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Old January 12, 2013, 10:07 PM   #1
bedbugbilly
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?? on shortening a revolver barrel - legalities, etc.

I'm not planning on doing this but I got to thinking about it and wondered what the legalities would be . . . if any?

I'm a "revolver guy" and have been looking for a 3 or 4 inch barreled S & W - prefer a J frame but would take a K frame - or a Colt Official Police - in 38 spl.

If I were to find (I'll use a Colt OP as an example) a 38 Colt OP with a 5" or 6" barrel - could I have a gunsmith shorten the barrel to 3"/recrown/new front sight or if I found a good 4" barrel, could I have the barrels swapped out?

In MI, we have to register handguns. On the form is Make, Model, Serial #, Caliber and Barrel Length - plus our personal information. If I purchased a pistol with a 6" barrel - I would imagine that I would have to have it "re-registered" or notify the sheriff's dept. and have the registration form corrected at county and state level (I haven't asked as I don't plan on doing it). Does a shortening or barrel length swap affect the FFL registration of the firearm or mess up the sale of it if it went through the FFL process?

Just curious as I don't think I've ever heard an answer to barrel length changes, etc. Thanks.
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Old January 12, 2013, 10:12 PM   #2
Lost Sheep
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This legal opinion is worth what you paid for it

At least until this coming Tuesday, the FFL process is prohibited by law from creating a Federal registration.

Your STATE, however, is another matter.

Good luck.

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Old January 12, 2013, 10:23 PM   #3
Cheapshooter
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If the law in your state requires barrel length to be included on the registration form, I'm sure it would not be legal to shorten it.
Rather than shortening the barrel, it would be more likely that a gunsmith would just find a shorter barrel, and replace it. Probably at a cost less than cutting, and re-crowning.
Your best route mght be to just look for a gun with the barrel length you want.
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Old January 13, 2013, 03:54 PM   #4
James K
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Why not ask the local sheriff/police? They have the records and require the information. I have no idea what difference the barrel length would make to them, but it lets the cops play with their computers and pretend the crooks give a hoot about their silly registration laws.

Jim
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Old January 13, 2013, 05:26 PM   #5
bedbugbilly
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I'm currently in AZ for the winter but will ask when I get back to MI this spring. My curiosity came about as I have been looking for a 3 or 4 inch barrel for CCW - I'd prefer a 3 but would settle on a 4. I like more "vintage revolvers" - i.e. a S & W M & P would be my first choice - a Colt Army Special/Official Police my second. I currently have a M & P Target with a 6" barrel that I really like as well as a Colt AS with a 6 inch barrel - fine for plinking and target practice but I'd really rather have a shorter barrel for CCW. I'm keeping my eyes open and at some point, I'll run across one.

I really don't know how MI would handle it - can't believe it would be a big problem but I haven't asked in regards to a change in a barrel lenght on a revolver after it was registered. Last year I bought a Ruger MK III Target here in AZ and took it back to MI to plink with during the summer. I registered it with no problems - they just registered it as a "transfer from Arizona". Had I not registered it and happened to be stopped on the way to another place to target shoot, I could have been charged with "possession of an unregistered firearm" - something a person doesn't want!

We all know that there are revolvers out there that have had barrels shortened or switched out to different lengths from factory lengths. Had I purchased - say a Colt OP in Arizona that had started life with a 6 inch barrel and at some point had been switched out with a 4 or 5 inch barrel - there would have been no problem with registering it in MI as a 'transfer from Arizona". They no longer require you to bring the weapon in - in fact they ask you not to - a liability thing. All I would have had to do was give them the information on the revolver as it currently was and they could care less if it started out as a 6 inch barrel and ended up at some point with a 4 inch barrel.

I'll check it out when I get back to MI and see what they say. I just wasn't sure if there was anything in the FFL transfer or law that would at some point possibly cause a problem. Mind you, I'm not talking about hacksawing the barrel off for the purposes of an unlawful pursuit. I'm just curious as to if there is a problem in changing barrel lengths that an owner finds more suited for his shooting and CCW purposes. Not a big issue - I've just never read anything pertaining to it. Thanks all for you input on it - greatly appreciated!
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Old January 13, 2013, 07:13 PM   #6
Pezo
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I'm in michigan and I don't recall barrel length mentioned in that registration card. They do specify shot capacity and finish oddly. As well as if its either a semi or revolver. It's an old goofy law still here in mi that the NRA has tried to help eliminate but our goofy state police head is afraid to let it go so be cried to the governor.
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Old January 14, 2013, 07:27 AM   #7
Newton24b
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barrel length is still on the card. caliber, make, model, barrel length, serial number, number of shots.

