View Full Version : barrel length Vs Choke.

April 20, 2009, 04:16 AM
which is more important for keeping patterns tight for things like varmints? if choke is more important what would recomend for varmints?

April 20, 2009, 06:21 AM
A short barrel can pattern just as tightly as a long barrel, it's the choke that determines the pattern.
After the first 12 to 15 inches of barrel, the powder is burned up, the pressure is dropping fast, and the shot has gained all the velocity it will have, and the rest of the barrel is just guiding the shot towards the target and wearing out the wads.

April 20, 2009, 07:09 AM
Yep, what he said. Turkey hunters are the prime example. They want short barrels (to be more concealable and maneuverable in the bush) but extremely tight patterns.

April 20, 2009, 08:21 AM
Are you looking to eat or just eliminate the varmints?

April 20, 2009, 08:55 AM
Velocity and accuracy don't always mix. Ever been to a turkey shoot?


;) -7-

April 20, 2009, 10:21 AM
A longer barrel won't significantly tighten the pattern on target (it does a little because it's closer ;)); but, it will add will add recoil absorbing additional weight and provide a longer sight radius. Your choice of choke depends on your shooting environment. If all of your shots are going to be at maximum range, look for a trap shooters Xtra-full or Super-full unit (I can never remember which one is tighter).

April 20, 2009, 11:18 PM
First, good camo. Secondly, yes a longer barrel will give you a better pattern for a couple of reasons unless you are shooting store bought. Third, chokes sometimes do not work the way you would imagine. How far away are these varmints that you are shooting?

April 21, 2009, 02:41 PM
I'll disagree - barrel length has nothing to do with patterns - Choke, OTOH, has everything to do with patterns. A cylinder choke from an 18" barrel will pattern the same as from a 28" barrel - all other things equal.......

Brad Clodfelter
April 21, 2009, 07:11 PM
Choke is the most important element to make a barrel shoot well. But it can't do it without the good loads.

Typically a longer barrel will usually out do the shorter barrels, but it isn't that much of a difference to really mention. Usually around 10-15 shot difference has been my findings. I prefer a 28" barrel over a shorter say 21" or 23" barrel.

April 21, 2009, 08:16 PM
I'll disagree - barrel length has nothing to do with patterns - Choke, OTOH, has everything to do with patterns. A cylinder choke from an 18" barrel will pattern the same as from a 28" barrel - all other things equal.......

I agree, short barrels don't nessesarily scatter the shot. I found out first hand when I tried to use .22 shot shells in a pistol to kill rats in the barn. To my surprise, that pistol patterned just as tight as a rifle making the critters hard to hit, and they never sit still for you.

April 21, 2009, 11:13 PM
im asking for acouple reasons, one i have a 18" barreled Remington 870 and 2 im looking for a "excuse" to buy another 870 :D i dotn really care to eat the varmints i shoot, or save the hides (il usea AR for that) mainly to be used as pest control.

April 22, 2009, 11:04 AM
I have 2 870's one is an older wingmaster without removeable chokes 28" mod and a 30" full. I love the 30" with its long sight radius, plus it's the same gun I've been using since I was 16, when you grow up with you just learn to use it. My newer 870 has 26" Rem-choke in full and mod. They pattern the about the same, it just shorter, which for home defense or turkey hunting in tight brushmight be an advantage. No one can tell you what gun to use, that's a choice you have to make, dependant on your wants and needs. Pick your own gun, just as you pick your own girl.

April 23, 2009, 01:16 AM
For those that disagree. A lot of reloading powders are not done in the first 12 to 15 inchs of the barrel. What the longer barrel does is let the reloader control the rate of exceleration to minimize shot deformation as it leaves the barrel. Less shot deformation means truer flight and a tighter pattern. If you use store bought it does not matter. If you make your own you can get some pretty good pattern. distance. and speed with the right length of barrel.

April 23, 2009, 06:05 AM
About the only reloading powder that I can think of that actually still accelerates the shot towards the end of a 30 inch barrel is black powder. That's why BP shells are so loud even in long barrels, there is still pressure in the barrel as the shot leaves the barrel. That's why it achieves the same velocity as smokeless with only a fraction of the peak pressure.

In general, the lower the peak pressure, the more the powder is using the whole barrel to accelerate the shot. Pick up a used shot cup and examine the shot dimples in the plastic. If you load with BP, the dimples are almost non-existant.

April 23, 2009, 11:18 AM

I beg to differ with you about velocities and shot patterns from short barrels vs. longer barrels.

You can gain considerable speed and better patterns by using a longer barrel, especially with handloads.

Prime example is I shot a 1 3/4 oz #6 Hevishot Handload that I developed, through both a 23" 870 SM, and a 26" 870 SM. Same exact choke, same exact load.

The 23" gun was averaging around 160 pellets in a 10" circle at 40 yds, with a MV of 1121 fps

The 26" gun was averaging around 290 pellets in a 10" circle at 40 yds, with a MV of 1230

Brad Clodfelter
April 23, 2009, 03:37 PM
You tell em slicky.

Good to see you here.

This guy is a wealth of knowledge about shotguns in general.

Brad Clodfelter
April 23, 2009, 03:39 PM
Maybe slicky will show you guys some of his awesome patterns he gets with his reloads. :)

April 24, 2009, 01:59 AM
Theres still Blue Dot, Longshot, and HS7 around. I have a store of Win. 571 that I use to make a load of 1 3/16 ounce of fours that run in the neighbor hood of 1400 fps. I run this through a 32 inch barrel and it does pretty good.

James R. Burke
April 26, 2009, 11:15 AM
Zippy13 got it pretty good. Like he said most people dont think of how many choke combos there are. Like full, extra full extra, and a whole lot in between the widest and extremly tight. Zippy is right with those longer shots that longer barrel will give you a much better sight radius. I hunt mainly grouse that is very up close so I use a Browning upland o/u. Bottom choked cyl, and top improved, but sight radius is not important just wide patterns up close and fast. For longer shots it is pretty useless set up that way.

May 8, 2009, 10:24 AM
Here are some of my handload patterns that Brad was referring to. All of these are #6 Hevishot. I don't have any pics with me at the moment of some of my 300+ patterns with my 1 3/4 oz or 400+ patterns with my 2 1/4 oz and #7s, but they are pretty wicked also. All of these were shot from my 26" 870 at a taped 40 yds, and all are counts inside a 10" circle.




May 8, 2009, 11:08 AM
Dang, I may have to get one of those Jellyhead chokes.

May 8, 2009, 06:10 PM
What kind of powder are you running on these loads? If you will disclose that info.

May 8, 2009, 07:50 PM

I'm running Alliant Blue Dot in the first 2, and Alliant Steel in the 3rd.

May 8, 2009, 07:58 PM
I finally was able to get a hold of some more of my patterning pics.

Here is one of my 400+ targets from my straight #7 load.


and here is my #7 Hevi-shot x #6 Hevi-13 Duplex at 60 yds.

At 40 yds this load is giving me around 360 in a 10" circle.


Brad Clodfelter
May 12, 2009, 11:16 AM
Simply awesome!


How many pellets would that put in a turkey head? :D

That would clean a gobblers clock. ;)

May 13, 2009, 09:28 AM
How many pellets would that put in a turkey head? :D

I think I could safely say ENOUGH!:)

I am working on a new load, that may just be the "Cats Meow" of turkey loads. If it works out it will be a true multi range turkey load all in one shell, that will open a good 20" or so pattern at 25-30, yet keep an efficient killing pattern all the way out to 60.