The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Dave McCracken Memorial Shotgun Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old February 15, 2010, 11:45 PM   #1
-sro-
Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2009
Posts: 45
length of barrel on shotguns?

Hi all!

I am wondering what the differences in barrel length in shotguns equate to. I would think that a longer barrel will give a tighter pattern than a slightly shorter barrel would at the same range. Is this true?

I would also like to specifically talk about the difference in 26" compared to 28" as well as the applications of a 20" barrel. (I am considering a coach gun and would like to do some hunting with it.)

and finally I am wondering how chokes play into this.

Post up!
-sro- is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 12:11 AM   #2
jp_over
Member
 
Join Date: February 4, 2006
Location: Savannah, GA
Posts: 58
accd to browning you gain no pattern performance past 26" but you might like longer for balance. i believe you might gain some velocity with a longer barrel however though i'm no expert. when in doubt, call the manf.
jp_over is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 12:15 AM   #3
the rifleer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2008
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 1,257
The length of a shotgun barrel is mostly personal preference. The shot in the barrel will reach is maximum velocity after traveling about 15-18'' in the barrel.

A longer barrel is used mostly for hunting and shooting clays because it give the shotgun a better "swing" and for most people is easier to shoot with.

I personally do not like long barrels and prefer a shorter barrel. i often shoot multiple clay targets and the shorter barrel allows me to switch to a new target faster, but at the cost of accuracy. I have a 26'' barrel and a 18.5'' barrel for my mossberg 500 20 gauge. I shoot better with a 26'' barrel when shooting clays because the barrel has a choke. the 18.5'' does not and therefore has a very wide pattern.

If my 18.5'' barrel had a choke in it, it would pattern similarly to my longer 26'' barrel. The pattern is determined mostly by the choke.

If you had a long 28'' barrel and a short 18'' barrel and both were cylinder bore (no choke) the longer barrel would have a tighter choke due to the longer barrel, however if the 18.5'' barrel had a choke and the 28'' did not, the 18.5'' would pattern tighter.

Im not an expert, but if i made any mistakes someone will point it out shortly.
the rifleer is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 12:31 AM   #4
-sro-
Member
 
Join Date: November 18, 2009
Posts: 45
Thanks guys

I am hoping to find someone that makes a full choke for the 20" barrel coach gun
I want.

And I am really leaning towards the 26" barrel for all other shotguns it just feels more comfortable to me.

lets get some more input!!
-sro- is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 12:35 AM   #5
rantingredneck
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 12, 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 4,728
Here's Remington's take on it:

Quote:
Will a longer shotgun barrel shoot farther?
Will a longer shotgun barrel shoot farther?
Modern smokeless powders burn in the first 13 to 16 inches of the barrel and maximum velocities are obtained in the first 20 inches. Shot will carry the same distance regardless of the barrel length. Shot pattern will be the same whether the barrel is 21 inches in length or 30 inches in length, if the barrel has the same choke constriction.

Our experts state there would be a small variation in velocity when using a 21-inch barrel as compared with a 30-inch barrel; however, the variation would be immeasurable.

The basic advantage of a shorter barrel is that it will swing faster. The longer barrel gives the hunter a longer sight radius to be more precise, particularly when pass shooting waterfowl. Also, the longer barrel can often help balance certain shotguns better.
from here:

http://remington.custhelp.com/app/an...ength/r_id/166
__________________
NRA Member
NC Hunter's Education Instructor

PCCA Member (What's PCCA you ask? <- Check the link)
rantingredneck is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 12:37 AM   #6
the rifleer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2008
Location: Sunny California
Posts: 1,257
Well if you can find one with a screw in choke you can simply buy a new choke and screw it in, but on a coach gun it is probably fixed.

There are places out there that can cut threads into you barrel that way you can screw a choke into it.
the rifleer is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 12:42 AM   #7
michael t
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 17, 2004
Location: Out back Ky
Posts: 3,474
my old coach is Mod and Improved I have hunted with it Just depends on what you want to hunt
__________________
Colt Defender ,Colt Mustang ,Dan Wesson CBOB, PPK/S, American Classic,
Bersa Thunder 380
http://bersachat.comHome of Bersa
American Classic new home www.americanclassic1911forum.com
michael t is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 12:57 AM   #8
zippy13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 23, 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,411
It's the choke's constriction that determines the pattern density. Barrel length has mainly to do with the handling/balance of the gun and the sighting radius. Ballistic considerations are not a major factor in determining barrel length.

