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Old June 6, 2013, 11:15 AM   #1
Clevinger
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Is a rifled shotgun still a shotgun?

One of the best things about the original smooth bore shotguns is their versatility.

Once you add rifling to a shotgun's barrel, isn't it essentially just a rifle?

You do what you need to to maximize the performance of a gun in shotgun-only deer hunting areas, but to me a rifled barrel on a shotgun pushes it into rifle territory in all but name.

Last edited by Clevinger; June 6, 2013 at 11:27 AM.
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Old June 6, 2013, 11:25 AM   #2
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Old June 6, 2013, 11:46 AM   #3
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For what reason ???

Quote:
but to me a rifled barrel on a shotgun pushes it into rifle territory in all but name.
It could be and in our state, it is settle law. At best, they make for a poor rifles even though some do give good performance. The range limitations is a big factor and for years, they were not allowed for deer hunting, in our state. In fact, until recently, no rifles were allowed for deer. ....

I'm sure this could be debated but for what reason and not worth the effort. ....

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Old June 6, 2013, 11:53 AM   #4
Clevinger
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The question arose for me because I am still debating whether to get an Ithaca 37 featherweight or an Ithaca Deerslayer II.

Do I want a gun that can do a lot of things and fire truball slugs during deer season? Or do I want a glorified rifle that does one thing (fire sabots at deer) really well?
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Old June 6, 2013, 12:41 PM   #5
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The answer isn't all that clear as to whether a shotgun becomes a rifle when a barrel with a rifled bore is mounted. To further confuse things, what is a rifled bore? Must it be fully rifled? Does screwing on a rifled choke cause it to be considered a rifled bore? One person claims that in NY the game laws consider a shotgun with a rifled barrel to be a shotgun, but the criminal law says it is a rifle. I don't know if that is true or not.
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Old June 6, 2013, 12:55 PM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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In the game laws of NY State, a rifled shotgun is a shotgun because it doesn't use metallic cartridges. If it uses metallic cartridges and it's rifled, it's a rifle.

http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28182.html


Quote:
One person claims that in NY the game laws consider a shotgun with a rifled barrel to be a shotgun, but the criminal law says it is a rifle.
New York criminal law doesn't distinguish between shotguns and rifles. They are "firearms".

New York Penal Code 265.00

ยง 265.00 Definitions.
As used in this article and in article four hundred, the following
terms shall mean and include:
1. "Machine-gun" means a weapon of any description, irrespective of
size, by whatever name known, loaded or unloaded, from which a number of
shots or bullets may be rapidly or automatically discharged from a
magazine with one continuous pull of the trigger and includes a
sub-machine gun.
2. "Firearm silencer" means any instrument, attachment, weapon or
appliance for causing the firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other
firearms to be silent, or intended to lessen or muffle the noise of the
firing of any gun, revolver, pistol or other firearms.
3. "Firearm" means (a) any pistol or revolver; or (b) a shotgun having
one or more barrels less than eighteen inches in length;
or (c) a rifle
having one or more barrels less than sixteen inches in length
; or (d)
any weapon made from a shotgun or rifle whether by alteration,
modification, or otherwise if such weapon as altered, modified, or
otherwise has an overall length of less than twenty-six inches; or (e)
an assault weapon. For the purpose of this subdivision the length of the
barrel on a shotgun or rifle shall be determined by measuring the
distance between the muzzle and the face of the bolt, breech, or
breechlock when closed and when the shotgun or rifle is cocked; the
overall length of a weapon made from a shotgun or rifle is the distance
between the extreme ends of the weapon measured along a line parallel to
the center line of the bore. Firearm does not include an antique
firearm.
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Old June 6, 2013, 12:59 PM   #7
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Love those Ithaca -37's

Quote:
Do I want a gun that can do a lot of things and fire truball slugs during deer season? Or do I want a glorified rifle that does one thing (fire sabots at deer) really well?
My apologies for not understanding your main concerns. A past hunting buddy of mine, had an Ithaca Deerslayer , for dedicated deer hunting. I had an Ithaca 37 featherlight in 20Ga and used it on mostly upland and rabbits. I also took deer with it. The Ithaca Deerslayer, sure lived up to it's name. Personally, I would not have a shotgun that was physically dedicated to deer but that is certainly your choice. ...

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Old June 6, 2013, 01:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Do I want a gun that can do a lot of things and fire truball slugs during deer season? Or do I want a glorified rifle that does one thing (fire sabots at deer) really well?
Those are questions only you can answer.
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Old June 6, 2013, 02:45 PM   #9
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The OP is aware of replacement barrels, right?

