Best "trap barrel length?" 26"-30"?


john l
November 2, 2004, 12:23 PM
For you trap gun guys out there, I am planning to buy another shotgun. (isn't that so wierd?)
This would be primarily for trap, and I am leaning toward a 26in vent rib barrel.
I already have a 30inch barrel full choke, so that is why I wonder about the 26" bbl.
Pros or cons?
john l.

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Dave McCracken
November 2, 2004, 01:53 PM
Trap barrels tend towards the long end, the weight further out helps keep the swing going. Unless you're a pixie, the longer barrels will be a better choice, IMO.

Be that as it may, I shot some highly enjoyable rounds today with Member Norton, his wife and brother at PGC. Using #6 and a 26" barrel, I had a good time shooting trap and wobble from low gun. Scores were similar to those of yesterday, when I used the TB with a 30" barrel and an extended choke.

The 26" barrel is a hair more nimble on that one than the original 30" full choke barrel, but the difference is minor since the weights are similar.

November 2, 2004, 02:11 PM
I"ll try to answer your question. First a few ideas.

There is trap shooting and there is trapshooting. Trap shooting is an occasional venture to the local trap fields or backyard for a round or two of birds with friends. Maybe once or twice a month. You are happy with the occasional 25, but you'll smile with the 22.

Trapshooting is a competitive sport. There is practice, either at the club or dry firing at home. You have a tendency to shoot lots of shells. (I practice with guys that visit different clubs each night of the week for practice. And twice on Saturday.) If there is a new gadget that might get them one more bird, they have it or want it. These are the folks that shoot 25-25-25-24 at registered targets and b*tch that they shot poorly! That I should be that poor.

Most of the competitive shooters believe that the minimum barrel length is 30" with 32" being better (mostly double shooters). 34" is also popular for the singles and 'cap shooters. 35" is not unheard of. For the record, I shoot a 34" trap gun. I have also shot a 26" O/U and a 32" trap gun in trapshooting. A longer gun aids in the swing and follow through so important for trap. Folks that shoot shorter barrels tend to push or stab the gun rather than swing. That stabbing action is one reason that targets are missed.

Whoa! Having said all of that. Get a gun that fits you or that can be adjusted to you. Do not worry about your barrel length. If you believe that your game has suffered due to your barrel length, see about a replacement barrel. Ebay and just about any gun supply catelog can get you a barrel for one of the big 3 manufacters. Upper end guns barrels tend to cost the about the price of a big 3 gun (or more.) If that is the case maybe a two barrel set is the way to go, one O/U (30 to 32) with an Unsingle (34).

NOTE Bone to Dave ALERT

Get a 870 with a 30" barrel. You can go longer if you need to or shorter if you want. And advice here is free.

End Bone to Dave Alert


Bill B.
November 4, 2004, 11:11 AM
You have been gave some very good advice! The longer barrel will helps smooth your swing and does cut down on muzzel blast somewhat. I have shot trap with a gent that used a Remington 1100 Special Field with a 21" barrel. Though he hit his share of targets that short barrel blast would get your attention standing next to him on the 16 yard line! :)

November 4, 2004, 07:50 PM
The only thing wrong with a 26" barrel is it is missing at least 4" of length. The only thing wrong with a 30" barrel is it isn't longer. I like LONG barrels, and most people shoot better with them regardless of the game being played.

November 4, 2004, 08:31 PM
I'll heartily second HSMITH's comments. Unless it's a grouse, deer or HD gun, I consider 28" to be the bare minimum, and 30" is better. The gun I shoot most of the time now is a Beretta 391 auto with a 30" tube and an extended choke tube. When I got it, I had to move the shelf in the top of the safe up a couple notches. It's just about right for me.

FWIW, I've never wished for a shorter barrel on a shotgun, except when working in areas where cover is tight and the need for movement is great. For clays, pheasant hunting, or shooting ducks, I consider the longer barrel to be a real advantage.

Joe Mamma
November 5, 2004, 08:41 AM
HSMITH, TrapperReady, and anyone else, you guys prefer a 30" or longer barrel even for skeet? I thought skeet barrels should be shorter so you can swing the gun faster? I have a 30" barrel 391 and I wouldn't mind a shorter barrel for skeet. But, does 2" in barrel length either way really make a noticeable difference in anything?

