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Cutting a barrel and making a replacement bead (w/pics)

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Old 03-25-2014, 02:15 AM
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Typical Buck
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Default 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 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.
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Old 03-25-2014, 04:20 AM
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Cool! That was a neat little project!
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Old 03-29-2014, 01:19 AM
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Came out looking great!

I made a couple "nested bead" front sights for shotguns that I cut down for Cowboy Action Shooting using basically this same method. Instead of the bead torquing down against the barrel, I'd screw a brass or stainless nut onto the threads and let the bead "nest" into that, and turn the screw and nut in the drill against the file and stones to turn down the diameter of the nut. Left a nice round ball bead nesting into a silver or brass ring. Adds a bit of height to the bead.

We just did a "sawed off 500" this winter with my brother-in-law. He found a deal on a used mossy that was cheaper than getting another barrel for his old 500, so he bought it and we cut it down. It's a vent rib, so we had to resolder (low temp to preserve the bluing a little) the rib, then D&T for a brass bead. Hindsight 20/20 we should have used high temp solder, since he just ended up doing a krylon job on top anyway!
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