Barrel Length

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Barrel Length

Postby djg » Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:17 am

This may not be the right place to post my question, but here goes. I saw someone post something about barrel length in the Turkey section, for a different reason, and it got me to thinking about this. Does the length of the barrel affect the lead you would put on a bird?
Let me explain. When I was younger and the shells were lead, Ah the good old days, I shot doves and ducks with a 30" full choke barrel. I had a pretty good percentage. I bought a 26" vet rib barrel with choke tubes to use for quail hunting. About that time lead was banned so I used this barrel with a Mod choke tube for ducks. My percentages went way down. Some of this was due to the inconsistency of steel shot in it's early years, and a lot was due to the difference in velocity between steel and lead. Now in more recent years, my eyes play a big part in it. I know there's a lot of variables in shooting, but now I wonder if the barrel length may have something to do with it. Got to find something to blame it on :lol3: . When looking down a barrel does the amount of lead change between a 26" or a 28" barrel?
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Re: Barrel Length

Postby jo mcrow » Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:46 pm

Perceived lead looks different! The longer barrels will seem to shorten the lead. The longer barrels will smooth your swing & follow through which will improve your hit percentages!
30- 32" barrels are the norm for sporting clay shooters.
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Re: Barrel Length

Postby waterfowlhunter » Thu Sep 02, 2010 4:26 am

Barrel length does not make one bit of difference in your lead. I hunt ducks with a 24" but also have a BPS with a 30" and a couple of 28" and 26" guns. Thru a chrono the velocity difference is so small it would not effect your lead and to me the lead looks the same with a 24" as it does with a 30". You are really should not be looking at the barrel or the bead when wingshooting anyway you should be concentrating on the bird. If the gun fits properly you will have no need to look at the bead or barrel so it would not make a difference. When rifle shooting or hunting turkeys or deer with a shotgun the longer barrel gives you a longer sight radius and that can help with accuracy. I also switch between the 24 and 28 shooting sporting clays and the lead stays the same.
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Re: Barrel Length

Postby Force Fetch » Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:37 am

Percieved lead may look different if you are a sustained lead shooter, although I do not know how you could hit a wild bird with sustained lead, they do not fly consistantly like a clay.
One thing people forget when they lookd at bbl length is the length of the reciever it is on. The 28" bbl on my Mag 10 wih a 9 1/2 " reciever looks to me like a 34" bbl, and the 28" bbl on my 870 looks like a 28" bbl in my mind. You need to find a gun that looks and feels right for you and buy two of them so if one breaks you don't have to re do the learning curve to hit lots of birds. It is really true about the guy with one gun.
A little longer sight plain doesn't hurt if you are dirving the gun properly.
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Re: Barrel Length

Postby apexhunter » Thu Sep 02, 2010 2:32 pm

One other factor a longer barrel provides is more forward weight to the gun (one where the balance point is more between the hands instead of towards the rear). Having more weight in the front hand typically makes for a smoother & more consistent swing on passing shots and also helps keep the gun moving through and after the shot providing a proper follow through. One of the biggest mistakes shooters make is not following through which causes more misses than people realize.

Modern guns with shorter barrels are more easily handled in blinds and are quicker to come to shoulder but the drawback is more of a rear balance point making the gun seem almost "flippy" at the muzzle. With the advent and refinement of loads and choke tubes over the years one can now obtain the same ballistics and patterns from a 24" barrel that they could only get from a 28" or longer barrel in the past. That is why "Grandpa's old Smith" had 30" or possibly 32" barrels and your new piece has a shorter barrel and doesn't swing as smoothly.
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Re: Barrel Length

Postby waterfowlhunter » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:12 pm

Apex,
I see what you are getting at with the swing and ballance and agree in theory but my 24" SBE and 28" SBE have close ballance points, the 4" of barrel only acounts for a few ounces. I personally can swing a shorter barrel better, seems that I can get the gun moving quicker and more smoothly with the shorter barrel but again this is all preceived and in reality I probably swing them both the same. My BPS is quite a bit heavier than the SBE's and I do notice the difference between swinging the 2. I have a harder time getting ahead of the target for the lead I want with the BPS.

