Why a 36" shotgun barrel??


PDA






samjoe
March 13, 2010, 08:14 PM
I was in a pawn shop today and I saw an old single shot 12 ga. with a 36" barrel called a Long Tom. Light research showed it was probably an old Sears/Meridian whatever version from the 1920's.

What is the benefit in having such a long barrel on a shotgun?

If you enjoyed reading about "Why a 36" shotgun barrel??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
jmr40
March 13, 2010, 08:25 PM
With black powder the longer barrels were an advantage to help with velocity. Modern smokeless powder does not need barrels nearly that long. Even after smokeless powder had been out for a while many shooters refused to believe they did not really need the extra length. Many still don't believe it today.

DRYHUMOR
March 13, 2010, 08:29 PM
There was also the advantage of a longer sighting plane.

oneounceload
March 13, 2010, 08:30 PM
long range goose hunting comes to mind - with pass shooting, a longer heavier barrel made swinging on the birds easier

bobelk99
March 13, 2010, 08:33 PM
Great-grandfather used such to harvest ducks. I was told he didn't call it hunting. Just tried to get 3 or 4 at a time sitting on the water.

Otony
March 13, 2010, 08:38 PM
A little off topic, but I just picked up a Metro barrel by Hastings. It is a 32" long extension that screws into your existing barrel in lieu of the choke (which is re-installed in the end of the Metro extension BTW). It has extensive porting.

This results in a barrel 56" long (host is a 24" turkey barrel)! It is typically used with lower pressure rounds on golf course and city parks (hence: Metro) to eliminate problem geese and ducks. Firing it results in a "bloop" sound, a low muffled report that doesn't disturb the sheeple. :neener:

I intend to take it to the next three gun match just to get a laugh, but it could be used per the above posts, to make smooth pass shooting swings, or to cleanly burn black powder! :evil:

samjoe
March 13, 2010, 08:40 PM
so what would be the difference if I shot the same shell from a 28" 870 or a 36" long tom?
Range
Pattern
Speed

Fred Fuller
March 13, 2010, 10:08 PM
With modern ammunition, there would be essentially no difference in performance. They're not that uncommon, some people still go for long barrels, it seems-

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=160256637
Stevens by Savage Arms Model 940E single shot break open action shotgun chambered for 3" - 12 gauge shells. Features a 36" proof tested barrel, side lever, exposed hammer

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=160931595
Marlin 5512 12 Ga.The original goose gun in very nice condition.It has a 36" full choke barrel

The folks at Colonial Arms used to have an old single shot on the wall in their shop. They'd taken all the sections of 12 gauge barrels they cut down and attached them all to this poor old single shot end to end, then dressed them all to the same diameter and blued the whole thing. That barrel looked to be six feet long. Of course it wasn't shootable, but it was meant as a joke.

lpl

ArmedBear
March 13, 2010, 10:38 PM
There's been a trend in clay sports towards longer barrels lately. Skeet shooters are using 30" and 32" O/Us, when 26" was common not long ago. Sporting clays shooters have moved up towards 32" as standard, and 34" for taller/bigger shooters, with extended chokes.

Note that an O/U has two barrels, and therefore more weight up front than a single barrel gun, all other things being equal.

This isn't done for pattern, or for velocity. It's done for how the gun feels when it swings.

Maybe some people in the 1920s just liked a long barrel for pass-shooting geese. These things ebb and flow over time. My 1926 SxS has 28" barrels, just like a modern gun would, so presumably the 36" was considered long in its day, just like now.

tactikel
March 13, 2010, 10:44 PM
Back in the day of muzzle loaders there was no choke, longer barrels were perceived to throw a tighter pattern. Today barrel length has no effect on pattern. 36" was totally marketing- splash geese at 40 YARDS!!!

ArmedBear
March 13, 2010, 10:49 PM
A smooth swing has nothing to do with range, and I don't think that people in the 1920s thought it did, either, if you look at the guns of the era. Most guns from the 1920s, of whatever type, have modern dimensions, i.e. 26"-30" barrels. Again, I'm guessing this gun was something for some specific purpose that required a good smooth swing (whether or not the gun actually provided that).

rcmodel
March 14, 2010, 02:45 PM
I'm guessing it was a marketing ploy designed to get people to buy bolt-action shotguns who didn't know any better.

There has long been a myth that long barrels shoot harder, further, etc.

That was an old misconception, leftover from great-great-grandpas 40" muskets & black powder that needed a long barrel to get all the velocity possible out of it.

But it doesn't work that way with this new-fangled smokeless powder we all use now.

rc

oneounceload
March 14, 2010, 02:47 PM
The barrel length differences will be most evident in the gun's swing dynamics. Pattern is determined by the choke constriction at the end of the barrel, velocity between the two will have a negligible difference (if any).

