View Full Version : 26" or 28" bbl for quail & pheasant?
March 14, 2007, 05:46 PM
And why? Thanks. The 26" is roughly an ounce lighter - not enough to make any difference in actually all-day feel, so I'd guess that the extra two inches for sight radius and swing-through momentum are a good thing, on balance?
I'm keeping my eyes open for the gun I want, when I find a deal on it, for upland birds - the Browning Gold FLD Superlite Hunter, but need to decide on preferred bbl length. I'm also open to Beretta 391 or 3901.
Also, anyone know WHY Browning bothers to actually tool up for and make two different receiver profiles - the semi-humpback for full line dealers, and the rounded receiver for "regular" dealers - what's the point? Why not make them all Browning-distinctive (auto 5 style), with the semi-humpback?
March 14, 2007, 06:17 PM
I actually prefer a 23" to 24" tube for quail, so given those choices, Id lean toward the 26"
March 14, 2007, 07:54 PM
In response to the question some years ago, 'How much further will a 26 inch bbl shoot than a 24 inch bbl?' Jack O'Connor replied, 'About 2 inches.' Great guy. I prefer a short bbl for quail and grouse - 23 or 24 - as I hunt in brushy country. Easier carry, nice fast swing. But, if I am after Chukar I go to a 26 inch (or a claymore!). 20g for all the upland birds, of course. Ok, in open Dakota fields I have been known to lug a 12g! I have a Winc M21 skt/skt with 27" bbls that never leaves the safe! Side by side shows you are a gentleman. Over/under that you are an okay guy and know guns. Pump ... well. Semi-auto ... don't forget to tip your ammo carrier. Brn and Beretta (Ruger, SKB, ...).
Why does/did Brn make the darn hump back at all? Ugly. Fits folks with deformed necks. Built to kick. Why make autoloaders? To satisfy US hunters that must have a semi shotgun and a magnum rifle. A nice SxS or O/U holds only one shell less than the pump or auto (if legally plugged) ... and it takes only one to kill the bird.
March 14, 2007, 09:57 PM
Great response. I just want to add a couple of little things. Break open shotguns are also safer in my opinion. You are walking through a field and decide to sit on a stump and take five. With an O/U or SxS you open the action and set it aside. If something catches your attention, close it and you are ready to go.
Then there is the ability to use two chokes at the same time in the same gun. Finally break opens are friendlier to the environment. Your spent shells are easy to find and carry out with you.
I like the look of side-by-sides, but I can't shoot them worth a lick. I do better with an O/U.
March 14, 2007, 10:11 PM
There's a really nice Browning Gold with a 28 in barrel in the buy and sell section. I forgot what the price was but it's not bad. I wouldn't mind getting it if I needed another auto. The next one that I want to get is a Browning Citori.
March 15, 2007, 08:50 AM
My 870 Special Field's barrel is 21 inches IIRC. It's my favorite shotgun for upland birds. I like the short barrel much more than the 28"s I used to use.
March 15, 2007, 08:56 AM
I'm keeping my eyes open for the gun I want, when I find a deal on it, for upland birds - the Browning Gold FLD Superlite Hunter, but need to decide on preferred bbl length.
That's the gun I shoot and I love it! I've got the 26" barrel for a quicker swing. If they made it shorter I would have gotten a shorter barrel but you won't be dissapointed with your choice.
April 5, 2007, 09:00 PM
I have the mossberg maverick with a 20" accu choke barrel, i have all the chokes and this little gun is a do all will shoot with the 24 or 26, 26 inch barrels, its all in the choke:)
April 6, 2007, 09:10 AM
I use a 24" barrel on my Franchi 48AL for all my upland hunting. Been hunting over 50 years. For me the 24" is the right length. For turkey, I use a 20" on my A5 with an Undertaker Choke. Never has let me down if I do my part. Lots of meat put in the bag.
April 6, 2007, 01:50 PM
For upland game hunting, I like the 26" I/C & Mod barrels on my SKB SxS shotgun. The 28" Mod & Full barrels on my other one are reserved for the trap range.
April 7, 2007, 09:16 PM
The 28" barrel is going to be your best bet... By the time you get a bead on a Quail they are damn near out of range...
Try to do everything you can to put the odds in your favor...:cool:
April 7, 2007, 09:40 PM
After reading all the above posts I still had no idea how to answer this. So........I took the 20 ga. double barrel AYA I do most of my hunting with and measured the barrel. It really works for me. 25 inches. It is fixed choke, ic & mod. Maybe those Spaniards know something.
April 7, 2007, 09:59 PM
Side by side shows you are a gentleman. Over/under that you are an okay guy and know guns. Pump ... well. Semi-auto ...
Wow, the double barrel snobbery never ceases to amaze me.
The 20 gauge Beretta 391 is a lovely little shotgun.
Semiautos/Pumps are for people who want something that works. Nothing more, nothing less.
April 7, 2007, 10:08 PM
The 28" barrel is going to be your best bet... By the time you get a bead on a Quail they are damn near out of range...
A longer barrel shoots no harder than a shorter one to any extent. The only difference is in the characteristics of handling. The darling quail gun around here is the Remington 100 Special Field with a 21" barrel for this reason. The long barrel performance benefit is one of those wives tales that refuses to die.
April 7, 2007, 10:15 PM
I appreciate the beautiful pictures of birds you have been posting on TFL.
Now back to barrels.
I have settled on 28" barrels for everything, be it a pump, semi, O/U shotgun or SxS
Skill level of shooter and environment will play a part on gun choice, gauge and barrel length.
