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johnspies

Minimum barrel length for ducks/geese?

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I'm thinking of getting a steady grip shotgun but it's 24" long; is that acceptable for duck hunting? I'd like to hunt turkey too if possible, with the same gun.

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There is only the federal limit of 18.5" for barrel length. That said typically barrels for ducks and geese are longer (28" to 30") to get the last bit of velocity out of the load. Much under 26" and you start to lose velocity at a more rapid rate than from 26" to 30". The longer barrels also provide for a longer sight radius which is not a bad thing. If you get serious about goose hunting the SBE's are top of the heap for 3.5" shotguns and don't give up much to the 10 gauges when throwing a heavy load.

 

Pat

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A 24" semi-auto offers about the same amount of sighting plane as does a 26-28" over and under, because the receiver is so much longer. However, a 26" or 28" would be slightly preferable because they would give you even more sighting plane than the 24".

By and large, the majority of waterfowlers like the 28".

 

There is no appreciable advantage to pattern density or velocity with longer barrels, so that's not an issue.

 

The biggest problem you will have is, if you are using the gun in a blind with other people beside you they may complain about the muzzle being that much closer to their ears.

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For turkeys the shorter barrels are preferred as they swing easier in the brush.

 

Don't see alot of O/U in the duck blind. It takes at least 3 shots to bring a goose down ;)

 

Pat

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24 Nov. 10

 

For years I shot either an 1100 Rem or 1400 Winchester with 28" tubes. Over the last 10 years I've used either a X2 Winchester or I-12 Franchi both with 26" tubes. 24" seem a tad short to keep moving on crossing birds.

 

If it were me, I'd go with something other than the "steady grip" stock. A pistol grip might help one aim at a turkey's head but when the target is flying rather than standing or walking, that sort of stock seem a little clumsy to me. It is a matter of preference and if you feel comfortable with that stock design for flying birds, I guess it wouldn't matter.

 

Bill

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24 Nov. 10

 

For years I shot either an 1100 Rem or 1400 Winchester with 28" tubes. Over the last 10 years I've used either a X2 Winchester or I-12 Franchi both with 26" tubes. 24" seem a tad short to keep moving on crossing birds.

 

If it were me, I'd go with something other than the "steady grip" stock. A pistol grip might help one aim at a turkey's head but when the target is flying rather than standing or walking, that sort of stock seem a little clumsy to me. It is a matter of preference and if you feel comfortable with that stock design for flying birds, I guess it wouldn't matter.

 

Bill

 

 

Im with bill. While the steady grip is nice, it makes it incredibly difficult and akward when it comes to swinging on flying birds, especially pass shots on teal. Althoiugh its incorrect, for me, my hand on the stock controls most of what the gun does.

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I'm thinking of getting a steady grip shotgun but it's 24" long; is that acceptable for duck hunting? I'd like to hunt turkey too if possible, with the same gun.

A 26” barrel is the minimum length you should use on a semiautomatic gun or pump gun when hunting ducks and geese. 28” is about the equivalent length on a two barrel gun (O/U or S/S).

 

If you are shooting from a blind or pit, you might want to consider using a 28” barrel on your semiautomatic gun or pump gun. The additional length provides an alignment advantage and a little better velocity with the same shot-load.

 

A 26” barrel on your semiautomatic gun or pump gun might be a better choice when “jump shooting” (i.e., walking up to potholes and moving through the brush) since the shorter barrel is less likely to hang-up on brush.

 

I’m not sure what you mean when you say “I'm thinking of getting a steady grip shotgun.” If you are considering a “tactical pistol grip,” forget about it for wing shooting. That type of pistol grip is great for level shooting, but it’s awful for the many angles you have when shooting flying birds (i.e., ducks and geese).

 

And; if you can afford it, buy dedicated gun for turkey hunting and a different gun for duck/goose hunting. Your turkey gun will be much different than your duck/goose gun.

