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Is barrel length important for a HD shotgun?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by Charlie Martinez, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

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    My HD long gun is a 20 Ga bolt action shotgun, 24" barrel & polychoke loaded w/No. 6 shot.
    I have been considering shortening the barrel to 18"
    I dislike altering guns but if the modification is justified I'll do it
    Is it worth the trouble?
     
  2. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    I wouldn't.
    In the event you should have to use it.....someone could claim it was altered.
    ?.maybe if it was a 30inch full choke I would.
    If you do cut it off, be sure it's legal length.
     
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  3. Havok7416
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    Havok7416 Member

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    As cheap as pump actions are right now (sub-$200 new) you are likely better served buying something purpose-built.
     
  4. Virginian

    Virginian Member

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    According to all the self proclaimed experts it is critical. Better maneuverability. As you hole up and don't move.....
     
  5. Browning

    Browning Member

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    I’m generally in the ‘more maneuverable’ camp. It’s obviously not going to come into play in every situation though. Clearing your house by yourself unsupported is generally a bad idea unless you just have to (to go get kids or some other family member). Sometimes you have to though. I remember Clint Smith had some good ideas on how to run a ‘Long Tom’ bird shotgun for home defense.

    https://www.thefreelibrary.com/Duck...to+put+ol'+Long+Tom+away+after...-a0129627338

    In the two shootings I’ve run on with shotguns (by and large most people tend to shoot others with handguns) one barrel looked to be about 18” inches (ran out of the house after the guy and blasted him through the rear windshield) and the other was a bird barrel that didn’t seem to hinder the home owner any as he blasted the guy coming through the door.

    Then again with the last one he had to move through the house towards the front door while the guy was trying to kick it in. The guy just hadn’t made it through yet.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  6. George P

    George P Member

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    There's no reason to clean and sweep - that's the police job. So, hole up in a bedroom with the muzzle pointed at the door while dialing 911
     
  7. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Barrel length matters, up to a point. I'd consider a 24' barrel about as long as I'd want, but you can certainly make longer ones work. Somewhere around 20-21"" is what I consider ideal. I really don't.like the barrels shorter than about 20" I'd be more concerned about it being a bolt gun and in 20 ga than the barrel length. There are lots of good pumps that would be a much better option and at very good prices today. Even if you have to buy used.
     
  8. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Charlie Martinez

    I would get another shotgun (most likely a 12 gauge pump with an 18" barrel), rather than cutting down the barrel of a bolt action shotgun. I currently have two shotguns for home defense: a Maverick 88 12 gauge and a Winchester 1300 20 gauge; both with 18" barrels.
     
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  9. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
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  10. Browning

    Browning Member

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    I’m guessing you don’t have kids. That’s a reason.

    Other than that I’d generally agree with you.
     
  11. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    Regardless of barrel length, I wouldn't want a bolt action for HD.
     
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  12. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    ColtPythonElite

    That's what I was thinking too! If it's all that you've got then you just have to make do. But a bolt action shotgun wouldn't be my first choice for home defense.
     
  13. rb288

    rb288 Member

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    I have 2 18" home defense shotguns.
    Since they are strictly for HD, and my ranges of engagemrnt would only be 10 to 15 yards max, they are perfect for what I want, and need.
    Let me modify that, I, also carry one in an over the shoulder scabbard when I am "walking the property".
    I have 5 acres that is composed of 3 acres of woods, that I walk around every other day , or so.
    I carry one of my HD shotguns during those walks.
     
  14. Charlie Martinez

    Charlie Martinez Member

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    The 20 Ga shotgun is for my wife. She's really not a regular at the pistol range but she shoots trap with this bolt gun once a month or so
    In another related HR thread a former LEO says that even a single shot is a good HD gun when the gunner uses it well. A pump or semi auto would be better but are they absolutely necessary for adequate protection?
    Are self defense scenarios where criminal & defender engage in an extended gun fight like those you see in movies? I don't know but putting myself in the mind of a criminal offender, once the element of surprise is gone & the victim is armed & fighting back, the first priority will be to run away not hang around & shoot it out. To my way of thinking the first well-placed shot wins so make it count instead of relying on the spray & pray philosophy
    I agree that sweeping the house is not safe but there have been times when I have gootenup to check things out after hearing "something" just to make sure things are OK. The last time I heard a strange noise in the middle of the night & wrote it off as "nothing to worry about" I woke up to find my car window smashed & my radio torn out of the dash
    I wouldn't want to call the cops every time I hear a funny noise w/o knowing first what it is so I find that getting out of the bedroom to check things out is unavoidable
     
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  15. herrwalther

    herrwalther Member

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    24" is considerably more difficult to maneuver in tight spaces compared to 18.5". But I wouldn't modify it either. A Maverick 88 or H&R Pardner pump are easy to find in the $150 range to make a dedicated HD shotgun.
     
  16. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Member

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    I am also of the mindset that shouldn't modify it. It seems like a nice gun as is. Like others have said, pump guns are inexpensive depending on your budget.

    The longer barrel is tougher to move around, but for home defense, it really shouldn't matter. I kinda find the 20" barrels to hit the sweep spot for me.
     
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  17. BigSteve57

    BigSteve57 Member

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    Good points IMHO. We were taught to TRY and get to the bedroom where we have added a steel door & steel frame; door has a keyed lock on the outside and a lever on the inside like an exterior door. We had a carpenter reinforce the studding around the door too. The rest of the house is hardened in ways to increase the likelihood of us being able to do that and to force an intruder(s) to go in certain directions. But we're alone - no kids or other people living in the house. That would be different I think.

    We have a Benelli M4 as our HD shotgun.
     
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  18. SharpDog

    SharpDog Member

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    I have 250 lbs of dog (down from 2200 lbs ;) ) recommend that as a home accessory

    fetch-fraida-gutovich-canvas-print.jpg
     
  19. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Bolt action shotguns are not good upland guns....nor duck guns. Wouldn't be my first choice for HD either. I recommend getting an 18" barreled pump for your HD shotgun. The 870 is my favorite. Trade that bolt action for one if you must.

    A very good choice, also, though spendy. The H&R Pardner mentioned in another concurrent thread is another fine choice; cheap, and available at Walmarts almost everywhere.
     
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  20. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    Don't cut up that bolt action shotgun. Get a H&R 18" partner at Walmart for $140 and a box of buckshot.
     
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  21. nipprdog

    nipprdog Member

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    Buckshot instead of birdshot.
     
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  22. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    There are several reasons why you might need to clear your own house. Kids are one reason.

    I vote go with a 18-22" barrel if you have a choice.
     
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  23. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    Sounds like a crappy upland shotgun to me.
     
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  24. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    I wouldn't start cutting anything. There are too many good, non-expensive options that would work better.

    Eating Ramen to buy a Armscor VR80. ;)
     
  25. LoonWulf
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    LoonWulf Contributing Member

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    nother thought about getting a dedicated home defense shotgun....at least out here you blast someone and your not getting that back anytime soon, I'd prefer to not loose a gun I liked or cost decent money.
    guess I'm in the market for a cheap shotgun........
     
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