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Shortest legal barrel for a shotgun?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by DHart, Aug 12, 2004.

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  1. DHart

    DHart Member

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    I have a Mossberg 500 Persuader which has an 18.5" barrel. The magazine tube is about 3" shorter than the barrel and I was wondering if I could legally cut back the barrel length to any degree... anyone know how far I can go and still keep the shotgun legal?
     
  2. lycanthrope

    lycanthrope Member

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    At least in PA....you can cut it back half an inch......
     
  3. pauli

    pauli Member

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    without going through sbs/aow nightmares with the atf, 18" is the federal law for shotgun barrels (though, i suppose it MIGHT be 16" for a rifled slug barrel).

    but i think the shotgun guys could tell you better than the rifle guys ;)
     
  4. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    18.5" is the accepted standard, the federal limit is 18". Remember Randy Weaver of Ruby Ridge got in trouble for trimming shotgun barrels just a bit tooo much. 1/10th of an inch under 18" will get you federal jail time. Why tempt fate and the ATF guy screwing up his measuring tape... stick with 18.5".


    With a Class III NFA license you can get a short barreled shotgun (14") but it's a major pain in the butt for very little actual gain.
     
  5. Onmilo

    Onmilo Member

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    Always cut a shotgun or rifle barrel at least one quarter to one half inch longer than the legal minimum.
    ATF uses a "Precision" metal bar to measure barrel length.
    It is dropped down the questioned barrel to rest against the closed bolt.
    If so much as a millimeter of that bar extends from the muzzle you're facing an immediate felony charge.
    Play it safe.
     
  6. DHart

    DHart Member

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    Well... ok, that shoots that idea all to hell! :rolleyes: Now I really like the "short" 18.5" barrel on my Persuader! ;) Thanks for the info. :cool:
     
  7. Col. Mustard

    Col. Mustard Member

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    You didn't ask, but...

    The same law (National Firearms Act of 1934) which requires the 18" barrel also requires an overall length of 26". So don't plan on trimming the other end, either.
     
  8. MeekandMild

    MeekandMild Member

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    So what is the minimum length in Canada, eh? I have heard that in spite of their otherwise Draconian laws they allow short barreled shotguns.
     
  9. simmonsguns

    simmonsguns Member

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    interesting side bar,moss. from factory has a pistol grip,rem. does not.short barreled moss. with pistol grip is termed "any other weapon" by the kind people of the atf.rem. with short barrel and non factory pistol grip is a short barreled shotgun.what is the difference? rem. is $200.00 tax stamp and mindless paper work,moss is $50.00 tax stamp and same paper work.just because the people at moss. offer the factory pistol grip.this also counts for the 9 inch barrel moss. i build for use as a three shot breaching or entry shot gun,with vertical foregrip(keep an eye on where your thumb is with these)mock ups test guns help when its 3 o'clock in the am.
     
  10. zeke

    zeke Member

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    In Wisconsin, it is 18 inchers for the tube, there is also a minimum overall length. If a shorter overall length is desired than a pump with 18 inch tube , while still having a butt stock, sxs or over and unders have shorter over all lengths with the minimum length barrels, due too a shorter action type.

    Course ya only get 2 shots, till having to reload. A sxs with 20 inch tubes, is usually shorter than a pump with 18.5 in tube.
     
  11. PMDW

    PMDW Member

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    If you get a Class III license, you had better plan on selling NFA items full time, or you get in trouble. If you want to own a short barreled shotgun (SBS) you do not need any license or permit. Read this, but substitute "machine gun" with "SBS", and ignore the part about the whole 1986 thing, that only applies to MGs.

    http://www.vtgunsmiths.com/arms/caniown.html
     
  12. djl4570

    djl4570 Member

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    Randy Weaver knew about the 18" limit on the shotgun barrels, they got him on the 26" overall length. I think this is documented in Weaver's book. The overall length was in part a response to Clyde Barrow's "Whipit" shotgun.

    There's no point in trimming the barrel back any. If there is ever a question about it that extra half inch prevents nitpicking.
     
  13. DHart

    DHart Member

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    I appreciate the replies! My Persuader is just great at 18.5". :cool:
     
  14. carpettbaggerr

    carpettbaggerr Member

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    Nope. Still a shotgun --NOT a 12 gauge rifle.
    18 in. minimum.
     
