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  #1  
Old 08-16-2008, 06:48 AM
D-Train D-Train is offline
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26 or 28 inch shotgun barrel?




Which do you guys prefer for a semi-automatic 12 guage? I would be using this shotgun as an all around toy (little hunting, clay targets at the range, etc...) I'm about 6 feet 1 inch tall in case that would make you guys recommend I get the 28 inch barrel over the 26 inch. From what I gather from friends......length is not as important as choke when it comes down to 26 or 28 inch barrel.
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  #2  
Old 08-16-2008, 10:16 AM
TN HP TN HP is offline
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I personally perfer shorter barrels on pumps and autos. My Browning BPS came originally with a 30" barrel and was the one of the first the invector choked guns to arrive in TN. I later acquired a 22" special field barrel for it and used it for everything from doves to ducks. It was deadly in the field.

My Beretta 390 12ga had a 26" barrel and I could hit great with that length. The 20ga 390 had a 28" barrel and was the equal of the 12 gauge, for me, in the ability to hit targets. Both 390's were used for everything from doves to ducks and even geese. No problems with barrel length.

As I indicated, personally, the shorter the better. For an all around gun, I would choose the 26", but you have to select what feels best for you.
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  #3  
Old 08-16-2008, 11:19 AM
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Tom Freeman Tom Freeman is offline
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Either will do fine, but I would get a 26 if you plan on hunting.
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  #4  
Old 08-16-2008, 11:22 AM
HAIL CAESAR HAIL CAESAR is offline
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If you are using it for Clay's, get the longest barrels you can possibly stand. Sporting Clays guns usually have longer barrels with 32 inches the norm. Mine has 34's. This is with O/U's. Same with Trap. A 28 or 30 inch Auto barrel will be comparable.You won't notice the extra length hunting but you will on the clay range. Plus you may hit better with a longer barrel hunting. Length has nothing to do with choke, but with sight radius and swing. You will see no Pro's using a 22 or 24 inch gun for clays and there is a reason. Think a 28 as a minimum.
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  #5  
Old 08-16-2008, 01:22 PM
Agent Clark Agent Clark is offline
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Short barrels are nice for climbing through brush and stuff when hunting, otherwise I'd go long. I have a 28" on my Benelli M2. I wouldn't mind an 18.5" for house storage though...
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  #6  
Old 08-16-2008, 05:01 PM
impalacustom impalacustom is offline
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I would get a shorter barrel if you plan on doing any hunting. I have an Auto 5 with a 24 inch barrel and it is probably the best gun I own. It is a bit squirrely on trap though.
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  #7  
Old 08-16-2008, 06:27 PM
HAIL CAESAR HAIL CAESAR is offline
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Unless you are crawling through the bushes you won't notice longer barrels. I use a SxS with 20 inch barrels for bunnies in the brush. But a minimum of 30 for everything else. I have loaners that are longer barrels and the first thing the borrower will comment on is the " too long for hunting barrels." At the end of the day I'll ask about the barrel and the response every time was " never noticed them after we started hunting" or " they swung nicer that shorter guns." My dove gun has 34's.
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  #8  
Old 08-17-2008, 04:22 AM
impalacustom impalacustom is offline
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You don't hump fields for dove, shooting dove is basically the same as shooting trap. I have a feeling you might regret that 34" barrel on quail as you won't be on them as fast as a shorter barrel. Plus that extra 10" of barrel really add up at the end of the day when your walking fields.
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  #9  
Old 08-17-2008, 01:47 PM
BoneDigger BoneDigger is offline
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28

I personally prefer a 28 inch barrel for my hunting and clays work. I have had 26" barrels and 30 inch barrels, and 28 seems to be the best all-around length for my purposes. There is very little pattern difference from a 26-30 inch barrel, so choose what feels best for you.

Todd
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  #10  
Old 08-18-2008, 10:05 AM
Birddogman Birddogman is offline
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How about that – another topic on which I can pontificate knowledgably!

The short answer is – use whatever works best for you - there is no right or wrong. But things aren’t nearly that simple. As with the SxS discussion below, whole libraries have been written on this subject, so this will be a quick and dirty summary.

It is axiomatic that, if you want to be a really good wingshooter, any shotgun must fit the shooter. One size does not fit all. It is also axiomatic that the gauge/choke/ammo combo must be well tested and appropriate to the quarry/terrain/time of year. Having said those things, I’m not going to mention them again; and will talk only about bbl length and “handling”.

“Handling” used to be this rather esoteric, subjective issue – “that gun handles like a wand”; or “that gun feel like a railroad tie when you put it on your shoulder”; or “that gun really swings smoothly”. You get the idea.

People who are serious students of wingshooting can now go beyond that in defining handling. “Handling” is now understood to have two components – first, weight; and second, moment of inertia (“MOI”) – and bbl length obviously plays into both of those factors.

Weight is the least critical of the two factors, but still important, because it is hard to carry and shoot a gun that is too heavy; and it is hard to shoot a gun that is too light very well, plus it will knock the snot out of you over the thousands of rounds you must shoot to become really proficient with any gun. For most people, anything much less than six pounds is too light to shoot well consistently and anything over eight pounds to too heavy to carry for all the countless miles any serious bird hunter covers on foot, and is getting too heavy to swing quickly. FWIW, I like my 20 gauge game guns to weigh exactly six pounds and my 12 gauge game guns to weigh 6˝ pounds.

MOI is the most important number. It can be measured objectively. A high MOI means that it takes a good bit of energy to start the gun twirling around its axis – generally because there is considerable weight out toward the ends of the gun – butt and bbl. A low MOI means that it does not take a lot of energy to start the gun twirling around its axis – generally because most of the weight of the gun is concentrated in the middle of the gun – the receiver, not the butt and bbl. With me?

