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MIKE THE BEAR
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MIKE THE BEAR
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Over the years, I've gravitated to 28" barrels as a minimum for any new shotguns. That is true for both SxS & O/U's. I have many 30"s and several 32"s. They simply feel, and as mentioned above, look better.
However, reality is that I shoot the 26" ones that I have, just as well. (Which isn't great in any case.) Go figure.

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I think that is one that is very much a question of personal choice. I seem to perform best with 29" or 30" barrels in a side by side 12 bore. Whether or not it is down to my technique or is psycological I have no idea. Lagopus.....

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Originally Posted By: Stan
I have spent much time considering this, and trying to be honest with myself about why I prefer longer barrels. I have come to these conclusions. Long barrels are aesthetically more pieasing to my eyes. The shortest barreled double I own is 28", and it is a .410. It looks longer and much more elegant than a 28" 12 ga., the slenderness of the tubes adding a subtle "gracefulness" to it's lines, as opposed to the fat tubes on a 12.

Aesthetics aside, I have believed for most of my life that I shoot a longer barreled gun better than a short one. I have long arms so naturally grip the gun farther out the barrels than most men. This gives me added leverage in swinging. I believe this factor is not considered in most discussions of barrel length preferences, but is crucial to handling qualities in a particular gun. So, I tend to move a shorter barreled gun too quick, and stop it too quick.


SRH


Well said, Stan. Your thoughts on this pretty much mirror my own.

One thing worth mentioning here: long barrels do not mean heavier barrels. Today's gunmakers have new, lightweight steels and technology to produce high-strength, lightweight barrels. You can have a 32" barreled gun that has the dynamics of a 28" heavier-barreled gun.

Also, for me, you cannot over-emphasize the aesthetics of longer barrels, especially in 12 ga. guns.
JR

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Over the past 20 years I have shot the virtually the same gun Fox 16 gauges. All have the same stock configuration and are within a few ounces in weight. The only variables are barrel length which range from 26 inches to 32 inches and chokes. For hunting (my primary use) Sporting Clays and to a lessor extent Skeet. I have found no disadvantage to shooting short barrel guns over long barreled guns, if fact except for close flushing birds (quail) over dogs in moderate to heavy cover which requires a quicker target acquisition and more rapid shot I have found that I shoot equally well with the shorter barrels with less choke as I do with longer barrels and tighter chokes at my comfortable shooting range which is 35 - 40 yards. From my experience I find that shooting one gun that fits you properly and that you are completely familiar with is more important than barrel length or choke selection. Of course your results may vary.

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For clay target shooting, I prefer 30-32 inch barrels. For hunting though, I prefer 28 inch at least for grouse and quail which are relatively close shots. For longer shots I'm sure I would prefer longer barrels, but I don't do much of that sort of hunting. I have often wondered if persons of shorter stature might get along better with shorter barrels than taller individuals??


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Originally Posted By: Stan
I have spent much time considering this, and trying to be honest with myself about why I prefer longer barrels. I have come to these conclusions. Long barrels are aesthetically more pieasing to my eyes. The shortest barreled double I own is 28", and it is a .410. It looks longer and much more elegant than a 28" 12 ga., the slenderness of the tubes adding a subtle "gracefulness" to it's lines, as opposed to the fat tubes on a 12.

Aesthetics aside, I have believed for most of my life that I shoot a longer barreled gun better than a short one. I have long arms so naturally grip the gun farther out the barrels than most men. This gives me added leverage in swinging. I believe this factor is not considered in most discussions of barrel length preferences, but is crucial to handling qualities in a particular gun. So, I tend to move a shorter barreled gun too quick, and stop it too quick.

That said, spending a little time with Don, and his MOI device, has been a revelation to me. He helped me see and understand that barrel length is not nearly as demanding a mistress as is where the weight in the gun is located, or distributed. I.e., a short barreled gun can actually handle more like what I feel I need than one a bit longer, if the weight is distributed farther away from the balance point. This has changed my way of thinking greatly about handling (not about looks!). I will give more consideration to that, and less to length. As a caveat though, I still find that the vast majority of longer guns suit my handling characteristics more so than shorter ones.

SRH


Like others here, this pretty well captures my thoughts. I do find that there is no prescription to barrel length and success. I have 26" barreled guns on which I wouldn't change a thing, and likewise several 29"+ that are similarly perfect to me. I do find that they all fit well, and have similar "feel", except for some purposely different (such as trap guns). Fit is all important.

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The majority of my shotguns have 28" barrels with a few 26" an 30" examples. I have never felt hindered by either shorter or longer barrels and I usually do my best shooting with the guns I'm most comfortable with.
Jim


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I like em all. I have guns from 26" to 32". Admittedly, some of my best shooting has been with the 32" guns. But, some of the most fun I've had was with the 26" guns. My 28" 28ga Parker Repro is such a low MOI that it is definitely harder to control than a couple of my 26" 410's.

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26" for close cover snap shooting.

28" for open field shooting.

30" for skeet.

dont shoot trap.

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I think a lot of this has to do with your vision, and also how you mount a shotgun--First off, I only shoot 12 bore shotguns, and either Model 12's or double triggered side-by-sides. I also am NOT a clays shooter- see Hemingway's "On Shooting Flying 1935 and his comments on clays versus driven tall pheasants- Also the rib configuration on a side-by-side, in my experience, also makes a slight difference. Most of my 12 side-by-sides have either 28" or 30" file cut rib barrels, but I have two ribbed LC Smiths that are different-slightly- (1) a 1945 Ideal FWE with 26" barrels and with the post 1939 single sighting plane raised rib, no middle bead, std. front brass bead- the raised rib makes the barrels seem like 28" to my eyes when I am mounting and shooting this open bored Smith- Imp. Cyl. right and Mod. left- the rest of my guns are Mod. Imp. Mod. and Full- the antithesis is another Smith, a Specialty Grade R frame ejector gun made in 1928 with 32" barrels and the then new factory (not Simmons or Moneymaker)raised ventilated rib, no middle bead (I don't like them) and small German silver front bead- when I mount that Elsie, the barrels seem a bit 'fore-shortened" by the raised rib- again, to my eyes- and them don't seem to be any longer that my Smiths with 30" file cut rib barrels--

Small gauge side-by-sides are not my "thing", and even with a beavertail forearm, I would wrap my fingers around the small diameter barrels, not so much a concern with my 12 gauge side-by-sides, all of which have splinter forearms. The Churchill XXV stubby barreled 12 bores are beautiful handling guns, but in my case, going into side-by-sides from years of shootin' and shuckin' Model 12's-- I like the weight forward apparent balance that helps me follow through on crossing birds- and 80% of my game shooting is pass shooting- 20% walk-up behind either flushing or pointing dogs on game farm pheasants-- others will have different viewpoints here, I am certain of that--


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