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Old April 26, 2009, 07:31 PM   #1
Shane Tuttle
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Turkey Gun Barrel Length...

I was reading June 2009 of Shooting Times' section titled Ask the Experts. Someone wrote asking about advantages/disadvantages of shotgun barrel lengths. Layne Simpson responded to the question talking about how most longer barrel lengths work well in wingshooting but shorter lengths are the fad for tukey. He used to make do with a Remington 870 with a 21" barrel. Today, he uses a 28" in the same model. Now, my question...

He stated that a great disadvantage to a short barrel on a turkey gun is the increase in muzzle blast. What disadvantage is there that's so great? I don't hunt, but it still piqued my interest on what he's talking about. In my estimation, you're drawing the turkey fairly close if possible. Most of the time it's a one shot deal and it's over. With this observation, I don't see the big deal. I can understand if you're hunting at dusk or dawn the flash could be a bit much on your eyes. But that's the only issue I see. What am I missing?
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Old April 26, 2009, 08:09 PM   #2
bcarver
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barrel length

I use a 20" encore. I have never noticed the muzzle blast. I like the short barrel for two reason. Lighter and more manuverable.
If you are sitting in a blind it is easier to swing a shorter barrel.
however you do lose a little velocity with the shorter barrels.
I have read this has been reduced with different powders.(faster burning)
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Old April 26, 2009, 08:14 PM   #3
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28 is a little more than I want. The 20-22" barrels were quite popular several years ago, but they do seem to be less popular today. I never thought about it but I guess it could be considered a fad. I don't think a hunter is at a disadvantage with the shorter barrels for turkey hunting, but have always prefered a 26" for everything. I do have a couple of shotguns wit 24" barrels and that is about as short as I want to go.
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Old April 27, 2009, 08:34 AM   #4
cole k
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Over 25 years ago when I started turkey hunting I used a 28 inch barrel because it was what I had. Bur, within a few years I bought a 870 turkey gun. Why because it had a 21 inch barrel. Later a bought an Encore with a 24 inch barrel.
IMO the shorter barrels are better for turkey hunting.
I have never noticed the muzzle blast. In fact last year I killed my first turkey for the year 10 minutes after legal shooting light at 20 yards.
I guess if you want to do all of your hunting with one shotgun and one barrel a 28” or a 26” barrel would be the way to go.
But I use different shotguns for different kinds of birds.
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Old April 27, 2009, 09:48 AM   #5
Art Eatman
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I'll pass on a bunch of "I heard" stuff, other than to say that there seems to be no particular ballistic advantage to shotgun barrels longer than around 20".

The main deal with barrel lengths is balance and the rate of swing on flying birds. Faster handling via shorter barrels (26", for instance) for quail; longer for doves and waterfowl.

So, for a turkey gun, it sems to me that the tight chokes now available are more important than barrel length. Shorter barrels would make for easier handling in thick cover or inside a box-blind.
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Old April 27, 2009, 11:53 AM   #6
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If you shoot early enough or late enough that the flash is a problem you are probably illegal on most game. I've shot different lengths of shotgun barrels for years and until this thread had never even thought about muzzle blast as an issue.
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Old April 28, 2009, 02:50 AM   #7
impalacustom
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The whole thing about muzzle flash is sort of like the camo shotgun for hunting turkeys. Stupid and useless. By the time anything I've ever shot at had a chance to see the shiny blueing or the muzzle flash it was already dead. I hunt turkeys with my 20ga modified choke in the spring and 12ga full choke in fall.
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Old April 28, 2009, 04:52 AM   #8
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i have a 28" and a 21". i plan on using the 21".



Quote:
If you shoot early enough or late enough that the flash is a problem you are probably illegal on most game. I've shot different lengths of shotgun barrels for years and until this thread had never even thought about muzzle blast as an issue.
depends on the game. with a 2 dollar permits here,and from mid jan to mid feb you can hunt coyote and fox day or night.
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Old April 28, 2009, 06:09 AM   #9
Brad Clodfelter
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I prefer the 28" barrel over the shorter 21" barrel. 26" probably would be the best of both worlds if you want a little shorter barrel and still have a longer length barrel to help give slightly better patterns. There's nothing really wrong with the shorter barrels, but I like the longer barrels because they seem to put a few more shot in the target. That has been my findings. I'll take the added 10-15 shot that a longer barrel will help to give you.

