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Why the longer barrel for bird hunting?

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  • Why the longer barrel for bird hunting?

    Why do people want the 28 inch barrels for duck hunting over the 18-24", it seems like it would be easier to "swing" a shorter barrel.
    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

  • #2
    Improved patterns, range and velocity.
    "When the time comes for a man to look his Maker in the eye, where better could the meeting be held than in the wilderness?"

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    • #3
      Cool, thanks!
      Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

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      • #4
        The length of a stick has very little effect on "swing". A longer stick is easier to point with accuracy. The shorter the stick, the shorter the sight radius, the harder it is to point.

        As to the pattern, the longer you keep the shot together in a tube, the more consistent and tighter the pattern will be. Longer tubes will always pattern better than shorter ones.

        These concepts work across the spectrum of all other firearms as well.
        Winter is Coming...

        Go GeocacheAlaska!

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        • #5
          If you are shooting high speed steel out of a short barrel you are wasting money. You need at least 26 inches to get a velocity close to what the box says the ammo has. The standards the ammo makers use to establish the performance of their products is a 28 inch barrel.

          One other reason for long barrels is history. In the long ago times duck guns had 30 inch barrels to help build momentum in the swing, help with sight plane, and help develop velocity. The weight of the extra steel also helped manage recoil once 3 inch chambers became the norm for duck guns.

          History also tells us that duck guns will not be carried and shot on the feet so they can be longer and heavier. An upland field gun will need to be lighter since it will be in your hands for most of the day when chasing birds.

          If you look at the history of shotguns you will see that some of the best shooting double guns have 26 inch barrels. Depending on the gauge of the gun they can have superb balance and handle like a dream. In modern times gun makers that build to the lowest cost will not build a gauge specific action and barrel set so you end up with some horrible handling weapons. Pay more money and you can end up with a sweet weapon that does not make you work hard to hit a bird.

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          • #6
            Hey sorry for the resurrection, but I gotta check for a pulse; does anyone here actually hunt with a short shotgun barrel (i.e. 20")? Waterfowl or whatever. Model? Gauge? Choke? I'm curious.
            " Gas boats are bad enough, autos are an invention of the devil, and airplanes are worse." ~Allen Hasselborg

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            • #7
              Originally posted by AK Ray View Post
              One other reason for long barrels is history. In the long ago times duck guns had 30 inch barrels
              Since when is 30 years ago "long ago times"........lol

              I used to use a 30" full for everything for years and years. Reach out there baby...!!!
              Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by cdubbin View Post
                Hey sorry for the resurrection, but I gotta check for a pulse; does anyone here actually hunt with a short shotgun barrel (i.e. 20")? Waterfowl or whatever. Model? Gauge? Choke? I'm curious.
                I don't recall seeing anybody ever hunt with one. But I would imagine they may do pretty good on a covey of quail that got up in front of you.....
                Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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                • #9
                  I don't know anyone that hunts with that short of a barrel. I do know lots of guys myself included hate to hunt with someone when they have a barrel shorter than 26 inches....when your standing in a duck blind those short barrels are way to loud.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cdubbin View Post
                    Hey sorry for the resurrection, but I gotta check for a pulse; does anyone here actually hunt with a short shotgun barrel (i.e. 20")? Waterfowl or whatever. Model? Gauge? Choke? I'm curious.
                    a 13 year old buddy of mine uses a 12 Ga 870 with an 18 inch barrel with a modified, he kills just as many as the rest of us (mine is a 28, other friends have 26's on their 870's) we shoot cheaper ammo so we don't' shoot past 23 or 30 yards. max
                    Eccleasties 8:11 Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, There for the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.

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                    • #11
                      i shoot quite often...work at a gun range and i think that the length of a barrel has a fairly big affect on my swing. maybe cause i have shot a 28 my whole life but when i get a 24 or 26 inch gun to shoot i seem to swing to fast. also if you look at patterns there is not that much difference between a 28" and a 26" even a 24" there wont be that big of a difference. tested it. the longer barrels had a much bigger affect when shooting lead shot.
                      I will never be a "Prostaffer" its not that I am not good enough
                      but its because I refuse to pimp products for free.

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                      • #12
                        I used a 20" for chukars all the time. When you shot window can be a small as 1-2 seconds you better be on target as fast as possible. For pheasants and ducks give me a 26", that's why they make interchangeable barrels right? But seriously tailor your gun to your query.
                        I'm going to ctrl-alt-delete you so hard your mama's computer is going to reboot.

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                        • #13
                          Shot shell powder burns fast. The change in velocity from different barrel lengths in pretty minor, around 100-170 FPS. That's the same deviation shot shell manufacturers expect when they make shells. Different barrel lengths have different swing speeds. The important thing to do is to find what barrel length works best for you and the situation you'll be shooting in, like "byrd_hntr" said.

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                          • #14
                            of course if your shooting something that you have a half second window too shoot you want something with a small quick barrel if you are shooting something with a longer window to shoot a longer barrel will keep you on the lead better. look at some of the best clay shooters. they are not shooting a short barrel shot gun. basically i have found that a shorter barrel may get you on the target quicker but will be tougher to follow the target smoothly. a longer barrel will take a quarter of a second longer to get on the target but you will have a smoother swing with the target. i shot a 28" barrel my whole life and had a 26inch 870 gifted to me and i felt like i was looking over the barrel just didnt fit me right.
                            I will never be a "Prostaffer" its not that I am not good enough
                            but its because I refuse to pimp products for free.

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                            • #15
                              I used to shoot a 30" fixed BPS, and once I got a new gun (still a BPS) with a 28" barrel, it took me a long time to get the feel of it right. I've also got a 20 ga o/u with a 24" barrel that I use for ptarmigan, but it just doesn't cut it in the blind. As others have said, it just swings too fast, and I can't get the same control as I would with a longer, better balanced gun. The only advantage in terms of ballistics to a shorter barrel is that you can shoot it in tighter quarters. If I want to hunt in brush or where I can consistently get 20 yard shots, I'll use the shorter gun. However, if I need that extra range and have plenty of space to swing, you bet I'll grab the gun with the longest barrel first.

                              Shooting heavy duck and goose loads also feels a lot better with a heavy gun that can absorb a lot of the recoil. A short gun will be lighter and will make for a sore shoulder after a good shoot. There is a good article in the latest DU magazine on recoil and the effect of gun weight. You can probably find it on their website: www.ducks.org

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