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3" mags or 3-1/2"

9976 Views 48 Replies 28 Participants Last post by  mcbirch
Are the 3" mag loads like Hevi-shot or Bismuth enough for geese or am I gonna need the 3-1/2"? It was my understanding that the 3-1/2" was developed to make up for the losses in firepower associated with steel shot, so with other no-tox materials is that big shell really necessary? I have read that some of the 3-1/2" guns are not as relaible as their 3" counterparts, i.e, 870 vs 870 supermag, 500 vs 835.
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Umm I'm a wussy i'll admitBut with 3 1/2 mags your gonna be bawlin back to your mommy. I mean lots of "tough" guys i know have tried then decided they weren't "man enough" to shoot them But i'd go witht he 3 1/2 if ya don't want to have a shoulder left over afterwards
Yeah SCG you are a wussy, I use 3 1/2 inchers for dove and clays. I burn 200- 300 each week.OK now the truth, you should be able to get along quite well with the 3 inch loaded with hevi-shot, compare the ballistics of your favorite brand between the 3 1/2 in steels and the 3 in hevis it should give you a good comparison in performance.
do just fine for me, that stuff is flat amazing at dropping birds.Look carefully at the loads and you will see that there isn't a lot of difference in the 3" vs the 3.5" in HS, save your money on the long ones.My Citori will handle the 3.5's and I have launched some BBB's out of it, but I don't want to do that regular like, just as Ms. Wuss said, it will hurt your feelings. Thats what I got the BPS-10 for :) Edited by: Rick618 at: 9/17/02 8:14:32 pm
Yes i am a WUSS. I got turkey hunting with 2 3/4 in an auto. But i'd like to see you guys girlfriends/wifes go huntin before you spout off about me not shooting 3 or 3 1/2" shells.HUH HUHI'm joking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
You won't see my wife going hunting, that might require more effort than it takes to click the remote or go to the fridge for more bon-bons.
Are these big mommas for turkey then, or what. I can remember my grandpop bringing in many a honker with a 2.75" Remington. So since new no-tox loads are as good as or superior to lead then the 3.5"s seem like a waste of money.
I purchased a Remington 870 SuperMag that I use primarily for turkey and deer. Using 3.5" #4's through a full choke, a turkey hasn't got a prayer at 45 yards.When I'm hunting in thick brush, I use 3.5" 00 buckshot and my IC choke.Yeah, to some, the recoil is pretty stout, but I'm 6'2, 235 lbs, so the recoil ain't that bad for me. Of course, I do very little duck or goose hunting here in MS, so I'm not shooting very many at any one time.I'll go out on a limb here, but I think that there has probably been more game harvested with a 2.75" 12 gauge shotgun than with any other firearm in modern times. A 2.75" shell will certainly do the will the 3", but for me, I like the added "oomph" of the 3.5", no matter how small.
And what about the guns? I've heard that the lenghtening of the 870 action caused some problems.
I haven't had any problems with mine at all. I've put close to 500 round through it so far and haven't had any failures to feed or eject.I haven't heard of anyone else having any trouble with one, ither.
I've had a Remington 870 Supermag (3 1/2") and I've had problems with it jamming....sometimes the shells won't load in the magazine and sometimes they won't eject. Have you heard of similar problems?
I sell all of the above and what you feel comfortable shooting is the most important thing in hunting ducks, geese or anything else. If the gun is going to kick your butt everytime you shoot it, you are not gonna shoot so good. I can have about what I want from my store, but I still prefer the 2 3/4" Browning A-5 in Improved Cylinder whether shooting ducks or geese. I shot Bismuth and I have no problem at all. I feel confident in my gun and that makes all the difference in the world. The bigger shells are for to increase sales mainly. A fellow told me at the SHOT show several years ago that the average hunter back East needed a 4 power scope and out West a 6 power. He said a 40 MM was sufficient and I agree with him. You can usually use the binos or spotting scopes for the glassing and use the scope for shooting. But the scopes were made in higher powers and diameters to satisfy the public and I think to a certain degree the 3 1/2" guns were developed to satisfy the need for more power, which I really don't think you have if you will look at the 2 3/4" FPS and the 3" and the 3 1/2" FPS. If the shot is done correctly and placed where it should be then the kill will be effected, but I really think the larger or longer lengths contribute to many birds being crippled and lost due to hunters thinking they can take longer shots. My two cents worrth but you should remember...................take a kid hunting or fishing.......................
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i personally don't see the need for them. although i don't hunt ducks or geese, much i have patterned my gun and i know that my gun throws a better pattern at 40 yards with 3" #6's hevishot than with 3.5 #2's in steel. i patterned a browning bps for turkey hunting a few years ago and i don't ever hunt with the 3.5's anymore. even when i patterned the hevi shot against the 2 1/4 oz of #4's turkey loads i didn't see a significant difference. in my opinon i would only buy a 3". The hevi shot evens the playing field. i know of some guys who take their wives hunting with 20 gauges and give them the hevishot and they do well with it.
Recoil...what recoil? When I am shooting at "game", I am so excited that I feel no recoil. I hope that I never get over the "rush" of actually pulling the trigger. I shoot 3 1/2s in an 870 for turkey and geese and get great results. I have promised myself time and time again that I would migrate to 3" shells, but we all know that a human's nature is "the bigger, the better".
ok look balistically at 1 1/4oz 12ga 3". the #4 shot in heavyshot is better in terms of energy, downrange velocity and knockdown power than bb in steal. you also get more pellets in your pattern in these quoted heavyshot loads than in 3 1/2" 12ga bb loads. after seeing geese drop I would feel comfortable (even though they dont make it) shooting geese with 1 1/8oz #6 in a 2 3/4" 12ga.
tj, they have that load in the 3" 20 ***** if you interested.

