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Q:
what would be the differences in a 28" or a 26" barrel on an autoloader shotgun in terms of reasons for one over the other and also the 3" or 3 1/2" chamber is one size better for all purpose hunting or is one more specialized? thanks to anyone for responding.

Question by capodastro. Uploaded on February 03, 2011

Answers (14)

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

2" of barrel will have more to do with balance and how it points than shot performance. If you hunt waterfowl at some point you may want the 3 1/2". I personally find the 3" plenty adequate.

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from TheEasternShore... wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

In my opinion all it does is add weight, that doesn't help at all. go with the 26 it is much better.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from jaredrobbins wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

If your going to be hunting duck or turkey your going to want a 3 1/2" chamber so you can use more powerful rounds, if you need to you can always put smaller shells through a 3 1/2" too. As to the difference between a 26" and 28" it all depends on your application a longer barrel is good for pass shooting ducks, but a shorter barrel is faster.

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from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

2" may add as much as 2 oz of weight . Shot reaches its max velocity in about 1-21 inches (So Iv'e
been told) It may swing a bit faster is about all.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from prairieghost wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

shorter barrel will feel "quicker" coming to your sight plane and probably feel feel more balanced. if it has choke tubes, then the 2" difference is minuscule. never been a fan of 3.5" shells either.

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from 99explorer wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

I prefer 26" barrels on a SXS double for partridge and quail where fast handling in the rule, but I go to the 28" pump shotgun for doves and waterfowl.
I once had a chance to buy a 12 gauge Winchester Model 21 double that was choked full and full with 30" barrels, at a price that now brings tears to my eyes. I passed on it. Sob.

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from shane wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

It depends on the model shotgun you choose, but a lot of 3" chambered guns will cycle everything no problem, most 3.5" guns will need to be adjusted unless it is one of the latest generation of autoloaders that shoot everything without a hiccup.

If you pass shoot for waterfowl you probably want a 3.5 inch chamber. Those telling you that you "need" a 3.5 inch shell for anything else are either marketers, or people that have been fooled by marketers.

If one feels like one needs a 3.5 inch shell for turkeys one is probably someone that can't call or sit still well, so one is trying to squeeze every last yard of range out. Turkeys aren't any tougher than when they were killed with 2 3/4" shells.

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from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

I hunt turkeys every spring. I never shoot anything but 2.75" ammo. I use a Winchester Hi-Velocity with No. 7.5 shot.
Pattern density, not shot size, kills!
Some on here see things differently, but several dead gobblers beg to differ.
Two inches of barrel will not make a "significant" difference in performance.

Bubba

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from deerhunterrick wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

The powder pretty much is burnt up in 22" of barrel. Shorter barrel = shorter sighting plain, little faster to miss. Longer barrel = better sighting plain and more time to miss. Plus longer barrels are closer to target allowing you to knock low flying waterfowl from air and push your boat from shallow water without getting too wet when motor doesn't fire.

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from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

I have always preferred a 26 inch barrel on my semiauto shot guns. To me they point quicker and swing just as well as a 28. 3 inch shells will handle any turkey or duck you run across with plenty of room to spare. I really don't see any need for a 3.5 on geese unless you are in a very specialized situation or you like to skybust...

3.5 inch guns also typically don't like to handle lighter 2.75 inch loads under 1.25 ounces of shot even if they are "adjustable."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

I love my 3 1/2 inch 12 gauges for skybusting and keeping my chiropractor's cash flow stable. Other than that, the 3" will get everything done.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

For geese no one really needs a fast swinging gun. Not in my experience anyway. And I have a lot of experience. This past fall during our annual Montana pheasant hunt I let my brother use my Browning Auto 12 ga with modified choke. It has 26" barrel. I usually use it but I was taking him back after my wife's funeral so no chance to pick up his gun (he lives five hours further east from where we stopped to go hunting). I was stuck using my goose gun - 3" mag Remington 870 with 30" barrel and full choke (but only shooting 2.75" shells). Man, was I knocking em down. After five days I loaded him on the train to go home and continued hunting with my cousin for several more days. I switched back to the Browning and was having all kinds of trouble until I picked up the 870 again. It seems that the Browning was simply swinging too fast for me. Pheasants aren't the fastest bird in the field and they're a big target. My dogs were ranging and flushing 15-30 yards.

Shorter barrels will shorten the shelf life of your ear drums. I'm having a lot of trouble with my left ear now and it's almost certainly due to years of shotgun shooting, almost all of it with that long barrel.

A 3" mag is sufficient if you pick your shots and use the light faster loads for steel (nothing heavier than 1 1/8 oz shot). 3 1/2" will beat you up, blow out your ears, and drain your pocket book. It's overkill.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Ontario Honker, its good to hear from you again. I've seen your comments several places over the last few days. Welcome back.

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from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 9 weeks ago

No one admits to shooting more than a box and a half under normal waterfowl conditions so I think more expensive ammo like hevi- shot might be a good buy, Rem super sonic steel I've heard has done well, but quality of ammo is more important than 26" vs 28" barrels, that and practicing with your gun to improve your shooting.

