How to measure a barrel

This is a discussion on How to measure a barrel within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Another thread got me to thinking. I own a hand me down Winchester1200 that is factory stamped RIOT on the barrel. When I remove the ...

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Thread: How to measure a barrel

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array 21bubba's Avatar
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    How to measure a barrel

    Another thread got me to thinking. I own a hand me down Winchester1200 that is factory stamped RIOT on the barrel. When I remove the barrel and measure it's over all length it's exactly 18.5". Is this thing legal?

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    The normal method is to measure from the breach face to the muzzle. Easiest way is to insert a dowel rod from the muzzle with the action closed, mark the end of the dowel at the muzzle then remove and measure from the end to the mark.
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    Distinguished Member Array 21bubba's Avatar
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    Thanks.

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    Camber is included in the 18" ; )
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    Well yes, it is legal at that barrel length...as long as the overall length is at least 26" That size limit allows pistol grips on most shotguns.

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    If I am not mistaking the legal dimensions are 18" barrel and 26" overall length.
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    If I am not mistaking the legal dimensions are 18" barrel and 26" overall length.
    Correct.

    Anything less must be registered as a short barrelled shotgun,which is legal in most states, but illegal in others.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Breech to muzzle for a barrel. Yeah......I'm coming in kind of late. 1/2" is better than 1/4" IMO....leaves less to question. Any reputable gunsmith will cut your barrel down to within 1/2" of "legal" just so that there's no question over a quarter inch. Looks can be deceiving, but the tape measure always tells the truth.

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    Distinguished Member Array 21bubba's Avatar
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    O.K. this bugged me enough that I just took it out of the safe and measured it.
    Over all length is 38.5 inches.
    Muzzle to bolt or breech face with the action closed is 18.5 inches.

    So I'm good right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram Rod View Post
    Looks can be deceiving, but the tape measure always tells the truth.
    Yeah, I told my wife to have the cops call me if she ever has to use the shotgun defensively. They will measure it wrong and tell me it's illegal. I'm around 18 1/2-3/4. Been a while since I cut it, but it's legal when measured correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by 21bubba View Post
    Muzzle to bolt or breech face with the action closed is 18.5 inches.

    So I'm good right?

    IANAL, but it sounds good to go. You can also take the barrel off and measure it at it's shortest distance if it makes you feel better about it. 18" and over is legal.
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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 21bubba View Post
    Another thread got me to thinking. I own a hand me down Winchester1200 that is factory stamped RIOT on the barrel. When I remove the barrel and measure it's over all length it's exactly 18.5". Is this thing legal?
    Not familiar with the Winchester barrels actually. This would be a measurement from the actual breech or where the rim of the shell rests with the action closed. I realize several different brands of shotguns/barrels have hoods that extend over the breech. Most likely so. I had an Ithaca 37A riot gun made in 1976 with a true OEM 18" barrel. The front bead sight was actually 18" from the breech...the barrel extended 1/4" past the front bead.

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    msgt/ret is correct regarding the correct way to measure the barrel length for rifles and shotguns as defined by ATF under the NFA.

    The legal (non NFA) minimum lengths for long guns are:

    Shotgun: 18" barrel with overall length not to exceed 26"
    Rifle: 16" barrel with overall length not to exceed 26"

    http://www.atf.gov/publications/down...-chapter-2.pdf
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    [QUOTE=SIGP250;1774826]msgt/ret is correct regarding the correct way to measure the barrel length for rifles and shotguns as defined by ATF under the NFA.

    The legal (non NFA) minimum lengths for long guns are:

    Shotgun: 18" barrel with overall length not to exceed 26"
    Rifle: 16" barrel with overall length not to exceed 26"

    The overall length can exceed 26", it can't be less than 26". Measuring from muzzle to breech face with the action closed is the correct way regardless of design or whether the barrel has an extension. Simply close the action, insert a dowel down the barrel until it contacts the breech face. Mark the dowel at the muzzle. That is the correct length. It is legal if it exceeds 18" and the overall length is 26" or longer. Never measure just the barrel detatched from the gun as this can give a false measurement by legal standards. Even a barrel that is 17.9" by ATF standards is illegal unless registered........
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    [QUOTE=automatic slim;1774902]
    Quote Originally Posted by SIGP250 View Post
    msgt/ret is correct regarding the correct way to measure the barrel length for rifles and shotguns as defined by ATF under the NFA.

    The legal (non NFA) minimum lengths for long guns are:

    Shotgun: 18" barrel with overall length not to exceed 26"
    Rifle: 16" barrel with overall length not to exceed 26"

    The overall length can exceed 26", it can't be less than 26". Measuring from muzzle to breech face with the action closed is the correct way regardless of design or whether the barrel has an extension. Simply close the action, insert a dowel down the barrel until it contacts the breech face. Mark the dowel at the muzzle. That is the correct length. It is legal if it exceeds 18" and the overall length is 26" or longer. Never measure just the barrel detatched from the gun as this can give a false measurement by legal standards. Even a barrel that is 17.9" by ATF standards is illegal unless registered........
    Slim, thanks for pointing out my dyslexic grammar. What I wrote says NFA Minimum lengths. The correct way to measure is the ATF way as described in the linked document I attached that you did not include. Change word Minimum in the first sentence to maximum . Change next two sentences from not to exceed to not greater than
    http://www.atf.gov/publications/down...-chapter-2.pdf
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