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Making a shotgun plug

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by natedog, Aug 8, 2004.

  1. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    In preperation for dove season, I realized that I've misplaced my shotgun magazine plug. I need something that can plug 3 rounds out of a 20 gauge shotgun. Can I just cut any old wooden dowel of the proper diameter to 7 1/4"? Any special concerns?
  2. sm

    sm member

    Yes, that is fine.

    Often times your friendly local gunsmith will have one, may even give you one....mag extensions and shotgun plugs don't go together for some reason. :D
  3. simmonsguns

    simmonsguns Well-Known Member


    as long as it is the correct length it is ok.it must be unable to be removed with out dissambly of the mag tube.at least thats how it is here.as i remember.
  4. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Well-Known Member

    In a pinch, I've seen folks use a #2 pencil.

    I suppose the black graphite would make it kinda tactical. ;)
  5. simmonsguns

    simmonsguns Well-Known Member

    pencils,sticks,other shotgun shell taped together,invention is the mother of nesesity.
  6. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    I was thinking about the over shotgun shell method, but wouldn't that constitute a loaded weapon when you're transporting it? Should I just drill a hole and drain out the powder?
  7. sm

    sm member


    I see you are in CA , I honestly don't know about your reg's out there.

    I'm in AR.

    Since this is under Federal Jurisdiction, which also mean a State offense occurs - It ain't worth it. Honest , folks take these plugs out all the time - come Doveseason here is a mad scramble for plugs.

    Folks go into gun shops where they do business, and the owners remind their good customers - they will give them one. Heck, some gun shops where folks buy cases of ammo ....tape a few to the outside of the cases. Many gunshops will make them and paint orange ....

    Here In AR the guns shops have them on the shelves for sale, Gas stations, WM, everywhere...The folks that lease lands and guide hunts ....keep them for the clients.

    Being Federal - it ain't worth it. It is a $3 item at the most. We all have used "get by " plugs. Now some places have "nicer" more "hunt friendly" areas than others....some areas are LOOKING to bust you.

    Winchester 1400 by design Will only hold 3 shells total . One chambered - two in mag. You CANNOT put a plug in a 1400. A couple of folks almost got busted for NOT having a plug in their 1400. These folks were nice and happend to cite the REGS....that part about gun not being able to hold more than 3 shells total.

    These wildlife officers ... were looking to bust folks. They interpretated the law to mean "factory plug"....they really didin't know or used their inttrepretaion for their purpose . See they confiscate guns, trucks, cars, boats....and auction this stuff off. Too many folks have attended auctions and paid too much to get back a sentimental gun in the family. One guy lost his wife's new SUV , boat, motor , trailer, His late Uncles shotgun...hunting privledges for 3 years....and a marriage before it was all over. He was wrong, he shot without a plug ( then tried to fashion one as the blue lights converged) during a break in the season, and didn't know it , but "technically" he tresspassed, and the area was termed legally "baite".

    NO offense...but folks we have folks that DO NOT like guns, hunting or hunters. We have political games at play. You have to be VERY Prudent in some areas...If that means buying a Factory plug at a 24hr gas station at 2 am for $10 - do it. Sure you got screwed. Check that field and KNOW the guides reputation and that of landowner. You have "kinfolks" that have deeds/ titiles to property that will go out and 'bait a field" ....just to set folks up.

    Sorry for the rant - I am ethical . I do it by the book. I have left "clubs and leases" that were unethical and unsafe. I have shown up on an invite, walked in ten steps and I knew - this was not a"legal" field and I left and did not hunt. 2 hrs drive to and 2 hrs back.

    It ain't worth it. It ain't worth for too many reasons, least of all to save such a minute amout of money.

    Heck I used to keep 6 or 8 in my vehicle, just in case folks needed one. I gave a small town LEO one in OK once , inherited a gun without one, buying ammo at a gunshop...he was inquiring about one... Sheriff deputy I gave another in TX...his "boy" had used the gun without permissions and removed it. WE always check everyone before we head to the field...plugs, license, HIPP , everything to be legal....
  8. Smoke

    Smoke Well-Known Member

    As an addition to what sm has said....

    A couple of years ago, the local Game Wardens invited the Federal boys down to raid an "illegal baited hunt".

    What they found was not what they expected ....but it was ugly anyway.
    The Feds really want to hang somebody for something if they take the time to visit your area.

