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Old December 9, 2002, 04:35 PM   #1
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Range with shorter barrells...

I've been shooting with 28" and 30" barrells on 12 gage 2 3/4" shells with full choke. Consider maximum effective range to be about 60 yards.
Am considering acquiring another 12 gage 2 3/4" with shorter barrell length of 24" or 26", what would be a realistic maximum effective range?
If I got 12 gage magnum (3") in 24 or 26" barrell, what would maximum effective range be?
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Old December 9, 2002, 05:01 PM   #2
Will Beararms
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It depends on what you are doing. 60 yards is out of the question for suck hunting and in fact it's sky busting. I kill my share of ducks in the 35 yard range with a 24" barrel.
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Old December 9, 2002, 05:30 PM   #3
Shooter 973
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Short Barrells

Shotgun range isn't any different with a short barrel than a long barrel , unless you get down to really short barrels and then you are into Class 3 weapons anyway. A short barrel will shoot just as far as a long barrel. It just doesn't seem to swing as smoothly, In my opionion.
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Old December 9, 2002, 05:43 PM   #4
Al Thompson
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As mentioned, barrel length has almost no effect. The choke is another matter. A full choked 26 inch barrel and a full choked 30 inch barrel will perform the same, in terms of ballistics.

Swing, chosing the right load and overall fit are much more important.
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Old December 9, 2002, 05:48 PM   #5
Peter Gun
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Does a longer barrel increase muzzle velocity (w/ bird or buckshot)?
Got gun law problems?
Move to VT!
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Old December 9, 2002, 10:31 PM   #6
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Little bit.
Apt to find more difference in velocity tween like guns than in shortening same barrel on one gun.

If you gonna chrono stuff that comes out of the muzzle in pieces...
Make a shield out of plywood or whatever with a hole in it. Tape sighter over hole and have at it. Keeps wads, sabots, strays etc from eating your screens or chrono.

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Old December 10, 2002, 02:12 AM   #7
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Years ago, the NRA Dope Bag did a test on ballistics vs. barrel length on shotguns.
They acquired a Marlin Goose Gun with the 36" barrel, and attached a threaded-on choke.
They patterned and chronoed the gun, then cut one inch off, reattached the choke and repeated the tests. They continued until the barrel was around 12 inches long.

The result was, the NRA said that anything ballisticly that was going to happen in a shotgun barrel, would happen within 18 inches. Anything over 28 inches, and you started to LOOSE due to friction.
The barrel was around 14 inches before everything really started to fall apart.

The advantage to a long barrel was in "point-ability".

The idea that longer barreled shotguns shoot farther or "harder", is a left over from blackpowder days, when longer barrels burned the powder more efficiently.
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Old December 10, 2002, 04:35 AM   #8
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Best data I've seen regards velocity is that you'll lose about 20 fps per 1" barrel length. Using a standard 26-28" bbl to start.

I dunno.

But, you can make up for that lose with penetrative qualities of a next-size larger shot - assuming you have same-same pattern density = # of pellets on-target.

It's a trade-off - always.

And. Choke, depending on what type shot/cup/buffering you use, will also affect your pattern. Density is really what you're always looking for - a nice, tight pattern of whatever shot you're using - with suitable penetrative qualities.

#7-1/2s for distant doves? = you'd want that to pattern well at 40+ yards.

#4s for turkeys? you want that to pattern at the longest range you can get - pretty tight.

Best bet is to pattern for the choke you have, for the shot you're using (you must pattern for best bets) in the barrel you use.

Funny, in a way, that rifle-folk go on-&-on about how accurate their loads are (& I am one of them, BTW) & will never consider the effects of load/choke with a shotgun .....

Really, you should.

My best-fave all 'round shooter is a 21" double bead mod-choked Rem 870 Express using 2-3/4" 1-1/4 oz #4s - smokes most everything toot-sweet.

YMMV, but IMNSHO, it is The Best Standard Loading.

'Nother thing is "pointability."

I find that the 21"ers point quicker & "better" than most others. 18s point quicker & don't give up anything though.

The longer barrels tend to allow for a better follow through - something I've never been prone to, being more of a (stupid & worthless rifle-shooter = I have zip for a follow-through) - again, YMMV.

Acheive target, point, slap trigger, watch it crumble.

(I do have a long way to go towards better shotguning .....
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Old December 10, 2002, 05:41 AM   #9
Dave McC
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The guys nailed it.There's as much variation from shell to shell in a box as there is in 8" more or less in a bbl.

Frankenstein, my overpublicized parts 870, has been used on snows with good results, tho some blind mates aren't fond of the blast from its 21" bbl. And flash in low light is impressive with 3" mag goose loads. But, the geese do not seem to care.

24-26" of bbl on a waterfowler will not change velocity or range.
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Old December 10, 2002, 11:29 AM   #10
Will Beararms
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I have gotten so used to a 24" Barrel in my AL390, I hate the feel of anything else. I am hunting flooded timber standing in knee high to waist high water so the shorter barrel does well when I am wading to pick up decoys or put out decoys.

I sling it across my back with the chamber in the OPEN position so I know it won't fire. There is a code of sorts with Southern Duck hunters that no one else humps your gear but you. You always have a gun handy if you are in the decoys in case some fly in on you and they will on occasion.

If you go with a short barrel, either dove hunt a bunch or shoor copious amounts of clay birds to get that barrel length thing down on the pass shots.
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Old December 10, 2002, 11:12 PM   #11
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"Consider maximum effective range to be about 60 yards."

I'd view 60 yards as a real "stretch" for my 870 Special Purpose, even with super full choke that came in it and 3" premium loads. Have done quite a bit of testing with the buffered, copper plated turkey loads on Shoot'n See turkey heads. With the high-dollar rounds, it's consistently good for at least one good CNS hit out to 50 yards, but 55 yards can begin to get "iffy".

FWIW, the 3" premium turkey loads mentioned above have worked great for me from 21" bbl. and modified choke on Texas Panhandle pheasant. We work hard to find 'em and when my teenager misses or wings a cock, I like being able to drop 'em clean at up to 50 to 55 yards with the 4's or 6's. Again tho, even with the most expensive loads, I would not feel good about intentionally taking a 60 yard shot unless the bird was already wounded. Speaking of expensive loads, I popped for a box of Remington's "Heavy Shot" and am looking forward to see how they work out from 870 under similar circumstances this weekend.
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Old December 10, 2002, 11:17 PM   #12
Jim Watson
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Churchill (The British gunmaker, not the Prime Minister or the engraver.) concluded that 25" was plenty and sold the XXV series of guns. Still available from AYA.
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Old December 11, 2002, 01:14 PM   #13
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I don't know how many times I have explained this above info to others to only get the same strange look. Everyone I know buys 28"-30" guns and I generally buy 24" or 26". My swing has adapted to the shorter barreled guns so much that I can't shot the longer barrels very consistently anymore.
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