Barrel length for upland hunting


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freezingduck
March 16, 2014, 01:31 PM
So I'm looking into buying a Benelli M2.
The use will be for Grouse hunting and rabbits in Norway.
Most shots are within 20yds as they suddenly takeoff when you get within 10m.
I now hunt with a Benelli Supernova with a 28'' barrel and i am looking into buying a lighter and shorter shotgun.
Want to have the shotgun as short as possible, but good for fast point and shoot shots.
I also walk a lot on skis and in the woods, that why I want to keep it short.

I will use the supernova for geese and waterfowl.


I have been looking at the M2 with a 24'' or a 21''.
I have only had the opertunity to try a M2 once, and that was two years ago.
I think it had a 24'' barrel, but I am not sure.
Is there any big difference in velocity and swing on the 24'' and 21'' barrels?
I am not able to try it here, I have to order the shotgun online.

I usually walk with 5 hours into camp on weekends and hunt with a big backpack for 12-15 hours a day on the weekend so length and weight is the third most important thing after reliability and shootability.

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wgp
March 16, 2014, 01:42 PM
I have used an M2 for several years, excellent shotgun. I changed a 26" barrel for a 24" and much prefer it. I know it does not sound like a lot but for me it greatly improved the handling of the gun. I'm not sure they even make a 24" now, I don't see them in gun stores. On double guns, I can go with 26" since the shorter receiver makes up for the longer barrels, keeping the overall length of the gun about the same.

Years ago I went through a phase using the "upland special" types with 20" or21" barrels, I found that they pointed OK but did not swing smoothly and for me were definitely a poor choice for most upland hunting.

plumberroy
March 16, 2014, 01:45 PM
The hunting you discribe is similar to hunting grouse in my home state of West Virginia and my favorite hunting style. It is more point than swing and follow through I like a short gun for this style of hunting for repeaters I have 2 remington 870's with 18 1/2 in barrels that keeps the gun under 40 inches it on 870's keep the balance good for point shooting on break open singleshots 24 in barrels keep a gun in the same length .
Where I grew up if you try to shoot grouse like you shoot passing dove or ducks you hit a tree with the barrel about the time you get the lead right:cuss:

jmr40
March 16, 2014, 03:29 PM
Long time Remington user until falling in love with the Benelli's. Mine are older M-1's but barrels are the same. Compared to my Remington's the overall length and balance of my 24" benelli is almost exactly the same as my Remington's with 26" barrels. As an all around length that is where I'd settle with a Benelli. Any shorter is just too short except for special situations in my opinion.

I have a 2nd gun with a 26" barrel. It is comparable to most other guns with 28" barrels and is my waterfowl gun or for situations where the added length is wanted.

Macchina
March 16, 2014, 07:01 PM
I have to severely warn against going too short (18"-20"). Not only are they awful at pointing, they are incredibly loud. I have an 18.5" barrel for my 870 and noticed pain in my ears after 4 shots and missed rabbits I NEVER would have missed with my 26" or 24" barrels.

I also have a H&R (single shot) that had a bent barrel so I cut it down to 18.1": I took a shot at a timberdoodle flying away from me (very easy shot) that I missed and had ringing in my ears for days. I know I lost some hearing due to that one shot. That gun has become an HD gun only now.

That was my year to try out short barrels: I will not hunt with something under 24" any more. I do prefer 26" when in open terrain and 24" when I need something a bit quicker to point in the aspens.

dak0ta
March 16, 2014, 07:03 PM
Shouldn't you be wearing hearing protection? They have the electronic ones that filter out noises above a certain dB. I'd go for a 21-22'' length barrel. I tried grouse hunting last year with a 28'' Benelli Nova and it was tricky.

farm23
March 16, 2014, 07:33 PM
I use a 26" SxS or a 26" pump. I much prefer the SxS of course the SxS has less overall length. If I were to get a M2 and could find a 24" that would be my choice.

plumberroy
March 16, 2014, 08:02 PM
I have to severely warn against going too short (18"-20"). Not only are they awful at pointing, they are incredibly loud. I have an 18.5" barrel for my 870 and noticed pain in my ears after 4 shots and missed rabbits I NEVER would have missed with my 26" or 24" barrels.

I also have a H&R (single shot) that had a bent barrel so I cut it down to 18.1": I took a shot at a timberdoodle flying away from me (very easy shot) that I missed and had ringing in my ears for days. I know I lost some hearing due to that one shot. That gun has become an HD gun only now.

That was my year to try out short barrels: I will not hunt with something under 24" any more. I do prefer 26" when in open terrain and 24" when I need something a bit quicker to point in the aspens.
I have missed more stuff being in brush where I couldn't swing a long barrel gun, but I tend to hunt thick stuff. The last time I shot trap I shot 20 out of 25 with with my 18.5" 870 and hit more than 2 people shooting with me that were using browning single barrel trap guns . I have never noticed the noise from my gun I do notice others shooting short barreled guns seem louder but I hunt alone so that isn't a concern for me either.

oneounceload
March 17, 2014, 09:45 AM
Is there any big difference in velocity and swing on the 24'' and 21'' barrels?

Velocity will not be affected.
Swing dynamics with short barrels totally suck as they tend to be VERY whippy - easy to swing too fast and just as easy to stop too fast

Jason_W
March 18, 2014, 07:15 AM
I'm another who prefers a shot 18.5-20" barrel when hunting in thick brush.

I grew up hunting Vermont and Maine. Though I did ok for years with a 28" barrel, short guns are nice and handy when you start wading through thick stands of poplar saplings, blackberry brambles, and cedar swamps.

I also prefer a gun that won't lose any value when I inevitably take a nose dive down a slippery, muddy hillside. In northern New England, if you don't come home bleeding a little, you weren't really hunting.

CoalTrain49
March 18, 2014, 09:30 PM
24" is pretty standard for a brush gun here. I hunt grouse in WA and that would be my preferred length. I've tried both 24 and 26. Lots of people prefer 26" sxs here so a 24" M2 would be the same length as a 26'' sxs. Anything shorter would servery limit resale in the US, not sure about where you are.

M2 is a very nice bird gun.:)

Pete D.
March 19, 2014, 09:02 AM
I hunt ruffed grouse and pheasant in north central Pennsylvania......barberries, huckleberries, autumn olives, rhododendron....thick stuff. Sometimes the dog can be on point three yards away and I will not see her.
The last couple of seasons, I have been hunting with a muzzleloader... a 16 gauge fowler with a 44 inch barrel. Weighs a tad over six pounds.
Too long? Not so.
I have found that if the stuff is so thick that I cannot swing my gun.....I also cannot see the bird so it doesn't matter a whole lot.
The bigger problem with a long gun is maneuvering it through the brush.
The other guns that I use are all SXSs or O/Us with 26"-28" barrels.
Pete

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