Last edited by Brad Clodfelter; April 28, 2009 at 10:47 PM.
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Old April 28, 2009, 11:51 AM   #10
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barrel

Definately like Art said, there is no ballistic advantage with a 28 over a 24 or 21". If you can, shoot one of each to see which one you like the best. And just like anyother gun, you will have to experiment with chokes to find the best patterning combo (choke & barrel) that you have. I hunted turkeys this year with my M500 with a 28" accu-choke vent rib barrel and a leapold 3x9 and a TruLock full turkey choke. I used the 28" barrel because, thats what I had! For the Fall season I do feel a 24" becoming part of the family though.

good luck
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Old April 28, 2009, 04:17 PM   #11
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21" about perfect........in a shotgun anything more is useless.
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Old April 28, 2009, 05:51 PM   #12
Brad Clodfelter
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I strongly disagree with that last post. I have a 21" barrel shotgun. I prefer the 28" or 30" for overall use.
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Old April 28, 2009, 08:54 PM   #13
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You certainly don't see competitive sporting clay, skeet, and trap shooters with anything that short. But, I'm sure it's fine for a stationary target.

The card shooters also use longer barrels. Although the forcing cone, amount of backbore, taper and amount of choke are very important, length is also a contributing factor. As far as card shooting goes you cannot make a 21 inch shoot with a 32 inch. May not be a big difference, but when money is on the line you take every advantage.
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Old April 28, 2009, 09:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
I strongly disagree with that last post. I have a 21" barrel shotgun. I prefer the 28" or 30" for overall use.
Whats your reasoning?
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Old April 28, 2009, 10:31 PM   #15
Brad Clodfelter
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You get a slightly better shot count with the longer barrel vs the shorter barrel. I also like the longer barrel because it gives a longer focal plane to shoot game birds with.
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Old April 28, 2009, 10:34 PM   #16
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Since the question was "turkeys" I'm sticking with the 21" bbl over anything longer.............patterning can be made up in chokes and backboring.
Velocity dont even matter enough to make a diff.......I will agree with the longer focal plane though for upland game birds but no longer than 24".
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Old April 28, 2009, 10:46 PM   #17
Brad Clodfelter
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Longer barrels swing more smoothly and are considered better for predictable targets. Shorter barrels are both easier to maneuver in restricted spaces and are quicker to point. They are considered better for combat or unpredictable birds. Longer barrels give you a longer distance from the end of the barrel to your eye, making eye alignment less critical. This makes them more accurate.
There is a slight increase in muzzle velocity with longer barrels, but it's not enough to worry about. More important is the increased flash and noise when shooting a shotgun with a short barrel.

I myself can't see the need for a short barrel shotgun after owning one myself.

I'll stick with the slightly better patterns I get with my longer barrels where I can see the difference on paper or game.
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Old April 28, 2009, 10:51 PM   #18
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16 turkeys in 5 yrs would disagree.............................
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Old April 28, 2009, 11:03 PM   #19
Shane Tuttle
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Quote:
16 turkeys in 5 yrs would disagree.............................
I'm sure all the turkeys others have been shot with longer barrels wouldn't...

My point is I think the cop-out answer is actually a valid one: Each persons' preference is the best for themselves. I would venture to guess a longer barrel could be advantageous for a hunter with limited experience and his/her best shot is at the far end of the distance that's comfortable to shoot. Understanding what choke you have is a big factor, I'd have to think a longer barrel could be beneficial.

I could be wrong. I'm not an expert in the matter...just making observations.
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Old April 28, 2009, 11:06 PM   #20
masterhunter
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If bbl length was a detriment you'd think Remington made a mistake when they introduced the Rem 870 NWTF youth edition 20 gauge with an 18 1/2" bbl...........Hmmmmm!
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Old April 28, 2009, 11:06 PM   #21
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I've been using the same 28" for 45 yrs., full and modified. Also use it for almost everything else, dove, quail.........

16 turkeys in 5 yrs? That's a pretty good year here.
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Old April 28, 2009, 11:12 PM   #22
masterhunter
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Quote:
16 turkeys in 5 yrs? That's a pretty good year here.
Really??? considering Florida has a springtime limit of 2????
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Old April 29, 2009, 01:46 AM   #23
Brad Clodfelter
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I have killed quite a few more than that. 9 of those were killed in a 2 yr span.

Here's the kind of patterns I get with my Moss 835 28" barrel in a 10" circle at 40yds.





Here's one a guy I know shot with his Moss 835 with I believe a 28" barrel, Star Dot choke and his special reloads using 2 1/4oz Hevi #7 at 40yds in a 10" circle. You won't get this in factory shells. He himself says the 835 is his best shooting shotgun.


Last edited by Brad Clodfelter; April 29, 2009 at 01:54 AM.
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Old April 29, 2009, 11:25 AM   #24
Art Eatman
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The main thing is to remember that pattern is independent of barrel length. Choke is part of it, but the difference among various loads is apparently the biggest factor. E.g, my ancient Model 12 is near-perfection with Winchester high-brass heavy loads of 7-1/2, but horrible with field loads or dove/quail loads.

What is as important as the percentage of hits within a circle is that there are no blank areas, no "holidays" in the pattern...
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Old April 29, 2009, 12:04 PM   #25
masterhunter
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Just what I thought, I dont like #6's for turkey

#4's is where its at.
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