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Shotgunners and ballistic nuts

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Old 06-28-2007, 06:05 PM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 226
Shotgunners and ballistic nuts

I'm looking to buy a new shotgun ( or at least a strong hint to my wife for Christmas) I know I want a ruger red label in 12 guage , because it just fits me really good. I am a little at a loss for the barrel length I will mainly be hunting pheasent with it but maybe a quail or two.

My delima is go with the 26 or the 28 in barrels The 26 is more comfortable but the 28 isn't bad defiantly doable.But I do like the quickness of the 26. so the next logical step is:
How much pattern difference should I expect with barrel differences?
Will I be able to make it up with a choke?
I shoot a 28 inch with an improved modified now and it works just fine.in a gas operated auto loader.

There are a couple used ones on the market now that are fixed chokes listed as full and modified choke How does this compare with the screw in chokes?? better? worse? same?any information will be greatly appreciated.

Oh I should add I shoot a 12 shell that clocks 1400 and some change Fiocchi

Thank you in advance,
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Old 06-28-2007, 06:23 PM
Platinum Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,082
Re: Shotgunners and ballistic nuts

If you are hunting over a Pointer then get anything! I had a friend that hunted exclusively with a .410 over a good Pointer. If you are dealing with an undisciplined Flusher then a tight choke might be in order, but modified is fine for upland hunting.....waterfowl I would give the nod to full choke.

26 is a little quicker to point and how a gun feels to you is the key. If it does not come up instantly then you are going to fling a lot more lead than you need to.

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Old 06-28-2007, 07:05 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Nebraska
Posts: 211
Re: Shotgunners and ballistic nuts

I'd rethink the 26" barrel. The 28" although not as quick will help with a more stable follow through. For several years, I hunted birds (including ducks from a blind) with my 32" O/U trap gun, so length isn't much of an issue, hitting things is.

To figure the patterns you are just going to have to shoot it, but I've shot o/u's for 14 years and have never noticed a significant change in pattern between top and bottom barrels.

Don't get a full/mod gun, this may prove to be a problem with steel shot and you really can't easily fix it. I'd either get interchangable chokes or a mod/IC fixed (the chokes you are probably going to have in anyways).
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Old 06-29-2007, 05:44 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Fredericksburg VA
Posts: 4,128
Re: Shotgunners and ballistic nuts

First off, the length of the barrel has zero to do with the pattern. Longer barrels do not pattern tighter and shorter do not pattern more open.

pattern is one thing and one thing only, the choke and maybe backboring. Backboring simply helps stop the shot deformation and the "flyers" on edge of the patterns giving more uniformitiy to the pattern.

Both the new model ruger 26" and the 28" are the same bore diameter and use exactly the same screw in chokes.

If it has fixed chokes and it is an older model. I sure would not buy a fixed modified and full for quail under any circumstances. Just the opposite, skeet and skeet if buying fixed and hunting over a decent dog.

If hunting preserve pheasant, then skeet and skeet again. Wild and flushing long with non steel shot, imp and mod or mod and mod

I would recommend buying the one with screw in chokes.

Most people use too tight a choke anyway. I do 90% of my hunting with a skeet or imp cyl choke and rarely even go to a modified for ducks.

Geese, will be imp cyl and modified depending on steel or tungesten shot and how decoying.

Finally it depends on your style of shooting and how you miss them. If you are tend to be quick and use the swing thru method , you might overswing in front. go with the 28".

I used to like the shorter barrels but found I shot better with the 28", especially in an O/U which has a shorter receiver.

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Old 06-29-2007, 06:56 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Longmont, Colorado
Posts: 325
Re: Shotgunners and ballistic nuts

I've been using a 26" barrel on my 1100 SP mag for the last 20 years, and love it. When I first bought it, everyone had the standard 28" barrels (or even 30", just to make the long shots...). I have the screw in chokes, so selection is simple. I would go with the gun that feels the best, and points well. I hunt ducks on the little snake, in CO and having the screw in chokes is great since we hunt over deeks in the morning (open chokes), and then jump shoot all day long until the evening.

BUT, do the following...Pattern your gun with the loads you are thinking about using. Don't try to do too many in one day, but shoot 3 patterns from each shell. I did this recently with some "fast steel" loads, and I couldn't believe how crappy some of the patterns were. Without a doubt, the shells you use will have more to do with a pattern than you may have thought.
If you like your hunting rifle, you can keep your hunting rifle.
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Old 07-02-2007, 05:57 AM
Silver Member
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Texas
Posts: 226
Re: Shotgunners and ballistic nuts

I guess I said pattern and was thinking more along the lines of reach? What is the differance in the reach??

Thanks, Rh
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Old 07-02-2007, 07:04 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 1,082
Re: Shotgunners and ballistic nuts

A longer barrel may give a few more fps, but IMO not enough to warrant switching from something that "feels" good when you shoulder the gun.

Since you were asking about a shotgun for Pheasant and Quail I assumed that you would hunt over a good pointer and shots will be very close unless you choose to let them fly.
In my earlier reply when I hunted with my friend with the .410 I would use a 12 Ga with a modified choke since if he did miss, which was rare, my shots would tend to be long. If the bird flushed on my side you had to let them fly a ways or make sure you blew the head off...otherwise you ruined too much meat.

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