I know that this question has been asked several of times already in the past. I've read a lot of online articles and forums, and found out that people have different opinions, becomes confuse and starts to go off topic. Now lets get this straight. I'm a waterfowler and shoot a 12 GA. Lets talk about STEEL loads and leave out the lead, tungsten, bismuth, etc. This is to the folks who have a lot of experience in shotgun ballistics. How much of a difference in performance is there does the maximum load with the same shot size used for waterfowling in the 3" shells compare with the 3.5" shell? Does the different size shells contains more pellets, velocity, energy? I know for a fact that most of the time when people are shooting in public areas, they're not able to work their birds close enough for a ethical shot, because when they're working their birds, the other guys fires and most of the time, the game is over. In situations like this, most waterfowlers get mad and begin to skyscrape using 3.5" size shells to get a higher velocity and range shot at the birds. I understand that others use different shot materials for higher velocity, higher energy and longer range, but again we're talking STEEL. Again, talking about STEEL, is the 3.5" shells in its maximum load more capable in velocity, range and energy than the 3" shells that is also in its maximum load for long range waterfowl hunting? I'm new to this 3" and 3.5" thing that really gets on my nerves and even got me and my friend into a argument. I really want to know from the more experience guys, so lets get this straight for the waterfowlers.