View Full Version : Barrel Length question; 26" vs. 28"

August 24, 2009, 11:40 AM
Not up on the finer points of barrel lengths but have a requirement to buy a 12Ga. primarily for duck hunting but would also use for upland. Given a choice between a 26" or 28" what is prefered. I've heard comments about both. What are the pros and cons. By my measure, a 26" hits just as hard as a 28" and understand the the old timers used even longer barrels than this.

Any and all help would be appreciated !!! ... :)

Be Safe !!!!

August 24, 2009, 12:41 PM
If I were in your shoes I would pick the 26". I have a 28" on my Benelli and it's a little awkward on the swing, but I use it for skeet, not hunting. General rule goes, shorter for hunting, longer for clays. 26" is a pretty good middle ground, and makes it somewhat utilitarian.

August 24, 2009, 12:53 PM
On the swing the longer barrel feels steadier and smoother while the shorter barrel feels faster.

August 24, 2009, 12:54 PM
It's not about how hard it hits, both 26" and 28" will hit just as hard. It's really about how it handles and swings for you. On single barrel guns (pumps, semis, etc.) I like a 28" barrel. On stack barrel guns, I like 30" barrels. A problem with shorter quicker barrels is that they are harder to keep moving, where the extra weight out front on a longer barrel makes it easier to keep moving.

I would suggest trying to get some range time with both and see what works best for you.

August 24, 2009, 12:57 PM
On a pump or auto 26" is the one I like best, but it really depends a lot on the gun. My Benelli M-1 with 26" barrel has about the same overall length as a Remington with a 28" barrel. In reality there is not much difference. Also consider the intended use. For strictly pass shooting go longer. I like 24" for upland game where quick snap shots are likely. I think the 26" is a good all around compromise.

August 24, 2009, 01:27 PM
What I purposely omitted is that this shotgun is for a youger shooter. He's fourteen. Tall and strong for his age but still not much meat on the bones. The dominant use will be for waterfowl hunting but will on occasion be used for upland and rabbits. He's got the eye and feels he has outgrown his 870 20Ga. I truly do appreciate your input and experience.

Be Safe !!!

August 24, 2009, 01:30 PM
I have also noticed that on my Benelli Supernova the 28'' barrel seems like a much longer shotgun than my friends Remington 870 with a 28'' barrel. Somebody told me that it's because the supernova's action is longer...just food for thought.

Either way, I agree with the above posts, it's all about what is comfortable for you.

August 24, 2009, 01:49 PM
Because of the different lengths in the receiver - a 30" barreled O/U is about the same overall length as a pump or semi-auto with a 28" barrel.

In terms of whether a 26" or 28" is better / the traditional length for "field" guns has been 28" for a long time. Like others told you - barrel length doesn't affect the ballistics these days - and hasn't for many years. In fact a 12ga and a 20ga ( if they're both shooting 1 oz of shot, at 1200 fps ) hit exactly the same in terms of impact. But you're right in the 50's we used to think we needed 32" barrels for ducks ( to hit them harder, etc ...).

In terms of what you should buy / since he's a big kid - I'd go with the 28" barrels. The gun will have a longer sight plane - and be a little heavier - and both of those things smooth out the swing and aid in follow thru. Some shooters have liked shorter barrels for birds in heavy cover over the years - personally, I don't. My primary hunting guns are 30" barrels on O/U's in 12, 20 and 28ga / if I go to a semi-auto I go to a 30" barrel there as well because its a lighter gun.

If a gun gets too light or too short / I have a tendancy to "whip it" vs "swing it" - and I have a tendancy to "yank it short" on follow thru - which is never a good thing.....