The added weight of a long barrel smooths your swing and helps keep the gun moving for a positive follow-through. How important is follow-through? As one instructor told me as I shot behind a succession of clays: "On a scale of 1 to 10 in importance, forward allowance is a 10. Follow-through is a 10,000." For field shooting, I like 28-inch barrels on over/unders and side-by-sides (they look better with longer barrels, too), especially in smaller gauges. Pumps and autos, with their longer receivers, can get by with 26-inch barrels, although my preference is for repeaters with 28-inch barrels, or even 30 inches for waterfowl.