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Cutting down a barrel

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Barry the Bear, Jan 19, 2014.

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  1. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Member

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    I have a newly bought remington 870 express, got it for 239 with some buckshot OTD. It came with a VR barrel that measures to 28" . I want to know how you guys would go about cutting the barrel down to about 20-22 inches. I want a home defense barrel and have no need whatsoever for a hunting shotgun. I also dont want to spend 180+ dollars on a new barrel or for some gunsmith to chop it for me. Also I personally think the ribbed barrels are awesome, just cant find one for sale in the length I want. Any help is greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Reefinmike

    Reefinmike Member

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    just chuck er in the vice, get out the ol hack saw, tape measure, belt sander and cold blue! cut her atleast 18.5", best to cut it where the rib meets the barrel so it doesnt look funny. sand the end of the barrel smooth and remove any burrs and then slap some cold blue on. If you are worried about it, you can drill and tap a hole on the end for a bead.
     
  3. jaguarxk120

    jaguarxk120 Member

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    When you dress the end of the barrel after cutting make sure you sand out all the saw cut marks.
     
  4. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Member

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    Note that the length is measured by dropping a dowel down the barrel so that it rests against the breech face (when the action is closed, of course). Don't go below 18.5 inches.

    Or, you could easily sell that barrel on ebay and buy what you want, if you can find one that you like.
     
  5. Master Blaster

    Master Blaster Member

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    The only issue with cutting it is you lose the ability to adjust choke and the pattern. That may not matter depending on how it patterns after you cut it.
     
  6. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    I wouldn't recomend this; a cylander bore barrel might be easier and cheaper to find than you realize. If you go forward, the most important thing is to carefully de-bur the new muzzle on the inside or the barrel will likely split when you fire it. Either way, good luck!
     
  7. plumberroy

    plumberroy Member

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    I had rose action sports cut down a 28" vent rib barrel replace the bead rethread it for remchokes including return shipping it was $95. You can't tell it isn't factory . I had to do this because remington left hand 870's only have one barrel available
    Roy
     
  8. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Member

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    so the barrel can split if i dont adjust the inside? Isnt it cylinder bore anyway? I dont think it should matter.
     
  9. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    With a vent rib barrel you need to cut on one of the rib posts. On an 870 that means either 21" or 19". I've cut several at 21". I just like that length best. If you mess up,you have one more cut at 19" and still be legal. I've never had a problem.

    I use sharp hacksaw blade and true everything up with a file and square afterward. I use cold blue to touch up the bare metal on the end and a clamp on fiberoptic sight. It is a 5 minute job from start to finish.

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    The barrel will not split. I think the easiest way would be to sell your barrel and just buy a shorter barrel.
     
  11. AI&P Tactical

    AI&P Tactical Member

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    You are going to cut down a $200 barrel and pay around $90 to have it cut down and threaded for chokes. Or you are going to whack it off yourself and have a Straight bore with no choke. Then buy some clip on type sight instead of threading it for a bead.

    If your barrel is in any kind of decent condition you can get from $100 to $120 for it, or more if it is really good shape. You then add the $60 to $80 and get the Remington 12ga 21" Vent Rib barrel with Rem Choke. It comes with a Turkey tube but you can sell that and buy an IC or Modified Tube any place. So you are getting the barrel you want for far less then you thought it would cost you. Or simply call Remington and buy the 18.5" Police Parkerized bead sight IC barrel for $105 and you break even.
     
  12. s4s4u

    s4s4u Member

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    I recently did just as he said. Am happy as can be. Go for it.
     
  13. Neo-Luddite

    Neo-Luddite Member

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    The barrel after cutting will only split if you fail to de-bur the inside of the muzzle. This isn't hard; just work it over with emery cloth/crocus cloth. Some guys think minor inperfections will 'shoot out' and ignore this step in the process. That's the only reason I mentioned it.
     
  14. 200Apples
    • Contributing Member

    200Apples Member

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    Yes; it is good machining practice to de-burr, or chamfer, whichever; the ends of a cut tube or pipe... to reduce "stress risers" that can cause cracking. This is often done in high-performance engine blocks at the top and bottom of the engine block's cylinder bores... I can't why a shotgun barrel is much different. :)

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but a square cut would seem essential if the gun is to remain shooting true. This is important to consider especially if the outside of the barrel is tapered. In this case, you could try what I did: cut the barrel in a band saw, then turn the barrel 360 degrees per pass over a disc sander, using a 90-degree fence. Dipping the muzzle each pass in water aids against overheating the muzzle.

    McMaster-Carr will deliver to your door next morning the corresponding tap necessary to re-install your bead sight.

