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Old September 20, 2005, 04:39 PM   #1
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Any difference between 26 & 28 inch barells?


I am looking at getting a Benelli SBE II, and the dealer is telling me that for my height (5' 7", yeah, I know, I'm short), that a 26 inch barrel would be best, and a good friend who shoots a lot is telling me that no, I should go for the 28 inch barrel, as it will offer superior performance.

I'm hoping to use it for both everything small game and for sporting clays.

I trust both the dealer and my good friend, as I have found their advice to always be awesome, so I don;t know which way to go...

Can anyone help? Would the 28 inch really provide far superior performance, or does it not matter and I should go with the 26 because of my height?

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Old September 20, 2005, 05:02 PM   #2
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Scrap, based on what you would use it for, I'd go with the 26. The performance will be almost identical in those 2 as far as patterns, velocities, etc...the 28 may swing a bit better but the 26 will mount faster. If I were shooting targets only, especially if it were skeet or trap where the gun is pre-mounted, I'd go w/ 28, but for your use, the 26. Keep in mind, 26 bbl's on that gun will give you the same overall length as 28 bbl's on an O/U.

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Old September 20, 2005, 05:35 PM   #3
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In his classic titled Shotgunner's Notebook the late Gene Hill had this to say, in part, about barrel length:

"In a 12-gauge gun, whose proper weight for field use ought to be no more than seven pounds, a 27-inch barrel is as short as I'd shoot, and I would much prefer 28, 29, or even 30. Why? They simply handle better. I prefer to be sure rather than fast; I'd rather swing through than poke, and I want a barrel length that almost insists that I do, rather than one that I have to coax.

"...My point is, simply, that given a choice of a nicely balanced gun, with the same weight, I would figure on shooting better with the one with the longer barrels. My eye would be more 'conscious' of where the barrels are pointing, and my hands would more easily perform the desireable follow-through."

My best advice to you is this: First, make certain that the gun you choose properly fits you. If it does not, then barrel length will make little difference because you simply will not shoot well with it. Second, once you find a gun that fits, try shooting it at Trap or Skeet with both barrel lengths before you buy. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the difference that those extra two inches will make in the feel of the gun in your hands, in the fluid certainty of your swing-through, and in your scores.

Good luck, and good shooting!
"If we're all thinking alike, somebody isn't thinking." General George S. Patton, Jr.
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Old September 20, 2005, 06:01 PM   #4
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Posts: 1,531 each his own, but I've always shot the same with just about any barrel length...I curently own a 28", 24" and 22" 12 gauge shotguns...and they all shoot the same to me. In fact, I prefer the shorter barrel...that whole 'swings better thing' is totally overrated IMHO.
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Old September 20, 2005, 07:18 PM   #5
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Long barrels are good for Waterfowl hunting and trap, and do provide a good sight plane and follow through on pass shooting high birds, or a little more precision on Turkeys.

The days are gone when 30" barrels were all full, 28" was modified, and 26" was IC. Today, screw in chokes handle all of that from one barrel and 22 to 24" barrels are common.

Shorter barrels are better for upland birds, and skeet, and fast moving Clays. 26" is plenty long on a repeating shotgun, and 24" is even better. The faster swing will, to some extend, make up for the lack of follow through characteristics of longer barrels. The rest is up to you.

As far as "performance", you'll get most of what there is to get, velocity wise, with an 18" barrel given the nature of fast burning shotgun powders.

No offense to the late Gene Hill, but if they'd had short barrels in his day, he might have liked them just

To answer the original question: There's no difference velocity wise, but quite a noticeable in the handling characteristics. The 26" is quicker.
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Old September 20, 2005, 10:07 PM   #6
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Great Advice

Wow, you guys offer a lot of great advice and viewpoints to consider...thanks for all your help, this site is awesome.

Unfortunately I won't be able to try shooting them before I buy, so I guess the feel and swing in the store will have to do...

I'll keep you guys posted!
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Old September 20, 2005, 10:16 PM   #7
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Just for my .02$...

I own a 30" wingmaster and a 26" UltiMag and I can tell the difference. First of the wingmaster is 2 3/4" and it doesn't kick much at all but when skeet shooting it's much easier to point shoot than the UltiMag.

The UltiMag is chambered for 3.5" magnum rounds with a ported barrel and it provides some kick because of the shorter barrel but it's meant to be in close quarters and not hit stuff when drawing up/down on a turkey. It's meant to be a turkey gun but with a little practice I've become quite proficient with it during skeet/trap shooting.

I still like the Wingmaster because of the longer barrel and the less kick it offers. But for knockdown power and noise I like the UltiMag because of it's 3.5" chambering.

