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Old June 12, 2011, 01:36 AM   #1
chack
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cutting the barrel on an 870

I'm going to be cutting the barrel on an 870. I bought it cheap ($150) and want to convert it into a riot gun type configuration. Aside from cutting the barrel to 20", I will be installing a side folding stock with pistol grip and 3 shell carrier, installing an extended mag tube, and mounting a flashlight or possibly laser to it.

I am not sure about the last part though. How do they hold up to recoil, and hoe secure are the mounts? I would want a pressure switch, is that going to be cost prohibitive?

What other options should I consider? I'm not really into shotguns, I like rifles alot more and I'd like to install rifle type sites, but I'm still throwing that one around.
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Old June 12, 2011, 02:42 AM   #2
T. O'Heir
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"...cutting the barrel on an 870..." Hi. It have a rib? Makes cutting the barrel more tricky. Has to be done at one of the rib/barrel connections. Then the muzzle has to be filed flat and square.
If there is no rib, use a pipe cutter and file the burrs off. Still has to be flat and square. Then, if you have or have access to a drill press, drill and tap for a bead. A hand drill isn't accurate enough to get the hole absolutely top dead centre and square.
Remember that you will have no choke. Changeable chokes can be installed, but it's a job for a smithy.
"...like to install rifle type sites..." Where you are maters, but buy a rifle sighted barrel. Far less fuss and installing the front sight has to be done right. They're usually silver soldered on(regular solder won't keep the sight in place. Bluing needs to be sanded off first too.) and front rifle sights have to be absolutely top dead centre too.
A barrel doesn't have to be made by Remington. Remington barrels are more expensive and there are lots of aftermarket barrels for 870's. Bought one a couple years back for $200Cdn. A Remington made barrel ran $100 more.
Don't bother with the laser, flashlight or folding stock. The former are just silly. The latter will increase the felt recoil. No pistol grips only either. Completely useless on a shotgun. No control. A stock with a pistol grip is a different thing.
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Old June 12, 2011, 01:21 PM   #3
Lee Lapin
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Your best bet IMHO is to just buy or trade for a 20" smoothbore 870 barrel that has rifle sights installed from the factory. I see them on Gunbroker for $100 and up... should be one at a FFL shop around where you are, I'd think.

Shop before you chop... bubba'ed shotgun barrels are worth almost nothing.

fwiw,

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Old June 12, 2011, 01:40 PM   #4
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+1
Amen, Lee
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Old June 12, 2011, 01:57 PM   #5
pabuckslayer08
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Yep bad decision to chop it, loses all value and makes it about worth as much as a pop gun. Also alot of variables come into play when chopping like if you dont get it square well it doesnt shoot for crap. Just go buy a barrel like you want
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Old June 12, 2011, 02:48 PM   #6
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I say go ahead and cut it, but only if:

1) You're not a bird hunter, and you know you never will be.

2) You keep your guns and aren't worried about the barrel's resale value and/or you know you will always want a short barrel for that gun.

3) You know what you're doing and can cut it square, clean up the cut, and properly replace a bead, or know someone who can for no fee/nominal fee.

Plenty of people can check off all of the above. It gets them what they want with basically zero time, aggravation, or money expended. If you're one of them, go for it. If, for some reason you change your mind in a few years, 870 barrels will always be plentiful down the road, there is nothing rare about them, and bird barrels are generally cheaper than factory short barrels.

I have a well-equipped shop and I cut shotgun barrels/replace beads for people all the time. But I always ask the above questions just to be sure the guy has thought through what he wants to do. Also, if it's any sort of rare, or out-of-production gun, I of course advise against it.

Last edited by TxGun; June 12, 2011 at 04:53 PM.
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Old June 12, 2011, 03:05 PM   #7
hogdogs
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I would, personally speaking, sell my existing barrel on a local forum then buy a new barrel that looks pro on the muzzle. Even Mossberg makes some barrels for the 870 guns.

You got the gun cheap enough.

