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I'm in the process of trying to purchase my first gun. The main use of the gun will be home defense HOWEVER I plan to use it often for practice and to shoot clays. (clearly it will be used more often doing other things than guarding my family but defense is the main purpose)

I had pretty much decided on a riot gun (Mossberg 590 or Remmington 870) but the gun shop owner was really trying to move me into a gun with a longer barrel.

I did a search but could not find the answers to my questions.

What are the pros and cons of say an 18 inch barrel vs. a 20 in barrel?

Can I shoot clays with an 18 inch barrel gun?

Should I consider a gun with a longer barrel (maybe even longer than 20 inches) and change it to an 18 inch barrel when the gun is at home? (Is this possible for a newbie to do in under 15 minutes?)

I've been trying to read a ton while my purchase permit is being processed. Thanks for your help.
 

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Swami, It would be best to have either two guns or one gun with two barrels. For home defense a short barrel 18 or 20" is best, it's easier to manuver it in a house. For clays or hunting 24 to 30" is better with 28" being the best overall length for clays/hunting. When shooting clays or ducks in a blind nobody wants to stand next to the guy with a short barrel. Shotguns and extra barrels can be inexpensive items so either option is not out of reach.
 

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Changing barrels on a Remington 870 is cake. If the gun doesnt have a mag extention, you just unscrew the magazine cap, yank the barrel off, put a new barrel on and rescrew on the magazine cap, wah lah done, like a minute tops.
 
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