Tactical Weatherby SBS


This gun started life as a Weatherby Youth 20 gauge SA-08 shotgun and is now a short barrel tactical defense shotgun.

This conversion starts with a Weatherby SA-08 Youth 20 gauge shotgun and changes it’s role in life from a getting-started bird gun to a home defense tactical shotgun. For when time, money, and reason aren’t part of the equation.

First up is that barrel. You don’t want to be swinging that thing around in the dark in your house, so it has to come off. The stock barrel is 24 inches, and a quick check with a tape shows that we can take off about 10 inches and put the muzzle right above the sling mount on the magazine tube. That’ll leave just a tad over 14 inches which is pretty decent.

As luck would have it, the cut point for 14.25 inches is still in an attachment block for the rib, so the front of the rib won’t need to have support added. Skipping all the boring details I used a foredom tool and cutting disk to make a rough cut and get the bulk of the barrel off. After that the barrel went into the lathe got and a proper end cleanup cut along with light chamfering. The edges on the rib were easy to clean up with hand files. Gas ports needed to be opened up a bit to provide more pressure to cycle the system properly.

This gun is designed to shoot across the living room at the dirtbag halfway in the window so I’m not bothering with threading it for a choke, straight barrel should be pretty good for 20 feet with buckshot.

Attachments are a must for a tactical shotgun, a light or laser or something under the front, so it gets a picatinny rail section on the fore grip. The plastic grip is curved (for your gripping pleasure) so we’ll have to mill out a bit so the rail is lined up with the barrel. Cutting a pair of .118 grooves at .2525 off center will give the rail a comfy notch to fit into. The groves need to get deeper as they go back into the grip to keep the rail parallel to the barrel. Drill and tap the grip for some retaining screws and it’s ready for a bad guy locator beacon.

New sights were done next. That little bead on the front isn’t going to cut it, especially since it’s on the part of the barrel that’s gone now. I wanted a nice bright sight, good in low light, and with a large ring for fast location. A Truglo turkey sight setup fit the bill perfectly for this. A notch was milled out of the end of the rib for the front sight to fit into and hold the sight straight under abuse.

The rear sight required milling the sight bracket down to fit inside the grooved top of the receiver. This sight was designed to clamp onto the vent rib further forward on the gun but it needed to be further back to get as much sight separation as possible.

After cutting the sight base into a tang and putting a couple holes in it, it mates nicely with the matching threaded holes added to the top of the receiver. Use of short screws is necessary to keep from interfering with the carrier.

Even as a 20 gauge gun, in short form the recoil is considerable. In order to make the gun more controllable the buttstock was filled with buckshot. The resulting gun feels very tail heavy when held in the middle, and is almost 10 pounds fully loaded but when shouldered feels very natural, is very easy to move around, and shoots smoothly.

The stock bolt release button is difficult to manipulate in a tactical mode, so an aluminum bar was bolted to the release button. It provides forward angular movement when pressed, but releases the bolt easily and makes tactical reloads a breeze.

Finishing touches include Cerakote on the receiver and barrel in Titanium and adding Red to the charging handle and custom bolt release bar.


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