Shortest practical 12 gauge length


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Ironclad
February 24, 2012, 06:28 PM
I am interested in making a SBS from a NEF single shot 12 gauge. I'd like to make it as short as I can while still having decent velocity. At what point would the barrel be too short to be effective?

Also, when you go to fill out the ATF form 1 on length, can you list multiple? I would like to experiment with different lengths. What does it take to change the length later if I only list one?

Finally, what kind of tolerances do you have to cut the barrel to? If you register it for 10 inches, and it ends up being 9.9 or 10.1, is there a penalty? Is it better to err on the long side?

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dprice3844444
February 24, 2012, 06:49 PM
keep it at 18.5 and buy more ammo

Ironclad
February 24, 2012, 07:05 PM
I'm not really asking if I should cut it down to SBS length or not. I'm asking about the ballistics from shorter barrels and how to go about filling out the paperwork.

zignal_zero
February 24, 2012, 07:08 PM
i can't tell ya how short is too short. i believe it's really a matter of opinion and mine is not objective considering i simply do not like SBS's. however, as to your second question, i can tell you what i believe and what i would do. take it with a grain of salt, NO ONE can tell you how the ATF is going to interpret something except MAYBE the ATF :D i would list one barrel length, on my form 1. it would be the shortest barrel i planned on using and i would make sure i never got rid of that barrel. as long as i could easily convert it back to it's listed length, i would be comfortable. i believe they want you to notify them, in writing, of any PERMANENT changes to the weapon. so.... even if it was a major, irreversible change, all you would have to do (I BELIEVE) is tell them about it :)

Aaron Baker
February 24, 2012, 07:54 PM
There's what the ATF ideally wants, there's what is actually law, and there's what you should probably do as a middle ground. The law says if your barrel is less than a certain length, you must register. It does not say that you have to specify a certain length of barrel. However, the ATF's form requires a length. The ATF says that if you make a permanent length change, they want you to notify them.

I am not aware of any law that lays out any penalty for having a different length than what the ATF is aware of. Once your SBR or SBS is registered, I believe you're safe as far as not being at risk of being penalized for being longer or shorter than your "registered" length.

If I were going to make an SBS from an NEF shotgun, I'd probably do the research on what various lengths mean in terms of velocity, and then make a decision. If you want to go shorter later, then you can notify the ATF if you want to play it safe. However, you do not need to worry about the "exactness" of the cut. Once you've registered the receiver, the ATF won't be inspecting your shotgun for length. (At least I've NEVER heard of it happening.)

Aaron

(Disclaimer: I'm a lawyer, but not your lawyer. This is my educated understanding of the law, but it may be incorrect.)

Ironclad
February 24, 2012, 08:23 PM
Thanks. That makes a lot of sense.

Girodin
February 24, 2012, 09:11 PM
At what point would the barrel be too short to be effective?

Effective for what exactly? It is hard to say whether it will be effective without having any idea what your intended use is.

I briefly tried to find it but couldn't locate an old thread from the saiga 12 forums with some chrono data for a bunch of different barrel lengths, down to 8". I remember thinking the velocity loss was not that much between a 20" and an 8". Out of an 8" barrel velocities were still what I would consider very effective for any task I might use an 8" shotgun for.

By practical are you talking merely about velocity loss? Or are you wanting to account for things such as flash and blast?

Ironclad
February 24, 2012, 10:57 PM
I don't really have a specific application for it but I wouldn't want the velocity to be less than 75% of that from an 18 inch barrel.

As far as blast and flash, I assume its going to be pretty nasty no matter what.

Chopdoktor
February 25, 2012, 12:54 AM
I've used a few 12.5" barreled Remington 870's, and from what I understand, the gains in velocity past a 14" barrel are very minimal, so I'd say somewhere in the 12-14" range would be a good point to settle at. Plus, with a full-stocked shotgun, you've got more to hold onto than a pistol grip and a handgun-length barrel. I dig 870's cut off at the mag tube cap, and I'm sure other platforms would handle equally well.

