Whats the vent rib on A shotgun for?


January 17, 2008, 08:43 PM
I know this may seem like a dumb question But what purpose does the vent rib play.I have heard its to help keep the Barrel cool or as a sight plane which is it

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January 17, 2008, 08:52 PM
2 main reasons..
#1 most common is for looks
#2 is it *can* act as a heat shield so you can handle a hot barrel


If it is the sight rail you are talking about then it is vented for looks as it elevates the sight bead for easy aquisition. The ribbing is purly asthetic.


January 17, 2008, 09:09 PM
Shotguns are pointed, not aimed.

Vent ribs come about to assist with dissipation of heat waves that might distract a shotgunners focus on targets.

Originally folks learned how to correctly mount a shotgun to face, originally Skeet had shooters shoot from low gun position for one example.

Time passes and rules changed to allow skeet shooters to Pre-Mount the gun.
Many shooters were not raised right nor with correct basic fundamentals of gun fit, mounting gun to face - etc.

These shooters used the vent rib to determine if they had pre-mounted the ill fitting gun to them, and had canted it.
Rib allowed them to get wrapped around the gun , get it "straight" and then call for the bird.

Art & Science to this Shotgunning...

January 17, 2008, 10:29 PM
Shotguns are pointed, not aimed.

Vent ribs come about to assist with dissipation of heat waves that might distract a shotgunners focus on targets.

Originally folks learned how to correctly mount a shotgun to face, originally Skeet had shooters shoot from low gun position for one example.

Time passes and rules changed to allow skeet shooters to Pre-Mount the gun.
Many shooters were not raised right nor with correct basic fundamentals of gun fit, mounting gun to face - etc.

These shooters used the vent rib to determine if they had pre-mounted the ill fitting gun to them, and had canted it.
Rib allowed them to get wrapped around the gun , get it "straight" and then call for the bird.

Alright, there's the elitist point of view.

Here's a more pragmatic point of view:

A vent rib makes it easier to shoot a shotgun effectively. It helps your brain line up things even if you're not conciously aiming. It especially helps if you're (gasp) aiming it. Aimed shotguns have their place with slugs and buckshot but some purist wingshooters seem to forget this fact...

January 18, 2008, 09:44 AM
For me it allows a lot quicker target acquisition. Two beads on a vent rib really increases my accuracy when shooting clays.

January 18, 2008, 09:58 AM

January 18, 2008, 10:37 AM
Shotguns are pointed, not aimed.

OMG, sm, don't say that to the tacticool crowd on the rifle forum. They'll call you all sorts of names, did me anyway. ROFL! But, it's true.

I was only trying to make 'em understand why I prefer a shotgun for home security beyond the absolute fact that buckshot is better at close range, which they didn't believe either. :rolleyes:

January 18, 2008, 11:07 AM
Those that know me, understand when I say, some folks have no frigging idea of how I was raised, what into, how mentored, and lessons by certain folks.

Elitest ? No.
Realist yes.

I and mine did stuff way before vent ribs come to be, or even available as an after market option.
Ernie Sims anyone?

Firebombs shot out of the air to prevent a porch or roof catching on fire.
Low Light, no light, and thugs shooting at us to take what left after a disaster, and I know what a 20 ga slug will do to stop threats...

No known gun schools back then, no 3 gun, nuttin'
Hot range, live fire, moving targets, and trip wires set up...

I/we kids learned to shoot with no sights on BB Guns, .22 rifles then shotguns.
We shot clay targets from throwers or low 7 with these BBGuns .22 rifles and slugs from shotguns.

Gun fit to shooter, correct basic fundamentals, mount gun to face, and focus on target.

*shrug* I walked off from sanctioned shoots and burned my cards before the great equipment race.

Oh I finally in '74 got a shotgun with a vent rib, and in '75 added a mid bead, but for other reasons.
I retired that gun ( I think) after I put 300,000 shells through it.
Just one I put a few shells through over 100k rds ...

I still had a '74 SX1 set up with factory slug barrel without vent rib, ...then again I and mine were running shotguns without safeties on purpose too...

In the real world - there is no starting buzzer...classifications are Dead, maimed for life, or injured.

Awerbuck says it best " I will not be at your gunfight"

Rebel I am, my handy shotgun is a Youth , H&R Topper 20 bore with plain barrel and fixed mod choke.
I have my reasons, and these go back starting in the mid 50's.

*shrug* Reality is, we are all dying, we all started right after we drew our first breath.
Ain't that something?

January 18, 2008, 11:58 AM
SM can you provide more details on your childhood training techniques, or point to literature?

