which caliber for all around use?

Discussion in 'Large-Bore/Small-Bore Rifle/Shotgun' started by hunter29180, Sep 26, 2012.

  1. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    .410's aren't the greatest shell for autoloaders or pumps for certain. new commercial rouns will feed, sure, but like ya say some loads or old tired reloads won't hold up in anything but a fixed barrel, either single or double. 12g hulls last longer and have so many more options of projectiles and of course power. 1/5oz slugs are usually moving around 1800fps though in the little .410, so velocity isn't really much different between .410 and 12. just the payload.

    barrel length has absolutely nothing to do with choke/pattern. The choke merely 'grabs' onto the wad moreso and allows the shot to leave the barrel less molested resulting in tighter patterns. whether that's at the end of an 18" barrel or a 28" barrel makes no difference.

    and yes, on full choke for the .410 being about the only option, not enough shot to fill a larger pattern and be effective.
  2. CJ_56

    CJ_56 New Member

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    That's not true. It is true that with interchangeable chokes the length of the barrel has a lot less to do with shot patterns but back before those chokes guns were essentially designed to disperse shot by the length of the barrel. A shorter barrel (back then probably a 26") would be an IC pattern while a 30" would be a full choke. They had extra full chokes or the equivalent which would have been 32" or even 36" barrels. Those guns were duck hunting guns designed to reach out and take a large bird at significant heights. I know full well that first the adjustable choke barrel extensions (I have a Mossberg that has one - it's called a poly-choke) allowed people to adjust their shotgun from usually IC to full. Then came interchangeable chokes. But trust me, before those things existed spread patterns were controlled by barrel length. And that still applies to some shotguns. The physics still exist. They have just started using a different method for the most part but not always.

    If you don't believe me maybe you'll believe Massad Ayoob. Yes I looked it up but I knew this before I looked it up. I just went looking for proof of what I said. I'm curious though. Why do you think people sawed off their shotguns back when that was still legal? It was to make the shot pattern bigger of course. It has a limited effect but it does work to a degree. For example it won't hit everything on the other side of the room like they show you on tv but it will certainly make the shot pattern spread more than an IC shotgun.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  3. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    no

    You read incorrectly, Ayoob stated that the longer barrel with a full choke patterned tighter than the shorter barrel with modified choke. He said absolutely nothing about equal chokes and different barrel lengths.

    Barrel length does not make any significant changes to pattern all other things being equal. The people that sawed off their shotguns watched too much Charles Bronson or something, all it does is make it a bit handier inside the home lenthwise. or maybe it looks cool or something.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  4. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    aa1911, I will have to disagree with your statement on sawing of the barrels of shotguns! many a marshal or sheriff in the early days cut off 12 guages to make what was known as a "GREENER' shotgun usually always a double barrel and usually those were made with at least 1 barrel as a full choke as most all shotguns were used for bird hunting. the "greener" made a highly effective crowd control tool when loaded with scrap metal or buckshot. some of the paterens were measured at 8 ft just 6 ft from the barrel! never did understand where the term "greener" came from though!...

    suggest you try out with a old single shot ! I know short barrel shotguns were used a lot in viet nam. best foxhole cleaner and bunker cleaner we had, as 1 or 2 shots would usually disable anyone inside!
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2012
  5. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    I think it only works because old shotguns used to have fixed barrels so yes, in that case the pattern would open up considerably going from say modified or whatever the original barrel was to cylinder bore.
  6. JohnnyFlake

    JohnnyFlake New Member

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    "Greener" is the actual name of the manufacturer of the Greener Shotguns. It was not called a Greener because the barrels were cut short. Greener started to manufactured shotguns in the early to mid 1800s. They were high quality guns and very much in demand.

    BTW, there is no doubt in my mind that if you cut 30" barrels down to 16"/18" the pattern will open up to some degree, maybe a few inches at 50' or less, but not excessively.
  7. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    Have to disagree here; barrel length and pattern have pretty much nothing to do with one another. The main reason 'sawed off shotguns' opened up was because the gun had a modified or some other choked barrel on it; only the last couple inches or so has the choke/restriction so when you remove that (saw off your barrel) then it becomes cylinder bore. That obviously makes a big difference but if you test a 30" barrel vs an 18" barrel with identical or no choke, your pattern is going to be pretty similar. (assuming the exact same gun, ammo, etc... different shotguns/ammo types can pattern much different from one to the next)

    Here is an excerpt from the ballistics book I showed at the top of this page, concerning barrel length and pattern;

