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Barony

3" vrs 3 1/2"

10 posts in this topic

There was a post in another category by someone looking for a 3 1/2 auto and it got me thinking. My upland guns are 3", and my waterfowler gun is a 3 1/2". I like the 3 1/2" and think it's cool to have one, but does a hunter really need one? My dad still shoots 2 3/4 at ducks and thinks the 3"+ is "overkill". I wouldn't think of shooting 2 3/4. What are the opinions?

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Depends how good of shot you are grin.gif. I like a 3 1/2 just because I have more shot especially when shooting steel shot. But 2 3/4 and 3 will put them down just as well.

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I Shoot 2 3/4 for upland and 3 for waterfowl. Like iff said, it's how good you shoot grin.gifgrin.gif.

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Being a good shot is only part of it. I have shot thousands of rounds at water fowl. Lets take Canada's. It it's a 20-30 yard shot anything will do. But if your going beyond the 40/50 yard mark you will never regret the 3 1/2. I shot a remington 1100 3 inch for 10 years and shot lots of waterfowl. Then I baught a Browning Gold 3 1/2 and can bring down Canada's from 40/50 yards no problem. Did I become a better shot? No. It isn't a night and day difference but it is a difference. If I was shooting with a guy who only had 2 3/4 i would wait until he was done shooting before I started. I would say even for a good shot a 3 in shell is good to about 40 yards. I'm sure lots of people have taken Canada's beyond that. But I used to not take many shots beyond 40 yards but now with my 3 1/2 it's 50 yards. Don't let anyone fool you. Close shots anything will work but the farther the shot the saying "bigger is better" is true.

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I really don't see the benefits for everyday hunting (I can't shoot a goose to save my life). I used to really like the 3 1/2 for turkey hunting but I have shot turkeys out to 50 yards with a 3" (misjudged the distance). It is true you get more shot but you also pay for it. It is nice to have in case you need it.

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You're right for everyday hunting. I'm just talking about waterfowl. I shoot over 150 geese a year in Canada and the US. For deer, pheasant, clays, I shoot what ever shell I happen to have at that time. Clays and deer mostly 2 3/4. Haven't been on a Turkey yet. But I think I would go with the 3 1/2 but if it's close enough a knife would work. grin.gif

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I can't speak for waterfowling, but regarding turkey, my recommendation is mixed. Much here, depends on lead vs. non-tox "hevi-type" loads.

Back when I shot buffered, copperplated lead (3 1/2"), you'd get such a boom out of the load, that you'd actually flatten some of the lead pellets towards the back end of the shot-string. These would then "frisbee" and be fliers for you anyway, giving you some benefit, but rather little compared to your average 3" magnum load.

The "hevi-type" loads, being harder and denser than lead, resist the tendency to do this, meaning you really are getting more bang for your buck with the 3 1/2" loads.

At least with turkeys, I'm convinced that what kills them is total pellets with enough ft/lbs energy to penetrate and break bone, in a dense, even, pattern. IMO, total pellets trumps most all else, given that you have enough energy at whatever range you're shooting at. A 3 1/2" shell has quite a bit more payload, thus more pellets to achieve this goal.

Many will say with turkeys and waterfowl alike, "keep your shots within your effective range," or "don't shoot past 40." However, these recommendations rarely mimic normal hunting conditions; with fog, rises/dips in terrain, and fast-action come errors in judgement of distance and otherwise. We don't hunt on a football field, and while I bowhunt and practice ranging targets and animals regularly, I can be as much as 10 yards or more off, depending on conditions, slope, location, etc.

If it's in your budget, I'd strongly consider it for turkeys at least, when using the non-tox shot.

Joel

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Hull length is not really a factor. Payload and velocity is what counts. I'm strictly and upland hunter, and I don't see the need to shoot more than 1 1/4 oz loads. A 2 3/4" shell will handle that fine. If I want to kill birds at 60 yards I'm more concerned about what choke and shot size I'm using than hull length.

Personally if I need to pack enough shot into a shell to justify a 3 1/2" 12 gauge, I'll be using a ten guage. With it's larger diameter a 10 gauge has a smaller shot string and is more effective.

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I would agree with the 10 gauge statement. If I was a strickly goose hunter I would by a 10 gauge or if I was rich and could afford a wide assortment of guns I'd have one for every occasion. But The difference in price from a 3inch 12 gauge to a 3 1/2 12 gauge isn't much. Plus it's added versitality. I wouldn't want to be the guy lugging around a 10 gauge all day through the cattails hunting pheasants. Plus if you ever go to resell the gun teh 3 1/2 is much easier to sell.

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Really good points guys. I particularly like the choke comment and the "not hunting on a footbal field". Man if I could just get a deer or turkey to walk on a football field!

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