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Old November 22, 2009, 06:41 PM   #1
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shortening a barrel and installing a bead

can someone describe in detail the process for shortening a shotgun barrel and installing a bead? tips, tools, techniques, etc...I'm talking a plain barrel gun on a Mossberg 500 or Winchester, Ithaca, etc thread sizes are this case i want to add a 6-48 meprolight bead to a 500 barrel.
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Old November 22, 2009, 08:15 PM   #2
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Here's my "limited tools" method. I advise against advice to use a pipe cutter. Shotgun barrels are not pieces of pipe:

Measure the existing barrel by closing the action (make sure it's empty) and putting a dowel rod or cleaning rod down the barrel.
Mark the rod even with the muzzle, remove it and measure from the end of the rod to the mark.
This is the actual barrel length.

Measure the rod to the length you want the barrel to be and mark it.
The barrel MUST be at least 18" long, and if you're smart, you won't go under 18 1/2".

After marking the rod at 18 1/2" or how ever long you want it, lay it along side the barrel with the FIRST mark even with the muzzle, then mark the barrel at the second mark.
This will be where the barrel will be cut.

STOP...... Start all over and measure everything AGAIN to be SURE.
Make sure the action is closed when you put the rod down the bore, and make sure you measure everything RIGHT so the cut line isn't less than 18 1/2".
A smart man measures everything SEVERAL times. Cut too short and you just committed a FELONY.

Once you're sure about where you want to cut, carefully wrap a piece of tape around the barrel, keeping it as square with the barrel as possible.
Buy a good fine-tooth hacksaw blade and use it in a good high-tension saw frame.

When you're ready to make the cut...STOP... check everything out again one last time.

When you're sure, make a one or two stroke gentle cut on the tape cut line. Then rotate the barrel and make another one or two stroke light cut.
Continue this until you have a shallow line cut all the way around the barrel.

Continue making one or two stoke cuts and rotating the barrel until the barrel is cut through.
Doing it this way insures you make a square cut that doesn't drift off and make the muzzle uneven.
This prevents having to do a lot of filing to try to square the muzzle up again.

Once the barrel is cut, use a fine-cut file to carefully remove the saw marks from the end of the muzzle, then use the file to break the sharp outer edge.
Wrap fine metal-type wet or dry sand cloth around the ball of your thumb, and use that to break the sharp inner edge of the muzzle.

Use cold blue to touch up the cut edge.

For a new front sight, either have a gunsmith install a new bead, or buy a Remington type bead and base unit from Brownell's, and soft solder it on by "sweating" it in place.
Brownell's sell this as a "Colonial Arms" front sight base, item number 198-104-101.

To solder the base on, use a fine-cut file to remove a spot of bluing from the barrel that is JUST as large as the new base. (solder won't stick to bluing).
Clean the base of any grease, heat it up and apply a thin coat of Brownell's Force-44 solder to it.
Apply a thin coat of flux on the bottom of the base, then clamp it on the barrel.
Heat the barrel until the solder melts then allow to cool.
Clean everything up and you're in business.

Another option is to use the new "Black Max" bonder made by Loctite and sold by Brownell's.
This is a "super-glue" mixed with a black rubbery binder that's specifically made to bond on shotgun sights. From all reports it really holds if you do the job right.

For a different type of bead, just remove the bead on the pedestal, drill and tap a hole, then attach the base to the barrel, then screw in the new sight.
This usually gives a simpler, stronger mount than drilling holes in the barrel itself.
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Old November 22, 2009, 09:01 PM   #3
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highly informative, thank you!
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Old November 23, 2009, 02:28 PM   #4
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Another tip. Install the new bead before you cut the barrel, you can use the old one as a reference and there's much less risk of getting it crooked or off center. You can use a pipe cutter, but it will leave an unacceptably high ring in the bore usually. Need to remove that. I find a barrel hone works better than sandpaper by hand. for the bore. I bit of file and sandpaper work on the marks at the muzzle and prep for cold blue. If you install the new bead in the barrel rather than a base, make sure the threads don't protrude into the bore. The hone will clean them up if you get them close. Might need to try, cut, and try to get it right. Secure with loctite.

And, it's a good idea to measure between 75 and 90 times before you cut, and have an assistant triple check. On a 500 if you screw it up, you can junk the barrel and start over for cheap, but you've still done a Bad Thing. At least you've added $100 to the cost of a $20 job. at worst you get a cellie named Bubba.
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Old December 19, 2009, 02:11 AM   #5
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bump for informative thread.
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