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Which is the most Versatile Barrel Length:

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by hunter44, Jan 25, 2003.

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  1. hunter44

    hunter44 Member

    Jan 2, 2003
    So. Fla.
    With so many length configurations available, and may applications, am just wondering if there is a particular one that is most versatile of these lengths: 18.5", 20", 22", 24", 28 or 30"
  2. Marshall

    Marshall Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Oklahoma, Green Country
    24" and 26" have my vote. With proper chokes, you can accomplish almost anything in these lengths.
  3. Dave McCracken

    Dave McCracken Moderator In Memoriam

    Dec 20, 2002
    An all around barrel length? Here we go...

    Barrels here vary from 18+" to 30", for good reason. The shorter ones handle well under tight and fast conditions, the longest has more inertia on the swing. Each has a use.

    There's a good reason lots of the Big Four have been sold as combos, with one long barrel of usually 28" and another, oft rifle sighted, of 18-20" or so. The reason, of course, is there is no optimum length for all the stuff we do with shotguns.

    A coupla comparisons....

    Long barrels have less blast and flash with the same ammo.

    Long barrels move the balance point forward. For stuff like pass shooting and most clay games, this is an advantage because that weight tends more to keep on moving, Newton again.

    Short barrels, all else equal, are a little faster, but the swing tends to slow or stop more easily.For fast and close scenarios from quail hunting to HD, this is superior.

    On "Serious" shotguns, the popularity of magazine extensions somewhat obviates this,as more metal is forward. This also helps control muzzle rise.

    Out of the bunch here, I'd have to say that the 21" barrel on Frankenstein comes closest to being an all around length, but it does have lots of Sturm Und Drang with goose loads, and I have to concentrate on keeping the swing going.

    WEG, a 23-24" barrel would be quite versatile, but the thing about compromises is they do not do the specific missions quite as well as the others ones will.

    Sorry to not pin this down tighter, but there's no definite answer.....
  4. PJR

    PJR Member

    Dec 30, 2002
    It depends on the type of gun and what you want to do with it. Currently, I have guns with barrel lengths of 18.5 to 32. With the exception of deer hunting and HD, I like nothing shorter than 28 inches.

    Barrel length is also a bit decieving as a measure. A 28" barrel on a repeater or semi makes for a much longer gun overall than the same length on an over/under or sxs. Barrel weight is another factor. My 32" gun barrels weigh 1.59kg just slightly more than a 28" gun that I also have.

    I think the most versatile is 28 inches. Long enough to swing smoothly and yet short enough to carry comfortably in the field.

  5. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Bakersfield, California
    I think 20 inch is, provided you have an extended magazine.

    it's short enough not to be unwieldy in the house, and it's got enough forward weight to swing well.

    in any case, choke seems to matter more than barrel length for patterns.
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