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Best barrel length for Skeet

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by fisher0907, Apr 1, 2009.

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  1. fisher0907

    fisher0907 TS Member

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    I would like to know what the most recommended barrel length is for 12 gauge Skeet shooting. I've been using a Browning Citori 525 with 28" and skeet chokes and I've seen fellow squad members using 26" guns and a few with 32".
    With short distances in mind and skeet chokes, does the barrel length make that much of a difference in pattern?
    It seems that the Trap afficianatos go for the longer barrel lengths of 30-32-34" and then change chokes according to the line they are shooting from. Do the longer barrels hold a pattern better for longer shots?
    I will look forward to the input.
    Thanks,
    Jon
  2. Stu Pidash

    Stu Pidash TS Member

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    In the lengths of barrels you have mentioned there is not difference in patterning but there is a difference in how the gun swings. The most popular lengths on the skeet fields used to be 26" or 28" barrels but in the more recent past you see more 30" and sometimes longer barrels than you do 26".

    I would farthomly guess that most likely the currently most popular length randomly on the skeet fields of the current day would be 28" on the short side and 30" on the long side. I prefer a 30" Remington 1100 which equals a 32" O/U but that is just me.
  3. Andy44

    Andy44 TS Member

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    Have you asked this question on a SKEET forum?

    AndyH ;-)
  4. skeet_man

    skeet_man Active Member

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    Barrel length has nothing to do w/ pattern, that all has to do w/ the ID of your barrel, and the ID of your choke (how much constriction you get b/w the 2). The thing you get with longer barrels is a longer sighting plane. Geometrically speaking, the longer the barrel, the shorter your apparent lead will be.

    I shoot 30" barrels on a kolar, and much prefer them to the 28" barrels I shot in the past on a Citori. I would strongly consider trying 32" barrels at some point, but i'm not in a position to buy a new set of barrels plus subgauge tubes w/ out selling the barrel I have now, I would want to be able to go back to the 30" barrels i'm shooting now if I didn't like the 32" barrels.

    If you ever plan to shoot any other clay target sports besides skeet, strongly consider @ least 30" barrels, you will want @ least that barrel length shooting trap and sporting. If you are going to shoot 12ga only (never any subgauge w/ full length tubes) and plan to shoot some trap and sporting, go for the 32".
  5. timb99

    timb99 Active Member

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    The best barrel length for skeet, like trap, is the one you feel most comfortable with.

    I shoot a 30" o/u gun for skeet (but I'm a hack, so don't take my word for it.)

    Todd Bender shoots a 32" K-80

    "does the barrel length make that much of a difference in pattern?"

    Absolutely not. Barrel length has little to do with pattern.

    Barrel length has more to do with swing weight and sight plane.
  6. skeet_man

    skeet_man Active Member

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    Another thought on barrel lengths as far as swing dynamics are concerned. You could take a Krieghoff K80 in 28", and a Beretta 682 in 32" w/ optima bore barrels, and i'd bet you'd find the beretta is alot more barrel lively and dynamic, or at least very comparable. Perazzi can build you a set of 28" skeet barrels that weigh more than a set of 34" sporting barrels. Great strides have been made in the last 20 years as far as gun design, barrel constriction and dimensions (overbore barrels, ect), titanium chokes, which will all weigh heavily on gun dynamics. You can also take a gun, change the wood, and end up with a TOTALLY different feeling gun.
  7. jimrich60

    jimrich60 Member

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    Barrel length has no discernible effect on the pattern. Pattern is controlled primarily by the choke, although the shell itself will also affect the pattern to some extent. What barrel length does affect is the "swingability" of the shotgun. Since skeet is a short range sport, with targets moving very fast and for many of the stations at severe angles to the shooter, shorter barrels have long been the answer to quick movement of the gun to target, In trap, the relative motion of the gun to the target is considerably less, and the range is significantly longer. Hence a longer barrel often helps in a smooth steady movement to the target. For many years, 26 inch barrels were pretty much the norm at skeet, then later 28 inch barrels become most common. In the last few years a number of shooters have gone to 30 inch barrels, and even some 32 inch barrels. This increase in the "normal" barrel length is also seen in trap, where years ago 28 inch barrels were common, but now (in o/u 30 and 32 inch barrels are the norm, and 34 inch single barrels are the most common. Which barrel length is best is purely a personal determination. For skeet, which works best for you to help a fast but smooth swing. For some 26 inch barrels result in quick jerky movements, hence they like longer barrels. I personally feel most comfortable these days with 28 inch barrels, but when I used to shoot competively, used 26 inch barrels. Longer than 28 inches for me results in too slow a swing. Others find longer barrels help them. So you need to find what works best for you. There is no "magic" or "best" length except the one that works for you.

    Jim R
  8. BDodd

    BDodd TS Member

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    I agree with most above. How it swings for you is now the test for the correct length at skeet. It used to be that 26" was the norm but realize that most of those folks were shooting pump guns and then automatics where that length more resembled break opens of 28" or more. Then the 28" break open gun became the norm and is still quite popular. You now see 30" barrels often on the O/U guns with a few beyond that and the shooters are more often using adjustable combs and ribs along with stocks that more resemble trap guns than ever before. What works well for you is the answer....Bob Dodd
  9. Michael Jobe

    Michael Jobe TS Member

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    I swing through at skeet, rather than sustained lead, so I prefer shorter/quicker guns. My skeet gun was an 1100 Sporting 28 with a 27" barrel. Sold that gun (kept breaking), and now my back up trap gun, a Winchester Select Energy, with 32" barrels is going to be pressed into skeet service. If that doesn't work, I have a Winchster Super X2 Light with a 26" barrel I can use. But, if I'm going to shoot skeet with that gun, I'm going to need a new recoil pad (guns weighs around 6 1/2 lbs).

