There is a lot of confusion, miscommunication, misconceptions, and flat out lies in the gun world. This is especially true when it comes to the National Firearms Act and how it regulates things like suppressors, machine guns, destructive devices, short barrel rifles, and my favorite – Short Barrel Shotguns.
Today I want to clear up some of the confusion with some information on how the BATFE goes about measuring shotgun barrels for legality. This actually works for any firearm measurement so it also works for Short barrel rifles as well.
The length measurement has to be standardized so that different people won’t measure the same gun and come up with different measurements. Otherwise I can cut a gun and be 100 per cent certain I am legal and some agent can measure their way and arrest me.
The measurement is from the breech face of the closed bolt through the barrel to the muzzle.
I think that if I was doing this a lot, I would get me a dowel rod and paint a red mark at the exact legal limit, as long as I dripped it down the barrel on a closed and empty action and saw wood in between the mark and the muzzle I would know I was good on length.