Bud Tugly
January 18, 2008, 12:21 PM
My first gun was a hand-me down BB rifle with the sights broken off. I stuck a piece of toothpick in the hole where the front sight had been and shot it that way. Put untold thousands of BB's through that thing before I ever shot anything with proper sights on it and got to be petty good with it.

Probably was good training for my future shotgunning.

January 18, 2008, 12:33 PM
sm is right about the dissapation of heat waves. it also acts as a good place to mount sights, beads etc. if anyone has ever been on a dove hunt where you are burning through shells, you will notice the heat waves coming off the barrell, which can blur your sight picture.

January 18, 2008, 01:28 PM
The Old Man & The Boy by Ruark is a start.
Score Better at Skeet - Fred Misseldine
Shotgunning:The Art&Science - Bob Brister

Three books to read. Though I have shot with Misseldine and Brister.

You want to learn shotguns?

Will Fennell for Clays
Awerbuck for defensive use of shotgun.


January 18, 2008, 01:50 PM
To the subject, I think the vent rib is more style than substance at least on field guns. I cannot recall a bird hunt so fast and furious as to cause me problems with the heat waves off the barrel. :rolleyes: Of course, I've never done any of that wing shooting I see on TV in Argentina. Must be nice.

My old single shot 16 my uncle gave me for geese when I was 16, the front bead eventually fell off. No matter, I just pointed down the barrel and lost no shooting efficiency in doing so. I've never replaced that bead to this day, though I've thought about it a few times since it'd be cheap to do. Just not high on the priority list and I never think about it when I'm running to town.

You can't find a gun now days without a vent rib that doesn't have rifle sights on it, so my Mossberg and my Winchester have 'em. The one on the Mossberg has gotten a little loose on the front, rattles about the first four mounts back from the muzzle. If it falls off, I don't know if I'll bother replacing it, ROFL! Oh, I probably will since it'll look a little stupid without the vent rib, looks, not function.

January 18, 2008, 11:01 PM
Thanks man. Got 'The Shotgunner's Bible' by Laycock going right now, will get one of those next. Thanks again; Scott

January 19, 2008, 12:33 AM
There's a clays range in Mesquite, Nevada, on the Arizona line. From what people say, when you shoot in the the Summer there, you need the vent rib to block the heat mirage off the barrel.

Here in San Diego, even when it's hot, I have never seen a heat mirage on a plain barrel, even a hot barrel. I don't think I've ever really needed a vent rib for that, or even gotten a chance to see it in action.

I have a couple of shotguns with no ribs; one of them I've shot a fair amount. It's an old 1100, so the barrel does get hot when I shoot 5-stand with it. Never seen the faintest bit of mirage off of it. It has a bead on a little pedestal just like an 870 HD gun has; that's how they used to come standard, when a vent rib was an optional upgrade.

However, I do find that, when I shoulder a gun with a rib vs. that old 1100, my eye is drawn down the rib a little quicker and looking down the rib is just somehow a bit more natural and intuitive. I've used the 1100 for popping flushing quail in boulder and brush country, and I've bagged quail with it. But a ribbed gun is just a hair quicker to shoulder, point and fire.

sm is right about shooting high-gun and getting all "set", but I'm not talking about that use for the rib. I'm talking strictly about high-speed do-or-die bird shooting, where if you don't get a well-placed shot off pretty much as soon as the bird comes out of the brush, you're done. No bird.

I've generally quit using the semiauto for quail, since the 3rd shot is really a non-issue, in favor of an old, shorter and quicker 20 Gauge O/U. It has a rib, which I don't consciously use, but which does seem to work with my eye to make pointing just a little faster. The rib also helps my eye to look straight down the barrel instantly, not slightly off to one side or the other when I mount the gun fast.

That's my opinion and experience. YMMV :)

January 19, 2008, 10:08 AM
sm, I generally agree with you, but in this case I think you are being, if not elitist, then curmugeonly. The good old days were the good old days, and some things really are improvements. In the old days, people learned to drive cars where you had to have some muscle to turn and brake. Then some idiot invented power steering and power brakes, and now people are just lazy, and anyone, from the weakest little girl, can learn to drive a car . . .

If the rib helps, why do you care? If you want to keep shooting shotguns without a rib, go ahead.

January 19, 2008, 10:12 AM
anyone, from the weakest little girl, can learn to drive a car . .

