“Best” Fowler barrel length? HC/PC and performance?

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Jfoster

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Hello all, im trying to decide what barrel length to opt for for my fowler. The plan is a 20ga fowler, most likely English/Colonial styled as opposed to French. Depending on what kit i go with i have the option of 36”, 42”, 44”, or 46”. While HC/PC accuracy is important to me i also want to be practical. My primary hunting area will be anything from thick brush to more open woodland area. Field hunting is not overly common but still possible. I do plan to hunt sky creatures as well. So what would be the best over all barrel length to go with in terms of performance and handiness? The particular time frame i plan to embody is on the range of 1783-1820 mainly. I do not plan to do fur trade and will stick to the “area” of TN westward into the ozarks as opposed to the North. My persona is that of market hunter and guide thus the appeal of the adaptability of a smoothbore. Whatever barrel length i go with will need to perform equally well with tightly patched round balls and shot sizes from bird to buck depending on my game.

Thanks folks for any help.
 

Coot

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Hello all, im trying to decide what barrel length to opt for for my fowler. The plan is a 20ga fowler, most likely English/Colonial styled as opposed to French. Depending on what kit i go with i have the option of 36”, 42”, 44”, or 46”. While HC/PC accuracy is important to me i also want to be practical. My primary hunting area will be anything from thick brush to more open woodland area. Field hunting is not overly common but still possible. I do plan to hunt sky creatures as well. So what would be the best over all barrel length to go with in terms of performance and handiness? The particular time frame i plan to embody is on the range of 1783-1820 mainly. I do not plan to do fur trade and will stick to the “area” of TN westward into the ozarks as opposed to the North. My persona is that of market hunter and guide thus the appeal of the adaptability of a smoothbore. Whatever barrel length i go with will need to perform equally well with tightly patched round balls and shot sizes from bird to buck depending on my game.

Thanks folks for any help.
I have either fowling pieces or rifles in 42, 44 and 46 inch long barrels. I don't like the look of the shorter barrel guns so I would rule out a 36" barrel. I also admit that the 46" seems/feels longer than it is so I would suggest either the 42 or 44.
 

Jfoster

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Thank you. Im leaning toward the middle ground of 42” or 44”. Probably 42” so that its a tiny bit handier.
 

tenngun

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Longer barrels became the style in west Europe and much of North America. Later shorter barrels became a standard. Balisticly there is little difference in performance. I like the looks of long. Made a NWG with a 36” barrel, and I just didn’t care for its feel or it’s ‘short, cut off look”.
I live in the ozark forest. Sometimes open, sometimes thicker thickets. I can’t say I find that extra few inches makes the gun any harder to handle in the tall timber.
 

Jfoster

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Would you opt for 42 or 44” then? Sounds like we hunt the same type of land. Balance and feel are important to me as well.
 

tenngun

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If your building colonial mid to a little later eighteenth century I would say 44, post AWI to early nineteenth 42, after first 1/3 century 36.
 

Pukka Bundook

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By 1820, even by 1810, 30 " barrels half stocked were very common for sporting guns. (shotguns)
Very different to 1780's.
To me the most elegant are English guns from 1750 say, to 1780's., so mostly full stocked and larger locks.

Good luck in your decision, Mr. J!
 

E. B. Leland

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I picked up a 42” 20 ga. flint on the cheap because it had a chatter mark in the bore near the muzzle. When I couldn’t get it to shoot, I figured, “Nothing to lose...” and shortened it by 6” to remove the damaged area. What a difference! Now it patterns great and is damned handy in the brush. Not the least bit sorry.
 

Capt. Jas.

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Any of those barrel lengths are perfectly acceptable historically including the 36".
I would be more concerned with overall barrel design. I know the "Griffin " barrel by Colerain comes in 42" length and in 20, 16 and 12 gauge. I would NOT get the 20 in in that configuration as it has the same OD as the 16. The 16 or 12 is a good choice for that barrel and it's a good design with a nice healthy breech.
 

Artificer

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Any of those barrel lengths are perfectly acceptable historically including the 36".
I would be more concerned with overall barrel design. I know the "Griffin " barrel by Colerain comes in 42" length and in 20, 16 and 12 gauge. I would NOT get the 20 in in that configuration as it has the same OD as the 16. The 16 or 12 is a good choice for that barrel and it's a good design with a nice healthy breech.
Since I consider you the Forum "E.F. Hutton" on Fowlers, what barrel would you suggest for a 20 ga. for both bird shot and ball?

Gus
 

Pukka Bundook

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Capt. Jas,

You are very right re. the Griffin barrels by Colerain. The 16 is a lovely light one, whereas the 20 is too heavy for a sporting gun really. 16 bore by far the best of the two!

Hello Gus,
Life and farm still getting in my way!
 

Jfoster

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Does anyone know if the griffin barrels are what sitting fox uses for their 20ga?
 

Capt. Jas.

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Since I consider you the Forum "E.F. Hutton" on Fowlers, what barrel would you suggest for a 20 ga. for both bird shot and ball?

Gus
Gus,
I usually get Ed Rayl or Rice to make me what I want in 20.
My buddy made a wonderful piece with handmade standing hook breech using a 38" Colerain octagon to round 20 from Track
 

Flint62Smoothie

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Does anyone know if the griffin barrels are what sitting fox uses for their 20ga?
Uhhhhh, their 'stock' barrel is a barrel made for DOM (drawn over mandrel) tubing, it is not a custom fowler barrel. But Ray is quite open to upgrading his kits to whatever the customer wants.
 
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