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Legal Minimum Shotgun Barrel Length


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10 replies to this topic

#1 tn hp

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 02:24 AM

The Federal Statute indicates that to be legal, a shotgun barrel must have a minumum length of 18 inches and the firearm itself (shotgun) must have an overall length of 26 inches.

So, when considering the shortening of a shotgun barrel, where do you measure from in order to achieve the 18 inch legal minumum?

I was under the impression that one had to measure from the end of the chamber but, the Federal Statute is not entirely clear on that issue. So, if you know or have had exerience in this area, please advise but, do not speculate. Otherwise, its back to the statutes and case law.

Thanks,
tn hp

#2 glockster157

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 02:28 AM

First call the ATF, it is not illegal to cut a barrel and anybody can do it. Well, maybe not right but they can do it. But all the sources I have ever heard from state from the bolt face with the bolt closed. Run a rod down the barrel with the bolt closed. I would always add a half inch to that to be safe and leave a little trim room if the muzzle was ever dinged.

Edited by glockster157, 11 February 2009 - 02:31 AM.


#3 Luckyforward

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 02:52 AM

Jeff Walle at Guns and Leather cut down a shotgun for me; he left a little more than 18" to cover my a**


I'd tell you to go to a gunsmith.

#4 Oh Shoot

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Posted 11 February 2009 - 03:31 AM

Jeff Walle at Guns and Leather cut down a shotgun for me; he left a little more than 18" to cover my a**...


There's a reason Remington only makes 18.5" barrels anymore.

- OS

#5 tn hp

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 02:28 AM

I measured the barrel on my Remington 870 Marine Magnum and it appears that glockster157 is correct. The barrel on that shotgun measures 18" from the face of the bolt to the muzzle.

#6 dcloudy777

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 07:04 PM

The BATF&E measures barrel length (to determine legality), by running a dowel rod down the barrel, action closed, until the rod contacts the breech face. They then mark the rod at the end of the muzzle, remove the rod, and measure. Kinda complicated, but that's how they do it.

DanO

#7 GLOCKMEISTER

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 11:54 PM

better a little to long, then to cut it off to short... its not one of those instances where a half an inch really matters. :rolleyes:

#8 crotalus01

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 12:17 AM

Submit a Form 1 for a SBS, pay the $200 tax stamp, wait to get the stamp back and you can have the barrel cut as short as you like. Perfectly legal.

#9 DaveTN

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 12:47 AM

They then mark the rod at the end of the muzzle, remove the rod, and measure. Kinda complicated, but that's how they do it.


I would make a mark at 18” and call it a “GO/ No GO gage”, but then I’m not an ATF agent. :rolleyes:

#10 DavidD

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 04:17 AM

I would make a mark at 18” and call it a “GO/ No GO gage”, but then I’m not an ATF agent. :drool:


Yeah Dave that would be waayy to easy, and make too much sense.....:koolaid:

#11 Mark@Sea

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 05:59 PM

TN HP, sorry I could not reply sooner. We just concluded a thread on this issue in the gunsmithing forum, which includes cites of the relevant federal laws. In brief, the measurement is made from the breech face, with the action closed and cocked. Not sure why cocked would make a difference, but it is in the statute.