Personally, I have a lot of trigger time shooting from low gun. For me, I like a smidgen of gun weight forward of hands, and concern myself with a smooth mounting of gun to face, and smooth swing "passing" and "swinging through" the bird.
Gun fit to me, and the 28" barrels work for me.
I can mount a 32" or 34" barrel gun to face just as smooth and fast as I can a 28", actually prefer longer barrels - just I chose to settle on 28" for everything.
Overall length of a SXS or O/U will be shorter that a repeater such as a pump or semi with same barrel length.
Too short a barrel for a shooter, and depends on skill level "can" mean a choppy mount to face, and follow through.
For example purposes I mention them- the cover is thick, shots are fast and close and this is where a shorter barrel such as 18 1/2 - 20 inch shines.
Sometimes even the "Bird guns" with 23" barrels are too long with the thick cover.
Often times one is "poke shooting" or "snap shooting" as they say.
Felled many a quail with a 28 ga Citori with 28" bbls. [Skeet gun, fixed chokes]
Super X model 1 with 28" bbl, external knurled Nu_Line choke marked .735
Do consider walking more than shooting in regard to shotgun choice as well...
Respect the Quail always and them 28 gauges are mighty fine indeed for toting, felling and respecting them Quail.
April 7, 2007, 10:21 PM
Living in SE colorado , out on the plains i hunt both quail and phesant . My main shotgun is a browning auto 5 that is cut back to a 20" tube with invector chokes . It works fine on both , but i find i have to work the follow through . I ranch so the handy of dealing with the short tube all day out weighs the natural follow through a longer barrel would give me ( my hunting is typically alone and kicking out small patches as opportunity arises so a lot of inn and out of a vehicle ) . When going out with a group of hunters i have a citori 28" superlight that takes the work out of the swing lol .
April 8, 2007, 08:32 PM
and it takes only one to kill the bird.
Then why does your SxS have 2 bbls? :rolleyes:
Gentleman, schmentleman..... I want that extra round! I do want a SxS, but only as a safe queen, just like yours.
Wow, the double barrel snobbery never ceases to amaze me
Ditto to that.
Ended up getting an old 26" Win 1400 semi in 20 ga to satisfy the urge and keep me from spending new Browning/Beretta/Winchester money. The 2.75s only, like this Win 1400, go cheap because evidently peeps don't want them if they're not magnum (i.e. if they don't also shoot 3" shells).
These, however, are some excellent points:
Break open shotguns are also safer in my opinion. You are walking through a field and decide to sit on a stump and take five. With an O/U or SxS you open the action and set it aside.
Can't argue with that - good point.
Then there is the ability to use two chokes at the same time in the same gun
No question that that is an advantage. Skeet or improved cyl first shot, modified or full second makes sense in the event of a miss (william doesn't need because he never misses though).
Finally break opens are friendlier to the environment. Your spent shells are easy to find and carry out with you.
This is also a good point, espec. with guns that don't eject at all. However, being very enviro-conscious, I will find where my shotgun spits them and pick them up, if it takes all day to find. But true enough, it would be easier with a SxS or O/U.
In any event, this thread has been a real eye-opener. It's amazing to me that every maker under the sun, from A to Z, sell almost exclusively the 26 & 28" guns (save those marketed as "turkey guns"), when the majority of people on this thread prefer shorter: 25, 24, 23, 22, 21 etc. I had no idea. I have a 22" 12 ga dedicated to turkeys myself, but figured 26" was the minimum you wanted for everything else, for that follow-through weight for your swing.
So if the shorter (21-24") barrels are preferred for upland birds, is it the waterfowl hunters who prefer the longer 26-30"? Because I figured my 22" would be better for maneuvering in a duck blind. Though I've only duck hunted once in my life and wasn't using a blind.
But sm, thanks for all the detailed contra info - enlightening.
Man oh man I love to eat fried quail - nice pic, quillgordon.
April 8, 2007, 09:03 PM
I run out w/ a 26" winchester 1200(Ted williams vari-choke)
April 8, 2007, 09:39 PM
I don't know of many old wives totin shotguns... Of course I was always told by the old man to buy a shotgun in the twenty eighth length, for good reason... You see the old man and I prefer to hunt behind flushers (just because we could, and we wanted more birds in the bag) the old boy doesn't get out much anymore but after twenty five years of chasin a flusher in the field I assure you the twenty eight can't be beat... Besides you owe it to the bird to give'em a good, clean death...
April 8, 2007, 10:34 PM
I'll go with QuillGordon on this one. I prefer a longer barrel over a shorter barrel for bird hunting period. 28" is probably the norm now-a-days. I actully like the 30" barrel even better. The longer barrel makes for a better sight planing picture at aiming for fast moving objects such as dove or quail. Now for pheasants, I could see a shorter barrel if one wanted, too.
The guy that said a shorter barrel shoots just as hard as a longer one is correct. I have a 21" barrel Rem 870 that I used to hunt turkeys with. I also had a Rem 870 28" barrel gun that I sold to my buddy. Both shot real well with 5 and 6 shot 3" turkey loads. The 28" barrel put only about 10-15 more shot in a turkey paper at 25yds. That may have been just luck though. But in all reality a shorter barrel will shoot just as good as a longer one. I'm sure there are some short barrels in the same model gun that will even out shoot the longer barrel ones.
The best thing to do is shoot a buddy's gun in a particular barrel length and see. That's providing if you got a lot of buddy's with different length barrel shotguns.
Everybody will have a certain barrel length preference when it comes to shotguns. The game they hunt and where they are hunting will be determining factors to a lot of hunters choices on what length is best. A trap or skeet shooter will more than likely opt for a longer barrel than most.
Hope this helps.
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