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Old October 2, 2000, 03:15 PM   #1
Dave R
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My brother recently inherited a Winchester 1300 HD with 18" barrel. We tried it out shooting clay pigeons--had a blast!

I was calling around town asking about getting another barrel for it, something longer and with screw-in chokes. One of the local 'smiths asked if we wanted to just put screw-in chokes in the short barrel. Cost is much less than a new barrel. Got me thinking...with a modified or full choke tube in the short barrel, we'd get tighter patterns than we get now, of course. Velocity of the shot would be reduced...

But I can't see any reason why we couldn't hunt with it. The sort length makes it swing easy, and we were breaking lots of clays with it. Maybe its the shotgun equivalent of Marlin & Winchester Guide Guns. Short, light, easy to pack, but still usable. Maybe it would be good for smaller birds--quail? Maybe velocity loss would hamper us on bigger birds & longer shots--chuckar, pheasant & ducks?

So I have two questions:

1) Anybody evre hunt with an 18" barrel shotgun before?

2) Any reason NOT to hunt with an 18" barrel, with choke tube? Would Fish & Game hassle us because of the short barrel?
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Old October 2, 2000, 03:46 PM   #2
PJR
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Short barrel guns are legal in most places and they will work but they aren't the best tool for the job. Shorter guns are aimed more than they are pointed and the longer barrels help smooth out your swing but if you are breaking clays with them maybe they are the guns for you. I would limit my hunting to smaller birds in close such as quail and grouse.

An 870 Police is my gun for when things go bump in the night but in the field it's a much better gun with a 26-28" barrel. Finally, if you ever decide to sell the gun, you will get more of your money back with two barrels than a short barrel with choke tubes.
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Old October 2, 2000, 07:38 PM   #3
Art Eatman
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I got into a discussion with John Satterwhite at the Steel Challenge in 1982 about an "all-around" shotgun.

His ideas: An 870, modified to shoot like a Model 12. Extended mag, for seven rounds (as I recall). Barrel cut back to just in front of the mag, however long that is. 20"? 22"? Vented rib. Williams folding rifle sight, dovetailed into the barrel, and a half-size front bead. Screw-in chokes. Last thing was a double row of what looked like 1/16" holes each side of the rib, just back of the choke--maybe eight holes per row.

His comment was that it worked as a slug gun and a home defense gun; with a plug in it for two rounds in the magazine, the balance was like a 28" upland-bird gun.

Anybody who can get on the US Olympic Skeet Team, or who can hit seven hand-thrown claybirds with a pump, has my attention...

From what I've read, there is little velocity loss to worry about, with the short guns. The utility of barrel length beyond 20" is in the balance and control of the swing. Let's guess you'd lose five yards of effective range. So?

SFAIK, there is not a reason in the world not to hunt whatever you want with your particular gun. Choke selection is about the only important consideration.

FWIW, Art
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Old October 2, 2000, 08:33 PM   #4
Dave McC
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I hunted with a variety of short bbled shotguns, from a Mossberg bolt action to various riot 870s. Not ideal, but doable provided chokes are correct for the game and load.

Current 870 for birds and clays has a 21" bbl, with tubes. I had it shortened the year before Remington offered a 21" bbl. While neither an ideal waterfowl nor grouse gun, it works for both, and few shotguns can claim that.

I'd like a longer bbl if I was going in for trap heavily, or pass shooting for Geese. But, since I've reservations about steel shot at longer distances, maybe the second thing is not important anymore. Sigh....

As for Satterwhite, when he talks shotguns, I listen.
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Old October 3, 2000, 09:41 AM   #5
DaMan
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Lyman's Shotshell Reloading Handbook (4th Ed) has a good explanation of how barrel length effects muzzle velocity of various shotshell ammo.

The 30" produces only about 100fps more velocity than the same load fired in an 18" barrel.

I believe the major advantage for longer barrels for trap or pass shooting of waterfowl, is that the longer barrel gives you a longer "sighting" plain.

Art, Satterwhite's 870 with the 7 shot extension would have a 20" barrel. Do you know anyone who can do the modification on the 870 to allow it to shoot like the Mod. 12?

Satterwhite's 7 clays is quite a feat and I don't mean to take anything away from it (I KNOW I can't do it). But there is a bit of a "trick" involved in this which makes HOW the pidgeons are thrown as important as his excellent shooting.

