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Old April 21, 2013, 09:40 PM   #1
Clevinger
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Short vs long barrel shotgun for deer

Why are deer barrels typically 24-26 inches?

Why wouldn't a longer barrel be suitable for them, like 28-30 inches?

This question is regardless of whether it is rifled or smooth bore.
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Old April 21, 2013, 10:36 PM   #2
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The longer barrels will give slightly more range with buck shot. As for smooth bore slugs, I get 6 in. groups at 100 yrds with my mossberg 500, open sights and an 18.5 in. barrel. I only use long barrels for skeet of birds.

I've never used a rifled barrel so I don't know much about sabots in a shotgun. Maybe the lighter saboted bullets like longer barrels. Most shotguns powders are so fast burning they don't gain much velocity past 20 in. of barrel, but maybe the lighter bullets can take advantage of the extra length. Just a guess on my part.

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Old April 21, 2013, 10:50 PM   #3
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Hunting deer means movin through the woods then prob up your tree stand then back outta the woods dragging a chunk of meat behind ya. A longer barrel means its gonna bump into atuff and get snagged a lot more. That shorter barrel is more maneuverability out the woods which equals a much easier time and enjoyable hunt
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Old April 22, 2013, 05:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Hunting deer means movin through the woods then prob up your tree stand then back outta the woods dragging a chunk of meat behind ya. A longer barrel means its gonna bump into atuff and get snagged a lot more. That shorter barrel is more maneuverability out the woods which equals a much easier time and enjoyable hunt

Very valid point, yes.

To clarify though, if you are ambush hunting with slugs, wouldn't a longer barrel give you a lot less recoil with a slug and be better for line of sight on longer shots?
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Old April 22, 2013, 05:57 AM   #5
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When I was a youngster, long barrels were more popular. But then most people didn't have a "deer gun". They had a gun. Period. They used it for everything from ducks and geese to deer, to groundhogs in the garden. There was a theory that longer barrels "shot harder" so I'd guess the average barrel was about 30" or so. A lot of those guns were doubles, so they weren't as inconvient as a pump or automatic with a longer receiver. I remember a few fellows who carried those Marlin "Goose Guns" with 36" barrels. They looked like they could run a flag up those things.

I suspect the reason barrels are shorter now has more to do with people being able to afford a speciality gun like a "deer gun" and the rise of the rifled slug. There is no doubt that a shorter barrel is handier in the woods, and "deer guns" are aimed, not swung like a bird gun. It seems to me that a lot of shotguns used for deer hunting use optical sights, so there is no real advantage to a longer sighting plane that a longer barrel offeres.
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Old April 22, 2013, 06:17 AM   #6
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With smokeless powder, there is likely very little velocity gain past 20 inches or so in a shotgun barrel. That extra 10 inches of barrel mostly just guides the shot to the target and gives the shooter a longer sight radius, a moot point if you use a scope.
Oh, and it makes the gun a little quieter.
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Old April 22, 2013, 07:02 AM   #7
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Great info.

Am I correct in the assumption that a longer barrel would reduce kick on the slugs?
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Old April 22, 2013, 08:04 AM   #8
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Barrel length only has two very minor effects on recoil.

1) The length theoretically changes velocity, longer is faster, shorter is slower. Faster produces more recoil, slower less. However, the difference in recoil is minimal and sometimes you get almost no change in velocity with different length barrels.

2) Longer barrels weigh more. Heavier is less recoil. Again, the effect is extremely minimal. A couple ounces of barrel doesn't effect much of anything in terms of recoil on your shoulder.

3) Notice how #1 and #2 are opposite, meaning they cancel each other, both effects being already minimal and then you realize they negate each other.
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Old April 22, 2013, 08:06 AM   #9
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IMO, shorter is better. On a 150 yd max shot, ballistics have little meaning.