The Man with one gun (or several of one model) is a good rule but not as much fun as having several different ones to choose from :yes:
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Re: Barrel Length

Postby apexhunter » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:21 am

One of the best ways to see the actual difference in the balance and swing of a longer & heavier gun compared to a short/light piece is to take both to a sporting clays course. Find a stand with a long crossing shot where you see the bird for a second, mount, swing and fire on it. Shoot a coupole birds with the short.light gun then switch to the longer one. What you'll typically see is that the longer gun will potantially take just a bit longer to catch up to the bird but the swing will be smoother and following through is more natural due to the higher amount of moving mass provided by the heavier gun.

To show the extremes of this you can use a yard stick and a rake handle to see which is easier to swing on a moving target without being wobbly and while maintaining a proper sight picture. The heavier rake handle will swing much smoother and be easier to maintain on the swing plane.

For snap shooting in timber or the confinement of a small blind today's shorter & lighter guns are much better. But if I were pass shooting long birds (geese, late season doves or difficult clays courses) a longer and more muzzle heavy gun is much preferred. Incidentally the balance point between the 2 different guns will be minute but the difference in feel and handling is tremendous. It is similar tot he swingweight of a golf club...there is very little actual difference in total weight and the balance point difference is way under an inch but the feel is drastically different.
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Re: Barrel Length

Postby waterfowlhunter » Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:15 pm

apexhunter wrote:Incidentally the balance point between the 2 different guns will be minute but the difference in feel and handling is tremendous. .


I believe for some that is true. To me there no tremendous difference between guns of the same model with a couple of inches difference in barrel length. I do shoot a lot of sproting clays with 24", 26" and 28" barrels and the scores stay the same in my case. But not between the SBE's and the BPS there is a LOT of difference in both weight and ballance and I do not shoot the BPS as well as the SBE but I love the BPS's So I keep shooting it. Long & heavy guns just feel too slow to swing IMO.

At one time (30 years ago) I thought a 32" barrel and an Auto-5 was the ONLY true duck gun. :thumbsup:

The next time I shoot sporting clays I will take the 24" and 28" and shoot 50 with each and pay more attention to the swing and follow-thru and see if I can pick out the difference. I have a gun cam I will be using next time out too.

Tomorrow I will be killing more of these early geese with the BPS just because I have not killed anything with it yet, hoping they just keep droping into the pond @20 yds like they have been :yes:
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‘For those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither Liberty nor safety.’ —Ben Franklin.”
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Re: Barrel Length

Postby Sagebrush » Sat Sep 04, 2010 10:33 am

Most people think that you are loosing a lot of fps with shorter barrels but this is really not a factor, as much as how the person swings or follows through with his shots on birds that that can mean 24" to even 5 feet !!

True weight of guns call for different swings and do swing different and one has to learn how to swing each type of gun that he owns. My A-5 is a lot different than my "Plastic" 391 or my long barrel ,win pump .410 vs my SxS 20 Ga 28".

A proper choke in short barrels will also make up for any differences, if your patterns are not up to snuff.
ANY gun will kill birds, IF the guy pulling the triger,does his or her part and this usually calls for..............

PRACTICE,practice,practice.

I will go to my trap club and shoot a full box of shells at just the #4 station or shoot just stations 1 & 5 at the trap range.

Rule #1
Look at where you want the pattern to go......................and not at that stupid front bead. :thumbsup:

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Re: Barrel Length

Postby waterfowlhunter » Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:55 pm

Sagebrush wrote:Rule #1
Look at where you want the pattern to go......................and not at that stupid front bead. :thumbsup:


I say that all the time and it seems people just have some NEED to see that front bead. I will never understand why :huh: .

If I am shooting a rifle or pistol the theory is to concentrate on the front sight and target more that the rear but when wingshooting you should not even notice the bead :thumbsup:
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