View Full Version : Stevens 311: cut down to a "coach gun"

March 20, 2008, 06:41 PM
I have a severely deteriorated Stevens 311. It was given to me by a friend who found it (he worked for a property management company). I have had it for several years now. Any way, what do yall think about cutting it down to 18 inches. It has two sets of barrels, both 26". The blueing is bad and the receiver is severely pitted, the stock is plastic and warped ( i will be looking for a replacement as well). So I think any value is out of the question. It shoots, locks up tight, and operates smoothly Would this be worth it, and what ball park cost is there to get a good job?

March 20, 2008, 07:00 PM
I had a gunsmith cut down a 311A I picked up for $150.00 to a 18 1/4in bbl. Fired 5 rounds of 00 buck took it back to the smith and had him add a recoil pad. If I remember right total cost was $90.00.

I have a thing for defense shotguns and have over 15. The 311 is the one by my bed the rest are in the safe.

March 20, 2008, 07:54 PM
It might be harder to keep open to extract fired shells with short barrels. The springs are pretty strong and without the extra weight the barrels might try to close on their own.

March 20, 2008, 08:22 PM
I'd consider going for 20" barrels. 18" may put you below the ATF's minimum OAL and get you in trouble. If, however, you're willing to get an AOW stamp, I'd cut her down to about 14" and really have a handy little thing.

March 20, 2008, 08:34 PM
What is the minimum OAL for a shot gun. I know barrels have to be 18", and I had heard there was a minimum OAL, but am unaware of that number... A Mossberg Cruiser is pretty short though.

March 20, 2008, 08:49 PM
I think it's 26" but I wouldn't swear to it. I know that most commercially made Coach guns have 20" barrels so I wonder if that's getting close to the limit.

Bill DeShivs
March 20, 2008, 09:51 PM
The minimum overall length requirement is 26 inches. Barrel length is 18 inches. Anthing over these measurements is perfectly legal. There is no "almost legal" or "almost illegal."
Cutting the barrels to below 18" would make the gun a "short barreled shotgun"-not an "Any Other Weapon."

March 21, 2008, 12:11 AM
I have the 18-inch riot gun version (311R), great little coachgun. No problems in springing or working the action open or closed.
Had a friend who cut his old 311 back to 18, no problems keeping it open.

March 21, 2008, 04:35 AM
I have an old central arms 16ga that I cut down to 18.5". It is a handy little shotgun that roars when the triger is pulled!

March 21, 2008, 12:12 PM
A friend and myself shortened an N.R.Davis double about thirty years ago. Only tools required were a hacksaw, file and a large pitcher of Martinis. Worked fine. Ended up selling a 20 dollar shotgun for 65.00.........Essex

March 21, 2008, 01:05 PM
About two weeks ago I got mine back from the gunsmith who did a great job of cutting ten inches off the barrel of a SxS that I had no use for those extra inches. It is now 20", handles like a dream, shoots a perfect and quickly opening pattern. I couldn't be happier that I did it. I have a Limbsaver slip on recoil pad that does a good job taming the jolt and with 2 3/4 inch #4 buck it has become my home defense shotty. I also have a five shot buttstock shell keeper in case I need more than two shots. :D

March 21, 2008, 05:11 PM
Slightly (just slightly) off topic for you folks that rely on short internal hammer SxSs like the 311R for home defense: Do you keep the guns loaded and rely on the safety; do you keep them chambers loaded but with the gun broken open; do you keep them unloaded with shells nearby? On those occasions when I do keep a hammerless double for security, I keep it broken open slightly (hammers cocked) with shells in the chambers. Just curious what I might be overlooking.

March 21, 2008, 06:42 PM
Mine are loaded and cocked, safety on, except for my L.C. Smith which has had the safety disconnected for CAS use. It stays unloaded. Mine are full length.

March 21, 2008, 09:09 PM
Mine is loaded with safety on. Five shot shell keeper on the stock. I live alone. If I had kids in the house I would have a different arrangement.

March 22, 2008, 05:53 AM
My SxS is loaded with the safety on. My pump is down loaded (7 in an 8 shot tube), chamber empty, safety off and not cocked.

March 22, 2008, 10:15 AM
I appreciate the feedback. I'm a bit leery of keeping it loaded, closed, and relying on the safety for extended periods but apparently many do not share that concern. Perhaps I am too concerned.

