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getthegat

Barrel length

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So I've always been one for chopping and changing my guns (gives me more excuses for missed shots😁) and I'm thinking about getting a 20 bore over under instead of the semi automatic 20. I still have my semi automatic 12, my confidence gun and favourite; that one will stay. I'm wondering what sort of difference longer barrels makes, 30 or even 32 inch. I only ever shoot pigeons or corvids. Would said sizes be cumbersome in a hide, though I've heard it said it can improve swing and follow through? Any thoughts, experiences etc greatly appreciated.

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I use a 28” for local farm shoots where low birds are , using 28g 7’s and a 32” for decent stuff with 32g+ 

 

Found light weight long barrels with fixed chokes a dream to shoot but no good for me if partridges are bursting over a hedge 15 metres away 

 

Horses for corses 

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I’ve used short barrels since about 1967.  Mostly 26in but my favourite length is 27in. To be fair, most of my shooting now is exactly what Dodeer mentions, partridge over hedges, but I’ve done my share of other stuff too. I have never felt handicapped anywhere by short barrels and to be honest can’t tell the difference at the shoulder (in anger, obviously, not in a gun shop). Prefer ‘em for everything from snipe to geese.

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Generalisation.........Short barrels, light load, light gun for quarry low to medium height, fast and snappy (example, normal height pheasant, partridge, grouse) I use 28 or 30g x 7’s or 6’s through a 12g x 6 1/2lb x 28” BLE .........Long barrels, heavy load, heavy gun, deliberate follow through for quarry high and fast (example, coastal duck and geese) I use ITM or Bi through a 12g x 7 3/4lb x 30” x 3” Mag, BLNE......or steel through a 12g x 30” x 3 1/2” S/A................or 2 1/4 or 2 1/2ozs ITM or Bi through a 13lbs x 34” x 3 1/4” x 8g (just for geese)

As dodeer said.....horses for courses!

Edited by panoma1

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Personally, and I stress personally, I still think short barrels make for a more versatile all-rounder. (Tin hat on now). 

I have shot a lot of geese with a 26in 12 bore, and a lot of high pheasants.  I understand your post, but you can’t, sorry, wouldn’t do that with an 8 bore .

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For snap shooting, shorter barrels speed the shot  but for something you can see coming from a long way away, long barrels keep your swing going a fraction of a second more.

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For in a hide a 30" barrel will be same as 28" semi auto in overall length. I've never understood all this shorter in a hide so it don't snag. Take half a pace back from the net and never snag again.

Most experts say 32" on a 20 bore is a joy to shoot as the barrels are light and makes shooting it better.  Great for driven game, no so good for walked up or snap shooting. I find 30" a perfect length for a do all gun.

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1 hour ago, London Best said:

Personally, and I stress personally, I still think short barrels make for a more versatile all-rounder. (Tin hat on now). 

I have shot a lot of geese with a 26in 12 bore, and a lot of high pheasants.  I understand your post, but you can’t, sorry, wouldn’t do that with an 8 bore .

Don’t understand? What do you mean?..... “you can’t, sorry wouldn’t do that with an 8 Bore”? Please explain!

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I meant the eight isn’t versatile enough to shoot drive game. Sorry, should have been clearer. I know you weren’t advocating the eight for that, I was trying to say the shorter gun was more versatile. Basically, I agree with your choices but prefer a shorter game gun than your 28in.

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Thanks everyone, very useful knowledge/info. Sort of what I thought, but one can never have too much intel. My Franchi semi auto has 27" barrel and I definitely shoot best with it. Perhaps with that and all your responses, my query has been answered.

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Stand your franchi next to a 30" barreled over and undr and see how it compares overall length then you will know what to pick 30" or 28" 

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Some of my most memorable game shots have been with my 27” barrelled Winchester 101 Field fixed at quarter and half; it is simply divine on real bolting bunnies.

But equally memorable game shots have been delivered with a 32” barrelled Daytona with 3/8ths and 5/8ths. 

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Whilst I like an auto in the hide for  pigeons I shoot a 20 gauge Miroku MK60 with 32” barrels for game. It’s very pointable and handles well. I have used it in the hide and it’s a great gun and very smooth to shoot. The barrel length helps the swing etc and is no problem in a hide. Whilst I have tried shorter barrel 20’s in the past they were all too light and didn’t work well for me. Hope that helps.