As for 3.5" i'm in agreement with most it seems to be a waste. If you interested in throwing a ton of shot, buy a 10 *****. If you interested in making clean kills then use Hevi-Shot in 2.75" and 3" shells. I've had plenty of friends wear me out in the pheasant fields with hot 28 gauges. Dead is dead when you put enough shot in the right place.
For me...The 3" shell is all that I need. I recently purchased a Franchi 612 3" semi-automatic shotgun. It will cycle the light 1oz loads thru the 3" magnum 2oz Turkey loads all day long without a single hiccup. The 3" magnum shell has come a long ways...all the way to a 2oz load of lead. With the advent of Hevi-shot, Bismuth loads, to copper plated lead, the 3" magnum shell offers all that I need for hunting. It is all about what suits you. For Deer hunting some think the 30-06 is enough and some feel you need a Weatherby Magnum Caliber rifle. We all need a hobby in life...something other than work...Hunting, Shooting and reloading are all great hobbies. It is great to have something to look forward too, like a Dove hunt in the near future. It is a great pleasure to day dream about an uncoming Hunt, shoot or even just a reloading session. It is nothing wrong with being a little selfish in life once in a while, with the demands of work, Family and children...we all need a little time for ourselves.
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Besides being ballistically inefficient, 3.5's kick too hard to shoot well unless you're a big dude. Why bother. Hear ye, hear ye, Shotguns are most efficient with lighter loads, not heavier ones. It's the law of diminishing returns.
3" in HS is plenty for geese and turkey. I use 3" HS for turkey and it works wonders. I just don't see the need for the 3.5" especially when considering the price.
The thing that seems to be overlooked here is the original reason for the 3-1/2.... steel shot. Steel is lighter (less dense, actually) than lead, so a larger hull would allow you to get the same WEIGHT of shot that you had with lead in a 3 incher.

Once you start putting lead or Tungsten or bismuth shot in a 3-1/2, the shot charge gets so heavy that the muzzle velocity starts to drop - remember, you're limited by max pressure, and the heavier the shot charge, the slower it's going to be. Some of this limitation has been overcome with powders designed for a LONG burn, holding max pressure longer, so the velocity doesn't drop as much. There is a nasty side effect, however; like Scotty used to say on Star Trek, "I canno' disobey the laws of physics, Cap'n" - Recoil.

I used to shoot 3 inch steel for ducks; now I shoot 2-3/4 with 1-1/2 oz of #4, and I only use the 3 inchers (with #2 HS) for geese. The bottom line? I don't really see the advantage to the 3-1/2 inchers - the recievers on the 3-1/2 inch guns are so long that the guns don't seem to balance correctly, the guns are more expensive than the same gun in 3 inch, and, despite what some people seem to think, I don't believe the effective range is any greater than what you get with a 3 inch load.

Now all you 3-1/2 inch lovers can jump to the defense of your beloved cannons - but I notice that most of you have one funny shoulder.
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