Finally Found a Shotgun to Cut Down for HD


February 26, 2006, 03:34 PM
I had been looking for a "cheap" shotgun to do this.

:) I picked up the Wingmaster on the bottom for $107 out the door. The "dial a duck" Polychoke created a great deal for me at Gunstop in Minnetonka. :)

I had purchased the other Wingmaster about a year ago to cut down, but after I brought it home, I cleaned it up, noticed it's in great shape and that the full choke barrel has a 5-digit matching serial # to the reciever - 142XX V . It's a joy to carry in the woods, the receiver and wood is in great shape, and I ain't messing with it. I had thought I'd buy a cheap short barrel, but I never see them for less than $100.

The Polychoke Wingmaster is a little scratched up and the buttstock has been cut to attach a pad. 6-digit serial #509XXX V.

I'll get out this Spring and play with the Polychoke, but I'll be cutting this one down to 20" or so for a HD shotgun. Unless I find a real cheap barrel. Ideally, I'd like to add ghost ring or rifle sights, but a bead sight will be fine.

Any comments, ideas, "don't do it!"s on my little project?

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February 26, 2006, 03:59 PM
Do it....but cut it to 18 and 1/4. Much better for HD. Put a big fat bead on the front of the barrel and then leave it be. Simple, effective and inexepensive.

If you don't post before and after pics I'm going to mail you a fish by USPS so it'll be REALLY stinky by the time it gets there....:neener:

February 26, 2006, 04:45 PM
I did a friend of mine's H&R single this week and it's harder than you think to get the muzzle squared back up. I used a cut off wheel to make the cut, then started filing, 3 hours later, I used a whet stone to smooth it out then cold blued it. I like how it looks now but I don't think I ever got it perfectly square it is hard to do without a lathe. BTW go 18.5 so you have room to file and such or recut if it goes bad. Plus it gives you .5 inch of error in case your ruler is different than the BATFE's, they kill people for things like short barrels. Measure twice cut once.

Fred Fuller
February 26, 2006, 05:06 PM
Love that corncob fore-end.

I suggest letting a 'smith do it who can attach a block under the bead- otherwise your bead is likely to be too low, and using it will have you shooting high. Unless you can do silver soldering as well as drilling and tapping.

If so, lay out the location for the new bead/block BEFORE you cut the barrel, that way you have the original bead still in place to help line up the position for the new bead.


half elf
February 26, 2006, 05:17 PM
If my opinion were asked I would leave off the bead, and go with the fiber optic type, this would give quicker sight in, and helps a little in low light situations. Try firesights, or a similar type.

February 26, 2006, 07:00 PM
If you want a cheap HD-length barrel, consider the Mossberg 18" barrel made for the 870. It usually costs less than $100 new (Cabela's (;jsessionid=2R0R0QM1DT0KHTQSNOHCCOGOCJVZCIWE?_DARGS=/cabelas/en/common/catalog/item-link.jsp_A&_DAV=MainCatcat20712&id=0005579212148a&navCount=2&podId=0005579&parentId=cat20805&navAction=push&catalogCode=IG&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat20805&hasJS=true) normally stocks them, or you can order direct from Mossberg ( - scroll down in both cases to view the 870 barrels), and this saves the cost of cutting down an older barrel. Just a thought...

February 26, 2006, 07:05 PM
Cut to 18.5" , put on LPA rifle sights front and rear, cut stock down to 13" with a LimbSaver pad. Keep the fore end, put on a Remington +2 extension. People are starting to come out with simple Pic rails that have an indexed ring to go under mag cap or extension which allows a slip on flashlight, which IMHO is a better deal!:)

February 26, 2006, 07:19 PM
Love that corncob fore-end.

I do too! Especially since it's on both of them.

Great idea to mark the spot for the front sight before sawing off.

Half Elf -- Good point on the fiber optic sight. I put one on my old deer rifle a few years ago and I like it.

I had actually gone to Gunstop to plunk down $159 on a cut-off 18" Wingmaster with a green fiberoptic sight that is pretty beat up and has been sitting there for a while. I was looking through the piles of guns and saw the corncob forend stuck in amongst some Browning A5s.:)

The 18" Wingmaster is still there. Anyone interested can pm me and I'll tell you where it's hiding amongst all the boxes and firearms. I just love that place. They haven't even jacked up their prices on Winchester rifles like most places in town.

