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Old December 17, 2010, 03:50 PM   #1
trg42wraglefragle
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Barrel length

I have a question about barrel lengths in shotguns.
I currently have a 28" barrel on my Remington 870 which is fine for duck shooting, but is very annoy while rabbit shooting, so I thought about getting a shorter barrel for when i'm not duck shooting.

Does the barrel length make any difference to velocity and patterning?
Is there going to be much difference between a 20, 24 and 28" barrel?
I would either be getting ghost ring sights or a scope so the aiming will be not be a problem.
Thanks all
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Old December 17, 2010, 04:09 PM   #2
mete
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While long barrels are popular the difference is only in weight and balance .Modern shotgun powders are fast burning so length makes little difference in velocity. Patterns are determined by choke not barrel length.
Remember that an auto or pump receiver is about 4" longer than a O/U receiver !! My auto has a convenient 24" barrel which is equal in OAL to my 28" O/U.
For your rabbits etc a 20" or 24" will be fine.
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Old December 17, 2010, 04:11 PM   #3
Bones
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A choke is a choke. Before you change barrels, you should "pattern" the old barrel, and after the barrel change, patter the new barrel. Using the same ammo, of course. The only change might be the "POI" (maybe a little higher). Not being a hunter myself, I would assume. you'll want a more "open" choke for rabbit/small game hunting. Don't forget to patter your barrels with your regular hunting loads.
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Old December 17, 2010, 04:26 PM   #4
trg42wraglefragle
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Cool thanks quys.
I live in New Zealand where we do lots of spotlight shooting at night from a 4x4 or ATV and my guns just to long, my Remington 597 is great with its 18" barrel.
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Old December 17, 2010, 04:59 PM   #5
oneounceload
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Quote:
Does the barrel length make any difference to velocity and patterning?
Is there going to be much difference between a 20, 24 and 28" barrel?
I would either be getting ghost ring sights or a scope so the aiming will be not be a problem
As to length - no differences, choke determines patterns
Not much difference with lengths EXCEPT for swing dynamics - which on moving targets, like running rabbits, is VERY critical
No need for ghost rings or scopes unless you are intending to shoot at stationary targets - you point the gun for moving targets, you aim for stationary ones
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Old December 17, 2010, 05:03 PM   #6
jmr40
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Unless you are hunting in one of our southern swamps where there is only a few inches to swing before hitting brush. Here you poke your barrel into a hole in the brush ahead of the rabbit, quail etc. and pull the trigger when it moves into your line of sight. Lots of guys here use cheap doubles with the barrels cut down to 20" or so to get the shortest gun possible with the widest patterns.
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Old December 17, 2010, 10:48 PM   #7
bamaranger
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20" bbl and rifle sights

I have for a long time now, used an 870 w/ a 20" bbl and screw in super full choke as a turkey gun, and am spoiled by its short length and ease of handling. The rifle sights allow sliding the pattern around to point of aim and give a degree of precision to the tight turkey killing patterns. But a jump shoot or wing shooting gun it is not. It is much to easy to look over the sights, or not follow through.

Back when I did a bunch of small game hunting and long before screw in chokes, I acquired a pair of 26" bbls for the same gun, one Full, the other Improved Cylinder. I had a gunsmith install a small mid-rib bead. When fed std 2-3/4 in shells, IC performed like IC. By shooting 2-3/4" short mags, I felt I could equal modified choke performance in the IC gun, and had sort of a saturation fire effect out to 30 yds or so. That combo accounted for a lot of small water decoyed ducks. Full always shot like Full, no matter what I fed it. With matching 26" tubes,the gun always swung and felt the same. The two inches of tube missing from a std 28" and certainly the longer 30" tube which was also popular in the day, made the guns noticeably handier.

For legal shooting w/ shotgun at night, have you considered a dot sight???
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Old December 17, 2010, 11:22 PM   #8
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I typically just use an 18.5 inch barrel for every thing now in my 870. I will frequently swap out chokes for different tasks but I love the shorter barrels.
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Old December 18, 2010, 01:52 AM   #9
trg42wraglefragle
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bamaranger, yes i have, i've been researching them quite a bit lately, but Im not to sure what im looking at, I don't want to spend more than $150 but I dont know if the cheap ones are any good
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