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Thread: Class III Firearm Question

  1. #1

    Default Class III Firearm Question

    I have kind of a general question, pretty sure I already know the answer. Was thinking about maybe getting a 12 ga. for home and bear protection, hopefully not both at the same time (lame joke). I really like either the Remington 870, or the Mossberg 590A1, but right now I'm leaning towards the Mossberg for no particular reason. I think it's be pretty sweet to have one all dressed up tactical style, you know what I mean. I see that Mossberg has a line of law enforcement models, with the 14 inch barrel, which makes them Class III because of the short length vs. the standard 18.5 inch. I know that there are no specific state restriction applying towards this, but what about federal regulations. I think I read there is a tax? And how hard would it be to obtain one of these, is it something I could order through a gun dealer with a FFL? Anyone got any thoughts or opinions on this? How about my gun choice?

  2. #2
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Arco, Idaho

    Default You really have to consider...

    whether the hassle to get a 4 inch shorter than generally available barrel is worth it. Really.
    Yes, you CAN wade through the paperwork, including photographs, fingerprints, and the time lag, scrutiny and expense that it takes to get the tax stamp. Additionally, if it ain't the cat's meow, you've got the same hassle on the other end to move it to someone else. Gotta do the paperwork all over every time the piece is transferred to a new owner.
    If it's a choice between the Mossberg and a Remington, well, I don't see a choice. Go with the 870! It's possible to add all the doo-dads and gee-gaws on the planet on 'em, if that's the deal maker. 870's just seem to get slicker as you use 'em, the Mossbergs that I've picked up are coarse from the git, and don't seem to ever get any better. My own personal choice would be a Model 12 Winchester, but it stems from using them, or having them around for use for 30 years. At one point, someone in SAC decided that it'd be a great idea to put additional weapons (refurbished WWII vintage model 12's and new 870 Remingtons) in all of the Minuteman silos. In my younger days, I thought it was cool that the mag could be emptied by holding the trigger back and cycling the slide. Problem was hitting anything reliably doing that dance, but boy, was it cool to do!!!
    Right now, 870 Express with an 18" cylinder bore barrel is less expensive than the Mossberg. With that you get a steel receiver and guts.
    Yeah, the military buys the Mossberg, but remember that they also bypass a lot of excellent equipment to go with the lowest bidder.....................oh yeah, almost forgot, NO, a regular FFL CANNOT order a short barreled shotgun for you, you have to go with a properly licensed dealer to obtain one. It also can take 'up to' six months to get the paperwork back, and no, you can't have the gun till it's done and you have the tax stamp in your hands.
    Last edited by Darreld Walton; 09-12-2009 at 04:36. Reason: .

  3. #3


    OK, just to muddy things a bit. If you get an 870 and fit a rifled slug barrel, is it still a shotgun, or is it a rifle that can have a 16" barrel?

  4. #4


    For a short barrel shotgun you will need to file either a form 1 or a form 4 and pay for the tax stamp. The form 4 is for a transfer of a short barrel shot gun already manufactured. The form 1 is done if you are planning to cut the barrel and "manufacture" it yourself. If you go the form 1 route you will also need to have the shotgun engraved with your name, city and state. If the transfer is to a trust or corporation you will not need the chief law enforcement sign off, finger print cards or photo. I recommend that you look at Tom Bowers Subguns forum. There is a wealth of information there regarding tittle II firearms.

    Several local dealers can help you out. I have done transfers with Wild West Guns and Alaska Tacticle.

  5. #5
    Member Darreld Walton's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Arco, Idaho

    Default Nothing muddy about it...

    Quote Originally Posted by SlowLeadBullets View Post
    OK, just to muddy things a bit. If you get an 870 and fit a rifled slug barrel, is it still a shotgun, or is it a rifle that can have a 16" barrel?
    Once a shotgun, always a shotgun.

