Originally Posted by Mike5150
Some say the choke and shells determine the spread, but others say that the shorter barrels allow the grouping to spread out more over longer distances. As for range I keep reading that 18" is plenty of space for the shell to expend all of it's gasses and reach it's maximum speed. I wish I could find where someone has done some testing with different barrel lengths and gives hard numbers as to how large a certain type of shells grouping is at a specific distance and with a specific choke on each barrel.
When I mentioned range I was referring to distance. Bad choice of words on my part.
I also own both types of shotguns...
Shotguns are barreled accordingly due to testing by the manufacturer. HD/Tactical shotguns have 18.5" barrels, Slug guns have 24" barrels and Hunting & Skeet shooting guns have anywhere from 26"-34" barrels.
Now the shooter has the option to use his shotgun however he chooses.
You can use your Tactical 18.5" barreled shotgun for clay shooting, but you're going to have to be right on that clay as soon as it is in flight. Once the clay reaches a distance of 40+ yards it'll be out of range for your short barreled shotgun. With my 28" barreled shotgun I can bust a clay in flight at 70 yards. That's almost twice as far as with my 18.5" shotgun.
The longer barrel will give the shot max velocity and patterning consistency.
And the results improve using a Full Choke compared to a Modified Choke and so on.
I've seen shooters bring their Tactical Shotguns to a Turkey Shoot and never win a match. It just might be the ability of other shooters or they're out gunned by the longer barrels.
I agree with jimbobpissypants about the shooters ability, but also the equipment does play it's part. The best skeet shooter isn't going to hit his target if it's out of range. I also agree if you're only doing it casually then use what you have and have fun with it. Once you start to like skeet/clay shooting and get a longer barrel you'll instantly notice a difference in your skills. I hope my experiences will help you. Enjoy.