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Old November 25, 2008, 05:43 PM   #1
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Join Date: November 24, 2008
Posts: 4
shotgun barrel measurement

I was given a Rem 870 with a slug barrel (adj sights) that I have taken many deer with over the years. In addition it came with a ventilated rib barrel that measures 18 &7/8" long (measured from the breach face and action closed) that somebody cut (appears to be well done). I looked over the web and can't find any true agreement as to how the barrel length should be properly measured. Seems like there are different answers floating out there but I can't find anything official in writing from the BATFE (no surprise) as to the correct way to measure barrel length. I live in a location that you don't accidentally stumble upon so it's prudent to be prepared for a worst case scenario. My wife and myself currently rely on a few strategically placed Smiths loaded with Glasers. My questions are as follows

1) What is the correct way to measure the barrel length of the 12GA? and where can I find it in official print?

2) I like the pointability of a shotgun with a rib and want a "bead" type sight. I am afraid that because the barrel has been cut in an area where the rib is sightly elevated over the bore axis, pattern placement may be effected. I'll probably be using 00B (possibly #4 buck shot).

3) Any suggestions on a low profile "bead" type sight?

from a first time poster....Thanks for the help
sylverdog is offline  
Old November 25, 2008, 05:57 PM   #2
James K
Join Date: March 17, 1999
Posts: 24,160
Well, I am not "official" but I can tell you how to measure the length of that barrel.

1. Make sure the gun is not loaded.
2. Close the bolt.
3. Insert a rod down the barrel from the muzzle and when it stops against the bolt face, mark it at the muzzle.
4. Withdraw the rod, and measure the distance from the end that was in the barrel to the mark you made. That is the barrel length for legal puposes.

The minimum legal barrel length for a shotgun under Federal Law is 18". Under that, it is a "Short barrel shotgun" (SBS) and must be registered.

Note that state or local laws or hunting regulations may set another minimum either for possession or hunting.

Jim K
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