For example, the 21" rifled slug barrel I may use in place of the 28" smoothbore that came with my 870, and which cost around $170.
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:05 PM   #10
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A rifled barrel gives you similar performance to many muzzle loaders, but with factory loaded ammo. For my uses, I don't want a rifled barrel. I don't have to use a shotgun for big game hunting and I can shoot slugs well enough to hit deer at 100 yards if I had to use it with a smooth bore barrel.

If I lived somewhere that required shotguns, I'd own a rifled barrel to improve performance and stay legal. I'd also have another smoothbore barrel, or even a 2nd shotgun with a smooth bore for versaility.

From a legal standpoint, yes it is still legally a shotgun. But in effect is a rifle without the advantges a traditional shotgun offers.
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Old June 6, 2013, 03:55 PM   #11
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Brian, How can you say that New York criminal law does not distinguish between shotguns and rifles, but then quote, with emphasis in bold, where NY law sets different minimum barrel lengths for the two firearms? It seems to me that NY plainly distinguishes between shotguns and rifles, and the issue is how is one or the other defined for the purposes of different laws.

As for gaming law, I followed your link and see that the definition of a shotgun indeed makes no reference to whether or not the barrel is smooth or rifled.

Last edited by Dreaming100Straight; June 6, 2013 at 04:01 PM.
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Old June 6, 2013, 06:24 PM   #12
pabuckslayer08
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I treat my rifled shotgun as a rifle. TC Pro Hunter 20ga is good for 8 inch pie plate at 200 yards every shot, I bought it just for sabots an deer, my smooth bores are solely for shot shells
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Old June 6, 2013, 07:34 PM   #13
Brian Pfleuger
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Quote:
Brian, How can you say that New York criminal law does not distinguish between shotguns and rifles, but then quote, with emphasis in bold, where NY law sets different minimum barrel lengths for the two firearms? It seems to me that NY plainly distinguishes between shotguns and rifles, and the issue is how is one or the other defined for the purposes of different laws.
Actually, I was in a hurry and posted the wrong code.

A shotgun with less than an 18" barrel or a rifle with less than a 16" barrel are both "firearms", which is New York speak for being illegal unless you have special permission. I know it sounds weird but a "normal", long barreled, long gun is not considered a "firearm" in New York. It's consider a rifle or shotgun.

The pertinent code is 265.00 Definitions:

11. "Rifle" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and
intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned and
made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic
cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for
each single pull of the trigger.

12. "Shotgun" means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade,
and intended to be fired from the shoulder and designed or redesigned
and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun
shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of ball shot or a
single projectile for each single pull of the trigger.


I thought I was remembering that something in the law was strange. As you can see, a rifled barrel shotgun seems to not exist in NY law. Shotgun specifically requires "smooth bore" and rifle specifically requires "a fixed metallic cartridge."

So, a rifled barreled shotgun is apparently "nothing" in NY law.
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Old June 11, 2013, 09:57 AM   #14
thecelt
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just to add my $.02, and to piggy back what Brian said.

if it shoots shotshells its a shotgun, if its labelled a shotgun by the manufacturer then its a shotgun plain and simple. changing the barrel does not change the class of weapon! thats my story and im sticking to it!
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Old June 11, 2013, 11:23 AM   #15
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So, Brian - where does that put a shotgun using a brass casing?
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Old June 11, 2013, 11:36 AM   #16
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In New England they are still considered shotguns, even though they have rifled bores. I own both for deer hunting and find myself using the smooth bore more often just because of practise cost. The sabot rounds are pricey and I can still shoot my 1 oz rifled slug minute of deer accurate out to 65 yds. The rifled barrel and good sabots do extend my shotgun range another twenty or thirty yards but I hunt thick stuff anyway.
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Old June 11, 2013, 11:40 AM   #17
natman
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Quote:
The question arose for me because I am still debating whether to get an Ithaca 37 featherweight or an Ithaca Deerslayer II.

Do I want a gun that can do a lot of things and fire truball slugs during deer season? Or do I want a glorified rifle that does one thing (fire sabots at deer) really well?
Damned if I know. What do YOU want? At least you've defined the question properly, which is an excellent start.

Let's add a few more questions:

Are shotguns required during deer season in your state? Do you own a suitable deer rifle if not? Do you want to shoot deer with slugs badly enough to pay for $abot $lugs? ($2.50-$3+ a pop). Do you have any plans to do any wingshooting? Trap, skeet, ducks? Turkeys?