    [​IMG]
  8. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    as the book said, and I would agree...at LEGAL and NORMAL for what we were suggesting it is NOT normal OR LEGAL!!

    the judge is a example of what is being suggested. in a normal 410 the pattern is good out to 40-50 yds for small game. BUT if the same shell is shot with a judge with a 4 in barrel, the pattern is usless past 20-25 ft for game! why? because the pattern opens up so much faster and their isnt enough shot density to do the job.

    the same would hold true reguardless of the guage used. its physics, no way around that hurdle.
  9. Bindernut

    Bindernut Well-Known Member

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    The Judge isn't a typical short-barrel either though...it's rifled. The rifling is what is causing the extreme pattern spread.
    Take a rifled slug barrel on a full length shotgun and pattern it next to a similar length/choke smoothbore barrel. The pattern will open up faster due to centripedal force from the spin imparted by the rifling, not the barrel length.
    Forcing cone and choke are the predominant factor in determining how a shotgun barrel perform, length has little to do with it except some velocity loss as it gets shorter.
  10. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    and another example of different chokes. Judge is rifled as stated above and has no restriction/choke.

    A normal .410 is FULL choke. So yes, there's a huge difference due to that and the rifling.

    A 4" smoothbore with cylinder bore choke vs an 18" or 30" smoothbore cylinder bore will pattern pretty similar. Velocity is probably the only thing that would really alter the pattern and probably not much.

    Most of the powder in a shotgun is burned up within the first 2 inches or so; barrel length past that gives relatively small gains in velocity and nothing significant enough to measure for pattern.
  11. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    while I would agree that the rifling may be the reason the Judges pattern opens up so quick..I still have to disagree that a 4 in and a 18 in or even a 30 in smoothbore would all pattern pretty much the same. it would have to be shown to me. so at this point we both have a diffrent opinion concerning this pictular situtation. No Problem!! this is what makes the world go around! maybe one day we can get together with a couple of single shots and extra barrels we dont mind destroying just to find out!! it would be a fun and interesting day for both of us!

    also basied on my Judge with 4 in barrel...there is a good bit of unburnt powder from the muzzel when fired..so maybe it takes a bit more than 2 or so inches to burn most of the powder? another item we could possibly explore?
  12. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    yeah, no worries! disagree or not, I'm just thankful that everyone has been civil and no hard feelings on this end for sure. ;) This is how we all learn, good healthy debate and different points to consider; none of us are right all the time.

    It would be fun to test out, may be worth taking a cheap single barrel and chopping it down inch by inch and shooting a box of shells on each length to get an accurate result.

    The book excerpt I posted does say they tested with normal/legal lengths so not sure what they consider the shortest 'normal' length. I'm assuming 18" but the 12 and 14" breaching 870's we have at work are legal (to a select few of course) also as they're military and LE weapons so who knows; the book never stated the shortest length tested so don't really know.

    I'd be curious to start with say, a 30" barrel and take it down 2" at a time until you hit about 18", then take it down inch by inch, all cylinder bore with the same exact shells.

    A good fresh grease board and a fixed camera on a tripod to take photos of each shot on the board, flip through them at the end to see what the pattern does as barrel is removed.

    maybe a used NEF shotgun or something, they're like $100? course you'd have to destroy the thing at the end as it would be illegal with a 1" barrel! :D
  13. Albtraum

    Albtraum Member

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    That would be pretty interesting. I've read articles where people test FPS with a chronograph while cutting off a rifle's barrel length from 26" to 16".
  14. CJ_56

    CJ_56 New Member

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    That is the way shotguns were made at one time. And that's when barrel length does become an issue. It is certainly true that chokes make a huge difference now.

    Rifled barrels like the Judge has also will greatly affect shot spread. You'll generally see a donut pattern that is much larger than a smooth bore pattern would be. That doesn't mean the Judge isn't an effective SD weapon BTW. A short range blast with a Judge using shot shells is going to hurt whoever it happens to hit. It is certainly going to leave a mark. ;) But let's not forget the .45 LC shells you can use in a Judge. To me that would be the choice of shells but I go with .45 ACP or .40 for SD myself.
  15. Albtraum

    Albtraum Member

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    donut pattern meaning an empty center of no shot?
  16. hunter29180

    hunter29180 Active Member

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    ok since we have discussed shotguns and the effect diffrent length barrels have ..lets discuss rifles and diffrent length barrels! we usually feel a longer barrel helps accuracy in revolvers. so is a longer barrel better for rifles?

    is a longer barrel actually better for long range or not? what is the best length for long range accuracy? when does the length decrease accuracy? with longer barrels is a stronger powder charge needed? if so where does the powder required cause a dangerous problem because of the barrel length? ( do not try to make a magnum charge work in a non magnum setup!!)
  17. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    .22 LR, it was widely talked about at small bore matches, gains nothing for accuracy after about 17". Velocity, not sure but I believe there is very minimal if any gain past that.