If there were only a way to keep the weak-minded off the road...:)

January 19, 2008, 10:41 AM
Oh, shotgun ribs, damn. Ernie "pops" Simmons was the man in the 50's around here, hunting and fishing with all of the stars and political big wiggs of the day, we even had a heli-port next to the shop for thoes who could afford the toys.
Whatever works for the shooter, Pops was a marketing god, but what he and the powers that were at Winchester, came up with a system that worked for people that were new to or had trouble shooting plain barrel guns, whatever type of guns.
Browning, in there marketing hell that brought you the Cynergy, had there rib correct but the marketing department got a hold of it and lowered it for the look, ever shot one good, no, well that's why we have removed alott of them and replaced with the correct heigth rib.
I learned how to shoot like SM, the only shotguns that i have with a rib are sxs's, but if somebody needs help shooting and does not have time to really shoot than whatever it takes is also good.
I have yet to figure completely height of comb and heigth of rib stuff, from flat ribs to 1 and 1/2 inches high ribs, off-set ribs and one-eye-blind custom ribs, if i ever find a good 16 gauge model 12 with a plain barrel, it will stay that way.

January 19, 2008, 07:06 PM
I am no expert or historian, but I am willing to bet that it is a design carryover from double barreled guns. Remember that single barreled shotguns used to be rare, and side by sides were the rule. They had a rib as means of attachment to lock barrels in place in shoot to the same point of aim.

The first single barreled guns sure didn't have any rails. But Once single barreled guns started to become more popular they appeared... a nostalgic carryover to days gone by.

Something that every gun owner still uses as a strong marketing technique today.

January 19, 2008, 08:01 PM
I never owned a gun with a rib until I was -- well, lets just say approaching retirement. As a kid, I saw one gun with a rib and thought it was just the coolest looking gun ever. And looking good sells guns. People look for the best looking wood, the deepest blue, etc. Shotguns can be like our cars. All they really have to do is get us from one place to the other but if you can have some style too, well......... And some people feel the flat surface helps them. Some also have glow worms on the end of the barrel rather than the traditional bead. It may help some but I see it as another style option. To each his/her own. The difference make life and discussion like this interesting.

January 19, 2008, 08:16 PM
My Auto 5's have Matte Ribs. ;)

January 19, 2008, 08:17 PM
looks and better sighting

January 19, 2008, 09:45 PM
It is all good.

Well except that part about me being a "curmudgeon".
I'm offended.
I'll have you know I have worked really hard and have my Curmudgeon III cert and have passed the Reprobate exam and hands on Skills Assessment.
<taps foot>
If Old Fuff would leave his dad-burned cave- he is supposed to have already sent me my Diploma showing I am a Reprobate. PhD and everything!



Ernie "pops" Simmons - oh hell yeah!
I know the name as I was born in '55 and Mentors & Elders and folks in general knew about "Pops".
Sipping Cokes out front of the bait shop, or at the coffee shop, or at some range ..."Pops", Corey Ford, Robert Ruark, Ike, and other names were just part of the conversation.

Postman come today! Lookee here what I got C.O.D my daughter one of them Beretta Jetfires, she is wanting mine really bad and got her her own.
"Pops" had one of them red rubber recoil pads, and going to fix that shotgun up I cut the pad on busting ice to get into to hunt them ducks..."been thinking about gettin' one of them vent rib jobbies for pa, he don't need a rib, just something to piddle with to keep him out of ma's way when she cleaning house...pa hides in the shop, makes noise so ma thinks he is piddling, or actually fixin' something that needs fixin'...."Pops sent these sheets, lookee what all he got...

"Pops" was good people and yeah, I remember...

January 20, 2008, 12:50 PM
"Whats the vent rib on a shotgun for?"

It makes the barrel heavier. That can be good if you like it or bad if you don't.

Otherwise, for the smokers, the only thing I can think of is that the rib is a good place to strike a waterproofed kitchen match if everything in the boat is wet and you're wearing gloves (and can't strike it with your thumbnail) and you're wearing chest waders (and can't strike it on your metal zipper.)

Shotguns - the original point and click.


January 20, 2008, 01:04 PM
SM I appreciate your often sage advice and wisdom. However if you were born in 55 Vent ribs have existed long before you started shooting. You may not have owned one of the beasts but they were around.

Vent ribs make the gun look nifty and add value. Do you really need them for wingshooting no. But they were created for heat and proper sighting plain. My early gun mentors would have whacked me in the head for "aiming a shotgun" rather than pointing it. That being said they now sell scope mounts for slug guns.

January 20, 2008, 04:41 PM
But is a gun rigged up to shoot slugs, and not birdshot, truly a shotgun? To me, if it's got a scope on it and a rifled choke tube in it, it's a rifle no matter what the government says.

I still like plain barrels better, even if the only one I own is a .410 Model 37 Win. A lot of models anymore just aren't made with a plain barrel. I'd probably buy them without beads on them if that was an option. My great-uncle Fred used to file the beads down smooth.

John, who's even older than sm

January 20, 2008, 06:08 PM
Location, Location, Location.

