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Old September 26, 2012, 12:51 PM   #1
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Join Date: September 12, 2008
Posts: 714
Barrel Length and Shot Velocity

I had a thought while looking at a few 20 guage shotguns yesterday. Does the length of the barrel matter much with shotguns, when it comes to the velocity of the exiting shot?

As a reloader with a chronograph and software I know that an extra few inchs of barrel can give most rifle cartridges a good boost in velocity, but I wonder with the nature of shotgun powders and thier extremely large internal bore volumes (relative to rifles) whether the same is true for loads of shot. Especially since I am also unsure as to the quality of seal between the bore and the wad/shot cup, I could image there is more blowby than in the average rifle.

Anyway, if anyone's curious I just ask because the little wife wants a shotgun for upland birds and waterfowl now that she is officially a hunter.
I know my 3.5" 12ga waterfowl loads will knock her over, so my thoughts immediately went to a 20 ga. (which is about perfect for grouse anyway)

My choices are one barrel for both purposes or one shorter lighter barrel for grouse and another 4" to 6" longer heavier barrel for waterfowl. The weight of the longer barrel would help somewhat with recoil, but unless it also has some advantage in velocity then I don't think the extra cost is justified.
{and if you have to ask why I would want more velocity for waterfowl hunting then you haven't spent enough time shooting worthless steel shot at nervous, over pressured geese...I find the first bird at 25 yards explodes, the next at 35 is a good kill, and the last at 45 isn't fully penetrated and often has some fight left...I've at times had bite marks to prove it...oh how I miss LEAD}
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