please help with barrel length


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10mmfan
January 21, 2003, 11:49 AM
Hi all...
I usually hunt with a rifle, and do not own a decent shotgun...
SO, my question concerns: what length barrel do I need? I cannot get any consistent info. from any hunters or gun dealers I talk to on this. The shotgun will be used for deer and turkey in varied terrain- mostly cutover fields, and new-growth forest with somewhat thick underbrush. Right now I am leaning towards a 26 or 28 inch barrel 12 guage. One other minor concern... Do I need 3 1/2 inch shell capacity?
THANKS !!!

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RussB
January 21, 2003, 12:51 PM
I would use a 20", rilfle sighted smoothbore barrel with interchangable choke tubes for your task (turkey & deer) second choice would be a 21" vent rib barrel, w/chokes. Those wold go in my Remington 870...

What shotgun do you have/are you going to get?

HS/LD
January 21, 2003, 01:15 PM
The length of barrel (over 14") only helps with pointability and sighting in a SG. It does not effect pattern size or shot velocity, as modern powders burn in 10-14 inches, and chokes will influence patterns.

With that in mind and a legal min of 18". Whatever feels the most comfortable over 18"...

I have a light 18" gun for land animals and a relatively heavier 26" for winged creatures.

Regards,
HS/LD

10mmfan
January 21, 2003, 01:30 PM
The only shotguns I have ever carried in the field: a nice 60s model Browning auto- it is just TOO nice to be pulling in and out of the truck anymore... and a Mossberg 24" pump...
What I would like and what I am leaning towards buying: a Browning Gold.

ARGarrison
January 21, 2003, 04:00 PM
Barrel length is pretty much what you like and can get that fits your needs. Personaly, I like 18" - 24" barrels, any longer I feel they are to long.

As far as 3 1/2" chambering, you list turkey and deer. Some turkey hunters around here (Indiana) like the 3 1/2" shells more shot down range higher percent hit, but it's not needed. Deer hunting (with slugs) doesn't lend itself to 3 1/2" shells, but can be done. The main reason, 2 3/4" and 3" slugs CAN NOT BE USED IN 3 1/2" CHAMBERS. The extra length in the chamber allows the slug to wobble before getting to the barrel, thus the slug can hang up and block the barrel. You'll need to only use 3 1/2" slugs with a 3 1/2" chamber. 2 3/4" and 3" slug loads are abundent so many can be found when testing your shotgun to see which load it likes best.

blades67
January 21, 2003, 05:10 PM
A 26" barrel is the longest I would look at for waterfowling or Turkey. If you plan to do much Deer hunting with slugs I'd recommend a 22-24" rifled slug barrel for their greater accuracy, or just get a slug gun for Deer Season.

Dave McCracken
January 21, 2003, 05:35 PM
Lots of ways to get there, here's my pick....

One of the 870 Express models has a 20" smoothbore barrel with rifle style open sights and is threaded for Rem Chokes. A Super Full tube or similar for turkey, an IC or Cylinder tube for slugs, you're all set.

Plan B, if you're into into optic sights, get the cantilever barrel,also with tubes, add those tubes mentioned above and either a red dot sight or low power scope, something like a 2.5X fixed.

Of course, you'd have to rezero each change in seasons, but that's not so bad.

Plan C, get one of the combos with two barrels.

As for 3 1/2" capacity, not needed.

sm
January 21, 2003, 08:38 PM
Skeet, Sporting Clays, waterfowl, doves, I prefer 28" tubes.

Everything else I prefer the shorter tubes.

labgrade
January 22, 2003, 12:41 AM
Shot most everything with a 24" (mumble) barrel on my older Wingmaster. Loved it till I bought an Express Turkey Magnum, 21" double bead vent w/extra full ckoke & made The Switch.

Had used an 18" imp cyl iron-sighted quite a while, but just never saw it as an all-rounder due to the sights (sighted for slugs) would throw bird shot patterns high. I've played with that enough since & no worries now, but .... that's not what you asked.

My fave shotty is the Express 3" 870 21" with screw-ins. Turkeys get the extra full & Fed's Premium 2 oz load of #4s - stout, but a very tight pattern in mine - pattern yours. Active Penetrators come in a 2-1/4 oz package of #4s. Plenty turkeys taken with the "mere" 2-3/4s. Pattern is the key, along with sufficient shot size for penetration.

The 21"er w/a mod choke is my best all 'round shooter. Shoots PMC's Brenneke slugs quite well just past 50 yards & does everything else plenty good enough.

BTW, you lose about 20 FPS per inch lost from the standard 30" (mumble) bbl. Shot to shot SD/velocities are well within this so don't even consider it.

Pattern & suffient shot size for what you want to do. The rest is up to you.

AFAIC, the 3-1/2"ers are for the waterfowlers who absolutely must have the biggest & baddest with the previous wimpy steel shot-stuff = not necessary, or even needed IMNSHO.

1-1/4 oz of lead #4s & a mod choke (properly patterned) is a very tough load to beat for anything that flies, or turkey-walks.

Blain
January 22, 2003, 01:22 AM
Just though I'd clear a few things up.

he main reason, 2 3/4" and 3" slugs CAN NOT BE USED IN 3 1/2" CHAMBERS. The extra length in the chamber allows the slug to wobble before getting to the barrel, thus the slug can hang up and block the barrel.


This simply isn't true. There is one 3 1/2" 12 gauge where this is true and that is the Mossberg Super Magnum. The reason it can't fire slugs is because it has a 10 gauge barrel bore.

My Remington 3 1/2" Super Mag fires slugs just fine, both 2 3/4" and 3". It is accurate.


The 3 1/2" 12 gauge gives unmatched versatility. It can fire any size 12 gauge shell, and the 3 1/2" shells DO give 10 gauge preformance. Just by switching shells I can change my gun into a light clay and birds gun into a heavy hitting big game gun.

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