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97 barrel length for Wild Bunch


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Its all personal preference, Hawg.

 

I like mine 18.25" while others like 20" and 22".    I think the 20-22" are the more popular, mainly for the reason stated above by

Ranger Dan.

 

Basically, its what you feel you can safely handle and within your ability to shoot it like you want.

 

 

..........Widder

 

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10 minutes ago, Widder, SASS #59054 said:

Its all personal preference, Hawg.

 

I like mine 18.25" while others like 20" and 22".    I think the 20-22" are the more popular, mainly for the reason stated above by

Ranger Dan.

 

Basically, its what you feel you can safely handle and within your ability to shoot it like you want.

 

 

..........Widder

 

Widder is one of the best with a 97 - so I would give great weight to his words.

 

Mine are all 20 inch; two reasons:

A little extra ensures you are still well over the minimum (18 inch barrel - 26 inches overall) in case you measure wrong or cut sloppy. Ive had too many years of dealing with ATF inspections and avoiding anything that encourages closer looks.

And second - that little extra is a buffer in case you ever drop the shotgun and ding up the barrel; you might have enough meat to cut it again. (of course, none of us have ever dropped our shotgun ;))

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30" is the way to go!   I've been using a 30" for regular SASS matches for years, and it doesn't hinder my performance one iota.  And, I never miss with the 30" barrel, something I can't say is true with a 20" or shorter one.

First time I did Wild Bunch after "standardizing" on the long barrel for SASS, I was missing SG targets left and right.  Halfway through the match, I switched back to the 30" tube and never looked back.  

All that said, if you wanna go with a short barrel for WB, and if you prefer it, go for it.   But please, go buy another gun with an already short barrel.   Don't cut an original with a 30" one.   They are rather hard to find.  I am sure someone would be willing to take it off your hands uncut for more than what it would cost to get one with a shorter barrel.

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1 hour ago, Badlands Bob #61228 said:

For Wild Bunch, the best thing to do would be to trade that 1897 for a good model 12.  

 

I tend to lean that way as well, for a few reasons. Not that the Model 12 is light years better, but it is a slightly better tool for the job.

 

  • no modification needed to hold 6.
  • somewhat easier to find and no more expensive to buy, perhaps cheaper most times. 
  • good reason to add another gun to the collection. 

There are some practical considerations as far as barrel length. Depending on the wad and such, for a true cylinder barrel, pattern starts to go south once you get shorter than about 21". This can be compensated for by doing a bit of back honing, or creating a slight jug just back from the muzzle. A flush screw in choke is a pretty neat upgrade for a short barrel. For the game one of the skeet chokes seems ideal. This really helps when you compare patterns between a 7/8 load and a 1 1/8 oz load. 

 

I have most of my 97s at 20". because that is what Winchester used, and it "looks" right. My Model 12 is at 23.5", because that is what it was when I bought it. BTW, 23" is (was) a very common length for British shotguns back in the day. 

 

Most shotguns are "fit" so that the pattern centers at distance, 30 or 40 yards, and I've found that I usually need a big bead at the muzzle to help bring the center of the pattern down a bit. While you're working on making it a cowboy shotgun, it's a good idea to go for more negative pitch. There are a bunch of factors, but for the run of the mill older heavier set cowboy, you need more negative pitch than the standard -3º. -10º is probably too much. I usually shoot for -5º, mostly because it looks about right. The shorter the gun, the more - pitch you want, so that the muzzle blast tends to lift the butt of the stock with the rising muzzle. This helps keep you on target for the next shot. 

 

Have fun, BB

 

I quote a paragraph from the 1971 Gun Digest: “Another method of achieving tighter patterns in this period was to bore the barrel to as a true cylinder to the muzzle and then, starting back about an inch, bore the barrel out a few thousands for a distance of about 3 inches, This “recess” or “jug” choke system was especially popular at that time for it could be applied to existing cylinder bored barrels of guns already in use.”

 

I have used this method to tighten patterns on several “sawed off” shotgun barrels. A brake cylinder hone and some time get the job done. It does take a lot of honing to remove a thousands of an inch. Once I get the size I want I polish the bore.

 

BB

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4 hours ago, Badlands Bob #61228 said:

For Wild Bunch, the best thing to do would be to trade that 1897 for a good model 12.  

 

A couple of years ago, I was at a shoot where they were raffling off a Model 12.  It had a 30" full choke barrel.  I thought it would make a nice Wild Bunch gun, with that barrel.   The fellow who won it, said he was gonna "chop the barrel and use it for Wild Bunch."  I was very saddened to hear that.

Same reason I say don't cut  a 97, I say, don't cut a 12.  :)

Long barrels rule!

 

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