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Shorty Shotty Shooting Trap?!?!

Went to an outdoor range yesterday. They have facilities for everything, pistol ranges, rifle ranges, tin can ranges and manual trap, where you load a spring loaded launcher one clay pigeon at a time. Planned to shoot trap and pistol, but also threw my home defense shotgun in the trunk hoping to try out some new buckshot on the tin can range as well. This place used to have a 24 inch barrel minimum on the trap range. I wasn't sure if that applied on the tin can range so I asked. They said they had dropped that rule on all ranges now, and I was free to shoot the short barrel on either tin can or trap range. I couldn't resist!

My home defense gun came out of the trunk. It is a Winchester Defender with 18 inch barrel and a stock cut down to a 12 LOP and some weight to the stock to make it balance better with the short stock. I didn't keep score, but was hitting half or more of the clays with the shorty. It was a hoot! I live in a pretty urban area, and used to only be able to shoot the shorty at an indoor range at seven yards with buckshot. That gets boring pretty fast.

The shorty would not be my first choice if I wanted to maximize my scores, but it felt great to be able to swing it at a moving target. You really get a feel for how handy and maneuverable the thing is. I plan to throw it in the car and put one box through it every time I shoot trap now. Am I the only one who thinks it's fun to shoot a shorty on the trap range?
 

John A.

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I like short shotguns better than long ones.

I've taken a lot of squirrels and rabbits and grouse and stuff with 18 and 20 inch shotgun barrels.

I've appreciated threaded choke barrels for a long time. Because that lets you be able to use a short barrel and can also change how tight you want it to pattern at the same time. Win/win.
 
I've appreciated threaded choke barrels for a long time. Because that lets you be able to use a short barrel and can also change how tight you want it to pattern at the same time. Win/win.

Yeah, I would love an 18 inch with interchangeable chokes and preferably a vent rib. I was feeling the lack of a choke the other day. I was using 7 1/2 shot out of a cylinder bore and I noticed a lot of my hits were not pulverizing the clays, but just breaking them into two or three pieces, so I might have been landing only one or two pellets on the target.

I believe I read that Mossberg has produced an 18.5 inch barrel with interchangeable chokes, but they don't seem to be thick on the ground. To get one with a vent rib, I expect I would have to cut down a longer barrel and have a gunsmith thread it for chokes. That would not be cheap, but it would be pretty cool.
 

John A.

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I threaded a bunch of mine for chokes.

If you can rent the tool/reamer, it takes about 35 minutes per barrel with a cordless drill taking your time and using lots of transmission fluid for cutting fluid.

FWIW, the mossberg choke is in my opinion the best option. Which means plenty of chokes to be found. It doesn't matter what you put them in though.

I have mossberg chokes in my 20" Remington 870 barrel too. Just something to remember in the future to make a note to self, don't buy rem-chokes for my threaded 870 barrel because I used the more common and readily available and cheaper mossberg/winchester/benelli choke thread pattern.

I'm not a purist.

But, it is an option.

I don't know why every gun manufacturer doesn't make a threaded 18" barrel. They're awesome.
 
I threaded a bunch of mine for chokes.

If you can rent the tool/reamer, it takes about 35 minutes per barrel with a cordless drill taking your time and using lots of transmission fluid for cutting fluid.

FWIW, the mossberg choke is in my opinion the best option. Which means plenty of chokes to be found. It doesn't matter what you put them in though.

I have mossberg chokes in my 20" Remington 870 barrel too. Just something to remember in the future to make a note to self, don't buy rem-chokes for my threaded 870 barrel because I used the more common and readily available and cheaper mossberg/winchester/benelli choke thread pattern.

I'm not a purist.

But, it is an option.

I don't know why every gun manufacturer doesn't make a threaded 18" barrel. They're awesome.

I never thought about doing it myself. The barrel is so thin, the diameter so large, and the threads so fine that it seemed like something best left to a professional. On the other hand, the cost of having it professionally done is huge in relation to the cost of used 28" or 30" barrels one could use for the starting point, so I could see how it might be worth risking a couple barrels to get the hang of it.

I have only Mossbergs and Winchesters, and am very happy they use the same chokes. Wouldn't use anything else. I have a 28" inch barrel Winchester 1300 that would be fun to turn into a Defender clone but with interchangeable chokes. I don't really have any use for it in the long barrel configuration as I prefer Mossberg. Bought it used in excellent condition with nice wood for about what it would cost to have the barrels threaded for chokes by a professional. It would be fun to cut the barrel down, thread for chokes and add a magazine extension to bring it up to 7+1. Icing on the cake is that it has a vent rib.
 

John A.

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I agree.

I personally like Winchester pump shotguns. I have owned several over the years. Owned more but a few of them have been handed down already.

Only have one winchester left.

It has an 18 inch barrel that isn't threaded for chokes, but I still have a 28" vent rib for it that does take chokes so if he's needing something besides a defender barrel, he has one that will put food on the table too.

I have threaded my mossy 18" barrel and a Remington 870 18" barrel.

And yes, I hunt with them. They can put a squirrel on the ground just as well as a 32" barrel LOL
 
I'm warming to the idea of shortening the barrel on this Winchester 1300. Still kind of spooked about tapping barrel for chokes. Tool rental is ~$50 plus shipping, and if I screw up a barrel, replacements are not that easy to find at the moment. I don't have a lathe, and frankly, my gunsmithing skills are unremarkable at best. So maybe I hold off on that part until I can find a cheap barrel to practice on. I would want to put a +2 mag extension on, however. Do you have any suggestions on which +2 extension is best?

I have read some reports of mag extensions causing the last couple rounds to hang up at the point were the extension meets the magtube, which makes the whole exercise kind of pointless.
 
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John A.

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Threading the barrel is pretty simple and straightforward. There is a piece that is basically the same size as the inside of the barrel (there are different sizes so you have to see which does best in your particular case depending on your particular barrel).

This pretty much keeps the cutting tool and thread tool straight with the barrel as you're working them.

I do realize why you're hesitant, but like they say, if you use the right tool for the job, it would be hard to mess it up if you take your time.

I own several different mag extensions for different guns. I honestly don't recall which brand is on the 1300 that is still left. But I can tell you that it is blued steel rather than painted aluminum. So, that one probably is a choate. I have no problems with them feeding correctly. They come with their own extended spring, and have a lifetime warranty if you have any problems with them.

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Ha! Our tastes run similar. I would take blued steel over painted aluminum any day. Been thinking about this Winchester 1300 project. Since I already have a "real" Defender, I was thinking of making the clone a little different. Maybe cutting the barrel to 20 inches instead of 18 and using a +3 extension instead of +2. Also, my Defender is wearing a cut down stock with 12 inch LOP. Maybe leaving the 1300 project gun with factory 13.75 inch LOP. An 8+1 shot, 20 inch vent rib barrel with interchangeable chokes Winchester 1300 seems like it would be really handy and versatile, and add something different to my line-up.

Threading the barrel for chokes myself is one of those ideas that sounds good over beer but maybe not so good over coffee. But I had a thought on that. If I start with a 28 inch barrel and want to end up with a 20 inch threaded barrel, I could do 2-3 practice runs on the same barrel - cut it to 26 inches, practice threading, cut it to 24 inches, practice threading, cut it to 22 inches, practice threading. Then when I get to 20 inches, it will be my fourth try and hopefully I will have learned from my mistakes. And if I screw that one up, I guess I can always cut it again and have an 18 inch cylinder bore!
 
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