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TrenPT

How to pick a barrel length of a shotgun

12 posts in this topic

I am looking at some new shotguns. I am wondering if anyone out there can give some advice on what barrel length to get, or at least what the difference is between a 24", 26" and 28". I am more confused than ever after talking to different gun dealers and know that this forum has provided good insight for me in the past.

I am looking at either a semi-auto or an over-under.

My main area of hunting is Turkey, but also occasionally do ducks.

Thanks.

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turkey and ducks? I would get a 28inch if not a 30 inch gun.

especially if you go the auto loader direction. Many folks opt for a shorter gun and there wing shooting abilities really go down hill.

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50 years ago you needed a long barrel to fully burn powder and get maximum velocity out of a shogun. With modern powder it is no longer the case. Barrel length isn't important by itself, it's only important in relation to how the gun feels for you. Namely, total weight and balance and how they both affect your swing. Longer barrels and heavier guns typically produce a smoother swing. Target shooters are typically toting along the longest barrels they can get.

The type of action also play a big role in how the gun handles. An over and under has a much smaller action so you could have 30" barels on it and still have a much shorter total gun length compared to a pump or automatic with 26" barrels.

Personally for me I go with 28" barrel on over unders and 26" barrel on my autos. I'd rather have the gun a bit lighter as I carry it all over creation following my dogs.

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Typically a longer barrel means a little more accurate, lighter kick and quieter. It also means heavier and more difficult to maneuver.

Your two uses contradict each other somewhat. A turkey gun is typically shorter for ease of maneuvering in the woods and lighter weight for long walks. A duck gun is typically longer barreled for the positives I listed above.

A good compromise for those would be a 26" barrel. Make sure your gun has a good choke system or is at least a more common brand that accepts chokes for getting the best patterns for turkeys. The same goes for ducks. It will be long enough for easy shooting but fit comfortably in the blind or boat.

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My thoughts would be longer barrel for turkeys to be able to take the 40+ yard shots with confidence. You can always add a sling for those long walks. Wouldn't the longer barrel keep your pattern a little tighter over a shorter barrel with egual loads and chokes? I am asking that question because that is what I assumed. If it does not matter then a lighter gun would be better

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Like I said, a longer barrel typically is more accurate, but most turkey hunters prefer a shorter barreled gun for lighter weight and easier maneuvering in the woods. Most "turkey" models offered by the big companies come with a 23" barrel. Add the appropriate choke and the extra length in barrel isn't really needed.

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I agree with Powerstroke - a longer barrel is more accurate, it allows for a longer sight plane. A shorter barrel is easier to manuever in thick woods. Choke is more important than barrel length. I do however prefer a 28" barrel and 3.5" chamber for turkeys and geese. As for ducks, pheasants, grouse etc., a shorter barrel with the appropriate choke works fine. I think most hunters use either a 26 or 28" barrel for most applications. Just my .02. Have fun buying smile.gif

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I am firmly in the 26" camp. For HUNTING situations, I feel a quick barrel is more important than an additional 2" of sight plane. I know someone very well who averages 24 in trap with a 26" Beretta auto.

Just an FYI, depending on what your budget is, take a look at the Beretta 3901s. They are basically a 390, which is as proven as any gun out there. They don't get a lot of press, but they are great guns.

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Igo along with the option of a 26in. barrel on a auto or pump and a 28in. on a over&under. I shoot both and it seems to work fine for me.I shoot trap,skeet,and sporting clays where I use a Ruger Red Labelo/u. For my turkey,duck, and pheasant hunting I use a Rem1100 12ga. For goose hunting I use a Browning Gold 10ga. The shorter barrels work better in the boat and goose pits.Hope this helps out. HAPPY HOLIDAYS

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In over 25 years of hunting pheasant, grouse, duck and geese, I started with a 30" wingmaster pump, then went to a 28" Benelli auto and now shoot a 26" Red lable o/u. Each time it took awhile to feel comfortable with the gun(as with any). The hardest was the 26" o/u because of the shorter overall gun. It took a lot of clay pigeons and I mean a lot to find my groove. I love my 26" now, I just wish I would have started with it. My suggestion is get the same as you shoot now or only one size either way. You won't have such a dramactic difference when firing the new gun.

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I hunted with a guy for years that shot a 30" barreled 870 pump and was an awesome shot. We mainly hunted upland birds, but some goose and duck hunting from time to time. He finally decided to get a 26" barreled BPS pump. He went from hitting about 90% of the pheasants he shot at to being lucky to even get one on an outing. After a full season of that, he bought an auto loader with a 28" barrel and went right back to hitting consistently. Everybody is different, but the shorter barrel didn't work for him. With waterfowl and turkey being your main species to hunt, I'd go with the longer sighting plane of the 28" barrel, if it were me. All choices we make have some give and take. Good luck!

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I suspect that something as dramatic as that had more to do with the fit of the gun than the length of the barrel.

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