    Other rifles, (and even handguns) I think it varies considerably by caliber but a longer barrel certainly promotes greater accuracy by several factors.

    -longer sight radius (which is independent of the actual topic here but worth mentioning)
    -more barrel to fully get the projectile spinning consistently to stabilize correctly upon exit
    -highest possible velocity and also most uniformity in velocity/pressure

    but at what point does it become too long, or a detriment? let's use .308 and .223 for examples as they are among the most common.

    testing has shown that after a certain point (barrel length), velocity and accuracy gains are very very minimal past a certain amount, say around 18". past that, your gains are small if any in many calibers.

    16" in .223/5.56 is a good length and gains past that are very minimal. I would say 18" would be a good 'minimum max needed length' for .308

    time to start digging through my book and the internet...
  18. aa1911

    aa1911 Active Member

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    Last edited: Nov 16, 2012
  19. WTHines

    WTHines New Member

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    Just ran across this post and have to put in my two cents worth..especially on one subject mentioned in the post. As for "all around" caliber, the 308 hands down. It can be loaded to perform at any of the mentioned distances and one single shot placed well will driop any and all the aforementioned animals. My ONLY caveat is the statement of "1500 to 2000 yard shots" All I can say is WOW! Please learn to HUNT not jsut go out and kill something for the fun of shooting it. Relatively few people in this world can accurately place a kill shot at 2000 yards. In over 55 years of hunting I can count on one hand the number of shots taken at over 300 yards at any anilmal including elk and moose. Pronghorn probably being the most notable exception and those were the over 200 yard shots. BTW, Ruger Number 1A is my choice of hunting weapon and in 308 is a magnificent gun! 20 inch barrel
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2013
  20. Paul Curtis

    Paul Curtis New Member

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    No one caliber is "best" for all around usage, some will provide "overkill" and others, even at reasonable ranges may prove to be marginal at best. I think you might want to revisit this post with the "ammunition availability" and/or reloading components availability factored in, in light of the current wave of political hysteria in D.C. following the Newtown CT tragedy-

    I have been evaluating another varmint rifle, and am closing in on the old .220 Swift and the later .22-250. I have ruled out the .223 because it is also a military issue round and recent surges in ammo sales have made the 7.62x39mm and also the 7.62x51mm NATO (.308 Win) possible candidates for the scarce option.

    The time tested 30-06 is my first choice, the .308 Win. is also excellent, but as it is a military round (M-14) and the military no longer uses the 1903, the M-1 Garand or the BAR as in the past, I feel safer with the 30-06. I have 4 dependable and accurate rifles in that caliber, two are scoped-- a pre-1964 std. grade Model 70 and also a pre-1964 Featherweight Model 70- two are not- a 1903 NM Springfield and a post Korean War Garand (International Harvester) . I have over 2000 "loose" rounds and about 800 in the Garand enbloc clips--

    I am surprised that neither the .270 Winchester or the 7mm Rem magnum were not mentioned- neither are Military issue, and availability might be better than the .308 in light of current scenarios. The SKS and AK-47 based 7.62x39 rounds are more suited to 400 yards or less, and shooting a large game animal with such a load is not a clean kill situation in most cases.

    I would rule out the Weatherby Magnums, way over priced and the recoil factor is an issue. Also the .300 Win Mag, the .338 Win Mag, the .358Win Mag, and the old .348 Win (proprietary to the fine M71 lever rifle)--

    If I could choose 4 Bolt centerfire rifles from my battery to encompass varmint, game and also the aforementioned SHFT Akron-Im (Savage (rifles) Have Fine Triggers) which I have found to be true, by the way--they would be thus-- Varmint- My Pre-64 M70 .243 scoped, My Pre-64 std. grade M70 30-06 scoped, and both the Garand and the 1903 NM Springfield. If Elk, Moose, Black and Grizzly Bear are going to be included the hunting picture, then I would drop the Springfield 30-06 and take my Mauser square bridge .416 Rigby with express sights unscoped.

    Just one man's opinion.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013
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