To me, shorter is quicker on target and easier through the timber.
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Old April 22, 2013, 09:44 AM   #10
Haz251
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Here in NC you wouldn't get a shot over 70 yards max so that longer barrel on hopes of better accuracy and what not wouldn't do ya much good. An 18.5 inch barrel can keep a 5 inch spread with slugs at 100 yards and that's with semi decent ammo. And Cajun I know the type your talkin bout. I have always called em Long Toms and I've heard they kick like a next day hangover.

Last edited by Haz251; April 23, 2013 at 08:53 PM.
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Old April 23, 2013, 06:06 PM   #11
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Longer barrels help with a smooth swing on moving targets like duck's. a slug gun designed for deer hunting is aimed like a rifle. The longer barrel offers no advantage and is in fact in the way. Most deer hunting rifles have barrels ranging from 20-24". There is no reason for a shotgun barrrel to be any longer.

Any velocity gains beyond around 20" of shotgun barrel are minimal. No deer will ever notice the difference.
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Old April 24, 2013, 09:26 AM   #12
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+1 jmr40.
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Old April 24, 2013, 04:14 PM   #13
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Quote:
The longer barrels will give slightly more range with buck shot.
jmr40 got it

That works for rifles, not shotguns. Shotguns typically reach max velocity in the first 18 inches or so
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Old April 25, 2013, 06:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
I have always called em Long Toms and I've heard they kick like a next day hangover.
I've heard both names. I know Marlin called their bolt action with a 36" barrel a "Goose Gun." My father had a H&R single shot with a 36" barrel and I think that might have been called a "Long Tom" but I'm not sure about that. I never did find out what happened to that single-shot when he passed away. He didn't hunt but used it as a turkey shoot gun.
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Old April 28, 2013, 02:22 AM   #15
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With heavy shot loads I have seen uneven gas seal flare in 21" barrels disrupt patterns. The same loads in 26" barrels with the same choke tube showed virtually no flare and patterns commensurate with choke. The culprit, excess muzzle pressure with slow burn shotshell powders. Admittedly, this is a seldom seen problem, but it does happen with shorter barrels.

With ordinary field loads, I agree that shorter barrels make little difference other than handling qualities.
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Old April 28, 2013, 12:53 PM   #16
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I like a shorter barrel with iron sights for lighter weight and easier carry in the thick brush. Maybe 20 to 60 yards tops. And a longer barrel with a scope for different locations having a much longer shot like 100 to 200 yards. Maybe most barrels are sized for what application is most popular.
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Old April 28, 2013, 01:12 PM   #17
Bill DeShivs
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It depends on whether the deer are rioting.....
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Old April 28, 2013, 11:12 PM   #18
Boomer58cal
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@BigDinFL

By longer range with buck shot I wasn't so much talking about velocity as I was group size. My longer barreled shotguns pattern slightly smaller than my shorter barrels, but the difference at 100yrds is only a few inches. A tighter group usually means more pellets in the kill zone. The difference is so little I almost never use my long barrels except for birds or skeet.


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Old April 29, 2013, 09:15 AM   #19
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That pattern difference is not because of barrel length but choke - not every barrel is the same, even if "choked" the same. With chokes measured in thousandths, even a .001 or .002 difference can make a difference. Also combining whether the choke has a nice long parallel section to keep the wad better stabilized, or the concentricity of the choke to the bore - along with many other minor details can make the difference. Just like metallic, some guns/barrels seem to have preferences for one type over another
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Old April 29, 2013, 10:31 AM   #20
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Cylinder bore no choke.
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Old April 30, 2013, 08:07 PM   #21
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"By longer range with buck shot I wasn't so much talking about velocity as I was group size. My longer barreled shotguns pattern slightly smaller than my shorter barrels, but the difference at 100yrds is only a few inches."

100 yards?
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Old April 30, 2013, 08:18 PM   #22
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Yep. I've patterned my shotguns out to 100. I was mostly curious
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Old May 1, 2013, 07:38 AM   #23
vmaxmike
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Buck shot is not an option in my state, but I'm interested in it's effect vs. slugs
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