How to shorten barrel on my 12 GA?
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Thread: How to shorten barrel on my 12 GA?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008

    Default How to shorten barrel on my 12 GA?

    I'd like to shorten the barrel on my Winchester 12 to 20" so it would be more suitable as a home defense gun.
    I was thinking of putting a hose clamp on the barrel to ensure a square cut then cutting it with a fine tooth hacksaw OR would a plumber pipe cutter work? Or take it to my gunsmith?
    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009


    pipe cutter might work. when i shorten one i cut it a half inch bigger than i want and then use a custom shotgun recrowner i have. your smith might have one. if you have a big file it might work to clean up your cut.

    or for all that trouble you could just buy another barrel.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 1969


    Back when Saiga-12s were $199 or so from CDNN I converted 8 of them to pistol grip configuration....which included cutting the barrel down about 3 inches or so. I just taped the barrel, scored it with a pipe cutter, and used a hack saw....then a dremmel tool to shape the crown.

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  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    One-Two One-Two Boogie Woogie Avenue, Minnesota


    Don't use a pipe cutter unless you are cutting pipe. It will 'crimp' the barrel, decreasing the diameter at the cut. If your 12 is in tough enough shape to turn into a 'home defense gun', use tape around the barrel and a fine tooth (32tpi) hacksaw, then using a file and a small square, true up the end of the barrel.

    If you know someone with a lathe, it will be easier.
    "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."
    Edmund Burke - 1770

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 1969


    i've used a pipe cutter wihtout damaging the barrel. you just have to be patient and cut slowly, then file out the burr on the inside of barrel.

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008


    I think you should heed Chuk's advice. Removing stock/material with sharp teeth is a VERY different type of action than what a pipe-cutter does. The latter isn't chiseling away slivers of steel as a hacksaw does, it is focusing INCREDIBLE force inward on your future muzzle and spreads the metal apart (referred to as Biasing Forces technically). This is probably not ideal, even if you want it choked...

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 1969


    Here's my easy how-to instructions on doing a shotgun barrel cut with minimal tooling:

    Measure the existing barrel by closing the action (make sure it's empty) and putting a dowel rod or cleaning rod down the barrel.
    Mark the rod even with the muzzle, remove it and measure from the end of the rod to the mark.
    This is the actual barrel length.

    Measure the rod to the length you want the barrel to be and mark it.
    The barrel MUST be at least 18" long, and if you're smart, you won't go under 18 1/2".

    After marking the rod at 18 1/2" or how ever long you want it, lay it along side the barrel with the FIRST mark even with the muzzle, then mark the barrel at the second mark.
    This will be where the barrel will be cut.

    STOP...... Start all over and measure everything AGAIN to be SURE.
    Make sure the action is closed when you put the rod down the bore, and make SURE you measure everything RIGHT so the cut line isn't less than 18 1/2".
    A smart man measures everything several times. Cut too short and you just committed a FELONY.

    Once you're sure about where you want to cut, carefully wrap a piece of tape around the barrel, keeping it as square with the barrel as possible.
    Buy a good fine-tooth hacksaw blade and use it in a good high-tension saw frame.

    When you're ready to make the cut...STOP... check everything out again one last time.

    When you're sure, make a one or two stroke gentle cut on the tape cut line. Then rotate the barrel and make another one or two stroke light cut.
    Continue this until you have a shallow line cut all the way around the barrel.

    Continue making one or two stoke cuts and rotating the barrel until the barrel is cut through.
    Doing it this way insures you make a square cut that doesn't drift off and make the muzzle uneven.
    This prevents having to do a lot of filing to try to square the muzzle up again.

    Once the barrel is cut, use a fine-cut file to carefully remove the saw marks from the end of the muzzle, then use the file to break the sharp outer edge.
    Wrap fine metal-type wet or dry sand cloth around the ball of your thumb, and use that to break the sharp inner edge of the muzzle.

    Use cold blue to touch up the cut edge.

    For a new front sight, either have a gunsmith install a new bead, or buy a Remington type bead and base unit from Brownell's, and soft solder it on by "sweating" it in place.
    Brownell's sell this as a "Colonial Arms" front sight base, item number 198-104-101.

    To solder the base on, use a fine-cut file to remove a spot of bluing from the barrel that is JUST as large as the new base. (solder won't stick to bluing).
    Clean the base of any grease, heat it up and apply a thin coat of Brownell's Force-44 solder to it.
    Apply a thin coat of flux on the bottom of the base, then clamp it on the barrel.
    Heat the barrel until the solder melts then allow to cool.
    Clean everything up and you're in business.

    Another option is to use the new "Black Max" bonder made by Loctite and sold by Brownell's.
    This is a "super-glue" mixed with a black rubbery binder that's specifically made to bond on shotgun sights. From all reports it really holds if you do the job right.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 1969
    Oldsmar, FL (Tampa Bay)


    If its a pump gun do not shorten the barrel, lengthen the magazine. There's plenty of extensions for sale.
    And regardless of type of gun the first cut you make may cost you from $200 to $1000 depending on the model and its scarcity. One exception might be the cheaper common pump guns, and only if you do a good clean job will their value stay constant.
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