Originally Posted by locutus
Ideal is somewhat of a nebulous term.
Typical powders used in shotgun shells run the the medium-fast burning range, from unique to about Herco. This powder will be completely burned in 16-18 inches of barrel.
Longer barrels are primarily used for balance and ergonomics. The Benelli M-4 used by the USMC has a 14 inch barrel.
When defining ideal, we must ask, Ideal for what?
i agree with this. through some of my own informal testing, chokes are the primary factor in shot pattern and distance, not barrel length. the difference in many short barreled shotguns is they have fixed chokes and longer barreled shotguns have screw in chokes.
another plus for a longer barreled shotgun is the natural swing and the longer sight radius. a shorter barreled shotggun is much easier to manuever in tighter confines.