Police shotguns have shorter barrels and larger magazine capacities than hunting shotguns. Although a sawed-off shotgun may have a shorter effective range, firearms with reduced-length barrels are easier to maneuver, conceal, and store. For law enforcement officers (LEOs) on patrol, these so-called riot shotguns also support police operations such as entry and breaching. With any type of weapon, however, it’s not just marksmanship that’s linked to performance. Gun maintenance also matters.
Recently, a retired LEO joined a conversation on LinkedIn about Flex-Hone® for Firearms tools from Brush Research Manufacturing (BRM). Out of respect for the officer’s privacy, we won’t link to that on-line discussion or share any additional identifying information such as the poster’s location. The LEO was willing to share his experience with flexible honing, however, and we hope these tips and techniques will benefit other police departments and gun owners.
Forcing Cone Reamers vs. Forcing Cone Hones
As the police armorer understood, flexible honing is about surface finishing – not material removal. To lengthen a shotgun forcing cone, a gun tool called a reamer is used. Long, sharp, and designed for removing metal, some reamers are also used with shotgun barrels. Achieving a fine finish on new forcing cones can be challenging, but that just means it’s time to change tools. The Flex-Hone® for Firearms polishes the metal and imparts a finish that supports smoother shot constriction with less barrel fouling.
For a surface that requires significant improvement, BRM recommends starting with a lower-grit Flex-Hone® and then using one or more higher-grit tools until the final finished is achieved. The retired police officer followed this advice, and reported using first a medium-grit tool and then a fine-grit tool. BRM supplies shotgun forcing cone hones for 12, 16, and 20-gauge shotguns with silicon carbide or aluminum oxide abrasive, and in standard grit sizes of 180, 400, and 800 to meet various finishing requirements.
Shotgun Barrel Cleaning vs. Shotgun Barrel Honing
Shooters talk about “firearms cleaning and maintenance”, but these two tasks aren’t necessarily the same. As the police armorer explained, a shotgun rod with a bore brush and cloth patches let a gun owner clean a smoothbore barrel. To improve the metal’s surface finish, however, use a shotgun barrel hone instead. The Flex-Hone® for Firearms family includes barrel honing tools that impart a uniform finish with a surface that resists corrosion and wear while reducing fouling.
Like BRM’s other flexible hones, the Flex-Hone® for Firearms for shotgun barrels isn’t made for heavy-duty material removal. To produce a smooth finish that’s free of pitting and oxidation, these barrel hones use a low-temperature, low-pressure abrading process that leaves the base material undisturbed. Stock removal is minimal, but flexible honing is still an abrasive process. As the retired LEO explained on LinkedIn, always apply plenty of Flex-Hone® oil after chucking the tool in a handheld electric drill.
Take Aim with the Flex-Hone® for Shotguns
You don’t have to be a professional gunsmith to maintain your firearms, and you don’t have to be a police officer to use Flex-Hone® tools. Would you like to learn more about how flexible honing works, and why the surface finish that’s imparted is superior? (Hint: It involves peaks and valleys). To learn more, download the Flex-Hone® for Firearms brochure now.