CajunBass
March 14, 2010, 03:01 PM
"Back in the day" as they say, a lot of people thought they "shot harder." I never heard it described as "higher velocity", just that they "shot harder." There was also the belief they patterned tighter. My father had a 36" barrel single shot that he won a half a pickup bed full of turkeys and hams at the local fire-dept turkey shoots with. It was a Sears gun IIRC. We looked all over for that gun after he passed away and never did find it. No idea what happened to it. That old Sears gun shot so well he used to rent it out at the turkey shoots. You paid $5.00 a shot to get in the shoot, and paid him $5.00 to shoot his gun. He made a fair ammount of money on Friday and Saturday night.

He also had a Sears pump gun with a 30" barrel, full choke, he won the other half of the pickup load with. I've got that one.

Dave McCracken
March 14, 2010, 03:09 PM
Friend Superreverb has an 870TC trap gun with a 36" factory barrel. Swings like a wrecking ball. He demolishes clays with it.

Some newer SBT guns have 36" barrels. More inertia, longer sighting plane.

Yeah, I know we're not supposed to aim a shotgun, but some trapshooters do.....

RyanM
March 14, 2010, 03:33 PM
A longer barrel should also be quieter.

Way back before plastic shot cups were invented, the longer barrels probably did pattern a hair tighter, for the same reason as the reduced report. More expansion room in the barrel means less pressure at the muzzle, which quiets down the shot a little, and means the muzzle gas won't mess up your patterns so much. With black powder, that throws little bits of soot and other solids everywhere, that could make a real difference.

A good quality muzzle crown combined with plastic shot cup wads should all but eliminate the effects of muzzle gas on the pattern, though. My Serbu Super Shorty throws patterns maybe 5% to 10% wider than a 24" cylinder bore with birdshot, which could easily be barrel-to-barrel variation more than the loss of 17" of length. With cheapo buckshot with no cup, however, the Shorty tends to throw doughnut-shaped patterns due to the muzzle blast messing everything up.

I would guess the belief in barrel length persisted even after plastic shot cups became common, because chopping off part of the barrel with a hacksaw, truing it with a mill file, and crowning it with a marble and sandpaper is unlikely to produce the same quality of crown as the factory puts on. Much like how Bubba-ed milsurp rifles with shortened barrels almost never shoot as well as the original (and of course Bubba blames it on the missing section of the barrel, rather than his own craftsmanship).

samjoe
March 15, 2010, 12:56 PM
Okay. So help me get my arms around this then. I always thought that a longer barrel increased speed range etc. Most are saying that barrel length does not matter when it comes to these aspects with modern ammo. Which leads me to this question. Barring swing, why wouldn't an 18" barrel with a choke do just as good of a job as a 28" barrel with the same choke??

ArmedBear
March 15, 2010, 12:57 PM
Barring swing, why wouldn't an 18" barrel with a choke do just as good of a job as a 28" barrel with the same choke??

It does, more or less.

Barring swing, I have no use for a shotgun with a choke, though.

oneounceload
March 15, 2010, 01:01 PM
Okay. So help me get my arms around this then. I always thought that a longer barrel increased speed range etc. Most are saying that barrel length does not matter when it comes to these aspects with modern ammo. Which leads me to this question. Barring swing, why wouldn't an 18" barrel with a choke do just as good of a job as a 28" barrel with the same choke??

Unless you are rifle-style shooting at a static target like a deer, swing is everything to being successful with a shotgun on clays, birds, etc.

brassdog
March 15, 2010, 01:07 PM
We used to call the long barrels "AAA" as in anti aircraft artillery.

Kind of fitting since I mostly saw them during duck/goose hunts with the oldtimers.

I guess the extra weight/length provided a smoother swing and longer sighting plane.

samjoe
March 15, 2010, 01:28 PM
So a static shot at say a Turkey from about 35 yards would have no difference between a 28" barrel or an 18" barrel with the same choke. correct?

samjoe
March 15, 2010, 02:17 PM
Now I understand that the length of a shotgun barrel (24" 26" 28") is simply weight, swing, and aim. Basically user preference. some guy with a 24" could out shoot some guy with a 28" any given day in any type of competition?

oneounceload
March 15, 2010, 03:24 PM
So a static shot at say a Turkey from about 35 yards would have no difference between a 28" barrel or an 18" barrel with the same choke. correct?

ALL other things being equal, correct. Most specialty "turkey" guns come today with 21 or 24" barrels

Now I understand that the length of a shotgun barrel (24" 26" 28") is simply weight, swing, and aim. Basically user preference. some guy with a 24" could out shoot some guy with a 28" any given day in any type of competition?

Anything is possible; however, if you go look at the winner's circle at any clay target tournament 18" barrels will not be found, let alone pumps. Short barrels, and short barrels coupled with the need to pump the gun for the second shot take huge amounts of focus and concentration that is better needed to focus on the target and not the gun.