Brent
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Old June 12, 2011, 06:22 PM   #8
oneounceload
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Another thing to consider - most of these barrels have a slight taper to them, so using a pipe cutter will NOT result in a square cut

For use as a HD gun, rifle sights are not necessary
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Old June 12, 2011, 06:31 PM   #9
hogdogs
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To add to OOL's reply, I find anything more than a little brass bead on the muzzle to be a distraction. I informally "self-train". One of my sessions is to practice not getting tunnel vision with the gun at full shoulder mount.

Walking around in both lit and darkened rooms with the gun mounted and using my eye travel to cover various directions while keeping my gun pointed at a fixed object.

With rifle sights, both the notched rear or peep/ghost ring, I find it more difficult to maintain distant focus as my eyes sweep past the sights. They catch my attention every pass.

The bead can be removed and I wouldn't notice it until I was "aiming" at a feral cat or squirrel as I gauge distance and thusly the height my muzzle must be in relationship to the target to get a one shot kill. I understand there are a ton of cat lovers and I try not to disrespect them by having a gun shot feral cat dieing on their lawns.

Brent
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Old June 12, 2011, 08:12 PM   #10
chack
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We're talking about a beat up 870, not a historical gun.

I bought another 870 in a little better condition from the same seller too.
These are the auctions I won:
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=231937598
http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=231922128

The price of the project shotgun will be:

$142 (auction price)
$15 (1/2 of combined shipping)
$10 (1/2 of combined transfer fee)
$35 (folding buttstock)
$20 (mag tube extension)
$212 (total price)

I may decide to gunkote it at a later date, but that is pretty cheap, and might be paid for by selling the unused buttstock and choke.

For $212 I will end up with a gun that will complement the 28" barrel 870 I got. I will also have the pleasure of doing a fun project.

If I could have found an 870 riotgun with a folding stock for that price I would have bought it, but they cost more than a standard 28" express. Overall, I feel good about the whole project, but I will admit that now I'm thinking about buying a pair of barrels so that both of my 870s will have a short barrel option and I can give a set to each of my kids when they grow up.

Last edited by chack; June 13, 2011 at 12:10 AM.
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Old June 12, 2011, 08:56 PM   #11
pabuckslayer08
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Ok well if you got 2 now and now seeing the condition and what your shooting for, go for it
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Old June 12, 2011, 11:13 PM   #12
Bill DeShivs
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Never use a pipe cutter on a shotgun barrel. If you do, the muzzle will be sharply constricted. If you file the constriction out, the muzzle will be thin. Either way, the muzzle will be work-hardened.
Shotgun barrels should be cut with a hacksaw, filed square, polished, chamferred, and the sight reinstalled.
Don't sell any of the parts, as you probably will want to reinstall them later.
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Old July 9, 2011, 03:26 AM   #13
chack
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The firesights and mag extension came in. The firesights are perfect for what I have in mind They are fiber optic rifle type sites that attach to the rib.

The extension I got was a little longer than I anticipated. Once I installed it, the extended tube came to exactly 19 3/4", which falls between two rib attachment points. If I use that tube extension I'll have to cut the barrel to 21" which is a little longer than I wanted and just looks out of proportion with the pistolgripped folder installed.

I think I might order the next shorter tub extension and cut the barrel to 18 3/4" on the one with the folder and use the longer extension on the wood stocked 870 that I keep at 28".
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Old July 9, 2011, 11:48 AM   #14
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Use a HACKSAW, not a pipe cutter. I've done several. Cut right through the rib closest to the final length you want. Use a file and square to square up the end and touch up with cold blue. This is a 5 minute job from start to finish. I've used fiber optic sights that fit on the rib to replace the front sight. The barrels work and look great afterward. If you decide to have the barrel re-threaded for choke tubes later that is an option as well.
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Old July 9, 2011, 11:57 AM   #15
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If you have a good hand eye cordination I would use an angle grinder if you don't the get hold of a coldsaw. Useing a hacksaw on carbon steel isn't going to make the best results for the barrel or your arm
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Old July 9, 2011, 12:35 PM   #16
Slopemeno
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Those barrels are dead soft, and it's quite easy to cut them with a hacksaw.
I shortened many sporting 870's down to 18.5", 20" and 22" for guys who wanted to use their 870 as a HD shotgun.

