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I must be a dinosaur. I bought a Remington Sportsman 48 in 1975 with a full choke, 30" barrel. It's all I've ever used on ducks, pheasants, rabbits or trap.
Old saying..................Beware the man with only one gun; he probably knows how to use it!!!!!
 

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since i worked in the target and field shotgun industry as a "stocksmith" for 20 years ; i think that gives me the right to a educated opinion. at one time the length of O/U skeet barrels was 26 inches. today no one makes such a length. skeet guns and sporting guns are 28-30 inches. some like 32 inch for sporting. trap isall 30-32 in. a few shoot 34 in O/U. now for field use. some 26 in are being made. at one time the bbl. length dictated the choke. the longer the bbl. the tighter the choke. sure shorter barrels point quicker but as precise. lets go to extremes for a example. lets say that you are shooting at a running rabbit 20 yards one gun with a 14 in bbl and one with a 28 in bbl. which one is most likley to hit the rabbit. if i were hunting grouse i would probably choose 26-28 in O/U. don't forget a auto or pump has a long reciever that adds to length. as to the old addage about beware of the man that uses only 1 gun; i never did buy that
 

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as to the old adage about beware of the man that uses only 1 gun; i never did buy that
Unfortunately it has always seemed true to me, as I have seen many a one-gun owner outshoot the multi-gun owner, due to the fact that he has a complete trust in that single gun. Unlike the man who owns several dozen guns and isn't over familiar with any of them.
 

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Former national skeet shooting team member here. For competition In the skeet shooting world, 28-30inch barrels are more popular. In pure shootability on the skeet range, i think this is best.

I think it depends on the range of the target for hunting, which means choke Not barrel length. Shorter barrel length is faster, but not as smooth in the swing. There is a trade off in speed/handy vs shoot-ability.

I think for self defense 18 inch or shorter if possible is better.
upland bird hunting 26 barrel is probably best
ducks and geese 28-30 inch barrel
turkey a tight choke with a short barrel is best. If you can ad an optic sight, it is better. Maybe because I’m getting old.
 

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I have a 1908 Remington Automatic in 12 ga. solid rib.
Somewhere in it's lifetime the barrel got cut from ( I'm guessing) 30" to 23" !, and I absolutely love it! It swings like a rifle, and at 8 1/2 pounds is an old softie!!
Of course, cylinder bore pretty much puts it in the "dove gun" category.
But still more comfortable that my dad's 1955 A5 30" 16 ga!
Wood Everyday carry Gun barrel Gun accessory Trigger
 

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I remember the Ithica 37 well. Some said one rail would bind, never ever did. I would buy one now, but hardly ever see them for some reason.
Dual rails are made to compensate for slop in stamped parts guns. All the classics hand single slide and they weren’t stamped. Rem 870 shouldn’t be mentioned on same page with Ith 37, Rem 31 and the king Win 12. As a matter of fact the only pump shotguns I’ve seen with outright breakage from everyday use was Rem 870s & Moss 500s.
Having said that the Rem Special Field 870 & 1100s with 21” / 20g and 23” 12g barrels in FC preform well with the smaller shot, #5 and smaller. I have a M97 Win with 23.5” barrel / screw in chokes that shots surprisingly well with FC.
 
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