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20" Barrel Too Short????

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20" Barrel Too Short????

Old 10-16-2005, 07:37 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 1
Default 20" Barrel Too Short????

I'm pretty new to the subject of guns and hunting. Today I went to my local sporting good stores to buy my first shotgun combo. I wanted a smoothbore barrel and a rifled barrel. I was originally planning on purchasing a Winchester 1300 Black Shadow combo, this and a red dot scope would cost me almost $500. I then ran across a package deal of a Remington 870 Express combo with scope for also $500. The scope is a $100 variable power Bushnell. The combo comes with a 23" rifled barrel, and a 20" "turkey barrel." At first I thought that this 20" barrel would be too short, but the salesman reassured me and said that it would work fine and has no real affect. Another concern I had was that it was too cheap of a scope, and that I should just go with a red dot. He seemed almost hurt that I didn't trust him, and once again assured me that the scope would do the job fine.

I trusted his reassurance and ended up purchasing the Remington combo. I've been looking at some past posts and am somewhat worried about my decision. I've heard of variable power scopes being ruined by slug guns, and now I know that 18" is the legal limit for shot guns. As of now, I'll be primarily hunting squirrels, rabbits, grouse, pheasants, and of course deer with the shotgun.

Did I make a mistake? I think I would be able to return the gun if I did so soon. Thanks for the help and guidance.
davsholm423 is offline  
Old 10-17-2005, 02:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 306
Default RE: 20" Barrel Too Short????

Turkey barrels are notoriously short because of the ease of swinging the gun around while sitting or in confined areas. A shorter barrel can allow the pattern to open up a bit with the same choke as a longer barrel, but this can easily be comensated for by using a tighter choke. Just pattern your shotgun to find out which chokes will be best suited for your needs.
UThunter is offline  
Old 10-17-2005, 07:16 AM
Typical Buck
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 604
Default RE: 20" Barrel Too Short????

Ballistically you are not loosing anything. It may not give as good a site plane however.
Scott Gags is offline  
Old 10-17-2005, 08:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 226
Default RE: 20" Barrel Too Short????

Shotguns, as it happens, burn all of their powder charge (thus, achieve maximum velocity), within the first 18" - 20" of barrel length. So, as Scott Gags said, you are not losing anything, from a ballistic point of view. So, I would not worry at all about this.

As regards accuracy, with a smooth barrel, that will be more a function of which loads that your particular gun "likes"....than barrel length. When shooting slugs, I have never found any positive benefit to a barrel LONGER than about 20". For shot, long barrels are the norm, not for reasons of velocity...but in order to keep the shot charge together just a bit longer...which does help accuracy (shot patterns). But, that is where the variable choke system comes into play. With a short "turkey" barrel, a good rule of thumb (with shot) is to simply use a choke one size smaller than one would use with a full-length barrel. Also, again, your shotgun will pattern better with some brands of shells than others....so try several brands. I much prefer shorter barrels myself. Using a tighter choke, I have managed to do just as well (at skeet shooting), as I ever was able to do with a long, unwieldy barrel.
gorse is offline  
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