  9. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Well-Known Member

    Steve - The specific law around here is:

    While pursuing migratory game birds, it is illegal to:

    Hunt with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler which is incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.

    I've got plugs for all my repeaters. However, if I forgot one and whittled a stick or used a pencil instead... AND got busted by an ignorant over-bearing game warden, I would gladly take up that fight in court. Perhaps the case could be used as precedent to help others.
  10. sm

    sm member

    First - I was not fussing at natedog - I apologize to natedog and others if I came across as such.

    Second - TrapperReady , Though I don't have a set of Regs handy - that regulation you cited TTBOMM is the same exact one.

    Third - Smoke brought out an example of what I have seen , once in TX ( which means being an AR resident - my out of state hunting license was of REAL interest) and once here in home state of AR.

    The two fellows with the 1400 were from OK , hunting as I in TX . Things got UGLY - they focused on the word "plug". I used both AR and TX regs,in which both have the Fed statutes and pointed out the clause " incapable holding more than 3 shells".

    Another member of this group was the TX LEO from another town, different county, different jurisdiction - seems as if busting a LEO , is deemed a "bonus" as are any politicians, corporated heads, and anyone else that "looks good " in media and court.

    I had given this LEO the plug in his gun. I had made a bunch of plugs using PVC - well the "gentlemen with authority" quipped it was not a "factory plug".
    I again used the cite TrapperReady provided earlier. They accepted the green ones in the various Remingtons as "factory". My Super X Model 1 was "suspect" because from the factory mine is wooden, picture a Remington one made of wood with the "head"...but all smooth. Most of the red paint mine had has worn off.

    More Ugly ensued when they wanted to search vehicles...well the LEO piped in ( I guess he figured I was in deep enough already) basically he informed them of illegal search, and even if a shot gun was found without a plug, if not used for hunting . I mean some the vehicles were "over there" , we had left others on the landowners property and ridden in with few vehicles.

    Being as we had folks out of town, folks from other states - OK and AR going to court would have been a royal PITA.

    I was expecting a few of us that were carrying concealed to get our chops busted for that. UGLY does not describe the situation.

    LEO led us out, I brought up the rear - with the "gentlement of authority" on my tail. Finally they broke off, the game plan if they didn't, was to head straight to the LEO's Station house .

    LEO made fuss allright, loud and clear once on his home turf. Classic example of what Smoke referred to. Some Counties flat don't like one another, don't like LEO from other counties, don't like folks from out of state, flat don't like anything or anybody.

    When I was "cleared" and "ordered" by the Federal Game Wardens to "sit my *** down " on the folded rear of his vehicle, I took the bbl off my SX1. So The LEO, myself and two folks walked out with bbls off our guns. WE were not very happy. We made it darn clear there was NO way we could shoot our guns in leaving. If shots were heard, could not be us. The other folks decided to stay and shoot. WE decided to walk out to our vehicles - and here they came to follow us to see where we went.

    So though the regulations are pretty clear, there are those that are selective in reading them.

    I made a Fed Warden "upset" up around Fayettville AR once. I was using a single shot 28 ga to shoot doves. I was 10/10. I knew it was a mattter of time and sure enough - here comes Feebie. " You can't hunt migratory birds with a single shot". I asked him if he had ears on , suggested he put them in while he found the cite in the regs...I felled # 11 with him watching. In disgust he left throwing mud, dirt and rocks on me and all around. He was so mad he forgot to check my license ... he was focused on the gun. Fayettnam I would expect this , Down in TX I was a bit surprised.
  11. TrapperReady

    TrapperReady Well-Known Member

    Steve - I hear what you are saying. Petty tyrants can be found in many places... including the DNR. I once had a friend arrested by a Forest Preserve cop for carrying a concealed weapon. The weapon in question was a small keychain knife with a blade under 1" in length, which was being carried on... HIS KEYCHAIN. Basically, the cop had stopped him for a BS reason (driving across the yellow lines in an empty parking lot), and then got angry when my friend wasn't as compliant as the cop wished.

    The charges got thrown out in court, but it was still a time-consuming headache (to include having his parents bail him out).

    I've gotten old enough and grumpy enough that I'm less willing to put up with BS than I used to. Man, I hate to think what I'll be like when I'm your age. ;) :D
  12. 870

    870 Well-Known Member

    I make my own (for extended mags) out of 1/4" dowelling, and have never had a problem.

  13. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

    New Zealand regulations say your shotgun must not hold more than two cartridges for waterfowl hunting ..... so I pinned my Win 1400 so that I can only get one shell in the magazine and one in the chamber.

