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I was told at the local pawn shop i went and checked out today for a cheap 12 gauge to make my HD gun that I could just take a sawzall and cut the barrel to short as I wanted within legal limits. Is that true and will it hurt anything or change the way the gun shoots??

Thanks
 

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Make sure the barrel is at least 18" long most SD barrels are 18 1/2",It will cause the pattern to open up quicker so you need to pattern it afterwards,I personally would find somebody with a pipe cutting tool to get an even cut and then make sure and remove any burrs after cutting by either running a small file or emery cloth around the cut.Measure the barrel from the front of breech face on the bolt when it's closed IOW the chamber is part of the overall barrel length
 

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how would i pattern it
Just fire it into a large piece of paper to see what the patten is with your chosen ammo. If you cut down the barrel it will open up a lot quicker. A gunsmith will cut down , then smooth out muzzle.
 

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Just fire it into a large piece of paper to see what the patten is with your chosen ammo. If you cut down the barrel it will open up a lot quicker. A gunsmith will cut down , then smooth out muzzle.
+1 Take several different loads and find the one that will work the best.

I think you would want to pattern it at 10 to 15 feet for a HD gun. Correct me if I'm wrong!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
What would a gunsmith charge to do that to shorten the barrel and smooth out the muzzle?

what is the legal limit in FL for the length of the barrel or is it total length of the gun?
 

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18" for shotguns 16" for rifles that is barrel length. you measure from the bolt face to end of barrel. You can use a cleaning rod to check the length, insert it in the barrel until it touches the bolt then mark the rod at the end of the muzzle take a tape measure and check the length. You can then know how much to remove, you can then mark the barrel usually add 1/16 or more to the final length of 18 1/16+ inches..
 

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When I was an LEO I cut down several barrels for other dept. members. Whatever you do, don't use a hack saw, it's almost impossible to get a straight cut. Definitely use a pipe cutter.
Measure as other posters have explained. Cut the barrel no shorter than 18.25".
After cutting, you will find that the pipe cutter will have left a ridge on the inside of the muzzle. Using a round file, file around the inside, working your way around the barrel a couple of strokes at a time to keep the inside as true as possible. I follow this up with several grits of emory paper. Usually 150, 600 and 1000 or 1500, until the edge is glass smooth.
You will find that the outside of the barrel is very sharp. I follow pretty much the same procedure, but instead of the file, I start with 60 grit paper.
When you're done, cold blue or whatever. I did everything from parkerizing to bake on enamal.
If you're patient and work slowly, you'll find the end result almost as good as factory.
 

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A pipe cutter obviously won't work if you have a vent rib. If you sandwich the barrel in a vice (level) and use the slowest speed on a sawzaw, you can get a nice cut. Keep the base of the sawzaw tight against the barrel.
 

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Locked mine down in the power hacksaw at work and got a nice straight clean cut .
 

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Good advice to go with 18 and 1/2 inches to give some margin for error.

17.99" without the proper tax stamp = 10 years or so in a charming federal prison.

Matt
 

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Where in FL? We charge between $20 and $30 depending on a few options. It's a common gunsmithing task, takes about an hour. PM me if you get near Daytona for the DC Discount price.
 

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I agree on some things. Do it with a hacksaw or bandsaw and be sure to make a straight cut. A tubing cutter will leave you filing or reaming forever. As suggested, leave plenty of room for error. Even your gunsmith would be cutting at the least, 18 1/4", refinishing or re-blueing the cut end and reinstalling the front post. Of course cutting a game or hunting barrel will affect the pattern and most of those are full choke and 26-28". It's going to be a lot different than a HD shotgun/barrel made from the factory. Modified choke, improved choke, and open (cylinder bore) choke should be listed on the barrels for shotguns. Use a hunting barrel and cut it down and you'll have a hybrid choke.
Here's some quick reading on chokes: Shotgun Chokes
 

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Important!
Also remember that even though your barrel is cut down to a legal length there is ALSO an overall length restriction fot your shotgun.

Some say it is 26" OAL but, I have also heard 28" OAL - I think I remember it as being 26" but, call your local ATF and make sure.
 

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I bought my shotgun from a buddy for $75. Then I went to work. I shortened the stock and added a recoil pad so it fit me. Then I removed the finish on the stock and painted it black. (the finish was pretty much gone already)

I cut mine down to 18-1/2 inches with a hacksaw. Then filed it square. Broke the edges with a file. Then sanded her nice and smooth. A little cold blue and she was done other than installing the sight.

I have about $100 invested in it and am very happy with the results.
 
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