  6. #6


    ok if i remember this right ..if it made saight from the start with a 14.inch barrel 5.oo.dollar any other weapon tax stamp..for it was made from the start as a short barrle shotgun..i think that a form 4 typle transfer

    if take a 18.5.inchs shotgun barrel and saw it off it a class three item and you have to pay the 200.dollar transfer tax stamp.set up this one is a form-1-typle transfer

    get with a class three dealer and have them go though the paperwork with you and they will help you guide though the all the paperwork that the atf wants for the class three items..

    i have a class three 45.acp suppressor along with a shoulder stock for a short barrle rifle set up along with it was not that long of wait with everything about three month time frame..

    part of the deal with the fringer print cards and a sign off letter from the local sheriff of the county that you are in ,,or the trust route if the sheriff does not want to do the letter thing for you..

    if doing the trust unit ..put about 200 more dollars into a account and leave it alone so when you die the account is used for the trust tax amount on the class three item that someone in the family is going to have to pay for the tax on the weapon if remember reading the whole tax part of the trust set up

  7. #7
    Member gunbugs's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007


    Be aware that to legally cut your shotgun below 18" you must first file a Form one with ATF. Then decide if you want to put a buttstock on it. If you do then register it as a short barrel shotgun and pay the 200.00 tax. At that point when the form comes back approved, you can cut it and pretty much do whatever you want with it, to include putting just a pistol grip on it like the "witness protection shotguns" which are AOW's. However, if you choose to register it as an AOW and just pay the 5.00 tax the it is unlawful to put a buttstock on it because that makes it an SBS subject to the higher tax. Pay the 200 and give yourself options. It's pocket change anyway. Good luck! GUNBUGS

  8. #8


    the dept shotguns where 14.inch barrels and they came from scattergun tech ,,i think wilson combat bought them out and make them under there name..

    we used the rem-870 model as the base model that they sold us
    with the following mods for our dept ..

    a 14.inch barrel with standoff typle muzzle brake if had use it for a breacher shot round..with ghost ring sight system

    surefire weapon light forend -x-6-volt unit

    sidesaddle ammo carrier on the left side of the receiver-x-4-rd typle

    heavy duty plastic all weather buttstock with 4-rd ammo carrier on the buttstock

    -x-4-rds in the tube and one in the camber

    -x-3.inch cambers

    -x-polished and smoothed pump action along with the inside of the shotgun

    -x- the trigger was one of the sweetest i seen on a police shotgun in my time in ..

    black and green color duracoat color ..

    it one of the few police shotguns i thought about buying from the wilson combat for my own personal use ..

    it was one of the best police shotgun set up that i had issused to me ..

    i would happy paid for all the extras for that shotgun as my own personal shotgun was a little loud to at time ..but it did it job with a very nasty way ,..

    we had a female officer that rode partol with us at times as a part time officer in the area ..she was about 120.pds and 5.ft 2.inchs tall ..

    that was the first thing she got when she get out of the car as back up for the site of her and that shotgun made a few old boys think about doing something supid ..

    she was a good to go typle of officer ..we tried many a time to get her to come full time to the job ..but could not ..she was a keeper in my book ..

  9. #9


    Check out the Hans Vang site. He customizes both 870s and Mosssbergs to make them into some of the finest guns out there. He built the guns for Anchorage, Valdez, and other police departments in the state. Vangcomp does everything he claims and is well worthwhile for an all around defensive shotgun for both people and bears.

    Personally I would go with and 870 over the Mossberg.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Anchorage, AK


    I'm thinking about filing form 1 to make an sbs or aow saiga 12 gauge, I really can't decide. I downloaded the form and started looking at what all needs to be done, stamping the barrel/receiver with location I manufacture it, finger prints, photo, etc, but I'm still a little confused.

    I live in Anchor Point, so who do I have to have sign the form? (since there is no PD in AP) I'm thinkin I might have to get the director of the state troopers to sign off, but I'm not sure. Anyone have an NFA firearm and care to share who they got to sign off?
    Surviving one day at a time with a PhD in Physics.


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