View Full Version : barrel length

July 22, 2001, 07:21 PM
will be purchasing a o/u for the various shotgun sports in the next few months, i am wondering how much difference barrel
length will make
i currently shoot 20 ga 28in
tried 32in barrel and did not like the feel
can get a good deal on a 26 in,but might that be to short?
i am only shooting trap right now,but will soon try skeet and
sporting clays
the next shotgun will be a 12 ga and i will not be using it to hunt.
thanks for any info

July 22, 2001, 08:09 PM
I've gone through 22, 26, 28 and 30" barrels on a dove gun, and settled on the 26 merely for balance. Given the same choke there's not much difference in pattern that I've noticed, though I'm sure there is a velocity advantage to the longer barrels; I'm not sure how much of a difference it would make. My advice would be to pick the one that feels the most balanced and swings/mounts the best for you.

July 22, 2001, 09:42 PM
I've chronographed enough shotgun shells to determine that barrel length doesn't make that much difference between 26 and 32 inches.

Shotgun balance and feel are very personal and barrel length only is part of the equation. The theory is that the longer barrels promote a smoother swing and the longer sighting plan promotes less perceived lead. Current fashion is to go to longer barrels (28" to 30") for skeet with 30" to 32" being the rage in sporting. There are not many guys shooting sporting with 26" guns.

I shoot a 28" Beretta for skeet and sporting. It's neutrally balanced, quite heavy and handles reasonably well. The same gun with 32" barrels is a nose heavy, ungainly bugger. My trap gun is an aging 32" Krieghoff and the gun swings smoothly on trap targets and has enough momentum to keep the swing going on the longer shots. A friend shoots a Browning Citori with 32" tubes and I can't stand the feel but a 28" Citori feels just right. I also shoot a 28" 20 gauge Citori for sporting and on close targets it's great.

If your 20 gauge is choke tubed I would stick with it for skeet and sporting. Put in IC tubes and use it until you find the 12 gauge of your deams. In the meantime, if you think the 26" barrels are too short, then they will be. But they will break the targets just as readily as any other length.

July 22, 2001, 10:53 PM
Find a reloading book. They have details on the velocity drop amoung barrel lengths. Its like 10 FPS per inch. I have 4 shotguns and 2 barrels for my 1100. I just can't seem to hit the doves with 26" barrels.

I enjoy shooting my 1100 with a 30" Full barrel the most but I do the best with my Nova in 28".

Dave McC
July 23, 2001, 08:03 AM
Barrel length(within normal limits) has no meaningful effect on velocity. Oft the shell to shell variation is greater.

As for bbl length, most clay gamers use longer bbls than are usually found on field guns. I wouldn't get hung up too much on pure length, but balance and "Feel".

Trap guns are usually a bit muzzle heavy, skeet kinda so, and SC guns usually on the muzzle light side, tho the PC term is "Neutral". ALL bust birds nicely if we do our part, and I've seen some very nice scores made with "Wrong" guns.

Remember, minor adjustments to the balance, swing and feel can be made by things like adding or subtracting weight from the stock,changing LOP, etc...

July 23, 2001, 08:27 AM
Good advice by Dave.

Fit and feel are sooo much more important. The reason you see lots of long barrels is because of the long sight plain. I can't remember the details why but I know when I used to shoot competitive small bore in college people had like 8-10 in tubes on the end of thier rifles just to have a longer sight plain.

July 23, 2001, 11:23 AM
Jeez Dave, I never like to be PC. I guess I'll have to stop using neutral balance ;)

To me the term means balanced right on the hinge pin. Balance further back make's it butt heavy. Now there's a non-PC term.


Dave McC
July 23, 2001, 01:00 PM
Being PC is not a major concern here either,Paul. Many of the SC guns I've handled are butt heavy, but the makers keep calling them "Neutral". I wonder why they don't call them muzzle-light instead.

Neutral refers to a break open gun that balances on the hinge pin,IMO, call it 2-3" in front of the trigger. Lots of singles and doubles balance that way or a bit further back. Most are great field guns. Waterfowl and pass shootng doves goes well with the balance a little more forward for me, and everyone gets used to a shotgun they shoot a lot.