Also, for what it's worth, I would go with a pump or at least a side-by-side for a registered sbs... $200 and 6+ months is a large commitment for the (limited) fun a single-shot can bring you, but that's simply my opinion. If you're all about single-shots, go for it. Oh, and yes...the blast/flash is hardcore :-)

VeeArDoubleyouSee
February 25, 2012, 12:58 AM
I briefly tried to find it but couldn't locate an old thread from the saiga 12 forums with some chrono data for a bunch of different barrel lengths, down to 8". I remember thinking the velocity loss was not that much between a 20" and an 8". Out of an 8" barrel velocities were still what I would consider very effective for any task I might use an 8" shotgun for.

http://forum.saiga-12.com/index.php?/topic/38729-muzzle-velocity-versus-barrel-length

Summary: someone measured down to 12", no significant loss in muzzle velocity

leadcounsel
February 25, 2012, 04:34 AM
Considering the cost and work involved (and the PITA with paperwork, keeping track of the laws, etc), and the fact you're using a single shot weapon, I'd say the 'practical' lenght is 18.5".

You'd be spending at least 2 or 3 times, maybe more, the intrinsic value of the shotgun in the changes if it required the SBS forms.

Lawdawg45
February 25, 2012, 09:33 AM
Ironclad,

What is the minimum legal length in your state? As far as "too short", even the white elephant gift Taurus Judge, has a decent pattern out to about 4 feet.

LD

Girodin
February 25, 2012, 02:49 PM
As far as "too short", even the white elephant gift Taurus Judge, has a decent pattern out to about 4 feet.


Pattern is affected by much more than just length. The Judge's horrible patterns aren't because it short but because its rifled.

Considering the cost and work involved (and the PITA with paperwork, keeping track of the laws, etc),

If you don't mind my asking, how many NFA items do you own? It seems that the people that think it is a huge PITA are ones that haven't actually gone through the process. A form one is a short document and pretty easy to fill out if one is literate. Sending a check or money order is not real hard or complicated. The wait is the worst part of the process. I think a lot of people get dissuaded form SBSs, SBRs, etc, because they hear about what a huge PITA it is, when it really isn't.

Money things are always relative, but $200 over the life of firearm is not what I would call majorly expensive. On a NEF/H&R single shot one could do the whole thing for under $300, under $400 even if you paid someone to cut it and thread it for choke tubes. A 6" barreled gun is a very different toy than a 18.5" one and $300 is not much money if that is what floats your boat. Also, if one shops around for the right donor beater gun, one may be able to do it for even less.

What is the minimum legal length in your state?

Apart from states that do not allow SBS at all, are there any states that have different legal limit than the federal laws?

NG VI
February 25, 2012, 03:54 PM
I briefly tried to find it but couldn't locate an old thread from the saiga 12 forums with some chrono data for a bunch of different barrel lengths, down to 8". I remember thinking the velocity loss was not that much between a 20" and an 8". Out of an 8" barrel velocities were still what I would consider very effective for any task I might use an 8" shotgun for.


I know which chart you're talking about, I remember being really surprised by how little velocity is given up by running a very short shotgun barrel. If I remember correctly there was basically no measurable barrel length-induced velocity change after ten inches, it seemed like the specific barrel and load in question usually influenced velocity much more than the actual length of it.

dirtengineer
February 25, 2012, 04:55 PM
Remington sells their military version of the 870 with 10" and 14" barrels. I would guess that this is breach length and entry weapon length, respectively. http://www.remingtonmilitary.com/Firearms/Shotguns%20Pump/MCS.aspx

I have a friend with a 14" ithica AOW, it is pretty tough to handle with full power loads.

dprice3844444
February 25, 2012, 05:44 PM
https://www.standardpartsllc.com/productcart/pc/msg.asp?message=83

here ya go

http://www.serbu.com/

Ironclad
February 25, 2012, 06:58 PM
Exactly what I was looking for. Thanks a lot guys!

leadcounsel
February 26, 2012, 04:16 PM
If you don't mind my asking, how many NFA items do you own? It seems that the people that think it is a huge PITA are ones that haven't actually gone through the process. A form one is a short document and pretty easy to fill out if one is literate. Sending a check or money order is not real hard or complicated. The wait is the worst part of the process. I think a lot of people get dissuaded form SBSs, SBRs, etc, because they hear about what a huge PITA it is, when it really isn't.

