cutting a barrel and making a replacement bead (w/pics)
We have all seen it. An old shotgun with a missing bead. I have a very old shotgun with a damaged barrel. The barrel had been cut off by a prior owner who took off about an inch for some unknown reason. This left no bead nor tapped hole where the bead should be. On top of that the barrel has a rather bad bulge about 6 inches from the end. The goal here is to cut down the barrel and add back the missing bead.
While a hacksaw works (and even coined the phrase "sawed off shotgun", a pipe cutter leaves a straighter edge that is easier to clean up.
A little filing and fine sandpaper cleans up the cut nicely. Next the barrel is tapped 3/8 to ½ inch from the muzzle.
The bead that I will be making is threaded #4-40 tpi so I tap the barrel accordingly.
To make a bead I start with a #4-40 brass screw. I wrap the threads with tape to protect them. Then I mount the screw in the chuck of a hand drill so I can spin it creating a sort of mini metal lathe.
Using a small file and fine sandpaper I reshape the head of the screw into a ball shape.
Here is a before and after.
The bead can then be threaded into the barrel to mark where it needs to be cut off.
Holding such a small part for the cut-off can be tough unless you have a proper sized nut to thread onto the screw.
The finished bead installed.
Dont let that old shotgun suffer the indignity of being beadless.
With the gun solidly in an upright position its pretty easy to find the top of the barrel. Use a punch once you locate that spot as it creates a depression or dimple for the drill bit the start and prevents it from wandering off the curve of the barrel.
Pipe cutters should not be used in cutting shotgun barrels. They compress the steel in the cut, constricting the size of the bore.
This is not a bad thing. See link for explanation. I cut this barrel in the purple area and in no way got even close to reducing the muzzle close to where the original choke dia was. Recall that the barrel was bulged and why the barrel was cut and the pipe cutter would likely bring the dia. Back closer to where it ought to be.
Agreed and that compression (Because it was bulged anyway) is not a negative. Couple that with filing the muzzle at the cut means I am in no way concerned and that is is still far larger than the original choke of the uncut barrel.
It is easy to remove the small amount of metal that is displaced by the cutting wheel on the pipe cutter so when you stick your finger in you do not feel a 'lip'. I fully agree this lip should be removed but it certainly would not be catastrophic if it was left in place.