Regards! DaMan



[This message has been edited by DaMan (edited October 03, 2000).]
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Old October 3, 2000, 10:05 AM   #6
Rosco Benson
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What does "shoot like a model 12" mean? Does this mean cancelling out the disconnector so that the trigger can be held back and the shotgun fired by pumping the action? If so, what did Satterwhite think was the utility of this?

Rosco
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Old October 3, 2000, 11:54 AM   #7
Dave R
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Thanks for the good input, all. I can live with the 100fps velocity penalty. Like I said, I love the way this thing swings & points. A "guide gun shotgun." I think I'll go ahead and put in the screw-in chokes on the 18" barel, and then see how it patterns. If its not good, no big loss. I can always buy the longer barrel. Meanwhile, I've increased the flexibility of the short barrel.

I had one other thought. My 16 yr son has always hunted with a 20ga, 28" (30?)barrel. I had him play with the HD shotgun last night, and he liked the feel. Stock length was about equal with the 20ga, and with the center of gravity closer to his shoulder, he said it felt more comfortable. So I think I'll let him carry it on the first hunt after it gets back. He'll probably do better than with the long 20ga.

Art, Dave Mc, nice to know I'm not the only one who has these crazy thoughts. Satterwhite, too, eh?
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Old October 3, 2000, 03:51 PM   #8
Art Eatman
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Roscoe, so far as I know, he just held the trigger back and played slide trombone. It obviously takes a bunch of practice--but doesn't everything? IIRC, he was timed at 2.7 seconds for seven shots--all hits. (If I'm wrong, it ws no more than 3.4 or 3.7. G&A had an article several years ago.)

Satterwhite showed up at the SOF Convention one year, and entered the "Rolling Thunder" event. His toy was a pair of Remington 1100s mounted together with a single trigger and buttstock.

Art
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Old October 4, 2000, 05:00 AM   #9
Dave McC
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Finding the ideal shotgun is like finding the ideal wife. Few do it, but everyone has an opinion on it.

Everything else being equal, shortening the bbl works best for the stuff that's more point and shoot than leading. Grouse and Woodcock gunners get fanatical as heck about light,short, muzzle light shotguns,so do quail hunters. When the range lengthens, so do the bbls of most hunters and shooters. The longer bbls aids a steady swing that doesn't start/stop easily, with enough inertia to keep the bbls swinging. If I wasn't such a generalist, the shotgun I'd use for doves would either have a longer bbl or be weighted in some ways to simulate same for the swing. For upland game like pheasants,rabbits, squirrels,the occasional quail hunt,etc, what I have is darn near perfect, for ME.

Also, since the thing about the swing is balance, not weight per se, a shotgun that's a little muzzle light can be corrected by removing weight from the rear,usually by hogging out some wood from under the pad. Remember that lighter shotguns kick more.
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Old October 5, 2000, 11:35 PM   #10
saylerman
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For years I have always hunted birds with my 12 ga. Citori O/U (28" with invector chokes).

This year I decided to try something different. I recently (December) boiught a new duty shotgun - an 870P - wood with 18" imp bbl and extended mag. Just for fun I thought I'd see how it did during dove season. I stuck a plug in the mag, changed my sling and headed for the trees. What a blast! The gun patterns beautifully with #8 shot - not much different that my O/U - at ranges out to about 30. After that, I'm sure I'll lose some velocity and pattern, but I like to pick my shots and don't do "distance" shooting too much anyway. Personally, for my kind of dove and quail hunting, I see no reason to either add chokes or change bbls.

Before spending any $$ on tubes or barrels, I recommend you pattern the gun with the shells you hunt with, at the distances you shoot, and see how it works for you. This is what worked for me, YMMV.
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Old October 6, 2000, 05:59 PM   #11
Dave R
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Saylerman, I did as you suggested and patterned the gun. Results were about identical with yours. Good patterns out to about 30 yds with 8's. Needs all those pellets to make a good pattern though. With 00 buck, at 30 yds there were only 2 pellets in a 24: circle.

My belief is, if a 'smith puts a screw-in choke in that 18" barrel I could probably get good patterns with larger shot at longer distances.
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Old October 7, 2000, 08:38 AM   #12
Dave McC
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Dave R, I've never heard of choke tubes worsening patterns, assuming it's the right choke for the shot at hand.

Also, you may want to ask your smith about lengthening the forcing cone. This cuts down on the shot deforming as it hits the cone, and helps them stay in the pattern. It lowers the kick a trifle also.
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