View Full Version : for you sporting clays nuts: barrel length for O/U

July 5, 2008, 05:19 PM
just wanted to ask here about barrel lengths for sporting clays and possibly the occasional skeet and trap outing.

After reading through another shotgun dedicated forum and reading other websites, it is recommended that the best sporting clays barrel for an O/U should be 32", for trap it should be 34" (what the competitors are using now).

I would like to start competing and am trying to find a O/U for sporting clays. O/U guns with 32" barrels are hard to come by in my price range (~1500) and am looking for something other than a Browning (since I have a Citori with 28" barrels I would like to try another gunmaker for variety).

First, are 30" barrels very well suited for all three clay games? Is 28" pretty much dead, only now regulated to field use? I can't find any decent priced 32" barrel O/U but a lot of nice 28" barrel guns that are classified as "sporting", i.e. marketed for clays use. I see the occasional 30" gun pop up.

These are the guns I'm considering, all in like new condition from a local shop:

Beretta 686 Black Onyx with 30" barrels
Sig/Rizzini TT25 Sporting with 28" barrels and extended chokes
Sig/Rizzini TT25 Sporting with 32" barrels and extended chokes

some die hard clays guy say the longer barrels are popular due to the longer sight plane. I have my 28" Citori and I can't see any difference between the sight plane of that and a barrel that is a couple inches longer.

for all you die hard clays guys, what are your thoughts?

Frank Ettin
July 5, 2008, 05:37 PM
First, it's a very personal matter. Barrel length is about how the gun swings for you. Personally, on my trap combo, my single barrel is 32 inches and my O/U is 30. I used a 34/32 inch combo for some years; and when I tried the shorter barrels, I found I liked them better. For sporting clays, I usually use my trap gun with the O/U barrels, but sometimes I like to take out my field gun -- a Bernardelli SxS with 28 inch barrels that was originally built as a pigeon gun. I use it for pheasant and occasionally sporting clays or wobble trap, just because I like it and shoot it tolerably well.

July 5, 2008, 05:43 PM
"for all you die hard clays guys, what are your thoughts?"

FWIW, I've shot 25-straight and 96/100 at the trap range with a SKB 200E SxS double with 28" M/F barrels. Unconventional? You betcha, but it works for me. The more important thing is practice. If you can get a good deal on a 28"-barreled gun, go for it! Practice with it, and it will work for you, too. :)

July 5, 2008, 05:46 PM
Yep, to fiddletown. I like 30" - at most - and have been known to go shorter. I (personally) seem to swing a shorter gun better. At trap I will use a 32 or 34 on my BT99, but back to a 30 on my 1100Trap and Model 12. On my skeet guns I like a 26 or 28inch bbl. Use what you shoot best. As a bird hunter I like the shorter bbls at Clays and Skeet as that is what I will use in the field (and I shoot gun down skeet as I never learned to walk around in the brush with my gun mounted without stumbling!:)).

Dave McC
July 5, 2008, 06:44 PM
Look around for a used White Onyx with 32" barrels. Mine's not for sale.

July 5, 2008, 06:51 PM
the Sig/Rizzini TT25 with 28" barrels, with box, and in 98% condition is $1550.

the one with 32" barrels is $1800 and the Black Onyx 30" is $1100. Those were the three I'm considering with the cheaper two being considered the most.

July 5, 2008, 07:34 PM
My GTI has 32 inch barrels - have had this gun for 15 years - what works for me - see if you can borrow a few different types and try them - While there isn't much weight difference there can be a difference in swing characteristics - depending on your build, strength, etc....

Current trends indicate 30, 32, or 34 for sporting - but previously 28 and 30 was "the rule"

the only rule that matters is which one swings and balances best for you

July 5, 2008, 08:14 PM
from my conversations with a few folks, people who prefer the longer barrels are more well built, in terms of size e.g. over 6ft and over 200lbs. They mention the longer barrel gives the gun a "non-whippy" feeling. I'm 6ft and a lean 175lbs but toned build. I'm not sure what to look for in terms of "balance" and "proper weight". All the guns I own, rifles and shotguns - tactical evil black rifles to classic hunting guns, vary in terms of their length, weights, and balance and I can shoot any of them without problem. I think it has to do with adjusting to the gun and rather than the gun adjusting to the shooter (e.g. adjustable stock, altering the LOP, etc.). There isn't any noticeable ballistic difference between a 28" barrel and a 30" barrel for it to make you shoot your shots farther....

Frank Ettin
July 6, 2008, 01:17 AM
Well, I'm 5'7" and about 210. I find that a somewhat longer barrel swings through better for me. Too short a barrel is indeed whippy. But too long a barrel can get to be too slow to start swinging.

Shooting clay targets or wing shooting is about how the gun swings and balances for you. It is much better to have the gun fit you than to try to adapt yourself to the gun.

Most serious, successful competitive shooters have use adjustable stocks and even have the stocks fit to them. When shooting a flying target you look at the target and not the gun. It's important that the gun shoot where you are looking. A gun that's properly adapted to you can make the difference between consistently swinging smoothly on to the target and hitting it or not. Clay target games are often won or lost by a single target.

There are no meaningful ballistic differences between a 28 inch barrel and 32 inch one.

July 7, 2008, 12:34 PM
For Skeet, Sporting Clays and shooting in the field I prefer an O/U with a
30" barrel and a gun that is about 8 1/2 lbs. For Trap, I like a gun that is around 10 lbs and a 32" barrel. I like the balance point right around the hinge connection. I also like a gun that has an adjustable and paralell comb ( paralell to the rib ) so it has a lot of adjustability - and so the point of impact does not change whether I'm wearing a couple of heavy coats or shooting in a T shirt. For me that means Browning ( XS Skeet, XT Trap, BT 99 or BT 100, etc ). Beretta and others you mentioned make very few paralell comb guns. At 6'5" and 275 - a longer or shorter gun is not really a factor in terms of weight / but it isn't a factor for most adults anyway. It depends on how the gun feels, how it comes up to your face, sight picture, point of impact, adjustability, do the barrels have the same point of impact (and some don't !! ) .....

Go for a 30" O/U for an all around gun / get a dedicated Trap gun down the road. I can swing a 10lb gun for Skeet with 32" barrels ( but it feels like a big ole sewer pipe .... not very fluid ).