View Full Version : Shortest legal length of shotgun barrel...

March 29, 2006, 08:04 PM
I got to wondering, what is the shortest legal length for a shotgun barrel? Does this differ from state to state or is it a federal thing. I live in Illinois and have searched but cannot find an answer.

March 29, 2006, 08:16 PM
its 18" i beleive or 18.5", its a federal thing. Unless you have one of those fully automatic weapon permits ect you cannot legally have one w/ a shorter barrel than that.

I believe there is also an overall length law too.

From what i understand it is measured with the bolt forward. so say you have a pump action shotgun. with the pump forward and ready to fire but with no ammo in the gun, a dowel is shoved down the gun up against the bolt/firing pin area from that point out of the barrel is the measurement.

March 29, 2006, 08:21 PM
There is no minimum length per federal law. Once you get under 18", you need a tax stamp.
From the federal standpoint, there is no fully automatic weapon permit. You pay a $200 tax for fully automatic weapons. This same tax applies to short barreled shotguns. Fully automatic weapons and short barreled shotguns fall under the National Firearms Act of 1934.

March 29, 2006, 10:04 PM
Bottom line, without registering the gun as a short barreled shotgun, the legal minimum is 18".
The entire gun must be at least 26" long.

It's possible some states or local laws may differ.

If shortening a shotgun barrel, keep it at least 18 1/2" long so as to provide yourself a 1/2" "safety" to prevent any question as to it's legality.

Shotgun barrels are measured by closing the action and inserting a rod or dowel down the barrel until it contacts the front of the bolt or breech face.

Mark the rod even with the muzzle, remove and measure the rod's length to the mark.