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from Sourdough Dave wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

2" of barrel will have more to do with balance and how it points than shot performance. If you hunt waterfowl at some point you may want the 3 1/2". I personally find the 3" plenty adequate.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from prairieghost wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

shorter barrel will feel "quicker" coming to your sight plane and probably feel feel more balanced. if it has choke tubes, then the 2" difference is minuscule. never been a fan of 3.5" shells either.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

For geese no one really needs a fast swinging gun. Not in my experience anyway. And I have a lot of experience. This past fall during our annual Montana pheasant hunt I let my brother use my Browning Auto 12 ga with modified choke. It has 26" barrel. I usually use it but I was taking him back after my wife's funeral so no chance to pick up his gun (he lives five hours further east from where we stopped to go hunting). I was stuck using my goose gun - 3" mag Remington 870 with 30" barrel and full choke (but only shooting 2.75" shells). Man, was I knocking em down. After five days I loaded him on the train to go home and continued hunting with my cousin for several more days. I switched back to the Browning and was having all kinds of trouble until I picked up the 870 again. It seems that the Browning was simply swinging too fast for me. Pheasants aren't the fastest bird in the field and they're a big target. My dogs were ranging and flushing 15-30 yards.

Shorter barrels will shorten the shelf life of your ear drums. I'm having a lot of trouble with my left ear now and it's almost certainly due to years of shotgun shooting, almost all of it with that long barrel.

A 3" mag is sufficient if you pick your shots and use the light faster loads for steel (nothing heavier than 1 1/8 oz shot). 3 1/2" will beat you up, blow out your ears, and drain your pocket book. It's overkill.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from 99explorer wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

I prefer 26" barrels on a SXS double for partridge and quail where fast handling in the rule, but I go to the 28" pump shotgun for doves and waterfowl.
I once had a chance to buy a 12 gauge Winchester Model 21 double that was choked full and full with 30" barrels, at a price that now brings tears to my eyes. I passed on it. Sob.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from FirstBubba wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

I hunt turkeys every spring. I never shoot anything but 2.75" ammo. I use a Winchester Hi-Velocity with No. 7.5 shot.
Pattern density, not shot size, kills!
Some on here see things differently, but several dead gobblers beg to differ.
Two inches of barrel will not make a "significant" difference in performance.

Bubba

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from jaredrobbins wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

If your going to be hunting duck or turkey your going to want a 3 1/2" chamber so you can use more powerful rounds, if you need to you can always put smaller shells through a 3 1/2" too. As to the difference between a 26" and 28" it all depends on your application a longer barrel is good for pass shooting ducks, but a shorter barrel is faster.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

2" may add as much as 2 oz of weight . Shot reaches its max velocity in about 1-21 inches (So Iv'e
been told) It may swing a bit faster is about all.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Beekeeper wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

I have always preferred a 26 inch barrel on my semiauto shot guns. To me they point quicker and swing just as well as a 28. 3 inch shells will handle any turkey or duck you run across with plenty of room to spare. I really don't see any need for a 3.5 on geese unless you are in a very specialized situation or you like to skybust...

3.5 inch guns also typically don't like to handle lighter 2.75 inch loads under 1.25 ounces of shot even if they are "adjustable."

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from shane wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

It depends on the model shotgun you choose, but a lot of 3" chambered guns will cycle everything no problem, most 3.5" guns will need to be adjusted unless it is one of the latest generation of autoloaders that shoot everything without a hiccup.

If you pass shoot for waterfowl you probably want a 3.5 inch chamber. Those telling you that you "need" a 3.5 inch shell for anything else are either marketers, or people that have been fooled by marketers.

If one feels like one needs a 3.5 inch shell for turkeys one is probably someone that can't call or sit still well, so one is trying to squeeze every last yard of range out. Turkeys aren't any tougher than when they were killed with 2 3/4" shells.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from deerhunterrick wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

The powder pretty much is burnt up in 22" of barrel. Shorter barrel = shorter sighting plain, little faster to miss. Longer barrel = better sighting plain and more time to miss. Plus longer barrels are closer to target allowing you to knock low flying waterfowl from air and push your boat from shallow water without getting too wet when motor doesn't fire.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

I love my 3 1/2 inch 12 gauges for skybusting and keeping my chiropractor's cash flow stable. Other than that, the 3" will get everything done.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from DSMbirddog wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

Ontario Honker, its good to hear from you again. I've seen your comments several places over the last few days. Welcome back.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Drew McClure wrote 3 years 9 weeks ago

No one admits to shooting more than a box and a half under normal waterfowl conditions so I think more expensive ammo like hevi- shot might be a good buy, Rem super sonic steel I've heard has done well, but quality of ammo is more important than 26" vs 28" barrels, that and practicing with your gun to improve your shooting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from TheEasternShore... wrote 3 years 10 weeks ago

In my opinion all it does is add weight, that doesn't help at all. go with the 26 it is much better.

-1 Good Comment? | | Report

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