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  1. #1
    Plinker
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    Barrel Length for Trap / Sporting Clays

    I have been told that 30" barrels are recommended for trap, but am not sure what length is good for sporting clays. I am looking to purchase an o/u for the purpose of sporting clays. Would 26" barrels be adequate?

  2. #2
    Plinker
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    30' would be the shortest length I would want for a sporting clays gun. I shoot 32" barrels and nearly went with 34" tubes.

    I started using a 26" gun and struggled with the longer crossing shots. The longer tubes helped a lot.

    30" and 32" guns would work well for trap, skeet or sporting clays.

  3. #3
    Marksman Osobuco's Avatar
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    I have 28" 30" and 32" barrelled O/U shotguns. I prefer the 30 for an all-around trap/skeet/sc gun. The 28 is what I go with in the field. If I am going out for trap I pretty much always use a 32. I have shot all three sports with all three lengths and have performed similarly

    26" barrel is really a skeet length and a nice field length for grouse in thick Michigan woods

  4. #4
    Grandmaster melensdad's Avatar
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    34" is pretty common for Trap. 30" is about the minimum. My first Trap gun was a 30" and I moved up from there.

    For sporting clays I preferred a 26" barrel since the sport mimics field shooting and needs to be fast swinging.

  5. #5
    Plinker MadCity Hoosier's Avatar
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    Ballistically, there is no advantage to a longer barrel. The powder in a target load is all burned in the first inch or two of shot travel and the pressure peaks very early as well. So beyond the first few inches, the rest of the barrel is of no ballistic benefit.

    If your mechanics are good, you should shoot as well with a 22" turkey barrel as you would with a 34" trap gun. Barrel length is all about personal preference. Trap shooters like a long sighting plane and because there's little movement of the gun between the ready position and the target break, a 34" can be an advantage. That extra length (weight) would be a liability when trying to break doubles on the skeet range or trying to pick up a fast rabbit/teal true pair.

    I personally have 28" and 30" o/u's and I'm primarily a sporting shooter. The 30" is actally lighter and a faster swinging gun than the 28", so it will just depend on the gun. I like the shorter barrels for hunting, so my next gun will be a 26" o/u of some sort that will allow me to use the same gun for sporting and rabbits.

    So, the answer is yes, 26" would be fine for sporting, but there are few sporting clays guns in that length. Get what feels/balances/swings well for you and learn to shoot it well.

  6. #6
    Marksman Osobuco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadCity Hoosier View Post
    Ballistically, there is no advantage to a longer barrel. The powder in a target load is all burned in the first inch or two of shot travel and the pressure peaks very early as well. So beyond the first few inches, the rest of the barrel is of no ballistic benefit.

    If your mechanics are good, you should shoot as well with a 22" turkey barrel as you would with a 34" trap gun. Barrel length is all about personal preference. Trap shooters like a long sighting plane and because there's little movement of the gun between the ready position and the target break, a 34" can be an advantage. That extra length (weight) would be a liability when trying to break doubles on the skeet range or trying to pick up a fast rabbit/teal true pair.

    I personally have 28" and 30" o/u's and I'm primarily a sporting shooter. The 30" is actally lighter and a faster swinging gun than the 28", so it will just depend on the gun. I like the shorter barrels for hunting, so my next gun will be a 26" o/u of some sort that will allow me to use the same gun for sporting and rabbits.

    So, the answer is yes, 26" would be fine for sporting, but there are few sporting clays guns in that length. Get what feels/balances/swings well for you and learn to shoot it well.
    I disagree with you at least in part - With a longer barrel you get a longer sight plane and if you use it right your accuracy will improve and so will your scores as long as you are able to swing it and maintain control.

    Also, on my ported guns I often see sparks fly out the ports - thus the charge is not completely fried in the first few inches

  7. #7
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by abrams12 View Post
    I have been told that 30" barrels are recommended for trap, but am not sure what length is good for sporting clays. I am looking to purchase an o/u for the purpose of sporting clays. Would 26" barrels be adequate?
    Why is Trap in the subject but SC in the text? Do you know why YOU want an O/U over a semi? Or are you being told that?

    The answer:

    Not really. In Sporting Clays when using a Semi most guns now are 30" and a semi has a 6" to 8" longer sight plane than an O/U with similar length barrels. A 26" O/U might as well be a 20 gauge. A gun you carry a lot and shoot a little as in hunting.

    No gun recoils more than an O/U so a short, light weight 26" O/U will pound you. A shorter, lighter whippy gun will only add to your troubles. If you have to ask, that tells us you don't know.

    Longer, heavier guns are much better for clays. Guns you carry a little and shoot a lot. I have shot some tough courses around the country and hit in the 90's using a 21" 1100 Special field. That gun is not adequate, I just do it because I like to hunt with it so I practice with it. When I want to shoot clays and do my best, that is not my go to gun.

    Since you didn't even mention hunting, I would get a 32" if going O/U for both Clays and Trap.

    Had a friend over yesterday, he shoots trap on a national level. My GF thought it would be cool to ask him to shoot clays with us this weekend. I laughed and said go ahead and ask him when he gets here. His answer will be no.

    His actual answer: "I don't shoot clays. Can't do it." Trap is muscle memorization, Clays is problem solving, different games.
    Last edited by Zoub; 12-29-2012 at 16:52.
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  8. #8
    Plinker
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    30-34.

  9. #9
    Marksman cook4army's Avatar
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    Hmmm, so I shouldn't use my Stevens model 320 12 gauge with an 18.5 inch barrel for skeet shooting? Darn....that means I'm going to have to buy ANOTHER gun to shoot skeet with.

  10. #10
    Leo
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    I use a 28 inch 20 gauge or a 32 inch 12 gauge for sporting clays. Most sporting clays targets are close in and fast, so a gun that you are comfortable on a fast swing is nice. The advantage of an O/U is that you can choke each barrel for a particular shot. Say one post has a fast rabbit from the left and an overhead target thrown so it is leaving you, you may want an improved cylinder for the first (rabbit) shot and a light full for the distance shot. Generally when shooting sporting clays with the 12 gauge, I use a light modified in the bottom barrel and an improved modified in the top. I can select which barrel shoots first, so I just switch according to how the course is laid out. With the 20 gauge, I need every advantage I can get, so I carry the whole choke wallet and a carlson speed crank wrench.

    If we are talking about trap, you can do well with a 30 inch O/U. It is simply learning to keep you head in the same position on the stock and learning to lead the point of impact according to angle and distance. Shooting the same gun everytime you are on the trap field is a good way to learn.

    An 18.5 inch barrel will work fine for skeet, as there are no long distance target presentations. even if they are cylinder bore. An ounce and an eigth of #9 shot puts plenty of shot in the air since most hits are only 20 yards. 22-24-26 inch guns were the rage for skeet in the 60's and 70's, but now people are using the longer barrel guns too.

    For the original question, If All I had was a 26 inch gun, I wouls still shoot it in any of the three games. Your score will not be hindered as you are learning. If your skills improve enough to have a solid 90-92% hit ratio every time out, the more specialized gun will get you the rest of the way. I have seen too many begineers shoot 35% hits and buy a really good gun, and still only hit 35%. Buy $600 worth of shells and practice, it is pretty fun to shoot good scores with a beginner gun.
    Last edited by Leo; 04-04-2013 at 22:49.

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