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Thread: Which is better: 26 or 28 inch barrel?

  1. #1
    Marksman Leadslugga's Avatar

    Which is better: 26 or 28 inch barrel?

    First things first, I am not a hunter. I don't really have any close friends or family who hunt, so no one has ever introduced me to the finer points of the sport. That being said, I do have my hunter safety card, so if I ever do get a chance to go, I'll be ready.

    Except of course, I don't have an acceptable shotgun.

    I've got a decent assortment of guns, 5 handguns (.38, 9mm, .40, .357 and .44 mag), 3 rifles (AK, 10-22, and K-31) and 1 shotgun (a winchester 1200 defender with 18" bbl.), but none of these are ideally suited to hunting. I could take the K31 or my super blackhawk 44, but neither are ideal for the beginner hunter and would be useless against any kind of fowl.

    So I have resolved myself to buy another shotgun. I have settled on the Remington 870, mostly because of the balance between price and quality, and because if I don't end up going hunting I can slap an 18" barrel and other cheap and plentiful aftermarket parts on it and have another hurricane gun.

    This is my question: Should I get a 26 or 28 inch barrel? I used to work at Puglia's Sporting Goods, and we sold tons of sporting shotguns. Most people wanted the 28" barrel, but for different reasons. Some said it got more velocity, others said this was BS. Some claimed the longer sight radius improved accuracy. I also ran into the school of thought, however, that seemed to think the extra 2 inches did nothing to improve performance and that the 26 inch barrel was much handier to carry around or handle in a blind.

    I would like to get everyone's practical and/or theoretical opinion on which barrel length I should get. I want whichever is best for all-around hunting (deer, birds of all sorts, etc) and some occasional clay shooting at my friend's place. Don't give any consideration to the self-defense aspects of either, since I do plan to get an 18" barrel for it to have on there when I am not going to use it for a "sporting" purpose.

  2. #2
    Marksman

    Silver Member
    First, what will you be hunting or what game will you predominately use it?

  3. #3
    Marksman CavalryJim's Avatar
    At 26 - 28 inches, the choke is more important than barrel length. All things being equal, there will be a slight difference in the spread of the shot (28" being slightly tighter). With modern powder, I doubt there is a significant difference in the velocity.

    For a turkey gun, tighter groups are better - get 28"+ barrel
    Duck hunting, you are shooting at a distance - get a 28"
    Shooting clays, you want more of a spread - get a 26"
    Upland birds, you need fast handling - get a 26"

    Best all around? It depends on personal preference. I like the 26" barrel.
    Walther P5 > H&K P7

  4. #4
    Marksman Leadslugga's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Storm52 View Post
    First, what will you be hunting or what game will you predominately use it?
    The thing is, I have absolutely no idea what kind of hunting I would do with it. The idea is to have one that will be acceptable for anything that might come up.

    Quote Originally Posted by CavalryJim View Post
    Best all around? It depends on personal preference. I like the 26" barrel.
    I kind of suspect that the two inch difference doesn't really matter if you are trying to get just one gun to do everything.
    Last edited by Leadslugga; October 26th, 2009 at 09:51 AM.

  5. #5
    oldtimer jimdana1942's Avatar
    36"

  6. #6
    REVOLVER DRIVER smith625's Avatar
    26" will fulfill all your needs, and if you hunt ducks using steel shot you will be glad you have an open choke and a 26" barrel.
    The difficult i can do right away, the impossible may take a little longer.

  7. #7
    Professional Amateur

    Premium Member
    oleheat's Avatar
    Either will do just fine. Personally, most of my shotguns do have a 28" barrel, but I do have a Remington 870 3-1/2" Supermag that has a 26" barrel. As far as being able to tell a difference in the woods, I can't.
    If you are going to acquire a 12ga shotgun, I would suggest getting one that will handle 2-3/4", 3", AND 3-1/2" shells. This will allow you to hunt everything from doves & squirrels to geese & turkeys. And of course, whitetail deer. If a store has 12ga shells, you will be covered.
    Good luck and welcome to hunting. Have fun in your search for a new scattergun, and don't hesitate to ask any questions when it comes to hunting. You'll find the answers you need here....
    Sam
    Central/Pride, Evil Black Rifle Parish(EBR), LA

    “Remember the first rule of gunfighting... ‘have a gun.’"
    -Col. Jeff Cooper

  8. #8
    Marksman Ben Segrest's Avatar
    26" should work fine.

  9. #9
    Marksman scubasteve's Avatar
    Anything over 26 is a waste. I personally like a 24.
    "It's pitiful to bring up historical topics to some of our young people today. They just stare at you like you're from outer space. If you're going to be led around by the nose in this country by the government, if you can't figure out what's true and what's not and what kind of propaganda they're giving you, that's a sad situation."
    1st LT Gene Andrews USMC

  10. #10
    On Target doeslammer4's Avatar
    like oleheat said, go with something that is universal-- 2 3/4, 3 or 3 1/2" shells. personally, I recommend the Remington 870 super magnum because you can shoot all of those shells, you can choose between a 26 or 28 inch barrel, you can add whatever chokes you want, and you can hunt anything with that shotgun. the gun itself is extremely easy to learn everything about, and it is excellent for anyone who wants to hunt because it is easy to operate. having said that, my 870 super mag has the 26 inch barrel, but i have an improved cylinder choke which sticks out the end of the barrel. this one throws a tighter pattern, but distance wise, you're looking about the same between the two barrel lengths. either one works equally as well.
    -Curtis

    Pride, LA

    "To my mind, it is wholly irresponsible for a man to come into the world and be incapable of performing injury, violence, crime and death.How feeble is the mindset to accept defenselessness? How unnatural. How cheap. How cowardly. HOW PATHETIC."--Ted Nugent

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