just send an email to the michigan state police, firearms division. theyll tell you all you need to know.
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Old January 15, 2013, 10:51 PM   #8
bedbugbilly
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Pezo - check your yellow copy of the yellow purchase permit for one of your pistols - the barrel length is on there. I can remember way back when, when you had to take the handgun in at the time of registration. They had a younger gal who was doing it and she proceeded to list the barrel length one the revolver I was registering incorrectly - I told her that she was incorrect and that the barrel was measured from the muzzle to the opposite end which extended thru the frame and included the forcing cone (she was measuring from muzzle to the front of the frame). She didn't know what a forcing cone even was. I then asked her to get an older officer to come over and I explained to him how she was measuring - he just shook his head and then explained it all out to her for the second time. I've often wondered how many of them that she had processed were in the system with the incorrect barrel lengths on the cards. And no . . . she wasn't blonde.
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Old January 16, 2013, 05:17 AM   #9
old bear
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Quote:
I have been looking for a 3 or 4 inch barrel for CCW - I'd prefer a 3 but would settle on a 4. I like more "vintage revolvers"
The M-10, or M&P's with 4" barrel are still out there and should be easy to locate. The M-10 was also produced with a 3" barrel. It may be easier and less costly to buy a factory gun than have one converted.

Best of luck what ever you do.
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Old January 16, 2013, 05:51 AM   #10
kahrguy
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Since you mentioned a K frame sized revolver try to find a dan wesson 14 or 15-2 with the recessed barrel nut. On those pistols you can change barrels lenght in 2 minutes. Want a 2" or a 8" , no problems.

These are full pistol packs but you'll get the idea.
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=...pack&FORM=IGRE
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Old January 16, 2013, 11:19 AM   #11
rep1954
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I live in MI and barrel length is on the purchase permit. The permit shows what you purchased and what configuration it was at the time you bought it. You may modify the firearm in any form you wish as long as you remain within any Federal or state laws that constitute what a handgun is. There is no length law on handguns just that you must have a barrel with some sort of rifling in it. I have had barrels made shorter and have done many myself over the years and also sold them and no reregistration has ever been required. I have changed calibers and barrels. The only thing you can't change is the serial number. You can remove all the other markings on the gun if you want but don't touch that serial number.
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Old January 17, 2013, 09:06 AM   #12
bull bob
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I agree, changing the barrel length is legal as long as the serial numbers are untouched. But please don't chop up a good older revolver. Find a clunker that needs work or trade for what you really want. Barrels are available on gunbroker or even ebay. If you really get desperate I have a 4" Colt OP that I might trade for your 6". ( Yes I am in Michigan.)
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Old January 17, 2013, 12:04 PM   #13
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheapshooter
If the law in your state requires barrel length to be included on the registration form, I'm sure it would not be legal to shorten it.
Rather than shortening the barrel, it would be more likely that a gunsmith would just find a shorter barrel, and replace it. Probably at a cost less than cutting, and re-crowning.
???

In terms of a state registration, how would your approach be any different from his? He would still end up with a revolver having a 3" barrel and a registration saying it has a 5" barrel. I don't think the State of Michigan would care how the result was achieved -- what matters is the result.

I think the question should be directed to the State, asking if there's a procedure to amend the data in the registration system. To me it's like an automobile registration. My car is registered as a Blue Jeep Cherokee. If my daughter decided to paint it hot pink, I would have to notify the department of motor vehicles that the Jeep is now pink.
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Old January 17, 2013, 09:25 PM   #14
bedbugbilly
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Thanks all for your info and input.

I have no intentions of chopping off a barrel on any of my Colts or S & W. I would consider a barrel change if I found one (pistol) that was mechanically sound but worn finish, etc. that wasn't a "collector's piece". In the past when I wasn't really looking, I've run across some excellent shorter barrels by themselves. A person could always switch out barrels and keep the original with the gun for collector purposes. I'm thinking "shooter" though and not a "safe queen".

I'll check it out with the Sheriff's Dept. as well as the State Police when I get back to Michigan - more out of curiosity than anything else. I'm not looking to remove markings, serial # or anything like that. It does bring up another question though that I will ask them. Suppose a person purchased a handgun that the serial # didn't match on? Say the cylinder and crane, etc. had been changed out at some point. I would assume that they would use the serial number on the frame. However, I don't assume anything.

I have been trying to locate a J frame S & W with a 3" barrel but with the "buying frenzy" going on, the shelves are pretty much empty - craziness. I was up at the range that I usually shoot at in Tucson yesterday and noticed that they did have several J frames in several barrel lengths that they rent. The next time I go, I will rent and shoot some of them just to see how they feel and fit. I love my S & W M & P but the 6" barrel certainly isn't what I consider a CCW pistol.

Thanks again for all of the info and input - greatly appreciated.
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Old January 18, 2013, 02:44 AM   #15
rep1954
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Bedbugbilly, Numrich Arms has a pre 1957 4" barrel on their site right now for the M&P for $59.50 just in case your interested. A standard replacement M&P barrel shorter than that might be a tuffer thing than that to find.

Last edited by rep1954; January 18, 2013 at 03:44 AM.
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Old January 18, 2013, 06:49 AM   #16
Greguw
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I think only the ruger super redhawks are the only guns that need a little chopping , I have a 454 that had a few inches chopped off and it looks pretty good for what it is .
I allways thought ruger should be building full lug super redhawks .

Last edited by Greguw; December 24, 2013 at 01:28 PM.
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