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Country Discussion Topics
To add your comments to this topic, click on one of the 'Reply' links below.

Legal length (shotgun)
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steve19438    Posted 12-19-2004 at 12:25:47       [Reply]  [Send Email]
how short can i cut a sxs down? (double barrel)

Mike in tn    Posted 12-19-2004 at 16:28:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
I measured my back door caseing, and it is about 6 inches. So, I figure that this would be about the shortest acceptable legal limit around here.

deadcarp    Posted 12-19-2004 at 15:13:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
in the 70s my buddy had a nice 43 spanish falling block that he decided to cut off into a sidearm. did a nice job on it, bent the straps and everything, and even game wardens shot that pistol. come to find out, 43 spanish had been made as a pistol round once so no limit on barrel.

Salmoneye    Posted 12-19-2004 at 12:45:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
Any shotgun (not just SxS) can not be any shorter than 18 inches measured inside the barrel from the bolt face...

Most manufacturers that sell in the US never go shorter than 18 1/2 inch barrels just so there is no arguement with BATF...

To measure, close the action and slip a dowel down against the breach face and mark the dowel...Then measure the dowel...That is the 'barrel length' according to BATF...

I personally do not recommend less than 18 1/2 inches either...Not fun getting arrested even if you are 'technically' in the right...
In addition, I am pretty sure that there is a minimum OAL (over-all length) for shotguns of 26 inches...This means that with the barrel, action and stock, the entire gun has to be longer than 26 inches...Most SxS with an 18 inch barrel and the stock cut down are illegal under the OAL section of the law...

Remember also, that cutting a shotgun down will remove all choke and you will effectively have a 'cylinder bore'...It won't pattern for crap past 10-15 yards with birdshot...

Why not just buy a Stoeger Coach-Gun in 12 guage?

PS.....What SxS are you wanting to cut off?

steve19438    Posted 12-19-2004 at 13:22:38       [Reply]  [Send Email]
"PS.....What SxS are you wanting to cut off?"
A.H. Williams hammer gun, damascus barrel. the one barrel has bulges about six inches from the end.
ever hear of a a h williams? i got no hits at

Salmoneye    Posted 12-19-2004 at 13:43:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
Never heard of the company, but that doesn't mean squat...

You are aware that most guns of that vintage shouldn't be fired at all, and the ones that are in good enough shape should only be used with low pressure black-powder loads...

If it was me, I would relegate it to a wallhanger...

That said, if the gun can be proven to have been manufactured before 1894 (maybe it is 1896, I forget) then it does not fall under the laws as a 'modern firearm' and may in fact be exempt from federal law...

You sure it is Damascus, and not 'twist steel'?
Twist has distinct rings around the barrel, and the Damascus has a 'pattern' that can go any and all directions...Twist should in no circumstance ever be fired IMHO...They can have internal weak spots that can not be seen even by a competent smith and don't even show up by Maganafluxing...

Play safe, eh?

mud    Posted 12-19-2004 at 20:45:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
"If it was me, I would relegate it to a wallhanger..."

good advice sam, but this guy wont follow it.

steve19438    Posted 12-19-2004 at 14:36:20       [Reply]  [Send Email]
i was "told" that it was a damascus barrel. there is a fellow about an hours drive from me that sells "black powder" shotgun shells. it has no serial number. is there any other way to determine age/maufacture?

RN    Posted 12-20-2004 at 13:12:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Dates? check under barrel side of action for patent or manufacture date. Black powder shotgun shells or pressure equal? Read of CIL, Eli and Fiochi(sic?) brands being sold in US. Check chamber length- on the off chance it might be pre-WW1 english made might have a 2 1/2 inch chamber. Eli used to have brass shell that size. Old West Scrounger? - supposed to have old pattern shells for various guns. Harrington & Richardson, Savage used to make shotguns for retail stores- hardware guns as other posted. Some Spanish, Belgium, made guns also. See if proof marks on gun. RN

Salmoneye    Posted 12-19-2004 at 16:43:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
Try these guys...

See if you find anything in this specific board/archive FIRST!:

If nothing, then do a search here with different combinations of 'williams hammer'...'williams 12*' etc...

Then if that proves fruitless, come armed with as much info as possible to this board and ask your questions:

Please do it in that order and in your post on the 3rd link (if you need to) tell them that you have been through the 'Archives' and can find nothing...

These guys are by no means 'stuck up' or 'snobbish', but they do get literally thousands of such inquiries, and most come from people asking stuff like "I have an old gun...What is it worth???"

Trust me...They are the most knowledgable group of people on the net (worldwide) about shotguns...If they tell you (as suggested below) that it is a 'hardware store gun', they will tell you so and tell you basically what I have said so far...

If it is indeed a 'known' maker, they will know and tell you so...

Salmoneye, Who Prefers Shotguns To Most Other Weapons

Ron/PA    Posted 12-19-2004 at 12:55:24       [Reply]  [No Email]

I'LL ECHO THAT    Posted 12-19-2004 at 14:46:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
Expect it's a Hardware Store gun so could have been made by anybody anywhere,World wide. Some shiney Badge could cause You a bushel of woe on tha lack of Ser#.....

Nah...    Posted 12-19-2004 at 16:31:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
The serial number was not required in the US until the Firearms Act of 1968...

To me that is less of an issue than the question of suitability for modern smokeless powder...


IMPORTANT PS!!!    Posted 12-19-2004 at 12:52:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
Some states have different laws that are more restrictive than the federal laws I described...

As an example, Michigan (or so I have read) uses the same barrel length (18"), but they restrict OAL to 30 inches total, so cutting the barrel so that the entire gun is less than 30 inches in MI is ILLEGAL wheras it is NOT a Federal Violation...

Check with your local LEO's dude...

RayP(MI)    Posted 12-19-2004 at 19:20:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
Have the Michigan statutes in hand - anything under 30" is considered a "pistol". Pistols must be registered with the state. A "short-barreled shotgun is defined as having barrel(s) less than 18", and a "short-barreled rifle" is defined as having barrel(s) less than 16". Possession, manufacture, offer to sell, or sale of "short-barreled" guns is prohibited. (There are exceptions for curios, relics, antiques, museum pieces, or collectors pieces.) Violations of these laws are punishable by fines of up to $2500, and imprisonment of up to 5 years. This is Michigan's law - other states may be different. Then there's the federal laws to consider, and I don't have them at hand. In short, don't cut it short!

Bill in TN    Posted 12-19-2004 at 18:04:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
Careful, that's what they got Randy Weaver and his family for in Ruby Ridge. The feds take this real serious.

Pine Cone    Posted 12-19-2004 at 18:44:47       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Actually if you read the real stories that came out after Ruby Ridge, you find the feds were trying to set him up- their guy came back to Randy several times trying to get him to make a shotgun shorter than legal length and Randy would not do what was asked. The feds came out of that looking very bad on more than one front.

So definitely be careful what you say and and what you ask of any elected officials- most know nothing about the laws they pass except the ones taking your shotguns out of your hands. Check with a local firearms dealer or pawn shop- they have to know for it's their livelyhood and they are not nearly as likely to view you as being guilty of something for even asking the question. There are enough out people out there who will think you are guilty of something even for asking.

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