View Full Version : Sporting Clays Barrel Length

August 31, 2007, 03:11 PM
I'm new to the forum and sporting clays. Just started shooting. I been reading a lot on skeet and trap wondering about barrel length. I have a Beretta 390 12ga 28". What is the best barrel length for skeet and for trap? Is there one that fits both sports?


August 31, 2007, 03:40 PM
28 is the most common Bbl length for Gas guns in the clay target sports.

Some Trap shooters use longer barrels, particularly with single shot dedicated Trap guns or O/U's. 32" and even 34" are common. Skeet shooters lean more towards 28" in gas guns and 30" for O/U's. YMMV.

At one time 26" was all the rage for skeet, but many shooters have gone to longer barrels finding they give smoother swings.

Usually a 28" bbl is the equivalent to 30" in an O/U due to the length of the receiver. These lengths are the most common found in sporting clays.

I'm sure there will be some who disagree:cool:

August 31, 2007, 06:28 PM
I disagree:)

The 28" barrel should be fine. Just realize that trap guns are set up differently. Other than barrel length, they are generally heavier and shoot high since you are always shooting rising targets. Most field, skeet and sporting clays guns shoot flat.

Although you can shoot trap with your gun, if you start getting serious about it you will probably want to invest in a Trap gun. By the way, I shot everything with my 870 with a 28" barrel for several years.

August 31, 2007, 06:46 PM
Shoot trap and skeet with various guns. For the 1100 and 870 I will typically use a 28" bbl, though I do have 30" blls for both. Mod or Mod Trap for trap (seldom a full) and Skeet for skeet (:p). For sporting clays I most often use a 28" 1100 but will use my M3200Trap. I do not change chokes at clays. Screw in a Mod and go for it!
Do admit I still like the shorter bbls for skeet. M3200Skeet with 26", M101 with 26", Ithaca M200E with 24" (what a great quail gun!) both usually chosen over my Winc M21 with 28" bbls.
For a single bbl or O/U trap I go to 32" or 34" for feel/balance. My BT-99 just feels better with the 34". But, M3200Trap is so darned heavy I use 28" bbls ... balances better (for me). So, another of those whatever works for you! Try 'em all!!!! You will eventually anyway.:D

Fat White Boy
September 4, 2007, 10:39 PM
I don't shoot Skeet or Trap. I shoot sporting clays with a Remington 1100 12 ga with a 26" barrel using an Improved Cylinder Choke. This is my hunting rig, I use it for quail, dove, chukar, pheasant and waterfowl. My best Sporting Clays score was 41.

September 5, 2007, 11:11 AM
In general, 30" barrel O/U's are common on skeet and sporting - 32" is common on trap fields. I think a 30" barrel is a good fit for all the games - but there isn't any reason to get rid of a 28" barrel, if you like it.

Overall length of a gun is a factor, for sight plane, a 30" over under is about the same overall length as a pump or semi-auto with a 28" barrel.

The most important thing in a shotgun is fit - so it hits where you see - drop at heel, drop at comb, parallel comb, length of pull, etc are all more important than the length of the barrels. I think most shooter would benefit from a parallel comb gun, with an adjustable comb, so they can change the point of impact, cast on or off the comb - and maybe put an adjustable jones pad on the butt to make some adjustments there. Shotguns are not a "one size fits all" item - and that's why some of the experts say only 5 out of 100 shooters have a gun that really fits them. That's sad, when it's pretty easy to take a gun to a pattern board - and get it figured out.

September 5, 2007, 11:48 AM
An afterthought - but on a semi-auto because in general they are a much lighter gun, I find a longer barrel of 30" helps me stay in the gun longer and keeps me from stopping my swing. The only semi-auto I shoot is a Benelli supersport - but with the synthetic stock it's such a light gun that I have a tendancy to "slap" at birds once in a while vs " shoot and follow thru" and the longer barrel length in that gun helps me a little.

Length of barrel choice is also impacted by upper body strength, shoulder problems, arthritis etc. Even though I'm 6'5" and 280 lbs - my shoulders have been dislocated many times and they are trashed. I don't want to shoot a 10 lb 32 or 34" barrel gun all day long .....it just wears me down too much.

September 7, 2007, 12:06 AM
I started back in the days when 26" on O/U guns was pretty much standard. That's a really short gun compared to any auto-loader. I mainly shot skeet and doves in those days and my favorite gun was a 26" Citori.

As the years went by, I moved to trap and sporting clays. Also longer barrels were coming into vogue during this time. The longer sight plane really helps on longer shots. Eventually my favorite trap gun (singles and handicap) was a 34" barrel and my favorite for everything else was 30". All of these are break-open guns.

There are two main schools of thought on swing. Some like light, short guns because they're easier to get moving and quicker to respond. I like the heavier guns because they have a momentum that makes the swing smoother (less prone to hiccups) and they help eliminate any tendency to stop swinging too early. Besides, they won't beat you to death.

Before spending any big bucks, I'd suggest trying out a few in different configurations. Most of the guys at a trap or skeet club will be more than willing to loan their gun out for a round.