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Barrel Length


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I am interested in barrel length testing that might help me. Can you provide me with some data on the three barrel lengths that you offer in the SBE(24,26,28). I would like to know if the newer faster burn times in powders today have given a edge to the shorter barrel lengths to carry and shorter gun and still have the shot pattern and speed in 3 1/2 mags? For example the Remington Hevi-Shot 3 1/2" BB's for geese.

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  • 5 weeks later...

How does barrel length affect pointing control and ability to achieve an accurate shot?


Please correct me, if I'm wrong...


It seems that the shorter the barrel, the 'whippier' the gun and less accurate the gunner will be when it is mounted to the shoulder to fire; or (said differently) the longer the barrel, the slower the gun will be to mount and point, but easier for the gunner to follow through once a shot is fired.



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Here is a post I came across in the Franchi forum...

... It hit home for me!! Just wish I had read this years ago!



New Member

Member # 161


posted 08-18-2003 03:49 PM


I found this article interesting; I shoot a 12-ga 30-barrel pump for Waterfowl and a 28 inch 16 ga pump or 24 inch 20 ga pump for upland.


Longer is Better

by Philip Bourjaily

Field and Stream


It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing.


Used to be, back in the days B.C.T. (Before Choke Tubes), your choice of barrel length was made for you. Open-choke guns had 26-inch barrels; Modifieds were 28-inch, and Full-choke barrels measured 30 inches. With interchangeable choke tubes, you could pick any barrel length–choke combination you wanted. It became entirely possible to shoot ducks with a 21-inch Full-choke barrel or woodcock with a 30-inch Skeet barrel.


Freedom to choose guarantees some folks will make bad decisions, and the trend among some hunters toward short-barreled shotguns saves the lives of countless gamebirds every year.


The Case for Longer Barrels

Short barrels make a gun light in the muzzle and therefore fast to the target. Too many of us remain enthralled by the notion of speed out of the blocks; we don’t stop to consider that a gun that starts quickly stops just as quickly. If you don’t make a conscious effort to keep a short-barreled gun moving, it will lose momentum and stop. You’ll poke at the bird instead of swinging through it. We want to “paint birds out of the sky” with a smooth stroke, not spatter lead at them like Jackson Pollock.


The added weight of a long barrel smooths your swing and helps keep the gun moving for a positive follow-through. How important is follow-through? As one instructor told me as I shot behind a succession of clays: “On a scale of 1 to 10 in importance, forward allowance is a 10. Follow-through is a 10,000.” For field shooting, I like 28-inch barrels on over/unders and side-by-sides (they look better with longer barrels, too), especially in smaller gauges. Pumps and autos, with their longer receivers, can get by with 26-inch barrels, although my preference is for repeaters with 28-inch barrels, or even 30 inches for waterfowl.


Shoot a few longer-barreled guns, and you’ll be surprised to find they can get on target quickly enough, yet still add some discipline to your swing.


Look at the fastest clay-target game of all, International skeet. An International skeet shooter must hold the butt of the gun in contact with the hipbone until he sees the target, then mount and shoot at a clay traveling 65 miles per hour. The variable delay built into the traps means the bird may rocket from the house the instant the shooter calls “pull,” or up to three seconds later. If ever a game cried out for a quick-draw shotgun, it’s this one, and the winners shoot o/u’s with 28- or even 30-inch barrels.


Does Light Make Right?

Often, people buy short-barreled guns because they’re lighter than longer-barreled models. Certainly the simplest way for a gunmaker to trim weight is to chop a few inches off the barrel. If you’re shopping for a lightweight, however, you have plenty of other options besides short guns: Beretta’s Whitewing, for instance, is my new favorite “entry-level” o/u. It weighs under 6 pounds in 20-gauge and about 63/4 pounds in 12-gauge, even with 28-inch barrels.


A couple of seasons ago, I shot an Ithaca Ultra Featherlight pump for a while that I had special-ordered with a 28-inch barrel. Weighing under 6 pounds, it carried effortlessly in the field and was quick to point but very easy to shoot well. Browning’s Citori Feather is extremely light, but it realizes its weight savings through an alloy receiver, not a short barrel, so it weighs next to nothing yet swings very nicely indeed.


Imaginary Advantages

People choose barrels for reasons that actually make very little practical difference. Longer barrels have their advantages, but they do not “shoot harder” than shorter ones. Well, not much harder, anyway. There is a slight increase in velocity with longer barrels, on the order of 5 or 6 fps per inch of barrel with most loads. You’ll read too, that longer barrels offer a lengthened sighting plane. Maybe for some folks they do, but when I’m looking over the rib at a target I can’t tell if the gun’s barrel is 20 inches long or 40.


Although I’ve confined this discussion primarily to the uplands, it hasn’t escaped my notice that some duck hunters shoot 21- to 24-inch barrels, too. Don’t get me started. Suffice it to say, if you insist on shooting such a gun at waterfowl, bring earplugs for everyone in the blind.


Short barrels theoretically handle better in the brush, but I’ve found it’s rarely those last few inches of muzzle that tangle up in the greenery. Bushes, branches, and vines are more likely to grab you in a bear hug than they are to catch your gun’s muzzle. However, sling a long-barreled gun over your shoulder as you so often do in the turkey woods, and it will stick up over your head like an antenna, snagging all manner of overhanging shrubbery. So cut-down barrels have their place, after all—on turkey guns. And that is the long and short of it.


Posts: 28 | From: Denver | Registered: Aug 2003 | IP: Logged |

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Of course, all of this discussion is somewhat theoretical...


Instead of worrying too much about barrel length, get the best deal they can on a gun with a good stock fit, work it on skeet until you can comfortably hit a flying target, then after a year or so make a final decision on its usefulness.


If it's not doing the job for you, sell it (consider any loss on the deal as being 'tuition money') and get something that better fits your needs based on what you have learned.


A Benelli that's not been abused should re-sell, OK.


When you are done, it would be nice if you report your findings out for the rest of us, too.

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