 

 

 

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I think chokes come into the equation here also especially the additional weight that extended chokes add. As you can see from some of the previous posts to this thread those that have fixed choked gun state that they handle and swing better than those with interchangeable ones. My older fixed choke beretta handles way better than my 692 with its long extended optima chokes and I’ve recently gone back to the factory flush mounts in my 682X which has definitely improved its handling. For me barrel length doesn’t make much of an difference I have guns ranging from 26 inches to 32” it’s all about the handling in my book. 

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I  think that barrel length is very much a personal thing, so whilst short barrels may suit one person but not another. My 20g Macnab Highlander has 29 inch barrels which I find suit me well but perhaps that`s the overall feel and fit of the gun and not necessarily the barrel length. Having shot with short barrels previously (12g AYA 25 BLE) I found that they are quick to start, but quick to stop. Ideal for snap shooting but need a concerted effort to maintain the swing. That`s just my take on it, others probably find things differently.

OB

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Oh, in that case I am a fan of 32" barrels on my O/Us, 24" on the Semi- Autos, 25" on my Side by sides.

 

But above everything else, whatever gun it is, it MUST fit you!

Edited by TIGHTCHOKE
SYNTAX!

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Ha ha, we all shoot various barrel lengths. I've two autos ones 30" tube other 28" apart from getting in a slip or cabinet it makes no difference to shooting them.

As for stopping a gun and needing weight to keep a swing going. If you point your finger at a moving bird or a bit of garden cane and follow it. Does your arm miraculously stop moving because you have no weight to keep it moving?

 

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I shot a 30inch 686 in 12 bore for years, I added a 690 20 bore in Feb and after swinging 29/30/32 barrelled models in the shop I settled on the 30. 32 felt great in the shoulder but looked so long and didn’t feel very practical, I’m not the tallest in the world 🙄 I like some weight out front and the 30 felt just right. 

Individual preference is key, there’s no right or wrong answer.

 

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Don’t get me wrong my 32” 692 is lovely and handles well but I think my 30” fixed choke 686 just feels lighter and livelier. Would love to find a really nice fixed choke Winchester 101, one day the right one will pop up but still looking!!

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3 hours ago, figgy said:

Ha ha, we all shoot various barrel lengths. I've two autos ones 30" tube other 28" apart from getting in a slip or cabinet it makes no difference to shooting them.

As for stopping a gun and needing weight to keep a swing going. If you point your finger at a moving bird or a bit of garden cane and follow it. Does your arm miraculously stop moving because you have no weight to keep it moving?

 

Bullseye!

Spot on again Mr. Figgy.

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4 hours ago, figgy said:

Ha ha, we all shoot various barrel lengths. I've two autos ones 30" tube other 28" apart from getting in a slip or cabinet it makes no difference to shooting them.

As for stopping a gun and needing weight to keep a swing going. If you point your finger at a moving bird or a bit of garden cane and follow it. Does your arm miraculously stop moving because you have no weight to keep it moving?

 

I wouldn’t disagree but...........If you leave aside an individuals shooting abilities/capabilities

Why were traditional wildfowling guns built to have extra weight and longer barrels? Was it not because the long barrels and extra weight make the swing and the follow through more deliberate and smoother, the extra weight also helps absorb the recoil from firing heavy loads.......These guns do not lend themselves to snap shooting and fast handling.....so gun fit/fast mounting is not a major issue....smooth, deliberate follow through of the already mounted gun is!

Likewise a light short barrelled traditional game gun does not have the weight to assist swing through, as smoothly as a heavy long barrelled wildfowling gun...........light gun, short barrels, equals fast handling, snap shooting....recoil and weight are not an issue when using a light, short barrelled gun with normal game loads.....gun fit and fast accurate mounting is vital.

 

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Long wildfowling guns needed to be long due to the shot charge weight and black powder needed the length to get full burn.

Modern powders are done in a foot or so up the barrel. So a choked 24" gun will shoot just as far as a 32" gun with same choke and cartridges.

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' Why were traditional wildfowling guns built to have extra weight and longer barrel.'

That is a question for the folk that made them. Perhap a spill over from the black powder days.

I can understand the weight of fowling guns but not the barrel length. 

I think weight is more relevant to a shotguns handling characteristics rather than barrel length.

 

 

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I think over the years I have shot most of those available, even 18s 'officially so to speak',  maybe not 32s and over those many years I have found that 30 inch barrels suits my style and by that I mean I like to catch a bird up and swing.  I initially had 28s on my Yilditz 410 but then changed to 30 which I found more comfortable.   Was loaned a Churchill 25 back in the 70s but just could not shoot that gun as pretty as it was.  I think you have to try a few and choose what you feel is right for you.  I just build my hides to suit whatever gun I'm shooting.

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