If help is required, inquire within.
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Old June 11, 2013, 04:46 PM   #18
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If slug shooting is your primary goal, consider a 20 gauge. Rifled or not, the 20Gs certainly have been more accurate with slugs in all of the comparisons I have made to 12G.

That said, a properly set up 12G smoothbore, with good ammo can be very accurate and be very close to if not equal to a rifled shotgun. Get a good set of sights on a smoothbore, and the groups certainly will shrink.
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Old June 11, 2013, 05:53 PM   #19
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If I had to do it over again I would have bought a combo setup with a cantilever on the rifled slug barrel. The way I have it setup now I have to take off the scope and scope base to go bird hunting and then sight the whole thing in again. But if your buying a dedicated slug gun for hunting it wouldn't matter. +1 on the 20 gauge. I've heard good things about 20 gauge sabots for deer hunting and for bird hunting, (not waterfowl,) your not giving anything up with a 20 gauge. My son's 20 gauge is deadly on pheasant.
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Old June 12, 2013, 04:55 PM   #20
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Is a rifled shotgun still a shotgun?

To answer the OP simply, rifled barrels on shotguns are still shotguns, because of the ballistic coefficients of the projectiles. Even with a rifled barrel, a sabot slug can't reach out and touch something like a rifle can.

The rifling on a rifled barrel creates spin of the projectile. This helps with accuracy. Rifled slugs from a smooth bore barrel are less accurate than sabot slugs from a rifled barrel. However they are both shotgun slugs and will not reach out to rifle distances due the to poor ballistic coefficients of the heavy short wide projectile of a slug. After 150 yards, the trajectory of sabot slugs (or any shotgun round) really start slowing and dropping off. After 200 yards they begin to lose a lot of accuracy and will drop to the ground. My dad lives in a community that sells lots in 22 acre increments. Because of the size and rectangular shape of these properties, hunters are limited to shotguns and pistols on them. Rifle bullets will travel faster, straighter and longer creating a risk that the projectile will travel across multiple properties and potentially hurt or kill a neighbor. Shotgun rounds, rifled slugs or sabot slugs, will not do that when shot at the same angle of said rifle shot because the round is heavier, slower, shorter, and fatter, gravity pulls it to the ground faster.
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Old June 13, 2013, 06:28 AM   #21
.45 COLT
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Quote:
To answer the OP simply, rifled barrels on shotguns are still shotguns, because of the ballistic coefficients of the projectiles
Would that make my .36 Flintlock a shotgun? How about the H&H 700 Express? BC doesn't have anything to do with the definition of a rifle.

Long rifled barrel = Rifle. Call it a shotgun to circumvent some state laws against rifles, but it's still a rifle.

DC
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Old June 13, 2013, 08:48 AM   #22
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.45colt...

its still a shotgun with a rifled barrel, nothing more nothing less.
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Old June 13, 2013, 11:33 AM   #23
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If you want to get really technical about it, most shotguns, rifled or not except for 410 are destructive devices. The problem with ithacas is I don't believe you can get a combo gun like from some manufacturers because all their rifled guns have the barrels permanately attached to the rec eiver and they don't sell extra rifled barrels for the smoothbore guns. So with ithaca you have to get a dedicated rifled gun
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Old June 13, 2013, 08:07 PM   #24
Dreaming100Straight
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Perhaps the only thing certain to be learned from this thread is that you need to check the laws of the jurisdiction applicable to what you will be doing if you are to know whether or not a "shotgun" with any rifling will be treated as a rifle or a shotgun.

There is federal law, then state law, and certain cities such as New York City may have their own gun laws. Still, one jurisdiction possibly will treat the same gun as a rifle for purposes of game law and as something else for criminal law.

I don't know if this has been covered, but do you have a rifled barrel if your barrel is smooth up to the point of being constricted (choked). Should you screw a rifled choke into a smooth bore barrel, do you now have a rifled barrel? After all, why should it make any difference whether or not the choke is "fixed" or "removable"?
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Old June 13, 2013, 08:18 PM   #25
Dreaming100Straight
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Quote:
If you want to get really technical about it, most shotguns, rifled or not except for 410 are destructive devices.
Actually, no. Technically what is a destructive device as used in relation to firearms is a creature of definition. I will use the federal definition, which expressly excludes shotguns from classification as destructive devices. Technically, you would be correct if said law included it in the definition, but provided for it not to be subject to the same restrictions. This assumes that we are speaking of a shotgun which the Secretary finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes.
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