I get questions on occasion about “sawing off” shotguns. My first question is why – what do you want out of it, and my first comment is about the legal ramifications.
There are some legitimate uses of a short barreled (under 18.5 inches), and I do think the idea is cool so don’t Zumbo me, but in general for home defense use I do not think a regulated short barrel shotgun is worth the hassle and a standard pump with an 18.5 inch barrel gives you everything you need.
However, if you want a shorter barrel on your 870 shotgun you need to know how to replace a Remington 870 shotgun barrel
If you want to cut down the total length of a shotgun so that you can maneuver it easily 18.5 inches works fine. This length also balances spread with energy transfer – if the pellets have too extreme a spread then less of them with strike the target.
Besides that if you go with a 18.5 inch barrel it is easy to buy a new barrel and just replace the barrel that came with your shotgun. That way if you ever want to go hunting or shoot skeet or trap you can just put the older barrel back on. If you cut your barrel down it’s a permanent solution…
As I said in the video, a coworker asked me to show him how to switch barrels – since we both commute to work, and work is a national guard armory I could not bring in my gun to show him or store it in my car until after work. Besides, this gives me a legitimate reason to make a video – and you know how I need that…
I made the video and burned it to a disk – when he watched it he said “Is that all there is too it, anybody can do that”. I agree, and if you have a pump shotgun I think you should consider getting a few specialty barrels – a 18.5 cylinder or improved cylinder bore for defensive work – a longer hunting barrel, maybe a slug barrel for deer – they are cheaper than buying new guns, and turns your shotgun into a true multi-purpose arm.
- Clear the firearm. In the video I reversed the steps – I checked the chamber and then the magazine (in my defense I did it prior to filming as the shotgun used is my home defense gun and was loaded and had the 18.5 barrel on it – No excuse I know)
- Pull the slide to the rear.
- Unscrew the magazine cap. The magazine cap is located at the very end of the slide, just underneath the barrel.
- Grip the barrel just in front of the magazine tube and pull it straight out. It should come out easily, but you may have to twist it a little
- Insert the new barrel into the receiver and push it back as far as it will go.
- Screw the magazine cap back on
- Function check your firearm to ensure you installed everything correctly