Longer Barrels an Advantage in Small Gauges?

April 26, 2011 | By | 3 Replies More

Long enough for ya?

In our grouse book we talk about agonizing over whether to get a first grouse gun with 28″ or 26″ barrels. Would the extra 2 inches be a disadvantage in tight cover or because of the higher weight? Should we try to find one of the rare 24″ guns?

Ultimately it’s like anything in shooting – if it works for you, it’s good…although we still wouldn’t consider carrying any shotgun with barrels longer than 28″ for grouse.

But weight and speed obviously are concerns when you have a nanosecond to connect with a grouse, and both of those factors affect your natural mounting and shooting speed.

For example, Brendan gets on birds fast and swings smoothly. Jay shoots fast but gets on the birds slower (lol), and isn’t exactly a master of leads…yet still isn’t a terrible shot. So Brendan isn’t as concerned what the barrel length or weight is, other than from a carry standpoint. Jay, on the other hand, is more conscious of lower weight equalling more speed – though maybe for no good reason (gun fit being paramount).

So far we’ve left out gauge. But in the book “Hunter’s Guide to Shotguns for Upland Game” – which is pretty darn good for a subject that may seem “basic” – author Terry Boyer writes:

Longer barrels can be an advantage in the smaller-gauge guns. I have to remind myself to swing through or else I tend to stop my swing with [a] short, lightweight barrel [he’s talking about a 5.5-pound 28ga with a 26″ barrel].

I am currently trying to decide between one of two O/Us for my next 28ga gun [both with 30″ barrels]. Until my experience with the other 28ga, I probably wouldn’t even be considering 30″ barrels since I prefer 26″ barrels on 12ga and 20ga O/Us.

Many shooters I know find they shoot better with longer barrels in either 20ga or 28ga even on fast-flushing gamebirds.

First of all, we’d like to know where these slow-flushing gamebirds are!

Seriously though, after reading this we’re left to wonder whether in our quest to shed carry pounds in the grouse woods we’re handicapping our shooting, which needs all the help it can get (Jay, anyway!). Thoughts gents?

Category: Ruffed Grouse, Shotguns

Comments (3)

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  1. Dan Salmon says:

    I find longer barrels work better for me with any shotgun. I also have arms like an ape so this may be the reason for it. 28″ barrels are the shortest that I can consistently hit anything with, fast flushing or not.

  2. Bill White says:

    Longer barrels in smaller gauge shotguns often help with weight distribution and balance, particularly where you have wide open swing-through shots, such as quail hunting. However when hunting grouse in typically tight cover, I find that either my AH Fox with 28″ barrels or my Franchi O/U with 26″ barrels are markedly better for “point and shoot.” Then again, a crack shot, club champ I’m not, but I still get lucky enough to drop a few birds each season.

  3. sproulman says:

    i am talking semi-auto only.
    i like a 26 inch barrel for thick woods quick shot and 28 inch for open field hunting where you can swing .

    favorite semi is BERETTA URICKA FIELD 12 GA ,28 INCH BARREL for open field
    thick brush quick shots,FRANCHI AL48 20 GA ,26 INCH BARREL.

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