ArmedBear
March 15, 2010, 03:33 PM
some guy with a 24" could out shoot some guy with a 28" any given day in any type of competition?

Maybe, but it doesn't actually happen.

E.g., Todd Bender shoots a 32" Krieghoff O/U for American Skeet. Skeet has typically been shot with the shortest guns of any regulation clay sport, over the years, and a Krieghoff is a heavy sucker even among 32" O/Us. http://bendershima.com

Over the years he has compiled 20 NSSA World Championships and been named to a record 27 consecutive Men’s First All-American Teams. He is the first shooter to record three back-to-back 400400s in 1987, and the only shooter to do it twice, 400400, 400400, and 550550, in 1991. Todd is also the only shooter to record 3 consecutive back-to-back 550550s at the World Championships in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He holds the highest average in skeet history, .9972 HOA Average on 5750 targets. In Overseas competition, Todd won the Canadian Open in 1998, the English Open (UK) 2003, and the Australian Nationals in 2008.

If the good shooters are shooting longer guns, then longer guns will be seen in the winner's circle...:D

RetiredLawman
March 15, 2010, 07:15 PM
Barrel length makes no difference in velocity as this test has proven:
http://i410.photobucket.com/albums/pp187/evbutler/Velchart.jpg

Longer barrels may handle better but performance is not affected by a short barrel.

Palehorseman
March 16, 2010, 03:29 AM
And what is the problem with a long barreled scatter gun? Oh,maybe you didn't mean a 20 ga BP flinter.:D

http://hstrial-rchambers.homestead.com/P1010034.JPG

steveno
March 16, 2010, 04:24 AM
at one time I think the long barrel shotguns were refered to as "yard guns" because they were used by the guards in the prison towers overlooking the yard. I had heard that a long time ago. wether that it is correct or not I don't know.

MCgunner
March 16, 2010, 08:36 AM
As explained in the first reply, it's a hold over from the BP days. Right up into the early 70s seems many still thought a 36" gun was needed for pass shooting geese, a thing I was into as a kid. I remember having arguments over its utility with a hunting buddy back then. Even at 16, I read enough gun rags and stuff to know better. My buddy had a 12 gauge "Marlin Goose Gun", a 36" bolt action shotgun that was marketed to goose hunters. At the time, I hunted with an old Iver Johnson single shot 16 with a 30" full choke barrel, still have the gun. Best I could get for shot at the time was number 2 lead. If they loaded BB in 16, I never found it and probably wouldn't have had enough shot count, anyway.

Now days, I hunt geese with a 24" 10 gauge and it takes 'em out of the stratosphere with 3.5" steel Ts. :D The major factor is PATTERN. That thing patterns over 90 percent at 40 yards into 30". As you can see from the above chart, 24" is plenty of barrel. Some may prefer more length for a smoother swing, but at nine pounds, that 10 gauge doesn't lack for smooth swing. I've taken geese so far with it (hunted 2 seasons) that I'd never ruffled a feather on with a 3" BB steel in my 28" Mossberg. What used to be impossible is possible with that gun is now possible with the 10. It's an H&R single shot and is a very handy length with the 24" barrel.

random
March 16, 2010, 04:04 PM
From talking to folks at turkey shoots, 36" is a good length for that particular sport because around that mark the gas has pushed past the shot in the barrel, giving a tighter pattern. I don't know if that's true, but I do know them guys beat me almost every time with my thirty inch barrel with the same size choke.

samjoe
March 17, 2010, 12:10 PM
36" is a good length for that particular sport because around that mark the gas has pushed past the shot in the barrel, giving a tighter pattern.
That is interesting. It would be like a full choke simply due to physics. It seems to make sense because the gas is traveling faster than the shot it is propelling. It is less dense. It's time to call mythbusters with a high speed camera.

samjoe
March 17, 2010, 12:14 PM
A guy with a 26" barrel never wins against a 28" barrel. What if the guy with the 26" barrel is accustomed to that swing and has slightly better skills. they still usually don't come out ahead. It is only 2" difference. There must be a bit more to it other than simply swing.

samjoe
March 17, 2010, 12:19 PM
And what is the problem with a long barreled scatter gun? Oh,maybe you didn't mean a 20 ga BP flinter.

Do you have a sunroof or a hole cut in the roof of your vehicle to transport that thing?

RyanM
March 17, 2010, 05:11 PM
From talking to folks at turkey shoots, 36" is a good length for that particular sport because around that mark the gas has pushed past the shot in the barrel, giving a tighter pattern. I don't know if that's true, but I do know them guys beat me almost every time with my thirty inch barrel with the same size choke.

Pretty sure that's not true. Even a fiber wad is basically gas-tight, let alone a modern plastic wad.

If you enjoyed reading about "Why a 36" shotgun barrel??" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!