Which Barrel Length is Best for Sporting Clay?

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Written by George Digweed

July 8, 2024

Which Barrel Length is Best for Sporting Clay?

The barrel length that is best for sporting clay is based on the shooter’s size and stature., I’m quite a big character, so I shoot a 32-inch barrel. I could get away with shooting 34-inch barrels, but I find that they’re quite slow to move on quick targets.
Probably the most common lengths of barrel that are used today are 30 or 32 inches. Smaller people usually do better with a shorter barrel, so I would start them with a 28-inch barrels and go from there. As they gain strength they can experiment with longer barrels, but if they’re happy with what they have, there’s no reason to change.

Autoloading shotguns are somewhat different. Their long receiver means that an auto with as 28-inch barrel is as long as an over/under with 30-inch barrels. Most people who pick an auto go with a 30-inch barrel. That long single tube is lighter and easier to swing than an O/U of the same length.

As an aside, you’d be hard-pressed to find a world champion sporting clays shot shooting anything other than a 32-inch over/under. They may switch brands or models from time to time, but the barrel length almost always remains the same.

This article is adapted from 28-time world champion George Digweed’s videos on shooting, available at claytargetinstruction.com

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