Barrel length question! Please advise

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Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby Skirmn84 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:16 am

I have a rem 870 Express that was bought in 2003. I don't believe they make this mod anymore but it has a very short barrel under 24 inches. I am very comfortable with this gun on the range and was pondering buying a new barrel like a 28 inch. I've brought it to three different gun smiths and have had three different answers. One told me I needed a new shotgun and tried to talk me into a used SBE II, another told me I def want a longer barrel, the third told mr I just needed a different choke. His reasoning is the loads burn their powder between 20 and 24 inches so I'm Not gaining any velocity and would slow down the projectile due to friction with the longer barrel. He used a rifle as an example. I would like some input from others on this matter before I either buy a new barrel/gun. Can someone explain the benefit of having a longer barrel considering the load/choke determine the spread. Thanks for taking the time to read and respond
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby orphanedcowboy » Thu Aug 23, 2012 5:02 pm

Go to Remington's website and look at their barrels.I don't have an 870, but think it would be easy to replace the barrel on the later Express models.

I prefer a 28" barrel, it helps with follow thru and gives me a good balance.
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby krazybronco2 » Thu Aug 23, 2012 8:05 pm

from my under standing the longer barrel mostly helps with the line of sight (longer being better) but doesnt affect the preformace signifigantly enought to matter. also helps with the balance of the gun but if you look at the weight is isnt that much between a 26" and a 28" barrel (.25 lbs)

i personally prefer a 28" barrel cause im not the worlds greatest shot but with the longer barrel i can hit more birds and clays. i tested this theory with a 870 express with 26" barrel (46.5" total lenght) and a 1187 super mag with at 28" barrel (48" total length) and hit 17 or 18 out of 25 clays with the 870 and 20 out of 25 with the 1187 not a big difference but still a bigger percent diff
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby tripleb » Fri Aug 24, 2012 6:59 am

krazybronco2 wrote:from my under standing the longer barrel mostly helps with the line of sight (longer being better) but doesnt affect the preformace signifigantly enought to matter. also helps with the balance of the gun but if you look at the weight is isnt that much between a 26" and a 28" barrel (.25 lbs)

i personally prefer a 28" barrel cause im not the worlds greatest shot but with the longer barrel i can hit more birds and clays. i tested this theory with a 870 express with 26" barrel (46.5" total lenght) and a 1187 super mag with at 28" barrel (48" total length) and hit 17 or 18 out of 25 clays with the 870 and 20 out of 25 with the 1187 not a big difference but still a bigger percent diff


In testing lead turkey loads, where we could pattern test both a short barrel and a longer barrel on the same gun, almost always, the longer barrel patterned better. However, the question has to be asked, "What are you giving up in terms of advantages in using the longer barrel to get a bit better patterns?" Often, the answer was the shorter barrel was easier to handle in tight conditions and that outweighed a patterning advantage.

Several years ago, I was patterning my pre '98 24" barreled BPS 12, 3.5". I couldn't get patterns better than about 70% at 40 yards with fast steel loads, regardless of the standard form choke I used. A friend, using the same loads and chokes, but with a 30" barreled pre '98 BPS12, 3.5" got great patterns from them. Ultimately, I found that using a .675" Terror choke allowed me to get good patterns from that gun, about what my friend was getting from his 30" barreled gun using a Briley light full. I have a post '98 BPS12, 3.5" with a 28" barrel and it gets good patterns with the same Briley Light Full, though I still prefer the Terror .675". I'll stick with a longer barreled gun when using shotshell loads with heavy powder charges, as they do seem to make a patterning difference when shooting longer ranged shots where pattern performance is more important than it is when shooting "over the decoys" shots.
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby Skirmn84 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 7:45 am

Again thanks to anyone who replied I greatly appreciate it!
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby lostknife4 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 11:55 am

tripleb wrote:
krazybronco2 wrote:from my under standing the longer barrel mostly helps with the line of sight (longer being better) but doesnt affect the preformace signifigantly enought to matter. also helps with the balance of the gun but if you look at the weight is isnt that much between a 26" and a 28" barrel (.25 lbs)

i personally prefer a 28" barrel cause im not the worlds greatest shot but with the longer barrel i can hit more birds and clays. i tested this theory with a 870 express with 26" barrel (46.5" total lenght) and a 1187 super mag with at 28" barrel (48" total length) and hit 17 or 18 out of 25 clays with the 870 and 20 out of 25 with the 1187 not a big difference but still a bigger percent diff


In testing lead turkey loads, where we could pattern test both a short barrel and a longer barrel on the same gun, almost always, the longer barrel patterned better. However, the question has to be asked, "What are you giving up in terms of advantages in using the longer barrel to get a bit better patterns?" Often, the answer was the shorter barrel was easier to handle in tight conditions and that outweighed a patterning advantage.