My technique was to use V-blocks, hacksaw, square up on the disc sander, deburr, d&t for bead, fit the bead and give a quick hone to the area inside the muzzle where I installed to bead to smooth up the edges, and cold blue the exposed metal. Pretty basic, quick stuff.

The only down side IMHO is that you tend to end up with a short 870 that shoots high. The "bead with base" combination seemed to work best. If your high-vis front sight is taller than a simple bead you're probably fine.
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Old July 9, 2011, 01:47 PM   #17
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Quote:
The only down side IMHO is that you tend to end up with a short 870 that shoots high
Sorry, then it sounds like the cut was not square - cutting a tapered tube is not as easy as it sounds if you want it done properly
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Old July 9, 2011, 01:53 PM   #18
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I have a pistol grip only on my Remington 870. It is a Blackhawk Knoxx breacher grip. It is NOT just a pistol grip. There is an internal recoil-reducing system INSIDE the grip that all but eliminates recoil. I use 3 inch magnum and recoil is very mild. I like the pistol grip for home defense because it makes the gun much more manuverable if I need to go room-to-room. Watch this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SM6-FdS0idw
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Old July 9, 2011, 05:04 PM   #19
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When I called Remington a month+ back, 870 28" ribbed barrels were on backorder, 1+ month wait

Plenty in stores though. And sorta the inverse (short vs long) of what you're looking for, but nonetheless, perhaps 18" on backorder as well
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Old July 9, 2011, 11:15 PM   #20
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Look into getting a 18 1/2" CYLINDER BORE MATTE BLUE for a Remington 870 from Mossberg for a whopping $113.56 and sell the ribbed barrel for nearly that much. http://www.mossberg.com/products/acc...section=access
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Old July 14, 2011, 12:19 AM   #21
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yup

Klaw's got it, buy the Mossberg bbl for the 870. If you ever have to go to court civilly for wacking a bad guy with your SD shotgun, the lawyers cannot slander you for using (indefensibly) a "sawed off" shotgun.

Liberal judge jury will love that.

Much better to have a deer bbl, or a barrel dedicated for SD use.

Criminals in the eyes of judges/juries, used sawed off guns.
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Old July 14, 2011, 09:53 AM   #22
chack
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I am going to order a different tube extension because the 8 shot extension didn't look right and fell at the wrong spot in relation to the rib pillars. If I had used it I would have had to cut the barrel at 22" and it would have been too front heavy. I cut the barrel at 18.5" instead of 20" like I had intended. I'm going to get a 7 shot extension instead. I'll be putting a barrel clamp on it to support the mag tube, I haven't decided if I want to get one with a rail for a flashlight or possibly a laser.

The firesights are awesome, and although they are a little pricey at $40 they allowed me to have the rifle style sights I wanted and were an easy bolt on installation. They do a great job gathering light and make aiming a piece of cake even in very low light. Since this is a dedicated Home defense shotgun, I am trying to set it up for functionality in the dark so I'm considering a laser too, although I'm leaning against it.

Overall, I'm very pleased with how it turned out but I'm not sure I'm sold on the folding stock though. I'm thinking I should put the synthetic stock that came with the gun back on. If it came down to me needing to buttstroke an intruder I don't think the folder would hold up well. Also, I want to have more onboard ammo for reloads than the 3 spots on the folder. 3 is OK, but if a little is good, alot is better. I'm thinking of install a shell holder for extra ammo on the buttstock. The alternative would be to get a sling with loops, and I don't know how that would handle.

The picture quality is lousy, but the shotgun looks great and feels pretty good.




Attached Images
File Type: jpg shotgun open.jpg (13.7 KB, 186 views)
File Type: jpg firesights.JPG (9.2 KB, 185 views)
File Type: jpg shotgun closed.JPG (6.6 KB, 183 views)

Last edited by chack; July 14, 2011 at 11:04 AM.
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