    Pinning involved drilling a hole right through the mag tube and inserting a small bronze rod (piece of brazing rod). The rod can be removed easily, but it involves pulling the fore-end off, etc.

    Would a modification like this, which physically prevents shells from being loaded into the magazine be acceptable? .... its not a plug, but it does the same job and achieves the intent of the law (limiting the number of shots available).

  14. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus


    Ouch! Does it _have_ to be done that way?


    Do be careful improvising a plug. I've seen more than one mangled magazine spring caused by home-made plugs. A dowel close to the inside diameter of the mag spring (half inch or so), with the ends gently rounded or bevelled, is close to the original Remington pre-plastic plugs, at least original from the 1970s. But they were hardwood, painted green... .

    Good hunting,

  15. Smoke

    Smoke Well-Known Member

    For what it's worth....

    I've never had a Game Warden (or anybody else for that matter) look to see what kind of plug I had.

    All have just asked to see the gun and to hand them shells so they can see how many go in the tube.

    Just my experience.

  16. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

    Lee said:
    Well, it doesn't have to be done that way, but it was actually the easiest way to do it. The hole (about 2.5 mm diameter ... something like 1/16" I guess) is drilled from one side straight thru to the other. The brazing rod is inserted, cut to length and the forearm is fitted. Shotgun looks and behaves normally, the only thing is the mag spring is prevented from compressing enough to allow more than one shell into the mag.

    Removing the pin returns the gun to normal (albeit with two small holes in the mag tube). All modifications are hidden by the forearm.

  17. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus


    If it works and it makes the gun legal, what can I say? It just seemed to me that an appropriate length of 1/2" dowel slipped into the magazine tube inside the spring would work just as well and would be much easier than drilling thru the mag tube, if that would satisfy the legal requirements.

    Thanks for the insight on requirements for waterfowling in NZ, which are more limiting than here. Federal laws in the US restrict magazine guns used when hunting migratory birds to a two round magazine capacity.

  18. Spinner

    Spinner Well-Known Member

    Yeah, we are more limited .... though I suspect those limitations are more to do with the existence of double guns than anything.

    So, two shot maximum capacity, 12 ga is non-toxic shot only (anything but lead which by default means steel here) for any shotgun within 300 yards of an open waterway (defined as a waterway more than 3 yards wide), shotguns smaller than 12 ga may use lead shot (for now) as a recognition of the difficulties in finding non-toxic sub gauge ammo here. Not sure of bag limits .... think its about 8 ducks per hunter per day but I need to check.

    Doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me because mallards and grey ducks (the main duck species shot), geese and swans are all imported species. We have specific conservation regulations to manage and control the non-native waterfowl resources (basically because duckies have the "ohhh" factor), yet there are attempts to eradicate himalayan thar and deer from some areas .... yet these species attract tourist dollars thru overseas hunters. Crazy.

  19. Onmilo

    Onmilo Well-Known Member

    Plug for use in magazine extension:
    Measure length needed by laying a dowel and two shotshells of intended size underneath magazine.
    Cut dowel to the needed length and,
    Turn down a large size wood dowel of the measured length to just fit the inner diameter of the magazine spring.
    Slightly taper the end that will point towards the receiver
    Slip dowel into spring so that end of the dowel rests at muzzle end of the spring.
    Screw two flathead wood screws into the sides of the dowel at the middle of the magazine plug leaving enough of the head exposed to catch on the magazine spring and act as spring stops but not too much that the screws catch or bind inside the magazine tube.
    This keeps the dowel secured up at the muzzle which allows proper spring compression for the cartridges to feed properly without binding the spring on the magazine plug.
    You can also drill two parrallel sets of 1/16" holes through the sides of the dowel at the middle of the plug and wire it to the ends of the magazine spring if there is not enough clearance in the magazine tube for the screws.
    Put everything back together, function test, and you are done.
    This operation works best in magazine extension equipped shotguns and if it was done properly, will pass a DNR mag plug test every time.
    HTH Milo
  20. natedog

    natedog Well-Known Member

    Darn it. Bought a shotgun plug, and it's too short. I can fit 3 shells into the magazine. I think it's because the follower (which is the lenght of a shotgun shell) is hollow, allowing the spring to go inside. The plug needs to be about 3" longer. Now I have a useless $5 5" long plastic stick. I guess I'll have to make one myself....

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