 

Hope this is helpful,

--Spike

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"...a little better velocity with the same shot-load..."

 

Although technically true, the reality is that the difference is not measurable for shotguns.

 

Rifles, yes.

 

Shotguns, not enough that you can measure it accurately.

 

A friend of mine tested this with a really stupid expensive Oehler Induction Chronograph, two virtually identical barrels (one 28", one 32"), and factory shells.

 

What he found was the standard deviation of one shell to the next in a box of shells is greater than the measurable difference between a 32" barrel and a 28" barrel.

 

BTW, my CZ 712 semi-auto with a 26" barrel is almost exactly the same overall length as my 30" Over/Under.

 

John, I recommend this is a perfect excuse to buy a new shotgun!

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It just depends on your personal preferance, me personally im 6' 4" and I like a 28" barrel because I like the weight and the balance.

 

I'd say the minimal barrel length for ducks and geese would be 24 inches because that is when the maximum velocity of the shell is reached.

 

A longer barrel doesn't mean longer shots

A 24" barrel with throw shot just as far as a 30" barrel does

 

The best piece of advice I can give you is to find a gun/barrel length that you like, a good choke and a load that patterns well with you gun/choke and stick with it.

 

Jump into the blind with some confidence and you're gonna kill some birds ;)

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"...a little better velocity with the same shot-load..."

 

Although technically true, the reality is that the difference is not measurable for shotguns.

 

Rifles, yes.

 

Shotguns, not enough that you can measure it accurately.

 

A friend of mine tested this with a really stupid expensive Oehler Induction Chronograph, two virtually identical barrels (one 28", one 32"), and factory shells.

 

What he found was the standard deviation of one shell to the next in a box of shells is greater than the measurable difference between a 32" barrel and a 28" barrel.

 

BTW, my CZ 712 semi-auto with a 26" barrel is almost exactly the same overall length as my 30" Over/Under.

 

John, I recommend this is a perfect excuse to buy a new shotgun!

You are correct. I just measured my Montefeltro with a 26” barrel against my Berretta O/U with a 29.5” barrel (or 30” with extended chokes); and, measuring from the trigger, there’s only about ½” difference. That means the comparison should be about a 30” barrel and NOT a 28” barrel on the O/U to a 26” barrel on the semiautomatic as I incorrectly stated.

 

Your point about a negligible difference in velocity with identical loads when comparing shotgun barrel lengths is also true. The energy of a load begins to fall-off significantly with shotgun pellets at 40 yards or even less, so barrel length isn’t significant here. And, a very slight difference in velocity won’t make any significant difference at 25 yards.

 

Wing shooters definitely have a tendency to disseminate faulty information mostly due to the incredible number of variables when shooting birds. Your scientific approach (and correcting me) is appreciated.

 

One of the best books I’ve read on wing shooting is Shotgunning: The Art and the Science by Bob Brister. He dispels a lot of myths in his book.

 

--Spike

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Take it one step further and look at the folks who really think the higher speed steel or even lead loads will actually reduce their leads when wing shooting.

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Take it one step further and look at the folks who really think the higher speed steel or even lead loads will actually reduce their leads when wing shooting.

I suppose that the load’s velocity does make a difference (and requires some modification) when shooting clay targets. Expert clay shooters claim this is the case, and they have the advantage shooting various loads at fairly consistent yardage (range).

 

With that said, I agree with you: I’ve never changed my lead when wing shooting (ducks, pheasants, etc.), no matter what barrel length or shot-load I’m using. Wing shooting offers enough challenges (range and speed of the flying bird) without attempting to factor in load velocity. :o

 

--Spike

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been shootin a 24" for ten years and a 26" 8 years before that....No difference.

Reading this good thread, I think we all agree that a longer barrel does not provide any advantage in load-speed (shot velocity). However, some shooters prefer the longer barrel for a better site-plane, especially on longer shots.