Vent ribs existed in '55, no doubt, so did indoor plumbing, just not everyone had indoor plumbing .

Sears Roebuck vs Montgomery Ward Catalogs.
Now thems were the days of quality debates I tell ya. *grin*

Always one in the bunch, always one had to mention corn cobs for use in the out house...
Yeah, folks talk about getting roughage in diets? They have no idea what roughage is...

How raised, parented, and mentored is not unlike a lot of folks and it would scare the weebie-jeebies out of some Pro gun folks today and for damn sure Anti-Gunners.

Vent Ribs?
Other than a rib going down in between the middle of a Side-by-Side, don't recall one.

Mentors & Elders , ladies and gents, had all sorts of background and experiences.
Some around here know of these, and won't toss out information as some would take it as me bragging, or trying to impress folks.

Just these folks had real world experiences, leave it at that.
Some were hustlers, and I do mean damn good ones at that.

Old truck, puffing blue smoke, hitting on 5 cylinders instead of 6 like it was supposed too...
Pitiful looking...well...it sorta resembled a gun case, what was left of one anyways.
Postage string , rawhide strips, boot lace, kept ...well, it did resemble a shotgun, no beads, much less a vent rigb and them shells?
Wax and tape kept the pellets from spilling out.

I'd get to hold the cigar box while "bidness" was transacted.
"What did you learn Young-un?" - Mentors always asked me that question.

"Them folks with fancy cars, clothes, shotguns and store bought shells sure do step-n-fetch when they get beat" - I replied.

Pretty special getting to go to Mom&Pop Dairy Bar.
Old boy done got another bit of land to add to his he already had.
His "ma" looked good in her new car - paid cash for.

Hustlers, who earlier in life had used country boy and girl skill sets to go through hell, meet the devil and spit in his eye, and come out of hell.

Others too, and these folks, - like I've said before, no gun schools back in the day and truth is, some would have a conniption fit as to how lessons were done back then.

Safety? Yes.
Safety is between the ears, not on a safety on a gun , lock on a knife, or anything else.

Hot range and shotgun safeties were removed on purpose.

Kids parented, and mentored, none of the damn Government's business on how to raise a kid, or mentor to one.

Honest to goodness, folks have shown up full of piss and vinegar and decide not to join us.
Fine, we invited them out, as we damn sure were not going to shoot where they did.
They were into equipment, gidgets, gadgets and gee whiz.
We offered...

Rebel I am, I started shooting that .22 revolver at age 3 grandma put in my dresser drawer crib when I was brought home.
Then I learned on .22 rifles and these had no sights.
Then the little shotgun my size with no vent rib, or beads.
BB Gun next.

Rebels don't do like most folks do.
Grandma and other Mentors & Elders saw to that and "normal?" who really knows what "normal is?"
Still don't, reckon I never will...

Now an old boy about age 90, best guess, said he felt age 16, just his body argued at times, got a wire hose clamp and put on his shotgun.
Actually two, one in front and one near the back.

"What the hell you doing?" Folks asked "You ain't gonna use that get up for slugs on deer are you?"

"Hell no, I might be old I ain't stupid!
"Then what on earth ..."
"Just shut up and pay attention and learn something will ya?"

Just two little "Y's" on a plain barrel and he shot 50/50 and took some money.

Two weeks later the city slickers were seen on the range with little "Y's" on their shotguns too.
They were putting candle wax on the crimp of new store bought shells too...

"Nope, wax ain't for keeping pellets in, increases the velocity so one hits faster and better" - 90 year old had "let slip out".

He turned 101, and he ran 25/25 and I was shooting with him.
He went to sit, and get into the brownies again...
I stayed to shoot.
I took off my left shoe and the other folks glanced back at 'em and snickered.
I shot 25/25 with my left shoe off and in sock feet.
The others ran 23, or 24.

"Young-Un, it is my B-day, just what they hell were you doing out there?"
"Messing with their mental game"
"What damn fool taught you that?"
"You for one sir".
"Damn smart fool ain't I?" he continued with "You do realize you ain't gotta bead on that gun?
(plain barrel)
"Oh hell! Don't ya know if'n you reload them beads in shot, you get that 'golden bb dealie?" - I said

"Don't say, damn, 101 and still learning..." *wink*

It is all good, just some is more gooder than others is all.


Red Label
January 20, 2008, 09:07 PM
Well...posting after sm's lovely post is a bit anticlimactic, but I will. I've got shotguns with and without. I like both. Old M-12s without that point like a dream. I've shot my Red Label WITH a rib in very cold weather. Cold enough and the barrel got hot enough that the rib didn't keep the heat waves from ruining my sight picture. In my opinion the ribs are for looks...but I like the looks!

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