I look flat along the rib and the only thing I see in my peripheral vision is the bead. I shoot Sporting and Skeet happily with this set up but I must see some rib when shooting Trap. With a 30″ barrel on one Gun and a 27″ barrel on another used at Sporting and Skeet I don’t see any pointing advantage. I do, however, notice the ease of movement and faster swing of the gun with shorter barrels. Do you think that the ‘advantage’ of longer barrels applies mostly to those who see most of the rib with the gun mounted and, if so, are shorter barrels being castigated without this qualification.
Most people don’t set their guns up to look flat down the rib. Many like to see a bit of rib, not only for trap, but for sporting and skeet. I certainly do. Yes, that makes the gun shoot a little bit high, but when there is a dropper you can tuck your cheek in and still not “lose” the rib by having your eye sink below it. I like about a 60/40 pattern and that way I can float the bird over my barrel and not cover it up and lose sight of it.
Length of barrel doesn’t have anything to do with sight angle of the barrel rib. If you look flat down the rib, length has nothing to do with sighting plane. Even when you do look down to see a bit of rib, length doesn’t let you see a whole lot more barrel. Just a tad.
If you shoot low gun at sporting clays, then barrel length does slightly affect apparent lead when you are raising the gun to your face. If you shoot pre-mounted it won’t have that effect.
What length really does is increase muzzle weight and thus the balance and moment of inertia of the gun. This is the key to length. You said that you noticed the ease of movement and faster swing of the shorter barrels. You are 100% right in this. Moment of inertia is the key to subtle gun handling because it governs how the gun swings. There isn’t a good or bad MOI. It’s all in what you want. People who shoot pre-mounted can often put up with a more muzzle heavy gun because they aren’t moving it as much. Those who have the skill to shoot sporting clays low gun, as in the field, will be more sensitive to a properly balanced gun.
Bottom line: I think that barrel length is basically a question of moment of inertia and gun handling, rather than sight picture. Yes, it has some effect on sight picture, but handling is the big thing for barrel length.
Shotgun Report’s Technoid