Granted, taken INDIVIDUALLY, I'm sure it's not that big of a deal. And I don't have any NFA items. But my POINT is that if you're like me, and have literally scores of different things like this, little ankle biters if you will, then in their aggregate they add up and are just too much to keep track of.

I have a filing cabinet full of "easy" paperwork, forms, etc. If your life is at all 'complicated' with property, professional degrees, vehicles, moving frequently, other hobbies, these little ankle biters end up taking weekends out of your life to keep up with. And with an NFA item, as I understand it, there are legal consequences if you don't update your address promptly, and you can't take it out of state, etc.

I may be wrong, but it just seems like one more unnecessary complication given the gains. WOW, you shaved 4 inches off your plinker shotgun. What do you GAIN from it... ? Zero.

I look at all of this from a Cost/Benefit perspective. There's little/no upside and a lot of downside, including stiff legal penalties and throwing away probably 3 times the value of the gun on the paperwork and effort. Not for me, thanks. If it's for you, have fun.

Girodin
February 26, 2012, 09:20 PM
as I understand it . . . you can't take it out of state, etc.

Not exactly correct. You do have to provide notice. However, if you have some place you go regularly, say you go shoot at your farm one state over, you can in essence give notice once and get approval for the rest of the year.

as I understand it, there are legal consequences if you don't update your address promptly,

The same is true for my driver's license, but that's not going to keep me from having one.

WOW, you shaved 4 inches off your plinker shotgun.

I would tend to agree that if you were cutting a shotgun from 18 to 14 it might not be worth it to me. Cutting something down to 6-10" is a fairly dramatic difference though, and if it adds to the fun factor then why not?

What do you GAIN from it... ? Zero.

Personal enjoyment doesn't count? If we are talking about a single shot shotgun it is mostly going to be for the gee wiz factor. I would not tell anyone that is an unacceptable reason to own a gun though. I do think SBRs and SBS really can offer a dramatic difference in weight and handling and still be very usable, often more so.

I get someone might have personal things that factor in, such as moving every 3 years as part of the military, but it makes little sense to project those factors on everyone or to make a statement that it is per se a PITA. Working in a law office I would really question whether it is too hard for a lawyer to write a letter once every 3 years when he moves.

I think one of the reasons people tend to get more NFA items once they have gotten one is that they realize it really isn't a PIA.

I totally get that some may not want to delve into NFA items. I'd take issue with someone who has never done so characterizing it as a PITA and discouraging others from doing so for that reason.

I look at all of this from a Cost/Benefit perspective. There's little/no upside and a lot of downside, including stiff legal penalties and throwing away probably 3 times the value of the gun on the paperwork and effort. Not for me, thanks. If it's for you, have fun.

I think that those statements would be better if you strategically added the phrase "to me." For example, there is little/no upside to me.

Also, why bother coming to the NFA forum? Or are you talking about this project specifically?

Girodin
February 26, 2012, 09:25 PM
I also would point out the original poster made it pretty clear he wasn't soliciting opinions on whether or not to SBS but rather technical information on exterior ballistics. He stated:

I'm not really asking if I should cut it down to SBS length or not.

thorazine
February 28, 2012, 11:16 AM
Who cares about practical it's all about fun factor. =D

Saakee
February 29, 2012, 05:47 AM
Just enough for crimp to open (underwater/Surprise CQB), 7" for inside HD, 18.5" for external HD.

