Join Date: Jan 2011
Regarding barrel lengths, the Wells Fargo gun I handled 40 odd years ago had 18 inch barrels, which is the average for coach guns. I have a SB muzzle loader of such, and the barrel is that length as well. They are not for long range use, but made to be quick to get into action, aim, and deliver a wide spread to make up for the lack of time to aim.
Back in the day, I was an avid collector of American gun books and magazines, and they often had contemporary photo's of, and articles about, gunfights and Posse's. In those circumstances the standard DB full length 12 bore looms large in the hands of the protagonists, especially local men deputised for the occasion . They all had one, they were all used to using one, and did not expect to be surprised by the perp' they were chasing. It looks very much like if a shoot out was expected, it was the weapon of choice even for a sheriff or marshal.
Two different scenarios, two different demands on the weapon.