The purpose of barrel length?

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The purpose of barrel length?

Postby BHL 3 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:10 am

I am looking to purchase a shotgun and it is the first I have looked at the benelli or the beretta. I am looking at a SBE II and a 391 Extrema. SBE II has 28 inch barrel and 391 has 26 inch barrel. I would like to use the gun for turkey, dove and waterfowl. Most of the turkey guns have a 24, inch barrel or shorter. Why doesn't any of the turkey guns have 26 or 28 inch barrels? Is is going to be that big of a difference if I just purchase the 28 inch benelli. I thought about purchasing both guns since one is 28 and other is 26 and buying the separate 24 inch barrel for the benelli and having two barrels for it. Does any of this make since? I have deer hunted all my life and want to get started bird hunting more. I am a novice when it comes to shotguns. I have never bought one. I have one shotgun and it was passed down to me from my dad and it is 30 years old so I really don't know that much about them. Thanks.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby Sfd714 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 6:30 am

Have ben wondering this myself.

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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby tripleb » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:00 am

Many guys who turkey hunt prefer shorter barrels because they are easier to maneuver in tight spaces and in brush. Generally, for wingshooting, it's easier to hit longer ranged targets with longer barreled guns. The extra length helps maintain the swing and follow through. If you go to sporting clays matches, you'll notice that most serious shooters are using longer barreled guns, even those using semi autos .... because they do shoot better with them. But, for hunting purposes, since you may be hunting in timber, or out of a blind, most people compromise on barrel length and 26" to 28" seems to be the two most popular barrel lengths they choose. Personally, I prefer a longer barrel (28" or 30"), but in my 10 1/4 pound 10ga. I went with a 26" because it swung better.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby kjm1022 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:03 am

Turkey barrels are generally shorter so they can be swung and moved in tight quarters or thick brush where turkey hunting usually takes place. Most people I know and hunt with have a 28" barrel, including myself, and its multi-use, I use it for everything. The length of the barrel adds weight and a longer or shorter sight plain, that's it. It doesn't affect the shot pattern in any way with todays loads. I used 26" barrels for years, when I started duck hunting I went with a longer barrel so it would reach the top of the blind to rest it. :thumbsup:
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby g_maxson » Mon Feb 25, 2013 7:59 am

I use a 24". When layout hunting it's a bit lighter to lift with one hand.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby aunt betty » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:08 am

Interesting topic.
I bought a Remington 870 Super Magnum Express in the 90's. It was the only way I could get a 'dipped" camo shotgun at the time so I got a Turkey Gun. Took the choke tube out and bought a modified one on the spot. People asked me why. "Because I don't hunt turkeys".

The first time I took that turkey gun out...I went pheasant hunting. Used HOT LOADS I made myself. 2.75" maxed out loads. Blue Dot powder etc.
That shotgun is super-loud with them spicy shells I use. The farmer came running out and evicted me from his land for shooting pheasants with a rifle???
There were deer all over the place bedding down in the tall grass I hunted that day. I think the farmer thought I was poaching deer or something but that stupid 24" barrel got me kicked off some VERY good pheasant ground. The SOB wouldn't even look at my gun when I tried to convince him he was wrong about me using a rifle. :mad:
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby dakotashooter2 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:58 am

With a turkey barrel you are generally not swinging the gun as you would wingshooting. The extra length is really not needed. I personally like shorter barrels for their manuverability in tight quarters...............
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby aclumpkin » Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:30 am

I grew up shooting a turkey shotgun for birds as well. My father won a Winchester pump at a National Turkey Federation banquet and gave it to me as my first 12 gauge to shoot. I shot that short barrel pump (I think it was around 24") for years until I started getting into waterfowl more. At that time I bought a Beretta semi-auto with around a 26" barrel. I also have a few over-and-unders that range from 28" to 32".

I totally agree with what others have said, it is more about maneuverability and how the gun swings. For dove, that turkey gun swung REALLY quick and and at a young age was perfect for me.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby TheRDJ » Mon Feb 25, 2013 12:25 pm

What kind of shotgun is your hand-me-down? Maybe you dont need to buy anything new
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby rcase1234 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:18 pm

Barrel length is only really for what you like or range. Like a 30" barrel will reach out more than an 18.5" HD barrel. Also, some prefer the swing of a 30" over a 28" or some prefer a 24" barrel for the maneuverability. Longer or shorter, won't hurt anything really because IIRC, the shell reaches its maximum velocity at around 20". Personally, I like a 28" or 30" barrel the best. But use whatever feels right to YOU
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby BHL 3 » Mon Feb 25, 2013 8:34 pm

