View Full Version : barrel length

March 27, 2008, 08:22 PM
im wondering the shortest i can go, for home defense, while still being effective enough at downing turkeys

March 27, 2008, 08:31 PM
an 18" threaded for chokes would be ideal.

Last spring I shot a turkey with a 14" barrel with 4" extended full choke. It did the job. :D

March 27, 2008, 08:32 PM
how would a 16inch coach gun do

March 27, 2008, 08:37 PM
Stick to closer ranges, it would work. The shell type would make a big difference as well. Never skimp on your turkey load.

March 27, 2008, 08:46 PM
Why not just get another barrel? I have 18" and 28".

March 27, 2008, 11:55 PM
how would a 16inch coach gun do

It will get you behind bars unless you have a stamp and the paperwork to own it.

March 28, 2008, 12:13 AM
I agree with just getting another barrel, they can be had fairly cheap if you shop around. I use a 18.5" and a 28" barrel on my Mossberg 500.

March 28, 2008, 01:03 AM
barrel length does little other than sight radius and velocity.

finding the right ammo and choke is more important.

outside of choked barrel may want the forcing cone lengthened which can improve patterns by 5-15% keeps the shot from deforming by having a less abrupt forcing cone in front of the shotshell.

Jeff Mulliken
March 28, 2008, 10:44 AM
As long as your shooting domesticated turkeys your barrel length is no problem, though the Feds will disagree.

In the real world a short barreled gun is usually a lousy gun for turkey hunting, the coach gun described is worse than lousy.

Turkey hunting calls for tight patterns and high velocity as the distance for each shot is very unpredictable.

Putting the right ammo in the wrong gun wont help (much).


March 28, 2008, 07:25 PM
As above, barrel length in shotguns has little to nothing to do with pattern and velocity.

Some years ago the NRA Dope Bag staff did a study of shotgun barrel length versus pattern/velocity.
They bought a Marlin 36" Goose Gun and fitted a choke device to the barrel.

They shot the gun for pattern and velocity, then cut the barrel off one inch and repeated the tests.
They continued cutting at one inch intervals until the barrel was down to 12 inches.

Their results:
Barrel length had NOTHING to do with pattern. A short barrel patterned just as well as the longer barrel.

Anything ballisticly that is going to happen in a shotgun barrel will happen within 18 inches.
The idea that a longer barrel shoots farther or "harder" is a left-over from the old black powder days.

Anything over 28 inches, and you actually start to loose velocity due to friction.

Nothing really "got out of hand" until the barrel was down to 12 inches.

The sole advantage a longer barrel has is, it "points" better for long range shots.

March 28, 2008, 08:50 PM
The sole advantage a longer barrel has is, it "points" better for long range shots.

Interesting; I'd imagine this is applicable to skeet? Or would skeet be considered an "intermediate" range? Reason I ask is I've got an 870 MM which, in capable hands, can kill the clays (not my capable hands, BTW:D). Realize it's not a good skeet gun, but thought it was due to the non-choke pattern it produced. I guess it's actually a combination of the non-choke and the short barrel length, which doesn't lend itself to sighting up quickly?:confused:

March 29, 2008, 05:30 AM
When I had a 14" 870 (not in the US of A) with a Chote pistol grip stock, it was incredibly fast in repeat shots, you could open doors with the off hand, and still be effectively covering your front.

Yes, and no difference in pattern, do your part, hit's at 100m possible, all the time, with slugs, and bead front sight, painted with fridge white enamel paint.

To go away from an ex Police mossy 500 (Cut down to 14"?) not at the 18" it now is! That tax stamp at $200.00 is twice the cost of the second hand 500.
Guess it is staying at 18"!

March 29, 2008, 12:33 PM
i though you could have an 16 inch barrell? maybe it is 18 not sure what state/federal differences there are but 18 sounds fine for home defense too, a 28" would be awesome for skeet and turkeys but way too long for my house

March 29, 2008, 06:47 PM
The turkey hunters in my part of the world use 22-24" barrels with extended chokes. I have one turkey gun with a 20" barrel and one with a 24" barrel. Shorter barrels are so much handier in blinds and kill turkeys just as dead as the longer barrels. Use good high viz front and rear sights for turkeys and barrel length won't matter.

March 29, 2008, 11:07 PM
Here's what I used last year, and what I'll use this year:


Fabarm Martial Pro Forces 14" barrel with 4" extended full choke. (threaded)

The shell was "Winchester supreme" Double X Magnum turkey loads. 3", max dram, 2oz of #4 shot. <The absolute worst recoiling cartridge I've ever shot. I was kneeling, and it knocked me over>






Jeff Mulliken
March 30, 2008, 05:51 AM
Viewed in the "sight picture" the front bead loooks like it was designed for shooting prisoners.


March 30, 2008, 09:23 PM
It looks like it was designed to shoot surrendering Muslims to me. :D

April 4, 2008, 01:07 AM
Ok, heres a test. Take your shotgun with the 26 or 28 inch barrel and shot at a patterning board from the maximum distance that your living room is. You will find out that a shorter barrel will not make that much difference inside a house. As far as everything happening in 18 inches of the breach may be true in rifles but not in reloaded shotgun shells where you are striving to get 1500 fps out of a load of fours. You will want all the barrel you can get to have a complete powder burn. Ask any old trap shooter. Store bought shells that is true to an extent but not handloads where you are striving for max case capacity and the slowest burning powder you can find. If you want spread, there are shells made called spreaders that has what apperars to be a plastic thumbtack infront of the load that will actually spread your load as it comes from the barrel. It is used in sporting clays for close work.

April 4, 2008, 01:12 AM
I really try to respect everyone for their beliefs and nationalities and my mom would wash my mouth out with soap but if the front sight does not look like a little guy with a turbin on I do not know what does. I beg everyones forgiveness.