March 22, 2008, 04:48 PM
I don't use the doubles for HD, but if I did it wouldn't be fully loaded. I wouldn't personally want to leave the springs compressed indefinitely.
Just personal pref. :)

March 22, 2008, 04:51 PM
Quality springs won't take a set from being compressed for long periods of time. You'll wear them out using them but not from sitting.

March 22, 2008, 05:21 PM
My concern is less the affect on the springs and more the possibility of a discharge should the gun be dropped or knocked over. I think most hammerless side-by-side safeties only block the triggers. Some block sears and triggers. I may change my mind after more evidence but for now would prefer the gun loaded but cracked open. Hammers are cocked but it can't go off if it's open. I store the gun hammers down. I don't know how the safety on a 311 works. Sorry, didn't mean to hi-jack the thread.

March 22, 2008, 10:26 PM
As I said- personal preference & I'm aware of the various spring compression arguments. :)

March 23, 2008, 09:11 AM
On many coach guns, it would be possible to store the gun with chambers loaded and uncocked by loading shells in the chambers of an uncocked shotgun with the forearm off, then closing and replacing the forearm. Stoegers are perhaps more problematical in this area. I have not done this but it could be done the same way the gun is stored with empty chambers. It would require breaking the gun open and closing it to ready it for use but would be quicker than breaking the gun open, loading it, then closing it. I think I would want to make sure my gun had rebounding hammers before doing this, though. Actually, I don't think I'll do it at all. :)

March 23, 2008, 12:14 PM
I hacked my 311 16GA after bluing warped the barrels. Streamlight TL-2 and some Winchester #1 buck makes it my HIT. (home intrusion terminator).;)


September 27, 2008, 08:23 PM
My father passed along a Stevens 311A 16 ga that was purchased for him in the early 60's by his police dept. The barrel was not standard length and I love the gun but it is only good for 2 legged varments. I have tried several years to find a barrel that would have come stock but no luck. It has a Z T and then D circled.

September 27, 2008, 09:11 PM
Please do not cut down a nice 311.

I happen to want choke in a shotgun, even a short barrel one used for serious situations, I want choke.
Whacking the barrel means no choke.

Instead, buy a import with a shorter barrel, and some have choke tubes now.

311s are proven and have earned the right to be preserved, cherished and be used as they are.


September 28, 2008, 01:05 AM
I have to admit to cutting down one of my beloved 311's. I got it cheap due to the rather nasty bulge about 20 inches down the pipes. It served as my bedside companion for many years. But to cut down a perfectly good 311? That's just wrong.

Finding barrels that fit can be problematic. Some of my guns would swap, some wouldn't, I never tried to shoot those that would because I couldn't tell how well they were mating.

45Marlin carbine
September 28, 2008, 01:28 AM
I have a Stoger 12ga Mag Coach. right bbl- improved cylinder choke, left bbl - modified choke.
I keep it leaned in near corner by my bed. I have it for 'insurance' in case my Makarov in spare holster velcro taped to bed post ain't enough. or if I have to step outside, I'm a ways off the pavement.
it's the one firearm I own that I feel invincible with.

Bill DeShivs
September 28, 2008, 01:45 AM
He said the gun was not in good cosmetic shape.
There is absolutely no need for any choke in a home defense gun.
http://www.gun-parts.com/savagestocks/ has stocks.

September 28, 2008, 10:07 AM
Well it's also a post from March, so I figure the OP has either pruned it or not by now. My point is don't cut a good one down just becasue you want to. There are enough coach gun imports out there.
http://www.gunstocksinc.com/web_pages/Plate-pics/Stevens-stocks/Stevens-shotgu-stocks.html Also has stocks. I've used them several times and have always been happy.

September 28, 2008, 03:48 PM
Another thought is to sell one set of the 311 barrels and just buy a good Stoeger coach gun.....

I keep mine chamber-empty with a five-round butt cuff, slip-on recoil pad, and two shells tucked under the cuff to load first....I think double-guns are even better than pumps for beginners and HD situations (smaller OAL, can't short-shuck, easy to learn).... :D

September 29, 2008, 02:23 PM
I cut mine from 30" to 26"
Installed screw-in chokes and swivel studs.
install a center bead and now it is sweet.