Cutting barrel length ..... Help


January 30, 2013, 06:52 PM
Have and old 20ga. with 26" barrel that I would like to reduce to 19-20 and move the bead back accordingly. Would rather it not look like a blind tire changer did it! Advice and counsel on how to do a neat job would be appreciated.

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Cocked & Locked
January 30, 2013, 06:58 PM
What brand is that old 20 gauge?

January 30, 2013, 07:17 PM
Mark your new bead site BEFORE you cut it off

January 30, 2013, 07:20 PM
Assuming the barrel can be taken off, a bandsaw with a metal blade would be the cat's pajamas. Make sure to shim the barrel so the bore is perfectly perpendicular to the blade. If you lay it flat without a shim, the taper of the barrel will make the cut at an angle and your barrel end will be a little off.
When you're done, hit the inside and outside with just a touch with a half-round file to take off any burrs, not too much, and you're done.
Except for the end, you'll want a touch of bluing compound on the end to seal it.

El Mariachi
January 30, 2013, 07:37 PM
I used a pipe cutter on this old 12 gauge. But then again I wasn't worried about the bluing....

January 30, 2013, 07:43 PM
Pipe cutters narrow the muzzle, and can lead to a dangerous constriction.

A bandsaw, in a jig to keep it square is the best.
Remember that a lot of barrels have a slight taper to them

El Mariachi
January 30, 2013, 07:45 PM
I made 20 very shallow turns, very slowly, in the soft steel of this barrel. Trust me, it didn't budge, bulge, bend, burn, burr, break or bugger inwards.....:D

January 30, 2013, 09:33 PM

January 30, 2013, 09:45 PM
Pipe cutters are a bad idea for a couple of reasons. I've done several with a hacksaw, and trued them up with a file and square. Results have always been outstanding.

January 31, 2013, 01:53 PM
I've done several with a hacksaw, and trued them up with a file and square. Results have always been outstanding.


That is the way to do it. Get the best new hacksaw blade you can and the cutting job, if you go slow and are careful, will come out better than you think. It is not that hard to get through the barrel. Then as the other guy said, true it up with a file and square. Get the best files you can too.

January 31, 2013, 04:24 PM
I've cut a bunch of shotgun barrels. Once you measure and then measure again and mark where you are going to cut put a piece of masking tape or duct tape around the barrel just below the line. This will keep you from marking the barrel if you slip. If you make the tape thick enough it will also guide the blade straight. Then true up with a file. I usually then cold blue the metal.

January 31, 2013, 06:28 PM
I use a couple of zip ties tightly "zipped" on to act as a guide for a fresh hack saw blade.Use some lubricant and go slow.I can get a pretty square cut that only needs minor truing up with a file or large stone.

January 31, 2013, 07:23 PM
Here's my minimum tools shotgun barrel cut down instructions:

Cutting down a shotgun barrel
Measure the existing barrel by closing the action (make sure it's empty) and putting a dowel rod or cleaning rod down the barrel.
Mark the rod even with the muzzle, remove it and measure from the end of the rod to the mark.
This is the actual barrel length.

Measure the rod to the length you want the barrel to be and mark it.
The barrel MUST be at least 18" long, and if you're smart, you won't go under 18 1/2".

After marking the rod at 18 1/2" or how ever long you want it, lay it along side the barrel with the FIRST mark even with the muzzle, then mark the barrel at the second mark.
This will be where the barrel will be cut.

STOP...... Start all over and measure everything AGAIN to be SURE.
Make sure the action is closed when you put the rod down the bore, and make SURE you measure everything RIGHT so the cut line isn't less than 18 1/2".
A smart man measures everything several times. Cut too short and you just committed a FELONY.

Once you're sure about where you want to cut, carefully wrap a piece of tape around the barrel, keeping it as square with the barrel as possible.
Buy a good fine-tooth hacksaw blade and use it in a good high-tension saw frame.

When you're ready to make the cut...STOP... check everything out again one last time.

When you're sure, make a one or two stroke gentle cut on the tape cut line. Then rotate the barrel and make another one or two stroke light cut.
Continue this until you have a shallow line cut all the way around the barrel.

Continue making one or two stoke cuts and rotating the barrel until the barrel is cut through.
Doing it this way insures you make a square cut that doesn't drift off and make the muzzle uneven.
This prevents having to do a lot of filing to try to square the muzzle up again.

Once the barrel is cut, use a fine-cut file to carefully remove the saw marks from the end of the muzzle, then use the file to break the sharp outer edge.
Wrap fine metal-type wet or dry sand cloth around the ball of your thumb, and use that to break the sharp inner edge of the muzzle.

Use cold blue to touch up the cut edge.

For a new front sight, either have a gunsmith install a new bead, or buy a Remington type bead and base unit from Brownell's, and soft solder it on by "sweating" it in place.
Brownell's sell this as a "Colonial Arms" front sight base, item number 198-104-101.

To solder the base on, use a fine-cut file to remove a spot of bluing from the barrel that is JUST as large as the new base. (solder won't stick to bluing).
Clean the base of any grease, heat it up, flux it and apply a thin coat of soft solder. I recommend the 3% silver content soft solder sold by most hardware and Walmart's. This melts at under 450 degrees and makes a good bond.
Apply a thin coat of flux on the bottom of the base, then clamp it on the barrel.
Heat the barrel until the solder melts then allow to cool.
Clean everything up and you're in business.

Another option is to use the new "Black Max" bonder made by Loctite and sold by Brownell's.
This is a "super-glue" mixed with a black rubbery binder that's specifically made to bond on shotgun sights. From all reports it really holds if you do the job right.

January 31, 2013, 08:20 PM
Tape, vise, new hacksaw blade, fine tooth file and birch woods bluing pen made me old O/U come out great.

February 1, 2013, 02:47 PM
I use a hacksaw then true up with a square and a sharp Nicholson Bastard mill. I go on the outside of the muzzle's edge and then use a rat tail on the iside to break the radiused inner edge. I then use a piece of emery cloth and twist it a few times. Done deal.

February 1, 2013, 03:01 PM
Thanks to all! Great advice and counsel! This is why I come to THR.....'cuz I "ain't" the smartest guy in the room!

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