Are Long Cones Worth It?

Dear Technoid:

Query: Is it really worth $200 to have my forcing cones lengthened, or is the “recoil reduction” purely subjective based on the fact you think that you had better feel less recoil after plopping down two small plus shipping?



Dear Mark:

Of the three barrel modifications commonly touted to reduce recoil (porting, backboring and long cones), my experience has been that longer cones really do reduce perceived recoil 5-10%, porting not at all (may help muzzle jump, may not) and my jury is out on backboring. Usually people get everything done at once, so it is hard to show which alteration did what. Long cones have also been proven to reduce shot deformation and thus improve patterns, but this is also claimed for backboring. The shops can get a better polish on the extra long cones than they can on the shorter ones because the long angle is easier to get the hones into. The best cone work that I have seen was done by The Shotgun Shop, Industry, CA, but I can not longer find them there. But that does not mean that others cannot do as well. Seminole also does good work.

I forget which type of gun you are shooting. All of the Brownings (Japanese and Belgian) that I have seen have had short cones. Some of the Berettas have medium cones, but it depends when they were made. Later is longer. My A390 Beretta gas pipe barrel has a longer cone than my 303 gas guns- which were almost medium length.

After you get the hang of it, you can really judge cone length by just looking. When you peer down the barrels from the breech end, if the grey ring at the front of the chamber looks to be about 1/4″ long (actual measurement is about 3/4″), you have short cones. If it appears to be about 1/2″ long (actually measuring about 1 1/2″), you have medium length cones. If you cannot see any ring at all, you have a first class long cone job and a wallet lighter by about $200 plus shipping. Roster claims that there is no pattern advantage to cones longer than 1 1/2″ and he may be right, but the 4-6″ cones really look beautiful.

Be aware that a rough reconeing job will really pick up plastic just in front of the cone. Better to leave it alone than risk a poor job. I have seen some real hack jobs where the blacksmith/gunsmith honed a dish in the forward part of the chamber when he was flailing around with a brake cylinder hone to polish out his reamer cuts. Like doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs, there are more mediocre gunsmiths than good ones.

Best regards,
Bruce Buck
Shotgun Report’s Technoid

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