View Full Version : 3 or 3 1/2 for Turkey.

March 7, 2012, 09:10 PM
I just got a Mossberg 535 that is chambered for both. Is it really best to use 3 1/2" or is that overkill? I have heard some are moving back to 3" due to that. My shoulder would appreciate 3" if it is 90% as adequate. Any less than that and I will move up to 3 1/2. Thank you.

March 7, 2012, 10:18 PM
I've never had a turkey make me mad enough to want to shoot it with a 3.5" shell.

They have no place on a turkey hunt. I shoot 3" shells just for a little extra insurance and could probably do just as well with 2 3/4"

The 3.5" shells were designed for goose hunters who needed more room in their shells for large steel shot, and wanted the versatility to shoot lighter shells when not goose hunting. With 1980's steel shot that made a little sense, and to a lesser extent does today.

Since steel shot is not needed for turkey there is no real reason to use those big shells with recoil approaching elephant gun levels to kill a small bird.

Irish B
March 7, 2012, 10:50 PM
If you want the Turkey to be shot, gutted, plucked, and cooked all before you have a chance to get to it then go with the 3 1/2's

March 8, 2012, 12:15 AM
I've shot turkey's with 2 3/4", 3", and 3 1/2", all died about the same. 3" is easily 90% of a 3 1/2" IMHO so save your shoulder.

March 8, 2012, 07:14 AM
Thanks what I was thinking. Thanks guys.

Old Grump
March 8, 2012, 12:28 PM
I use 2 3/4" 20 gauge #4 or #6 shot. Dead is dead and the turkey doesn't seem to be able to tell the difference. Yet everybody at the weigh station tells me proudly that they used a 3 1/2 by golly full growed up magnum shell by golly you betcha. Knock them dead loads is the ticket that men use and then they look at my puny Mossberg like I was an idiot. I guess load size is determined by how much testosterone you have to display. :D

March 8, 2012, 12:31 PM
I use 3s and even feel it's a bit much. Just think of how many ducks and turkeys have been taken with 2 3/4s over the years.

March 8, 2012, 12:53 PM
Have used both the 2.75" and 3" on turkey.

Pattern your shotgun with both trying different shot size(4,5,6's even 7's) and use the load it likes best.

IMO, 3.5" is just not necessary for turkey and when advertised by the hunting/gun rags as the 'ultimate turkey load', is just no more then marketing hype.

March 8, 2012, 01:34 PM
What I have found is that 3'' shells pattern better outta my turkey guns as opposed to the 3 1/2''. I believe it is because trying to ram a 10ga load down a 12ga barrel deforms the shot and gives more flyers.

March 8, 2012, 07:49 PM
Either 2.75" or 3" is fine. I don't see any reason that you'd 3.5".

March 8, 2012, 08:11 PM
More important then 2-3/4, 3 or 3-1/2 is the shot size. Shoot the right size shot that will guarantee you get some in the head and use that. Head/neck shot not body shot and you don't have to pick it out of the meat either. All the ammo makers want you to buy the super special, magnum, disintigrate them loads that they give you five of for three times the price of a box of 25 normal shells.

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
March 8, 2012, 11:29 PM
You guys are great and fun besides!

However, considering the state of the e-con-o-me it would likely be much better if we'd all run right out and buy at least one new 10ga each, and 300 400 rounds of SUPER :eek: TURKEY getters just to make sure we get er done.

Oh and don't forget another 100 rounds for open'in morning shoot'in!

Can't never have tooooo much gun ya know! :D:D:D

Sides, some folk like turkey berger. ;)

Keep em coming!

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot

March 9, 2012, 09:13 AM
Only bigger is better.
You really need a 10 ga. with a 4" shell. :rolleyes:

Irish B
March 9, 2012, 09:26 AM
I use a punt gun for Turkey huntin! :D

Old Grump
March 10, 2012, 12:02 PM
My 10 is set up for goose with #3 steel shot. I don't even want to think what that would do Tom Turkey at 35 yards. Oy Vey :eek:

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
March 10, 2012, 02:28 PM
Aaaaaaaah, why your just an, "Old Grump."

Pretty much like the Crusty Ol'Coot and not much fun at all! :)


Old Grump
March 11, 2012, 02:01 PM
Aaaaaaaah, why your just an, "Old Grump."

Pretty much like the Crusty Ol'Coot and not much fun at all!

CDOC An don' you fergit it either. :D

Crusty Deary Ol'Coot
March 11, 2012, 04:32 PM
One nice thing about be'in an Ol'Grump/Coot is ya can say about anything ya want and get away with it.

:D:D WELL ALMOST ANYTHING! :p :eek: :cool:

Or maybe it is that everyone just considers the source. :rolleyes:


March 11, 2012, 07:24 PM
Whatever the market(shoulder) will bear.

Back in the late 70s went w/ a neighbor turkey hunting. We stopped a couple place to listen. Pretty soon we stopped and one gobbled fairly close. He grabbed the gun and his son drove the car away. We both found stumps and hunkered down. I called and got an immediate response. Called in a minutes or so-another response and definitely closer. Bird was now in sight and coming.

I had a tag for the next season, later in the week. I was just starting to think-is that bird close enough-would I shoot and BANG. The friend, who was 15 yrds farther from the bird than me fired. The bird exploded into the air, I ran down that way but he was gone into the next zip code as one would expect.

Frank came trotting up and said "I thought I could get a couple into him"-I guess it was gobbler fever.

I explained he was too far and the bird was still coming-why shoot!! oh well.

I missed one later in the week at about the same spot.

March 14, 2012, 03:04 AM
A 3.5" twelve ga. shell in an alloy framed pump like the Mossberg will get your undivided attention I promise.

The 3.5 was created to address the steel shot problems in waterfowl hunting, and is not necesarry with lead or "space shot" (my term for the heavy metal pellets that are so expensive) as used on turkeys.

A 3" shell is plenty. I've killed a few gobblers w/ std 1-1/4 oz field loads, and 1-1/2 short mags too. My pet load at present is the Win 3" high velocity shell w/ 1-5/8 oz of #5 lead shot.

March 14, 2012, 07:23 AM
Yes 3" is plenty. The most important thing is to pattern the load !!! Size and shape of the load is what gets the turkey . Any time you use a shotgun pattern the load !

March 15, 2012, 12:37 AM
I meant 1-3/4 oz hi vel