MasterSergeantA
February 29, 2012, 12:57 PM
I am interested in making a SBS from a NEF single shot 12 gauge. I'd like to make it as short as I can while still having decent velocity. At what point would the barrel be too short to be effective?

Also, when you go to fill out the ATF form 1 on length, can you list multiple? I would like to experiment with different lengths. What does it take to change the length later if I only list one?

Finally, what kind of tolerances do you have to cut the barrel to? If you register it for 10 inches, and it ends up being 9.9 or 10.1, is there a penalty? Is it better to err on the long side?
I can't speak to the 'effectiveness' question very well as the velocity will vary with loads, so 'decent' becomes kind of subjective. A really short shotgun will still be useable out to social encounter distances, but you obviously won't take it out for duck season.

Once you have made the NEF single shot a SBS, you could change the barrel length on it, pretty much at will, so long as you could reconfigure it to the specifications of the Form 1 also at will. If you send in a Form 1 that says the barrel will be 12" long, you can start work when it comes back approved. At that point you could cut it to 12", get a second barrel (or third) from NEF and cut to 8" and keep both so long as you can remount the 12" barrel. If you sold the longer barrel, you would be advised to let the ATF know that the base configuration has changed and that can be done with a letter. I always recommend enclosing a photoco[y of the original Form 1 as well.

H&R/NEF actually has a program in effect to fit additional barrels to the same receiver, so getting multiples is not an issue. Details are on their website under 'barrel exchange program'. If you had them fit a new barrel of 18" length or longer, you could dispose of your short barrels and revert the shotgun to non-NFA status.

Entering "multiple" in blocks 4e and 4f on the Form 1 will get it rejected. The same is currently true for 4c (caliber, gauge, or size) as many AR builders have found out. Oddly enough, in the case of NEF and the barrel exchange program, you could have a 20 gauge barrel fitted to your gun and cut it down as well as doing it with the 12. Again, so long as you keep the 12 gauge barrel, you don't have to do anything else.

As Aaron pointed out, "exactness" isn't critical once you cross the line into the NFA realm. That .1" is not the issue on a SBS that it would be on a non-NFA shotgun.

Gordon
March 1, 2012, 08:46 PM
I had a cut down pistol gripped Winchester 37 12 ga with a 10" barrel on it in the early 70s when as a nark I thought it was OK under my truck seat. The length was the end of the fore stock which will be a concern of yours too. The Win 37 uses a hammer that is protected from pushing thru the web of your hand which if you pistol grip your H&R you will understand what I mean. With a 10" barrel a rifled slug would punch both sides of a dumpster from 10 yards or so. I kept it loaded with XM something #4 buckshot I got for free. I figured 27 1/4" balls would hurt as they blew 2"x4" lumber to pieces at the same range.

RX-178
March 1, 2012, 08:54 PM
An old rule of thumb, that I'm not sure if it's been disproved or updated any...

Have the barrel the same length as the stock.

45bthompson
March 11, 2012, 04:35 AM
On my last deployment I picked up a single shot break barrel 12g pistol. It had about a 6" barrel. I stuck it in my kit to use as a last ditch weapon when gunning but really just carried it around cause it looked badass. With 00 buck it would not penetrate an m2 ammo can at 5'. And firing it one handed was one of the stupidest things I did over there.

wally
March 12, 2012, 07:45 PM
The wait is the worst part of the process. I think a lot of people get dissuaded form SBSs, SBRs, etc, because they hear about what a huge PITA it is, when it really isn't

Yes and no. Getting "passport photos", fingerprints, and the LEO sign-off are a PITA any way you cut it, and unless you are in a location with a gun friendly DA, Sheriff, or Police Chief you are pretty much out of luck unless you go though the one time hassle and expense of setting up a Trust or LLC, which has the side benefit of eliminating the need for fingerprints, photos, and LEO sign-off.

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