Barrel Weight

Dear Technoid:

I own a Marocchi Conquista Sporter in 12 gauge with 32″ barrels. Of all the O/U Sporters I’ve tried, this one has exceptional balance and handling, especially for 32″ with screw chokes. But that’s just my humble opinion.

I am curious about the stamping on the barrel. It is stamped 1.56 KG. Would you consider this light for a 32″ O/U? How would this stack up to others? Your thoughts would be appreciated.



Dear VJF,

Their target weight for those 30″ M99 barrels is 1.500 kg, though my test gun was 1.490 kg. Their target weight for the 32″ M99 sporter barrels is 1.550 kg. That .05 kg equals about 1.75 oz, about right for 2″ of O/U barrels.

Is this a good weight? It really all depends on how the rest of the gun balances. Barrels are only part of the equation. A lot of it also depends on what you like personally. Much of that depends on your shooting style. Am I fudging. Yessiree! There really isn’t an absolute barrel weight right or wrong.

I have shot a 32″ Conquista sporter and I felt that is was one of the better balanced 32″ sporters I had handled. The 99 is balanced the same way, with maybe just a touch more butt weight. Of course, you an remove wood from the inside of the stock to change that. Marocchi even offers “gun balancing” as one of their factor service options.

I’ve also very much enjoyed shooting the Perazzi sporters from Andrew Litt in England. He gets lighter barrels than are sold in the US, so his guns balance better for sporting. I felt that his 1.500 kg 30″ barrels were too light, but that his 1.550 kg 32″ barrels were perfect.

I tested a Beretta DT-10 sporter a month or so ago that had very light barrels at 1.420 kg in 30″. That is extremely light and I would have preferred to try the 32″ barrels closer to 1.500 kg. The back end of that gun was lighter than the rear of my M99, so 1.550 kg would have been too much up front.

As I said, there isn’t any particular number, though you do have to start looking very carefully when you approach 1.600 kg in 32″ bbls in a sporting gun. The heavier the barrels are, the shorter they should be, all things being equal (note famous weasel phrase).

I’ve just been talking about sporting clays guns, since that’s where you started. Different sports do have different requirements. The skeet shooters prefer monstrously heavy barrels to keep their swing going. I see many of them using 1.650kg and over 30″ barrels and then adding 11 ounces of gauge tubes to that. These guys win with those guns too, so you know they are on the right track for that sport. ATA trap guns generally are also nose heavy to facilitate small, precise moves, but not as nose heavy as tubed skeet guns. Bunker trap guns tend to be balanced more like sporting guns. Upland field guns are often balanced quite a bit lighter up front than any clay target gun, whereas many waterfowl guns carry a bit more front weight bias.

In the shotgun world, you really have to set up your gun for a specific use. There is no general best weight for barrels any more than there is a best balance point or best moment of inertia. It’s all a blend of what you like and what the particular sport demands.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck
The Technoid writing for Shotgun Report, LLC
(Often in error. Never in doubt.)

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