I understand your preference for shorter barrels. With many guns, a short barrel can make it easier to maneuver in the turkey woods. I've hunted with short barreled guns (19" on my Fox SxS) and long barrels (28" on my SX3) and enjoy all of them. I, like you, prefer to hunt turkeys with light guns because we do carry them much more than we shoot them in the turkey woods.
I have found however that a 26" barrel on most guns will pattern better than a shorter barrel on a similar gun. Both will usually pattern well enough to kill turkeys at all reasonable ranges.
We now have a number of hunters/shooters who spend more time "shooting paper" than they do shooting turkeys. When they read of the patterns that some other folks are shooting and then shoot their guns, they can be terribly disappointed.
We all know that there can be many reasons for differences in how guns pattern and barrel length is only one of them. I've found that a 26" barrel allows more than enough burn time for lead/tungsten-based turkey loads and also for steel shot loads that sometimes need more barrel length to effect a complete burn.
I also test a lot of different shotshells from different manufacturers and have been a still target shooter for a few years. I've tried the 30" barrels and like them because they seem to give me more stability and less muzzle whip but I don't see any better patterns with them than with the 26" barrels.
When I drop down to 24" barrels, I notice some loss of patterning, using the same choke(s) and shells. As I drop inches, I continue to see more loss. All however can cleanly kill turkeys.
Knowing how your particular gun/choke/shell combo shoots and having confidence in it and yourself, is probably more important than any other feature of your gun.
I appreciate your comments and suggestions and certainly take no offense.
"If he's out of range, it just means that he has another day and so do you."