Different people prefer different MOI’s but generally full-race target guns will have a higher MOI than a game gun, because target shooting is a much more deliberate process. Game guns will usually have a lower MOI that a target guns because you need to be able to change direction of the swing pretty quickly as a bird’s flight path is somewhat unpredictable. Obviously, extremes on either end of the MOI scale are not good. It is equally obvious that bbl length has a major effect on MOI.

Everything else being equal (which is never is the case!) a longer bbl will give you a slower MOI (thus the generally correct comments in the above posts about longer bbls for targets); and a shorter bbl will give you a lower MOI. How much depends on the weight distribution of a particular gun. If the MOI is too low, you will have a herky-jerky swing. If the MOI is too high, you will have a gun that you must really push hard to follow a bird.

Thus, for MOI purposes, select a bbl length that gives you the “handling” you most prefer.

One often hears that a long bbl gives a more precise sighting plane. That is true to a limited degree, but I think you need to be a very skilled and experienced shooter taking long crossing shots (not often taken on game birds but fairly common in tough sporting clays venues) to notice any difference. I shoot all the time and have a hard time noticing the difference between 28”, 30” and 32” in terms of sighting plane. Thus, for most people this is a non-issue. It is certainly a non-issue in a game gun.

To me, the short bbl for use in heavy cover is a red herring. I’ve never had any trouble maneuvering a gun through the nasties due to bbl length. Similarly, bbl length (within practical limits) has zero effect on patterning or velocity.

With autos and pumps, subtract about 2” to get to the equivalent bbl length for a break-open gun, like a SxS or O/U. In other words, an auto with a 26” bbl is the functional equivalent of an O/U with 28” bbls; and an auto with a 28” bbl is the functional equivalent of an O/U with 30” bbls;

FWIW, I don’t like 26” bbls on double guns - too whippy (very low MOI). 30” is my favorite bbl length for a double. In a top quality double with finely struck, light weight bbls, you get a significant steadying effect on your swing, but yet can change directions quickly enough if need be. A set of 30” bbls on an O/U game gun looks like this:



Bottom line – I’d recommend 28” bbls on an auto that will be used for both targets and game.

Last edited by Birddogman; 08-18-2008 at 10:18 AM.
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  #11  
Old 08-26-2008, 03:37 PM
pistolero1911 pistolero1911 is offline
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Birddogman,

Like that Superposed Browning ya got. Round knob, long tang pigeon or pointer grade? Can't tell from the photo. I too am a O/U double gun lover, and Brownings are a favorite of mine.

D-Train,

I think a 28" barrel is a good overall game and skeet gun. If you are just into upland birds (quail, pheasant, woodcock, chuckers, grouse, etc.) go for a 26" or even a Churchill 25" barrel. Waterfowl require long barreled guns, 30" to 32", same for trap shooting. A 28" is a good overall compromise, not too heavy to walk with all day, not too close range for waterfowl.

Enjoy your shotguns. They are one of life's greatest pleasures.
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  #12  
Old 08-26-2008, 06:43 PM
RMTactical RMTactical is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Freeman View Post
Either will do fine, but I would get a 26
Agreed.
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  #13  
Old 08-27-2008, 08:26 AM
Birddogman Birddogman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pistolero1911 View Post
Birddogman,

Like that Superposed Browning ya got. Round knob, long tang pigeon or pointer grade? Can't tell from the photo. I too am a O/U double gun lover, and Brownings are a favorite of mine.
Thanks! That particular gun is a 20 bore A&S Famars droplock Excalibur. Unlike Brownings, Famars guns don’t come in “grades” and they are not made in any quantity. Famars only makes a few each year and the guns are made to each customer’s order, so, within reason, they can be pretty much anything in terms of action shape, weight and balance, bbl length and rib type, grip type, fore end type, etc. Of course, the customer specifies the stock dimensions, the wood blank, checkering type and LPI, the engraver and type of engraving, etc, etc.

That particular gun I had set up as a true game gun with solid rib, splinter fore end, minimalist Prince of Wales grip, roundbody action, 6 pound weight, fairly quick MOI, etc. BTW, you can specify a long tang on the trigger guard if you want, but in a field gun, I'd rather not have the extra metal and the extra weight. The wood is good Turkish walnut with the classic Turkish type of figuring and Sabatti did the engraving, which is just a nice basic scroll – suitable for a gun that is used hard in the field. It is my most used upland game gun – has been hunted all over the world and has killed thousands of birds.





To show how different the very same gun from the same maker can be here is another Famars Excalibur drop lock, but I had this one set up as a full-race target gun with low vent rib, target fore end with finger grooves, tightly cranked pistol grip with palm swell for full control, sculpted action with bosses for strength, 8 pound weight, fairly slow MOI, etc. Again, the wood is Turkish but with an entirely different and rather unusual type of “flame” figuring for Turkish and but I had a much more elaborate scroll done by Thomasini – suitable for a gun that is never dragged through the bushes.





In truth, I find SxS’s to be the nicest and most traditional field guns, not O/U’s; and Famars makes some truly great sidelock SxS’s, like this one:



However, I shoot an O/U just a tiny bit better than I shoot a SxS, so the O/U game guns seem to get out a little more often than the SxS’s.

Regardless, they all have 30 inch bbls.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pistolero1911 View Post
Enjoy your shotguns. They are one of life's greatest pleasures.
Yep. Absolutely. Dogs are a much great pleasure, however.

Last edited by Birddogman; 08-27-2008 at 08:31 AM.
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