Fully rifled barrel for HD?


February 26, 2006, 11:58 AM
A local store has an 870 combo for sale with a 20-inch fully-rifled deer barrel. I've heard that a rifled barrel messes up your shot pattern, but with buckshot at HD ranges does that really matter?

I'm new to this stuff, and would welcome the wisdom of more experienced folks.

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February 26, 2006, 12:17 PM
The problem with a fully rifled barrel is that it "spins" everything that goes down it - birdshot, buckshot, or slugs. In the latter case, great, that's what it's meant to do. However, with birdshot or buckshot, the force of gravity, acting as centrifugal force, moves the shot to the outside of the "spin". This means that your shot leaves the barrel as a ring around a hollow center, and moves outward (towards the edge of the circle) as well as forward, in the direction of your shot. Thus, before very long, you have an irregular ring of shot surrounding a hollow center with no shot.

You can therefore miss a target with almost all your shot at a relatively short range - I've seen a round of #4 buckshot (27 pellets) put only 5 pellets on target (two in the neck/head region and three "below the belt") on a standard FBI silhouette target at 10 yards. All the rest missed. Another consideration is that all the shot that misses your target is going to end up hitting something (or someone) further downrange. If it's flying out to the side under centrifugal force, its eventual landing-place is uncertain. You might clobber someone well off to the side of where you'd aimed.

So, a rifled barrel is a REALLY bad idea for anything other than slugs.

February 26, 2006, 01:13 PM

I'm pretty sure Remington makes an 870 Express home defense model. I think it has an 18" cylinder bore barrel. hpg

Spec ops Grunt
February 26, 2006, 01:59 PM
I like to call it the Krispy Kreme from hell.

February 26, 2006, 02:11 PM
the flipside is that if you like the two barrels in the combo for what they're intended for - the rifled one for shooting slugs at four legged creatures, and presumably a longer barrel for shooting at things with wings and such - then a short, open choked smoothbore barrel really won't cost you much to add to the collection.

March 1, 2006, 01:08 AM
Well, as entertaining as "the Krispy Kreme from Hell" sounds, I agree it's not what I'm looking for in an HD barrel.

Thanks, I feel more edumacated.

3 gun
March 1, 2006, 02:51 AM
Shooting shot from a slug barrel is far from ideal, but if that was all I had I think from my limited test I wouldn't feel to bad about it at very short ranges.

I tried a few different loads through a Mossberg 500 with a 18 1/2" smooth cyl bore and with a 24" rifled barrel. What I found was surprising. The biggest downside is a MUCH more open pattern, but depending on the distances in your house this may not be a problem. It may even be a plus.

At most "in the home" ranges, a heavy field load and 00 buck loads would still be effective at under 21'. I found full shot wads did more to open a pattern then just a fiber wad, think S&B 00 buck loads. All the S&B 00 buck was still on a B12 torso at 21", barely. Remington reduced recoil 00 buck loads had 7/9 on target. The plus side to this would be an easier hit on a bad guy and a reduced chance of over penetration. It's pretty well known that a 00 buck load from a smooth bore at short range acts a lot like a slug. The rifled barrel keeps this from happening at short ranges. I really doubt that a single 00 pellet would carry much power through a wall, even an interior wall, so the extreme spread could be a plus. Heavy field loads (#4 2 oz 3" turkey loads) open enough to completely cover a B12 target from waist to neck, shoulder to shoulder at 21". Again from a smooth barrel it patterns much like a slug, a 3" wide hole at 21'. The penetration of #4 shot on a BG many not be ideal but I think the area of impact might make up for it. Again given how quickly the load opens I doubt any of the pellets would be able to go through a wall.

Past 21' the chance of getting hits drop quickly, so you are pretty much limited to 21' or less using a slug barrel. Of course if you have to shoot past 21' use a slug. Given most homes I doubt a shot of more than 21' would come up. I did my shooting with a 12ga, I'd expect a 20ga might reduce the max range you'd have to work with given the smaller payloads.

In the end if all I had was a rifled barrel, I'd use it, but it is far from the right tool for the job.

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