View Full Version : Barrel Length. Anyone Remember This Article?

March 18, 2007, 02:18 PM
Year or so ago I remember reading in G&A (or similar magazine) about a test where they took a 12ga. with 28" barrel, then they start cutting off one inch of barrel at a time while measuring spread & penetration. At each stage they used various loads. Buck, bird shot, etc. They were surprised that they got below 18" before there was any noticeable difference. I guess part of the inference is that you could go duck hunting with a 20" barrel as well as a 28" barrel. Anyway, wish I could find that article.

March 18, 2007, 04:02 PM
of a longer barreled shotgun, is more accurate aiming.
It also leads to smoother swings on leading a target. I've
uses a 24" mossberg barrel with SK choke for use a skeet shooting with minimum problems.
I did notice that I need to hold lower with the short barrel, I believe due to more barrel flip. Need to check into further.

March 18, 2007, 04:17 PM
of a longer barreled shotgun, is more accurate aiming.

No argument on that.

I was mainly asking related to spread and penetration. In the old days we thought that longer barrel meant longer range. I know the more recent view by some experts that the only difference between range in a 28" barrel & 26" barrel is 2". But I am interested to find the article I mentioned just to re-read some of the data.

March 18, 2007, 06:39 PM
The test was done by the NRA Dope Bag Technical Staff and published in the American Rifleman, as I recall.

The gun was a bolt action Marlin Goose Gun with a 36 inch barrel.
They attached a choke and cut the barrel down in one inch increments, reattaching the choke each time.
Each increment, the gun was fired for patterns and over a chronograph for velocity.

The results were:

Anything that was going to happen ballistically inside a shotgun barrel was going to happen within 18".

Anything over 28 inches, and you start to LOOSE due to friction.

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

The idea that a longer barrel "shoots harder" or farther, is a left over from black powder days and isn't valid in modern guns and ammo.

March 18, 2007, 06:51 PM
Thanks Dfariswheel, that's the article & the info I was looking for.

March 18, 2007, 07:17 PM
It is true that a short barrel shotgun is going to have the same velocity unless it is cut illegally short and if it is a defense gun, that short barrel is the way to go. The long barrel on shotguns is mainly to assist aim since, a shotgun is shot in motion, this long barrel will assist accuracy.

Long barrels also improve balance affecting point of aim and the shot holds tighter in a long barrel. Old duck and goose guns used to be quite long, but today most are 28” or less and some dove shotguns are 26”, one can get these guns in 24” and rifle bores

I have a 24” deer barrel and a 28” 12 and 20 gauge bird guns, also the 30” skeet. Consider balance first.

March 18, 2007, 08:21 PM
That is very intresting. I was always under the impression that a longer barrel gave you more power and a tighter pattern. Looks like i was very wrong.

Thanks for teaching me something today :)

March 19, 2007, 10:00 AM
I remember the article where they did it to a .308 and they concluded that 18" was about optimum with no significant loss from a 26" (IIRC)

I found out yesterday that a 10" Ruger MK II gives higher velocities than an 18" 10/22. Not a heck of a lot but 102 fps avg increase was interesting to see on the chrono. Who'da thought?

March 19, 2007, 10:54 AM
found out yesterday that a 10" Ruger MK II gives higher velocities than an 18" 10/22. Not a heck of a lot but 102 fps avg increase was interesting to see on the chrono. Who'da thought?

My quick thought is the same as the longer barrel shotgun test. Too long a barrel actually adds friction that slows more than helps.

March 19, 2007, 12:38 PM
That was my thought also. I pulled one down and weighed the charge...1.7 gr. of powder. Sounds kinda light for an 18" barrel.

March 19, 2007, 06:24 PM
Similar tests were run on shotgun and rifle several years (ok, decades, but I remember!) and written up by Jack O'Connor. Same results for shotgun. Rifle was a bit different depending on powder but Jack's summary was that that 26" or 28" bbl rifle was most useful for hitting low branches and flipping snow down your collar! Different shooters have different strokes .. or something like that. Many skeeters like shorter bbls as they feel thay can swing faster and recover for the double. Few Sporting Clayers like short bbls as they want the swing through .. something that may hinder on some doubles shots at SpClays as well as skeet. Never met a trap shooter that did not like relatively long bbls. Short for quail adn over dogs??? Long for ducks???
Did someone say 'AIM' ???? Shame. Or, are you on a bench rest with your scatter gun?