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 Post subject: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 10:40 am
Posts: 15
Location: mi
I have seen on these boards that barrel lenght does not effect pattern but a longer barrel allows for a smoother swing. I want to buy an o/u for hunting grouse (thick cover) and also to shoot some skeet. What does everyone think of barrel length in this context?


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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 02, 2008 12:02 pm
Posts: 473
Location: Tallahassee FL
I would think 26" would be your best bet in an O/U. There are many Semi's and pumps designed for upland bird hunting with 21" bbls, which would be about the same overall length as an O/U w 26" bbls because of the difference in the length of the receivers.


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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 1:44 pm 
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Hunting in thick cover or from a blind, I like a 21" barrel. For clays, the shortest barrel you want is 26". A 24" barrel is not ideal for either but is a good compromise. There will be no difference in the patterns as choke, not barrel length determines pattern. Velocity is a non-issue after 17" as all the powder has been burned unless you have reloads with very slow burning powder. Factory loads burn out in much less time.

My favorite O/U has 25" barrels. My favorite semiauto has 24" barrels. Since you are interested in an O/U, you will need to compromise to use the gun in heavy brush and for clays, IMO. There are experienced clay shooters on this forum that use their O/Us for both brush hunting and clays. They will chime in and help you.

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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:01 pm 
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26 or 28 inch would suit me. I hunt with 26¨barreled o.u.s. The 28 inch is lot more popular now and if I was getting a new gun that is what I would get. As much for possible resale value as anything. I just would not turn down a good deal on a used 26. And I think the 28 inch barrel looks nice in a 20.


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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:07 pm 
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Mr. Churchill a long time ago, determined, in his opinion, that 25" was the ideal length for bird guns, hence the development of the XXV Churchill guns. 26" was the standard for skeet years ago when I first started shooting, so i would imagine that something in that vein would suffice just nicely; then again, it depends on what YOU shoot better.......

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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:27 pm 
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Location: Spokane, WA
Yooper, I will not even buy a 26 inch barreled gun. I know the swing of the 28 inch is that much better. I hunt everything from Fantail Grouse to Pheasant all with the same 28 inches and I have no problems. I just change chokes for what I'm hunting. Have a good season......Bob

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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:05 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2005 7:29 pm
Posts: 104
If 28-inch barrels are too long, step back 2 inches and fire away.


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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:48 pm 
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I like my doubleguns for the field with 28s; my brother prefers 26s. He's quicker and more instinctual; I'm more deliberate. He generally chokes skeet/light mod; I generally choke IC/Mod. We each shoot what we like and get the results we want.

In short, I'd say it's a matter of personal preference. Shoot some clays in the off-season and keep your swing-grooved, you'd be fine either way, IMO. In my own case, I'm pretty certain the amount of shells I send downrange during the off-season is the biggest factor in my upland bird hunting success ... or lack thereof.

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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:20 am 
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Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2004 10:40 am
Posts: 15
Location: mi
Looks like I will have to go to a store that has a good variety that I can swing. I am leaning towards 26 because of the brush that we bust but maybe handling them would be the best bet.


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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:41 am 
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Joined: Tue Jan 31, 2006 9:40 pm
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Location: Western Wisconsin
Yooper,

I hunt a lot of the northern WI aspen slash for grouse and I am guessing your cover is similar to what I am hunting. I have used both 26 and 28 inch barrles through out the years with great success with each. My opinion is that for hunting grouse in that kind of cover a 26" barrel is nice as many of the shots are quick, instinctive shots. With that being said, the short barrels on the clays range can be a disadvantage if you are not used to shooting them. What I have found is that I adjust to the gun. Shooting lighter, game type, guns forces you to swing the barrels and keep the gun moving on your own instead of depending on the momentum of longer barrels to propel your gun past the target. Shorter barreled guns are less forgiving on the skeet range but if this is going to be the only gun you will be shooting for skeet and grouse I would go with the 26".

With all that said, what is most important is that you find a gun that fits you and that you can shoot it well be it 26 or 28" gun. I have never banged the last two inches of my barrels on a tree with a 28" gun (I usually catch them closer to the forend). :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:12 am 
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Joined: Tue Dec 23, 2008 10:55 am
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Location: NW Wyo
I have lived long enough to see barrel length popularity go from 32" to 25" and back to 32" on double guns and some are now touting 34". Receiver guns usually adds another 3" to the overall length. I can recommend any given barrel length, but the reality is I'm not you and what I like may not suit you or the conditions that you intend to shoot. That said, I would leave Mr. Churchill's 25" barrels and the now in vogue 32" barrels to more experienced shooters and concentrate on 26" to 28" barrels. Before you choose a barrel length, mount, swing and shoot as many different barrel length shotguns as possible. My personal preferences in SxS's are 28"-29" for upland and 26" barrels for ducks and geese over decoys.
The 28/29" barrels swing well and are not cumbersome nor as heavy as 30/32" barrels. 26" barrels are in my opinion just right for waterfowl over decoys. For pass shooting I might opt for 30" barrels.


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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:11 pm 
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For me, 28" barrels is the way to go. If you're going with a semi-auto, then an "Upland" version might not be bad. I work with a guy that showed up on the skeet range with his 12 ga Upland Rem. 1100, with (IIRC) 23" barrel. I stood it next to my O/U w/28" tubes and it was MAYBE 1 1/2" shorter...

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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:33 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:39 am
Posts: 486
Location: Atlanta
I believe you will have a very hard time selling a gun with a short (less than 28") barrel.

All my game guns are 28" and I use them for snap shooting Mexican quail to Dakota pheasant.


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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:37 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:40 pm
Posts: 31
Location: Downriver
For Northern Michigan, Partridge and Woodcock hunting, swamps and river bottoms. I enjoy my Weatherby Athena O/U with 26 barrels. Its a joy to carry and shoot. To light to shoot more than 4 rounds of skeet though. I would never sell it, do not care about resale value. Good luck, Yooper !!! 8)


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 Post subject: Re: barrel length for hunting
PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 7:07 pm 
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Posts: 257
Location: Bullitt County, KY
I must be a freak. I like 30 inches of full choke for everything in my 12 ga but the 16 ga double has 26 inches and I like it when I use it. The 26 is great for birds. That is I think it is great but I miss more often than not. (Doves will not stand still and give me a good shot.) :roll:

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