalcedo
December 22, 2004, 11:30 AM
If you do it cut a dowell and insert it down the barrel and make sure you are cutting at least to the 18 1/4 inches.

The ATF does not measure the outside of the barrel. They measure inside the barrel from the firing pin to the muzzle.

NukemJim
December 22, 2004, 02:53 PM
My limited understanding is that there is also a minimum overall length for a shotgun (24"???) As always I could be wrong.

NukemJim

HankB
December 22, 2004, 02:53 PM
As stated, the question was about the minimum legal length of a shotgun.

The 18" figure refers to the minimum legal length of a shotgun barrel, not the minimum legal length of the shotgun itself. (A wise man will not try to crowd the 18" length too closely . . . an extra 1/2" is a good allowance.)

The overall length of the entire shotgun has to be, IIRC, 26.5." So once you chop the barrel to 18.5 inches, don't chop the stock too much. I'd keep the OAL at least 1" above the limit . . . and that's without something like a rubber recoil pad which could be easily removed.

Coltdriver
December 22, 2004, 02:58 PM
It is interesting that the 870 Police shotguns have a barrel that is about 18 inches and a sixteenth or an eighth.

wdlsguy
December 22, 2004, 04:37 PM
Shotguns: barrel 18+ inches, overall 26+ inches
Rifles: barrel 16+ inches, overall 26+ inches

http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/18C44.txt

As others have mentioned, you don't want to go too close to these minimum numbers.

71Commander
December 22, 2004, 04:49 PM
If you've got a pump or auto, make sure the bolt is closed when you stick the rod into the barrel for measuring purposes.

rexelbion
December 22, 2004, 05:35 PM
Thanks for all the great feedback.

It's been a tremendous help.

:)

B36
December 22, 2004, 07:52 PM
One state and DC have different requrements if I remember right.

71Commander
December 22, 2004, 08:26 PM
One state and DC have different requrements if I remember right.

Not on barrel lengths. This is under federal control.

beerslurpy
December 22, 2004, 10:19 PM
CA measures overall length with the folding stock retracted. Federal law measures with it open.

B36
December 22, 2004, 10:21 PM
:uhoh:

Think you are right, now I have to try to remember what is strange about DC and Hawaii gun laws. Been years since I went thru the federal book of state laws.

DMF
December 22, 2004, 10:45 PM
CA measures overall length with the folding stock retracted. Federal law measures with it open. You might want to confirm that with ATF, because everything I've seen is that the overall length is measured with the stock folded, meaning the shortest possible length the gun could be.

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