  15. sendec

    sendec member

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    I did'nt think a 14 inch barrel had much to offer over an 18....until I tried one. They are wicked quick handling, highly manuverable and if you have a serious realistic need for a defensive shotgun are probably worth the paperwork hassle. Getting out of vehicles and moving thru tight areas are where they shine brightest.

    I think that I would prefer a shorter gun with normal capacity over a longer gun with an extended tube.
     
  16. Texian Pistolero

    Texian Pistolero member

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    Remember, in the effort to get ever shorter, every inch trimmed gives up valuable VELOCITY. (No, I don't have the data.)

    There have been accounts of ultra chopped shotguns failing to stop or even hurt the other guy, when factors such as heavy winter coat, extra range, sumo belly, add up.

    The shotgun doesn't have a lot of velocity to start with and the projos are aerodynamically challenged. You probably don't want one under 18 inches.


    I have a Remy 18 1/2, and it is fine for condo combat.
     
  17. SOT_II

    SOT_II Member

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    Making v. transfer

    There is NO SUCH thing as a $50 tax stamp/transfer tax. You are confusing two VERY different issues and not listing the prices correctly.

    1. There is a $200 MAKING tax to build a SBS by an individual. You fill out the paperwork, pay the tax, get the stamp (actually a little leter). and you build your SBS. There is a $200 transfer tax with the SBS.

    2. There is a $200 making tax for an AOW (by an individual) and a $5 TRANSFER tax for an AOW. Any any other weapon is a shotgun that has NEVER had a sholder stock and is shot in length. If the shotgun comes from the factory with a pistolgrip and then is cut, it's an AOW with a $5 transfer tax.


     
  18. SOT_II

    SOT_II Member

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    "The shotgun doesn't have a lot of velocity to start with and the projos are aerodynamically challenged. You probably don't want one under 18 inches. "

    doesn't have a lot of velocity compared to what? A shotgun runs supersonic, generates loads of energy at the muzzle even in a very short barrel.

    Aerodynamics won't paly into home defense at all.
     
  19. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    I dunno.

    A 18.5" HD gun with NO tube extensions and no gee-whiz accessories seems to handle pretty good to me. I appreciate all the doodads my department put on our cruiser guns, but the only really necessary one I think is the Surefire light. Everything else is a nice-to-have...and all those nice-to-haves do come at the expense of weight and handling speed.

    A bone stock 18.5" 870 is pretty darned handy. Very fast, and with the advantage of 4.5 more inches of sight radius (eyeball to bead) over a 14" bbl gun.

    JMO,
    Mike
     
  20. Snaps

    Snaps Member

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    Is the 18 the total barrel length or the exposed barrel length? I've never been able to get a clear answer on that.
     
  21. djl4570

    djl4570 Member

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    The length of the barrel is measured from the muzzle to the breechface with the bolt closed.
     
  22. dsb

    dsb Member

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    MeekandMild

    The rules here for length are somewhat strange - short barrelled shotties are legal, but only if they are manual actions (pump, break, whatever - just not semi-auto) and are factory stock. You can't cut down a bbl or a stock, because that magically turns it into a killing machine. :rolleyes:

    If you can find a factory-stock pump shotgun with a short bbl, you are fine. It is subject to fewer restrictions than a handgun. :rolleyes:

    I know that a famed Norinco source up here that carries a shorty 12 ga. with a 14 in. bbl.
     
  23. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Minimum OALs

    Unless I'm badly mistaken,or something has changed since 1985...
    the minimum lengths for a shotgun is 18" barrel and 28" overall.
    16" barrel for rifles, and 26" overall.

    And it doesn't take a millimeter to get you a vacation at Club Fed. They'll gladly split hairs if they want to charge you badly enough. .025 inch will do the trick. (That's twenty-five thousandths.) Play it safe and cut a shotgun barrel NO SHORTER than 18.1 inches...and 18.25 is better.

    Luck!

    Tuner
     
  24. Dead

    Dead Member

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    Who says they wouldnt shave that last bit of the barrel off at some area in it to get it under the legal limit??? I would not put it past the gov to do it even if the barrel is 18.05 inch on a shotgun.

    Besides whats the deal with a "short-barreled" shotgun anyway, shouldnt matter if the barrel is 20 feet long, or 1/2inch long., you should beable to own it no questions asked.
     
  25. loandr.

    loandr. Member

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    Looks the part BUT its not :)

    Actual OAL is 29 inches Was it devo that said "Whippet Good"...whippet :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2006
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