Several years ago, I was patterning my pre '98 24" barreled BPS 12, 3.5". I couldn't get patterns better than about 70% at 40 yards with fast steel loads, regardless of the standard form choke I used. A friend, using the same loads and chokes, but with a 30" barreled pre '98 BPS12, 3.5" got great patterns from them. Ultimately, I found that using a .675" Terror choke allowed me to get good patterns from that gun, about what my friend was getting from his 30" barreled gun using a Briley light full. I have a post '98 BPS12, 3.5" with a 28" barrel and it gets good patterns with the same Briley Light Full, though I still prefer the Terror .675". I'll stick with a longer barreled gun when using shotshell loads with heavy powder charges, as they do seem to make a patterning difference when shooting longer ranged shots where pattern performance is more important than it is when shooting "over the decoys" shots.


This pre 98 BPS is a 10 ga bore barrel with a 12 ga chamber. 0.775 vs 0.729 bore makes a big difference and is contingent upon using shotcups that will fill the 10 ga bore in the 12 ga hull. There is a lot more going on here than what meets the eye. Lost
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby tripleb » Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:01 am

lostknife4 wrote:
tripleb wrote:
krazybronco2 wrote:from my under standing the longer barrel mostly helps with the line of sight (longer being better) but doesnt affect the preformace signifigantly enought to matter. also helps with the balance of the gun but if you look at the weight is isnt that much between a 26" and a 28" barrel (.25 lbs)

i personally prefer a 28" barrel cause im not the worlds greatest shot but with the longer barrel i can hit more birds and clays. i tested this theory with a 870 express with 26" barrel (46.5" total lenght) and a 1187 super mag with at 28" barrel (48" total length) and hit 17 or 18 out of 25 clays with the 870 and 20 out of 25 with the 1187 not a big difference but still a bigger percent diff


In testing lead turkey loads, where we could pattern test both a short barrel and a longer barrel on the same gun, almost always, the longer barrel patterned better. However, the question has to be asked, "What are you giving up in terms of advantages in using the longer barrel to get a bit better patterns?" Often, the answer was the shorter barrel was easier to handle in tight conditions and that outweighed a patterning advantage.

Several years ago, I was patterning my pre '98 24" barreled BPS 12, 3.5". I couldn't get patterns better than about 70% at 40 yards with fast steel loads, regardless of the standard form choke I used. A friend, using the same loads and chokes, but with a 30" barreled pre '98 BPS12, 3.5" got great patterns from them. Ultimately, I found that using a .675" Terror choke allowed me to get good patterns from that gun, about what my friend was getting from his 30" barreled gun using a Briley light full. I have a post '98 BPS12, 3.5" with a 28" barrel and it gets good patterns with the same Briley Light Full, though I still prefer the Terror .675". I'll stick with a longer barreled gun when using shotshell loads with heavy powder charges, as they do seem to make a patterning difference when shooting longer ranged shots where pattern performance is more important than it is when shooting "over the decoys" shots.


This pre 98 BPS is a 10 ga bore barrel with a 12 ga chamber. 0.775 vs 0.729 bore makes a big difference and is contingent upon using shotcups that will fill the 10 ga bore in the 12 ga hull. There is a lot more going on here than what meets the eye. Lost


No, you're confusing the pre 98 BPS12, 3.5", which was based on 10ga. frame with the Mossberg 835, which actually has a 10ga. bore. The pre 98 BPS12, 3.5" uses the same Invector Plus bore and choke system that all other post 94? Browning 12ga. guns use. If it had a 10ga. bore, it couldn't use the 12 ga. Invector Plus chokes, the choke skirt would have too small of an ID. It would have to use the 10ga. Invector chokes ..... It doesn't.
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby Spunky » Tue Sep 04, 2012 1:26 pm

I don't know why, but the shorter barrel patterns loads over 1700 fps better than the 26in. barrel especially with smaller shot. I much prefer to shoot the shorter barrel in certain situations. With loads that run 1450-1550 fps there isn't much differene in the patterns.
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby birchcreek_bushwacker » Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:07 pm

i hunt ducks,quail,dove,deer, and turkey with a 21 inch barreled 3" 12 ga., and it smokes em down. I put a primos mid range choke in it and ive killed ducks dead at 35+ yards, same for deer and coyotes too, using steel, buckshot,tshot,and the best for ducks, hevi shot

i dont know about any of the science behind shot/barrel lengths, but i believe the chokes are what makes the difference, a short barrel aims faster and i think is better all around, when it comes to shooting at things that fly
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby aunt betty » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:56 pm

That Remington in question is a Turkey gun.
That's why the barrel is so short.
I know because I also own one. Wanted a camo shotgun and that's the only one Remington had at the time in camo.
The gun came with a extended choke tube that's extra full.
It's short so you can swing it in the woods easier.

I put regular choke tube in mine and shoot ducks and geese with it.
It's LOUD. Some hunting clubs won't allow guns shorter than a certain length into their pits and blinds for this reason.
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby rebelp74 » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:32 pm

I only shoot 30" barrels, personal prefrence but to each their own
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jaysweet3 wrote:Looks a little small.

Dat's what She said....


Underradar wrote:We, the unsigned members of the HH, are not allowed to address such questions. But thank you for asking.
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Re: Barrel length question! Please advise

Postby G20M1 » Wed Dec 05, 2012 10:57 pm

I shoot a 24" SBE2 and can't tell much difference in my swing. I do notice that I'm constantly faster than everyone else in my group, that shoots longer barrels. I say if the gun fits you, just play around with different chokes till you find one that works.
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