    ~Michael
  10. bigbore613

    bigbore613 Active Member

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    More World champs shoot 30 inch than 28 inch. Shoot the longest you can handle. Before the real lightweight barrels and tube combos you can get today, I asked Wayne Mayes and Craig Kirkman why 28 inch for them . The only answer was that on a extreme wind driven target on High one and low seven the lighter gun was able to move quicker. You have the least time of any to track those targets. With the light tubes of today that is less of a problem. Jeff
  11. Easystreet

    Easystreet Active Member

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    Just because a world champ (who may shoot 50,000 rounds per year) uses a certain size/length/weight piece of equipment is no sign that is the best choice for the casual shooter.

    With trap shooting, you aren't moving the barrels through a very big arc, so long barrels are generally quite helpful. In skeet, you are swinging those barrels through a MUCH bigger arc. The casual skeet shooter may not have the timing, reflexes, coordination, or skill necessary to move the longer barrels fast enough.

    Easystreet
  12. highflyer

    highflyer TS Member

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    I agree with what slick 13 said. When I use a lightweight gun with short barrels I have to use swing through to keep the gun moving and get good scores. When using a heavier gun with longer barrels I shoot better with sustained lead.
  13. bigbore613

    bigbore613 Active Member

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    When you to learn how to shoot you will understand what I said . LOL Jeff
  14. amboy49

    amboy49 Member

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    All of the above is true. I have a K32 with 30" K80 barrels. With subgauge tubes inserted the gun was very muzzle heavy so I had a 9 oz. recoil reducer installed in the stock. But when I take the tubes out it seems muzzle heavy.

    Of note, I also have a Krieghoff four barrel set for this same gun. These barrels are all 28" and are supposed to be weighted the same although I've never weighed them.

    I've wanted, but have never figured a very scientific way, to see if I shoot higher scores with the tubed 30" barrels or the 28" barrels.

    Admittedly the older ( and more frail ) I get the 30" tubed barrels seem to get heavier every year.

    The lighter 28" barrels are easier to get started on a moving skeet target, but the 30" barrels weigh more and help maintain barrel momentum, especially using a sustained lead.

    Lastly, if for no other reason buy the 30" barrels for their resale value alone if you can handle the little extra weight. Trying to sell a 28" barreled skeet gun ( or barrel alone ) is an uphill struggle to any "serious" skeet shooter as they want to emulate the skeet big dogs like Todd Bender. You'll find it an uphill battle to sell a 28" barrel to a serious skeet shooter. I,sadly,have some experience as trying to sell a standard grade K80 was difficult even though it was in 98% condition, several choke tubes and Kolar AAA best subgauge tube set. 28" barreled skeet guns seem to have the kiss of death on them, mostly due to the perception the best of the best shoot longer barreled guns. Most trap guns 40 years ago had 30" maximum barrels - now that is considered almost too short ! Likewise, skeet guns 40 years ago were either 26" over/unders or equivalent length Model 12's or semi-autos. If you're a casual skeet shooter you should be able to find a number of 28" barreled over/under shotguns at a discount price compared to their longer barreled counterpart.

    One other last thought, the 28" barrels are considered a little short for sporting clays and certainly for trap. Buy the 30" barrels as a compromise to the faster swinging 28" barrels. 30" is better all around for trap, skeet and sporting clays.
  15. Mark Gadbois

    Mark Gadbois Member

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    Jon,

    The reasons previously cited appear correct. The skeeters I shoot with and who have bought new guns in the last 5 years are buying 30" over and unders - Kreighoff, Kolar and others. I went to a 30" Kolar-tubed Browning Golden Clays Citori 14 years ago. BTW my gun when tubed weighs 9.5 lbs.
  16. g7777777

    g7777777 Active Member

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    Most people shoot 28 inchers better than longer barrels- I bet that figure would approach 90 percent

    But they see someone like Todd Bender shoot a 32 inch so of course they then have to shoot 30 or 32 even if their scores suffer

    Add Robert Paxton to the 28 inch shooters unless he has changed recently

    I feel its a factor of not how large you are but how much you shoot- if you shoot less than 500-1000 shells a week and arent an AA shooter already dont consider longer barrels

    One exception might be if you are just an occasional shooter- shoot the gun you shoot for the other games- dont spend money for another gun

    regards from Iowa

    Gene
  17. Shooting Coach

    Shooting Coach Active Member

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    It is not the arrow, it is the Indian.

    My 30" Browning Sporter feels great on the Skeet field. Lively and handy. Also, it is my Sporter. It also feels like an extension of my limbs on the Sporting Course. It would be ideal with tubes for my style of shooting and physique.

    My 32" Browning XT Combo with the O/U barrels installed is a TANK! However, on the Skeet field, it is nimble, precise, and superb at the sustained lead game I am used to. I would not want it tubed.

    I am strong for an old guy, and the 28" O/U is a little light and whippy for my taste. With practice, it would work well. A 28" Tube Gun is a delight to shoot.

    The bottom line? They will all work. My advice is, try several firearms. The one that fits best and feels the most natural is the one for you. :^)
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