I'd appreciate any more advice on this little hack job. I will do a lot of research before I break out the pipe cutter and hacksaw. I'd like to do as good a job as I can. I'm in no big hurry since I want to get out and shoot the Polychoke a little. I'm also not ruling out a gunsmith.

February 26, 2006, 07:36 PM
If you're going to cut a barrel down, one with a Polychoke is probably a good candidate. I prefer a 20" barrel, there's no reason to go to 18" unless you need the gun to ride in an LE car rack. Build up a jig to hold the barrel and guide the saw to get a square cut. There may be a slight taper to the barrel you'll need to adjust for.

Is your new 870 a magnum? That's the way my magnum's stock came from the factory. The stock wasn't cut down, it has the same LOP as the other shotgun.

February 26, 2006, 09:26 PM
There's no need for a gunsmith - especially if you're wanting to keep-it-cheap. All you need is a hacksaw with a good sharp blade, a file, and some emery cloth (or sandpaper).
You'll want it as short as legally possible (I'd shoot for 18 1/4" or so) .... especially for HD, where ranges will be close. Not only will it be a bit lighter - and easier to maneuver inside of a house, but you want the pattern to 'open' as much as possible. You still won't get much of a spread at close ranges .... but every bit helps.
From a longer (stock) barreled gun, it's as easy to miss your target with a (tight) 2" pattern, as it is with a bullet. SG's are meant to "spread lead".... might as well get the most out of it.
As far as the cutting - leave yourself about a 1/8" extra, for squaring it up after the cut. A good 'crosscut' file will remove the extra material pretty fast. Then finish with the emery cloth - using the file as a 'backing', to smooth the muzzle 'face'.... then de-burr the ID and OD of the muzzle. No real 'trick' to it, just take your time with the saw, and try to keep the cut as 'square' as you can - which just saves you time, and leaves you with less "file work". Nothin' to it.

Dave McCracken
February 26, 2006, 09:31 PM
A couple things...

First, you have a great pair there. Congrats!

Second, while the esthetics of a Polychoke are difficult to appreciate, those that were installed properly do a fair country job of choking. Please shoot it before sawing. You might decide to keep it as is, move it to the other 870.etc.

Or, you may lop it off without spoiling my day.

An 18" barrel is neither scarce nor costly. You may want to pick up one of the Mossberg made 870 barrels or hit the local shops for one.

That pad looks very similar to the one on Number 6, made in 55. Bet it's got a grip cap on it too.....

February 26, 2006, 09:37 PM
A trick that I used to use to get a square cut on the bbl was to borrow a "tubing cutter" (google this), mark the bbl where you want to cut it, wrap each side of the cut with masking tape and use the tubing cutter to "scribe" a guide line into the bbl. Finish up the cut with a hacksaw, or part-off wheel using the scribe line as a guide. Clean up the face and deburr both edges, touch up the blue and you're good-to-go.

pete f
February 27, 2006, 01:06 AM
18 inch barrels are nice but if you Eff up in cuttnig you do not have any lee way in making it right. try it at 20 inches and see if you like it, you also get one more round if you buy an ext tube.

one way to get a pretty square cut is use a guideblock made out of a chunck on hard wood with a whole drilled in it to make a square edge guide for the hacksaw.

February 28, 2006, 06:26 PM
I'll third the recommendation to just go out and buy the 18.5" barrel. There are many barrels out there at the bottom of ponds and rivers, that are just a wee bit too short. Remember you can't cut it longer. Besides you might be able to sell that Polychoke barrel for close too (if not more) then what you'd pay for a new 18.5" barrel. YMMV.

And it's a lot less work/worry.

Scout26, who just hates to see old barrels cut, when a new barrel can be had for cheap.

February 28, 2006, 07:23 PM
Given the option, I bought a second barrel, 20" IC and it came with rifle sights. It's only a 2 3/4" chamber, but since I never use 3" shells, it matters not a bit.

February 28, 2006, 08:01 PM
I don't know anything about cutting barrels, but $107 for a wingmaster in any working condition is a great deal. Good find.

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