The methodology of experimental research of long cylindrical shells to determine their stress-strain state, carrying capacity and crack resistance is proposed. To implement the task, the authors have developed a special stand. Eight cylindrical shell models were made for testing - four of reinforced concrete and four of fiber concrete. Fibro-concrete specimens-shells had additional dispersed reinforcement by steel fiber with bent ends in an amount of 1% by volume of concrete. All specimens-shells had a constant length and cross-sectional radius, and varied the thickness of the shell and the size of the cross-sectional section of the board elements. The paper presents the results of tests of reinforced concrete cylindrical shell, which showed that the carrying capacity of the shell was 96.4 kN, and the first crack formed with a load of 42.9 kN, which is 44.5 % of the carrying capacity. Up to the moment of bearing capacity loss, 8 cracks with the same initial opening width of 0.05 mm and maximum final opening width of 0.8 mm had formed in the shell. Computer modeling of the shell and calculations with ANSYS 17.1 licensed software were performed. The bearing capacity determined in ANSYS was 93.0 kN, which is 3.6 % less than in the experiment. The test methodology and the developed stand are universal and will be used for further research.