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Barrel Length Question

Old 08-04-2014, 10:46 AM
  #1  
Spike
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Default Barrel Length Question

I mainly use my O/U for upland birds. My all purpose shotgun is a TriStar Viper G2 12 gauge with a 26" barrel. I got the 26" model because I felt a 28" was too long for tight turkey woods. My question is this, for upland birds and waterfowl does the 2" difference make much difference? Should I be looking at getting a 28" for the bird hunting? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks!
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:02 AM
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With the modern shotgun ammunition of today with cup wads and modern smokeless powder 2 inches on you barrel would not produce measurable differences in your shotgun. The modern shells produce patterns about one choke tighter than what your barrel is choked. The long barrels of yesterday were used because black powder burned skow and they were trying to get all the push they could out of black powder shells before the charge left the barrel. Some folks can't leave go of the notion that a longer barrel is better. One situation where a longer barrel helps is in swinging the shotgun by making the swing smoother and keeping the gun in motion. That is wy trap shooters may use longer barreled guns.
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Old 08-04-2014, 11:29 AM
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Also, with modern screw-in chokes those 2 inches mean even less.

Best advise - Buy "extended" screw-in chokes (only way to fly) !
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Old 08-09-2014, 05:59 PM
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I read an article many years ago and it was stated that with today's improved ammo a barrel length of 25" is optimum. The powder of a 3" 12 shell is all burned up by the time the shot column moves down the barrel that far. I personally like a 28" bbl for waterfowl but used a 26" for years with good success.
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Old 08-09-2014, 08:26 PM
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when shooting clay pigeons i like my uncles 28 inch barrel better than my 26 inch
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:53 AM
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Long barrels are not needed for load performance as 95% or more of the velocity is developed in the first 18" of the barrel for all modern loads. So adding inches after that does nothing in a practical sense to increase the performance of the load.

That said, clay target shooters tend to like longer barrels for an increased sighting plane, and moving the balance point of the gun out front a little more. The advantage being putting more weight out front which will tend to give a smoother swing and better follow through. Remember that all clay targets fly in a straight line or a smooth arc and less direction change is required of the gun barrel in tracking it.

Birds don't fly that way all the time. They can dive, dip, back-peddle, jerk, turn on a dime, and generally make your life a living Hell if you get my drift. So a more lively gun might be a better proposition, especially for upland game birds. Waterfowl - a little less so, but still capable of making a fool out of a lot of us chasers.

I just went to a Beretta A400 last year with a 26 inch barrel which is replacing my older AL 390 with a 28" tube. No regrets; and no adjustment difficulties with the shorter length. To be perfectly honest, I cannot tell the difference in the field. And the A400 does well for me at Sporting Clays also.

Remember that any pump or semi-auto with any length barrels will handle about the same as an over/under with a barrel 2 inches longer due to the receiver length in the pump/auto.

If you shoot the Tristar well, I see no need to opt in for a longer barrel gun for either upland or waterfowl.
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Old 08-13-2014, 09:31 AM
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Powder burn aside, I've read that a longer barrel allows the shot to stabilize better resulting in a better/more consistent pattern -- primarily when research 24" vs 26" for a turkey gun. (I currently use a 26 for everything). Any truth to this? And does it just apply when talking about the extremely short turkey guns?
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:58 AM
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No, there is no truth in that. Your shot is in a cup wad, it stays in the cup until it is some distance from the muzzle and then falls off and the shot begins to open up. I don't know where anyone came up with stabilizing the shot but the barrel does not stabilize shot turkey gun or not. As was stated a longer barrel gives a longer sight plane, which shouldn't matter much because you don't aim a shotgun at flying or running game and it can make the gun swing smoother because of more weight forward. With modern ammo, barrel length and better performance is negligible if at all.

Last edited by Oldtimr; 08-13-2014 at 11:02 AM.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:14 AM
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Murdy,

That’s an interesting theory. And for the sake of discussion, I’d like to offer some further thoughts. I’ve read some research on stabilizing shotgun slugs/sabots by using a choke tube with some rifling to impart a slow spin to the slug/sabot as it exits the barrel. And there has even been some straight rifling used in some tournament shotgun choke tubes to stabilize the wad cup as it exits the barrel. But both of these methods use a choke tube of maybe 3 to 4 inches length to accomplish the task at the very end of the barrel travel.

But until I see some hard evidence showing some real testing of that claim, I think I’ll just not pass that along to anybody else. I’m inclined to believe this is just another urban myth. But hey, I’ve been wrong a time or three before.



The squeezing of the shot load caused by the forcing cones and/or the choke tubes have a much larger impact on shot deformation and therefore patterns than does barrel length. With today’s wads fully protecting the shot column as it travels the length of the barrel, I still believe barrel length is a non-issue with regards to pattern quality. And I fully support your right to believe something else.



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Old 08-13-2014, 12:32 PM
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I really don't have an opinion on this, just curious what everyone thought. At one time, I was trying to decide whether to buy a short barreled turkey gun and I ran across this line of thought. (Ended up finding a used gun that I liked at a good price, and that settled the barrel length debate in my head, as it was 26) I'll see if I can dig up any of that stuff.
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