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.