The gun that I had passed down was a Remington 1100 and it shoots 2 3/4.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby DroppnDrakes » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:01 am

Why shoot anything but the most accurate? 30" for me, no problems in blinds, brush, etc.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby Tealer » Tue Feb 26, 2013 12:08 am

I started with a 34" barrel, would love to shoot a modern auto with a 34".
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby BHL 3 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:58 am

Hey guys thanks for the info and the help, it was really appreciated. I bought The Benelli SBE II from a friend for $800. It has the 28 inch barrel, can't wait to get to the range!!!
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby TheRDJ » Tue Feb 26, 2013 1:32 pm

Sweet deal! Youre set and ready to roll.

What is the barrel length on your 1100? Dont discount the usefulness of that gun. Sometimes its nice to break out the pump gun instead of the auto.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby BHL 3 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 2:42 pm

The 1100 has 28 inch and is automatic.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby TheRDJ » Tue Feb 26, 2013 3:06 pm

This is true, lol. My bad. I'm not really a remington guy. I have an 870 but thats it
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby slamdown11 » Wed Feb 27, 2013 10:19 am

I can't really see the purpose for switching barrels between turkey and waterfowl. The same with turkey loads. I think it's more a marketing ploy than anything else. Sure, some have a mount for a dot sight, but do you really need that? You're firing shot...what is the need for a dot sight. Turkey shot has nothing inherent to turkey...and you can kill a turkey just as easily with waterfowl loads.

If it were me, I'd get the 28" barrel and use it for turkey and waterfowl.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby Bartnmax » Thu Feb 28, 2013 2:15 am

For starters there's really only negligable difference in hitting power between short & long barrells.
Generally 100fps loss in muzzle velocity per 2 in ches of barrel length, so forget the 'hitting power' issue.

So, short barrels = easer to manouver in tight cover & quicker to swing.
Long barrels = longer sighting plane, & therefore generally better sighting when wingshooting with the std shotgun pin sight. There's also a bit more weight in a long barrel so, whilst they are a bity slower to gbvet bswinging, they usually maintain swing better & smoother.

The effect on patterns is still a bit of a contentious point amongst 'gunners' these days with some saying the longer barrel allows greater stability of the shot in the barrel & therefore better pattern density. Personally I believe there are just too many factors to make such genralisations. Choke, forcing cones, back boring, load combination, etc. All effect pattern denisty so it's usually more a matter of trying different combinations until you find what works best for yourself.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby ohio mike » Thu Feb 28, 2013 11:12 am

rcase1234 wrote:Barrel length is only really for what you like or range. Like a 30" barrel will reach out more than an 18.5" HD barrel. Also, some prefer the swing of a 30" over a 28" or some prefer a 24" barrel for the maneuverability. Longer or shorter, won't hurt anything really because IIRC, the shell reaches its maximum velocity at around 20". Personally, I like a 28" or 30" barrel the best. But use whatever feels right to YOU


It is a proven fact that the 30" full choke barrel will reach out exactly 11.5 inches farther then a 18.5" barrel with a full choke. OK maybe 12". :eek:
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Mon Jul 15, 2013 1:54 am

ohio mike wrote:
rcase1234 wrote:Barrel length is only really for what you like or range. Like a 30" barrel will reach out more than an 18.5" HD barrel. Also, some prefer the swing of a 30" over a 28" or some prefer a 24" barrel for the maneuverability. Longer or shorter, won't hurt anything really because IIRC, the shell reaches its maximum velocity at around 20". Personally, I like a 28" or 30" barrel the best. But use whatever feels right to YOU


It is a proven fact that the 30" full choke barrel will reach out exactly 11.5 inches farther then a 18.5" barrel with a full choke. OK maybe 12". :eek:

very true...thats half a yard less you have to stalk!!! :thumbsup:
Ive seen guys shooting rabbits with a short barreled sxs that had tight chokes a coach gun varient...they werent limited by short barrels and were hitting just as many longer range targets...
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby DuckmanOK » Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:23 pm

something for thought, what about longer barrels not being as loud with another hunter next to you? I know ported barrels are louder and with longer barrel cont have to worry about ear ringing.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby Elvis Kiwi » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:04 am

true..but it could be the blast is just further away???
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby aunt betty » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:22 am

DroppnDrakes wrote:Why shoot anything but the most accurate? 30" for me, no problems in blinds, brush, etc.

Accurate is a word you use when describing a rifle.
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Re: The purpose of barrel length?

Postby beretta24 » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:33 am

I thought longer barrels just gave you more room for cool barrel stickers.
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