Minimum length barrels, the neighborhood of 18 1/2" are for HD/tactical guns.
Barrels in the neighborhood of 20" are typically for shooting buck shot or slugs. These typically have two piece or optical sights. "Buck" guns are used because they have a shorter killing range (than high powered rifles) and are considered safer in populated areas.
Barrels 26" and longer are used for target and field applications. The shorter the barrel, the quicker the gun will handle. Longer barrels swing smoother and absorb more recoil.
A point to ponder: Since pumps and auto loaders have longer actions than double guns, there is ROUGHLY a 2" correspondence. A 26" pump barrel would have the same application as a 28" double barrel.
Years ago, barrels in the 24-28" range were usually for fast birds or skeet targets. But, there has been a trend towards longer barrels. When I started shooting skeet in the 60s, the guns had 26" barrels. My present skeet O/Us have 28 and 30" barrels. Trap shooters, who use less swing and more precision will go for 32" and longer barrels. These longer barrels also work for turkeys and water fowl. Then there's grandpa's ol' goose gun with it 36" barrel.

As a general rule of thumb, bigger guys will find the longer barrels seem more natural. My friend, member BigJimP is taller and heavier than me. Generally, for all target types, he's comfortable with a longer barrel than I am.

For a general purpose shotgun, consider a pump/auto with 26 or 28" or a O/U or SxS in 28 or 30" configuration. Try many guns and see which ones feel the most natural to you. Use your least constrictive choke on skeet and doves and your tightest choke on water fowl, turkeys and long handicap trap targets. Use the chokes in between on the targets in between.

Of course, you can hunt with a 20" coach gun but it will have a choppy swing, a lot of kick, and the sort sighting radius won't help you acquire nor keep your target.
zippy13 is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 01:04 AM   #9
noyes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 27, 2008
Posts: 1,032
Mossberg 590 20" barrel with Accu Choke . Shot fun clays with it sooo much that a long barrel shotgun is hard for me to hit clays with. So it kinda depends on what you get use too.

Practice, Practice, Practice & Practice some more.

And here's another place that sell's those 590 accu choke barrels.

http://www.arizonagunrunners.com/cgi...+Barrels+590A1
noyes is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 03:28 AM   #10
Bill DeShivs
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 7, 2006
Posts: 7,118
The difference between an 18" and a 28" barrel is that the 28" gets you 10" closer to the target.
__________________
Bill DeShivs
www.billdeshivs.com
Bill DeShivs is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 05:33 AM   #11
mete
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 14, 2004
Location: NY State
Posts: 5,411
More myths , even from the makers !!
Shorter swings faster ? NO , as you are swinging your whole upper body not just the gun .
Different pattern ? NO ,the pattern is determined by the choke not the length of the barrel.
Shotgun powders are fast so barrel length changes velocity very little .
Remember that a 24" pump or auto has the same overall length as a 28" O/U ! The barrel length only effects the sighting plane and balance.
My choice is a 24" auto or a 28" O/U.
mete is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 09:54 AM   #12
oneounceload
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
Zippy pretty much hit the nail on the head, as have some others.

For dynamic targets, i.e., those that are flying, I prefer longer barrels for the smoother swing dynamics they give me. For static targets, like deer from a stand, or sitting against a tree for turkey, a shorter barrel where the gun is shot like a rifle, can work as well as a longer barrel one.

I tried shooting with an 1100 with a 25" barrel. Because I was used to a 32" gun, I needed to add weight up front to mimic the swing dynamics and prevent the barrel from feeling "whippy"

Last edited by oneounceload; February 16, 2010 at 12:07 PM. Reason: dang ten thumbs......
oneounceload is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 10:06 AM   #13
BigJimP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,396
Zippy, OneOunce and others said it well .

My preference on pump guns is generally 28" / and 30" on Over Unders - but the exception is when you go to a really light gun ( say under 7 lbs ) then I go even longer - say 30" on a light semi-auto.

I find a 28" on a semi-auto or pump gun / and a 30" on O/U's and a gun around 8 1/2 lbs is the most versatile gun for general shotgunning live birds, skeet, sporting clays ( and I keep it the same whether I shoot a 12, 20, 28ga or a .410 . The game where I go even longer is Trap / because there is less left to right or right to left barrel movement so I go to a heavier gun ( around 10lbs ) and 32" or even 34" barrels. But at 6'5" and 290 lbs what feels whippy to me - may feel right to someone else - so a lot of it is personal choice.
BigJimP is offline  
Old February 16, 2010, 07:05 PM   #14
zippy13
Senior Member
 
Join Date: August 23, 2008
Location: SoCal
Posts: 6,411
As soon as one question is answered, it gives rise to others. There are no answers about the optimum barrel length without first defining the anticipated shooting environment and personal preferences.

