Long Barrels For Long Range
Barrel length can be a tradeoff between performance and convenience. Short barrels can be easier to handle. Walking through thick cover or walking long distances is easier with a short barrel. In small blinds or tight areas with trees, saplings, or other vegetation, a short barrel can be an advantage.
But long barrels may give you denser patterns and more range. A quick search on the internet for card/turkey shotguns will show you that competitive shooters favor long barrels of 30+ inches.
Nitro Company has done some testing with HTL on barrel length. They estimate that for every inch you go below a 26-inch barrel, there is an approximate 2.5% decrease in pattern density. If you are trying to get every yard possible out of your shotgun, that could make a difference.
If you strictly want a long range rig, go for a 26-inch barrel or longer. Particularly if your hunting style involves more sitting than moving.
If you “run and gun” or your hunting conditions require a high degree of mobility, use the longest barrel you can comfortably carry for the day. With HTL you can still pattern out over 50 yards with barrels less than 26-inches long.
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