 

From personal experience when shooting handicap trap, I know that a longer barrel provides an advantage. I have a Krieghoff O/U with two barrels (28” and 30”) and screw-in chokes, and I get a slight improvement in percentage-hits with the 30” barrel when shooting trap. I don’t register any measureable difference when shooting skeet (in fact, I have a very slight improvement with the 28” barrel and skeet shooting that is so small it may not be significant).

 

I cannot say with any certainly if a longer barrel is better with wing shooting. Unlike the controlled environment when shooting trap and skeet (when you can absolutely count your hits), there are just too many variables when hunting live birds to be certain what provides the best result.

 

--Spike

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I love using my o/u in the duck blind... I usually just waste the third shot anyways. Plus if I get a cripple, I can reload really fast and follow up..

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I love using my o/u in the duck blind... I usually just waste the third shot anyways. Plus if I get a cripple, I can reload really fast and follow up..

Just read your posting, and I would like to offer the counterpoint.

 

First I should mention that I love shooting two barrel guns (either O/U or S/S). In fact, inside the tight space of a duck blind, I find the S/S a slight advantage over an O/U when loading since the gun opens with less barrel drop.

 

But, addressing your point about reloading: I believe the autoloader provides a significant advantage. Reloading my two barrel gun requires dropping the gun, breaking open the barrel, feeding the shells, closing the gun, and then realigning for the shot.

 

I can reload my semi-auto or pump gun much faster by simply dropping a shell into the open bolt (if the gun is empty), or quickly shoving an additional shell into the magazine when I still have a round in the chamber. I find that to be especially the case when operating in the tight confines of a duck blind.

 

Of course the best method is using two barrel guns when you are shooting with the assistance of a loader (someone passing you a loaded gun as is done on driven shoots in the UK).

 

--Spike

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I have a 26" and a 28", both I use to shoot waterfowl. Obviously you will hear that there's advantages to taking longer shots with the 28", and being able to swing better with the 26", but I really don't buy it. I believe that it all comes down to what fits you better. The 28" SBEII planes out really well for me, while the 26" doesn't. My browning Gold fits me great with the 26" on the otherhand, and I can kill em just as far as the guy next to me with the 28". Shoulder em and see what you like, you're gonna hear pros/cons to each side.

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^^ I agree with you, but would like to offer one counterpoint.

 

When shooting handicap trap (longer range), the majority of better competitors use a longer barrel. I believe that statistics (better results with 32” and 34” barrels when shooting handicap trap) confirm my statement.

 

However and with that said, shooting clay target is different than shooting live birds. I am in complete agreement with your point that gun-fitment (regardless of barrel length) is the most important factor when shooting game birds.

 

--Spike

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Shared a blind with a guy shooting a 24" barrel, he shot it well and killed ducks just as dead and just as far as everyone else.

 

Bought a 26" and just felt like it swung too fast for me, traded it for a 28" and am very happy. I use it for everything from quail to pheasants and honkers.

My brother hunts with a 26" and loves it.

 

I really feel it comes down to personal preference and what you feel confident shooting.

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Shared a blind with a guy shooting a 24" barrel, he shot it well and killed ducks just as dead and just as far as everyone else.

 

Bought a 26" and just felt like it swung too fast for me, traded it for a 28" and am very happy. I use it for everything from quail to pheasants and honkers.

My brother hunts with a 26" and loves it.

 

Guys who share the blind with me prefer that I use the 34" A-5, rather than my 26" SBE...Much quieter !

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Guys who share the blind with me prefer that I use the 34" A-5, rather than my 26" SBE...Much quieter !

I agree. :( It can be very distracting when your neighbor in a duck blind or the trap line is shooting a gun with a short barrel. It can get loud, and disconcerting if your feel any percussion.

 

BTW: I had a Browning A-5 years ago and loved the gun, but never quite mastered those recoil rings. :o

 

--Spike

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