I'm very new at this so pardon the basic questions.

Joe Mamma

November 5, 2004, 08:47 AM
I don't shoot much skeet, but when I have, it's been with 30" barrels. I do shoot a fiar amount of sporting clays, and bird hunting. I've never really thought "Wow, I wish I could swing this gun faster!". In fact, several of the quickest shots on game I've ever made (fast moving birds with very small windows in which to shoot) have been made with my Beretta.

November 5, 2004, 09:23 AM
Hi Joe. Yes, I prefer the longer barrels for skeet too. My skeet guns are 28" and 30" in auto's, and 30" and 32" in O/U. When I was serious about shooting skeet I shot a Browning 425 Sporting in 12 ga with 32" barrels most of the time.

When you get familiar with a gun and have shot it a lot you will notice a difference with a longer or shorter barrel. The shorter barrel feels a little faster, the longer barrel feels a little smoother. I shoot better with the longer barrels, as does everyone I have been around if they don't give up right away.

Joe Mamma
November 5, 2004, 12:29 PM
Thanks for the responses guys. I noticed I'm not leading the clays enough when I shoot skeet so, I guess I'm just tryng to blame the equipment!

Joe Mamma

November 5, 2004, 12:50 PM
I know you asked in reference to trap...

I agree with HSMITH on the longer bbls.

If you don't mind input from "one of them other folks" ...Skeet ! :p

I used 28" bbls or longer for skeet, 5 stand, Sporting clays...any and everything.

Longer bbl = less apparent lead , smooths my swing, and I follow through better - just for starters - for ME.

Oh and about this horsepucky " a longer bbl takes too long to mount gun to face and get on target from low gun". Wanna bet? Watch your step....horsepucky is slippery. :p

November 5, 2004, 12:53 PM
If you're not leading them enough, then keep the following phrase running through your head while you shoot:

"Miss in front"

When I first started shooting clays, I missed more than I thought I should. I then developed a mindset that if I was going to miss, it would be in front of the target, rather than behind (sort of like a golfer wanting to miss a putt above the hole, rather than below).

Literally, that simple shift in mindset helped me pick up most of the targets I was missing.

Try it and see if it works for you.

November 5, 2004, 01:36 PM
TR - good advice as always.

I personally only focus on the leading "sliver" of a target . NOT the whole target ( or critter) .

Along the lines of "miss in front" is to NEVER shoot over the target , another common mistake/ problem. Always keep the MUZZLE under the bird - and you won't shoot over it.

This is NOT the same as swinging through a target and shooting the lead necessary to fell the target.

November 5, 2004, 01:39 PM
My 870 has a 28.

Joe Mamma
November 5, 2004, 01:39 PM
"Miss in front"

I like that. I'm going to try it this weekend. Thanks.

Joe Mamma

November 5, 2004, 01:47 PM
I'm one of those occasional trap shooters who play with an 26 inch bbl. It's on my 870 express and while I wish I had the funds to get a nicer (longer) shotgun, I find that the 26 works fine for me. Then again I haven't done a 25-25-25-24 yet. More like a 20-21-24-19. Oh well. Just need to practice more.

Gila Jorge
November 5, 2004, 04:29 PM
For trap shooting I like a 30 inch barrel on an auto or pumpt and a 34 inch barrel on my BT-99. For skeet I shoot 28 inch barrels on a sporting clays gun. Don't think 30 on an over under would be a handicap. Longer is better than shorter.
Better follow through and blast reduction are also benefits. Less fatigue after all day shoots.

November 5, 2004, 05:04 PM
I prefer the longer barrel on trap. BT-99 Max shooter here with 32" tube.

Skeet is completely different (for me). I prefer the shorter barrels in comparison, 28" allows me to get on the birds quick.

Barrel length is really of no consequence if you're a beginner. See what the veterans are shooting and pick something in the middle. Then shoot...LOTS. You can fine tune once you have a solid understanding of trap mechanics and your limitations. (gun weight, swing, follow-through, etc...)


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