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Rick:

I am a huge fan of the 16" barrel in rifles chambered for pistol catridges. It makes for a light weight, fast handling rifle that's perfect for pack, truck or just plinking.

The 16" length gives more than enough tube for complete combustion and generous velocities in the pistol calibers.

The only advantages that I can see for the 20" are aesthetic (some like the longer look), balance (as Dutch said, but this is a matter of personal preference) and slightly longer sight radius (a non-issue if you install a receiver sight or ghost ring set up).

My personal favorite is the buttery smooth Marlin 1894 with a 16" barrel.
 

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Speaking of aesthetics there's nothing like the graceful uncluttered lines of a Winchester 94 or Marlin 1894 (with the older thin forearm) sporting a long, slender 24" (preferably octagon) barrel. They're works of art.
 
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