I am facing the same issue with mine.
I need to take about seven inches off the barrel.
I am assuming the stock of your rifle was cut when the barrel was cut and depending upon how that was done, that may inform your decision as to the method.
The trapdoor came in three barrel lengths. The rifle was just over 32, the Cadet rifle was just over 29 and the cavaly/officer was right at 22.
When the stock is shortened to the proper appearance for a cavalry model, the 22 inch barrel looks right. If the craftsman kept this in mind, (Cut the barrel to 22) then my opinion is that if you go back the inch and a half to clear the existing dovetail, (Cutting the barrel to something like 20) the rifle may not look and shoot right. Another thought is that in cutting the tappered barrel, the wall is thicker at the new muzzle than it was at the original muzzle. Some folks think this looks "funny".
When the barrel was cut, did the craftsman (?) crown the barrel with a ream or is it a flat crown? (Original is a flat crown.)
I am thinking you could straighten up the crown by smoothing it off such as with a file, or a file wrapped in sandpaper, and then just see how it shoots.
In this way you have not changed the looks of the rifle appreciably.
If this does not work, you can always go to a more intense method. If you start with the more extreme methods, you can't reverse the process.
I shot mine two days ago for the first time, and it has become an "1860 Colt" for me. I want to own about eighteen of them.
Mine has the pre-buffington sight. It is darned hard to use. When I shorten the barrel and hence reduce the distance between the front and rear sight, I think I will be able to better keep both sights in focus.
Some photos of the rifle would be good.
My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government. Thomas Jefferson
Last edited by Doc Hoy; January 15, 2013 at 07:12 AM.