Oneounceload makes a great point, some environments involve dynamic targets while other targets are nearly static. Also, there's the way the barrel is sighted: for dynamic targets, one points the gun, actually the experienced shooter is looking at the target, not the bead. For static targets the barrel is often aimed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mete
More myths , even from the makers !!
Shorter swings faster ? NO , as you are swinging your whole upper body not just the gun .
IMHO, this is an over simplification and may be misleading. Let's look a the physics of the situation: Newton tells us a resting body will accelerate as a force is applied. The rate of acceleration can be determined by the inertia of the object and the magnitude of the force. The body's inertia is determined by the configuration of it's masses. If the body happens to be a shotgun (or other slender item), changes in length greatly effect its inertia. If you are used to a particular shotgun, shortening its barrel will reduce it's inertia. With the reduced inertia, it will take less force to accelerate the gun at the previous rate. Or, if you apply the same force as you did previously, the gun with the reduced inertia will have more acceleration. It doesn't matter if you swing the gun with just one hand or your whole body the same laws of physics apply. However, as you put more of your body into the swing, the effect of the change in the gun's inertia will seem to lessen.
zippy13 is offline  
Old February 17, 2010, 06:42 PM   #15
BigJimP
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 23, 2005
Posts: 11,396
I need a few more shots of espresso to think this thru .....
BigJimP is offline  
Old February 18, 2010, 12:52 AM   #16
noyes
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 27, 2008
Posts: 1,032
Enjoy



noyes is offline  
Old February 18, 2010, 07:06 PM   #17
James R. Burke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2009
Location: U.P. of Mich/Quinnesec
Posts: 1,897
It comes down to what you like, feel comforatable with, and what you are using it for. For clays you may want a longer one for better swing and sight radius. For birds you might want a short one for close fast shots. I dont shoot much clay except to warm up before bird season so I like the shorter barrel's. I use a Browning o/u 20 ga upland with 24" tubes for birds, with a straight english stock. Just made for really up close and fast shots. But that is just what I like. Someone else may be differnt, and not like short barrels for some good reasons. Same with chokes matters what your going to be shooting at most of the time. Now a days they have some nice screw in ones you can not even see.
James R. Burke is offline  
Old February 23, 2010, 07:56 AM   #18
misnomerga
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 29, 2008
Location: Georgia
Posts: 137
So I should just not worry about a longer barrel?

My Mossberg 500 Persuader 12 ga. (love that name) has a 20" barrel. Primarily it is intended for SD but I have used it to do a little skeet shooting. I was thinking that it would improve accuracy to purchase the 28" barrel but from what I am reading here it would seem to make no difference from a pattern approach and that the longer barrel would simply help better target acquisition. Did I read that right or did I miss something in the translation?
misnomerga is offline  
Old February 23, 2010, 08:51 AM   #19
Tenshi
Member
 
Join Date: January 28, 2010
Posts: 50
One thing to consider is that the further the front and rear sights are from each other in a gun, the more accurate the sighting picture will be. I'm aware that most shotguns have bead sights, but when you're lining up the bead with the top of the receiver, this rule still applies.
Tenshi is offline  
Old February 23, 2010, 04:55 PM   #20
oneounceload
Junior member
 
Join Date: April 18, 2008
Location: N. Central Florida
Posts: 8,518
Quote:
One thing to consider is that the further the front and rear sights are from each other in a gun, the more accurate the sighting picture will be. I'm aware that most shotguns have bead sights, but when you're lining up the bead with the top of the receiver, this rule still applies.
IF you're shooting it like a rifle. IF you're shooting moving targets, you need to be looking at the target, NOT the sights
oneounceload is offline  
Old February 23, 2010, 05:14 PM   #21
pinetree
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2001
Location: Cumming GA
Posts: 625
I have a 26" on my Beretta semi and it works great in the blind and field and when I shoot clays, I can hold my own. I do have an extended ported tube on it now so maybe it is a 27"+. I bought to for steel shot and have never bothered changing it no matter what I am doing.
pinetree is offline  
Old February 27, 2010, 09:27 PM   #22
James R. Burke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 3, 2009
Location: U.P. of Mich/Quinnesec
Posts: 1,897
I try to get the bead on the object or close to it, and I am looking at both of them.
James R. Burke is offline  
Old February 28, 2010, 04:14 PM   #23
ebutler462
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 16, 2007
Location: NC
Posts: 437
Barrel length over legal length of 18" makes no difference in velocity.

ebutler462 is offline  
Old February 28, 2010, 07:48 PM   #24
Dfariswheel
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2001
Posts: 6,830
Some years ago, the NRA Technical Staff did a test on what effect barrel length had on shotguns.

They bought a Marlin Goose Gun with a 36" barrel and mounted a choke on the end.
They fired the gun for pattern and velocity, then cut the barrel off one inch and re-mounted the choke.
They continued this in one inch increments until they got the barrel down to about 12 inches.

Their results:
Anything that is going to happen inside a shotgun barrel will happen within 18".

Anything over about 28" and you actually start to lose velocity due to friction.

Barrel length has no effect at all on patterns. An 18" barrel can shoot the same patterns as a 36" barrel. Patterns are determined mostly by the choke.

Things didn't "get out of hand" until the barrel was down to around 12".

The idea that a longer barrel will shoot "harder" or "farther" is a left-over from the days of black powder when longer barrels burned the black powder more effectively.
Dfariswheel is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:24 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.12641 seconds with 9 queries