My Wingmaster is a modified barrel (no choke tubes) while I have interchangeable chokes for my UltiMag I generally use Modified or Full... They produce great patterns and have yet to try the XFull choke for fear of my shoulder

Good luck and happy hunting, Benelli is an excellent choice and I wish I had the $$$ to put down on one. Ever since receiving my pistol permit though I've been collecting handguns, and haven't exercised my shotguns as much as I should be.
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Old September 20, 2005, 10:31 PM   #8
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The two inches isn't going to make that much of a difference, your not going to get that much better proformance. There maybe a slightly tighter pattern.

I'm 5'8" but I'm almost 15 so I have some time to grow. . The length of the barrel has never really affected me, It's the weight.

Unfourtunetly no one listens to the young guy .
I can't spel.
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Old September 25, 2005, 11:45 AM   #9
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I have several of my own personal opinions about barrel length and performance, but first some examples: I own a Browning 4 barrel skeet gun with 26" barrels.. It has gotten to be the current FAD that you need 28" barrels for skeet. I have been told that I "should" have 28",, of course this is by guys I beat at skeet ALL the time. 26 inch barrels have been the accepted length for many years and many records have been set with them. I also own a BT-99 with a 30 inch barrel,, same story. I am told I need a 32" or 34" for Trap by shooters that are not anywhere as good as me.. I have no idea of how they have become such "experts" I have heard the stuff about longer sighting radius,,I have learned over many years of competive shooting both Skeet and Trap that I look at the "bead and the bird". It would make no difference how long or short the barrel is. You should hardly even notice the barrel if you are concentrating on the bird.
As far as performance goes,, 26" vs 28", they are for all "practical" purposes identical, except in the minds of those who simply feel the need to show their "expert" status and quibble over a few fps differance (if there really is any). Way too many read something in a gun mag or a forum and it "becomes" fact, regardless of its accuracy.
If you like a 26" barrel and it fits you as well or better than a 28", get it and forget all the "expert" advice
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Old September 25, 2005, 12:04 PM   #10
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Gun fit to shooter for task intended.
This is etched in Granite somewheres...

From 18" to longer, no noticeable difference in performance- Matter of bore - not choke -Brister.

Handling: Now here is the difference. Depends on Platform [Pump,Semi,Two barreled] and how that gun balances for YOU. I am 6' and 170ish. I prefer my balance a tad ahead of hands. My 3 bbl set was 28" bbls. I shoot mostly 28" bbl for everything, My SX1 is, as are my pumps. Even my HD , a bone stock 870, is 28".

Longer bbls smooths the swing and give LESS percieved lead.

Quickness: hehe. Truth is, I prefer the longer bbls, I mean 30" is okay, a 32" is sweet, and 34" - Hello Sweet Thang!

I shoot everything LOW gun, I competed shooting low gun.

Don't tell me, HSMITH and others one cannot get that "Sweet Thang" up and at 'em quick enough. Matter of Correct Basic Fundamentals, Repeated until becomes habit, and habit becomes faith. Otherwise known as TRAINING or as Dave puts it - BA/ UU/R.

Yeah well I guess if one is 3' 12" that long bbl might drag the ground...being tall and lanky myself - I never had that problem.

Try before you buy, not only fun, but gets that gun fit to you for task figured out before the monies get "plunked down".
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Old September 25, 2005, 12:35 PM   #11
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The Late Frank C. Barnes

Would tell you they are longer then needed, but if you want one 30" and it makes you more confident go for it.

With the newer ammo and the better wads and picking the correct Shell you are going to need less barrel length. Choke has a lot to do with it, or lack of it.

Read somemore do your home work go to shotgun ranges and see what is out there.

Best thing to do is to pattern that baby. I was at a range the other day and a guy was patterning his new shotgun and I mean patterning. Llike 10 different loads and many many targets. Must have cost him 50 bucks just to pattern the thing. Made him happy and now he knows his shooter.

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Old September 26, 2005, 10:25 AM   #12
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Get this,

Bought it yesterday, the 26 inch barrel. The dealer compared it side by side with a 30 inch double, and it was longer than that! Reason being the receiver is much longer on an auto, which is so obvious but I never would have thought of...

Beautiful gun, didn't get a chance to shoot it yet, tho - I hope it shoots and cycles as nicely as it handles...
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Old September 26, 2005, 04:39 PM   #13
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Good for you. now all you have to do is go shoot a couple thousand shells through it to break it in right ..actually that is the fun part,, good shooting
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Old September 26, 2005, 05:08 PM   #14
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Hahah, couple of thousand, that sounds about

I'll let you know; I've heard different things about this gun, so we'll see...
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