    The barrel mentioned in my story was cut from a 34-incher to a 20-inch-length on a $100 H&R single-shot 12-ga. made in 1940. Had my experiment failed, I wasn't out too much dough!


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    :)
     
  15. romulus

    romulus Member

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    If you chop it off and use files and crocus cloth and all that stuff to beburr, how do you insure you have a trued barrel crown? Sounds like a bubba job. It may look good but the crown will not be true. I'd take the other advice given, trade it in for a police barrel or a 21" turkey barrel if that's what you want, but don't mess with a barrel crown
     
  16. Nickel Plated

    Nickel Plated Member

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    IF he wants to go through the hassle of advertising it, dealing with hagglers, shipping and all that nonsense. Plus if you just like the look of an 18" vent rib, I'm afraid you're not gonna find one of those anywhere except cutting it.

    It's a quick and easy process really. I did the same on my SXP for the same reason. I just like the look of a short barrel with a vent rib as opposed to a plain short barrel. And i had an extra 28" barrel sitting around that I wasn't using so might as well.

    So clamp it in a vice, measure, measure again, cut with hacksaw (I avoid power tools like grinders. They make the job go faster, but they also make mistakes happen faster) Then use some fine files and sandpaper to square it up and clean the edges.

    If you REALLY want 18.5" and it doesn't land on a vent rib post, you can just cut it there and then cut the vent rib back a bit to the next post so it ends slightly before the muzzle. That looks pretty cool too.

    There's no crowns on a shotgun barrel. As long as you file it down so there's no burrs sticking into the bore its good to go. Really, a shotgun barrel is just a straight tube this ain't rocket surgery. How do you think gunsmiths do it?
     
  17. romulus

    romulus Member

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    When I had mine done I don't know how it was cut, chopped, or otherwise shortened, but it was re-crowned. Brownells sells a tool for the purpose.
     
  18. BSA1

    BSA1 Member

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    Do it right and you won't come up short.

    I cut the barrel of my 870 many years ago to 21 or 22" (to lazy to go measure) and threaded for choke tubes. With a selection of chokes I have everything from Turkey, game bird and self defense.

    It currently is wearing a slug barrel for H.D. which also gives me a deer gun.
     
  19. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    By chance today I was unpacking a box of books in the course of moving to our retirement home. One of the books is a copy of Louis Awerbuck's early work, The Defensive Shotgun - Techniques and Tactics (C. 1989).

    In several of the photos Louis is using a short 870 with ghost ring sights - and a vent rib barrel too.

    :D
     
  20. Nite Ryder

    Nite Ryder Member

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    Unless you are going to use that shotgun for hunting upland birds or ducks and geese, there is no reason to worry about the choke. The choke is in the last 2 or 3 inches of a shotgun barrel. After you cut it off the actual choke will be gone, but it will still be what is known as a cylinder bore choke, which means your shot will spread sooner than it would if the same shell was fired through a full choke barrel. It will still work fine for slugs or double ought buck shot, just won't be great for hunting anything except Quail. It will work for that if you use small shot like 7-1/2 or 9's. Don't give any thought to the barrel splitting, out of over 20 barrels I've cut off, I've never seen that happen. If you want to re-install the front sight, before you cut off the barrel, get a length of thread and a piece of tape. Tape the end of the thread to the receiver where you would expect to find a rear sight if one were used. Gently pull the tape toward the front sight bead and make a wrap around the bead. Pull the thread back to the receiver and place it under the tape, beside the other end of the thread, pull them both tight before you tape them back down. Get a sharp center punch and place it between the two threads at a point 18-1/4" from the front of the bolt in the receiver. Strike it with a hammer hard enough to make an indentation in the metal, saw the barrel off at about 18-1/2", or at a rib support if the gun has a ventilated rib.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    +1

    It simply does't ever happen.

    The muzzle is thicker & stronger on a barrel after it is cut then it was to start with.

    rc
     
  22. Barry the Bear

    Barry the Bear Member

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    ok some good ideas, ill do it as soon as i get some time, how would i go about re installing a sight? doesnt have to be beaded.
     
  23. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  24. deere140

    deere140 Member

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    200Apples- You should consider reversing your bench. It would be a shame to take out that 500 or 242K (or 249), much better for the milsurp or Sears to get hit!
     
  25. Sheepdog1968

    Sheepdog1968 Member

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    Personally I would just cut it down yourself based on what you outlined in your orig post. It's not a rare shotgun and you got it for a good price. Why spend a lot of money to modify it? If you are worried, just cut down initially an inch or two to get a practice run in before making the cut to desired length.
     
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