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Old November 6, 2008, 11:10 AM   #1
mberman09
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How about the Barrel

So as I've said before I'm in the market for an O/U. And the guns I'm looking at either have 2 3/4 bore or 3" bore, now what is the main difference besides the obvious. If I have a gun with 3 or 2 3/4 does that change what kind of shells I can shoot? What is the advantage of either and which one in your opinion is better. Again I'm looking to hunt with this gun and also shoot skeet and clays.

Thanks,

Mitch
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Old November 6, 2008, 12:33 PM   #2
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We're all aware, .22 rim fire ammo comes in various lengths (S, L and LR), and so does shotgun ammunition. Standard 12-ga sizes are 2 3/4, 3 and 3 1/2-inch; however, shells can be loaded to almost any length.

In the not too distant past, 2 3/4-inch was the standard 12-ga chambering and guns with longer chambers were known as magnums. Presently, most 12-ga shotguns are chambered for 3-inch shells. Keep in mind, the longer the shell the more powerful is potential; therefore, longer chambers require stronger guns.

In general application, the 2 3/4-inch 12-ga shell is the standard for tactical, hunting and target shooting. It's versatile and can be loaded from very light to heavy. To some, shooting 2 3/4-inch heavies exceeds their comfort zone and they're not interested in anything longer. The 3 and 3 1/2-inch shells are for larger game, greater range and tactical conditions.

An advantage of top break shotguns (single shot, SxS and O/U) is they function flawlessly with any shell length that doesn't exceed their chamber length. Pumps and auto-loaders are not so flexible.
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Old November 6, 2008, 12:43 PM   #3
mberman09
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Just to clarify, if I have an O/U can I shoot 2 3/4 or 3" interchangibly?
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Old November 6, 2008, 12:54 PM   #4
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If you have an O/U chambered for 3" shells, you can fire either 2-3/4" or 3" shells through it.

Most field guns are chambered for 3" shells, allowing you to choose which you want to fire, but trap and skeet guns are typically chambered for 2-3/4" shells. Chamber length is usually marked on the barrel.

If the O/U is chambered for 2-3/4" shells, you can only fire 2-3/4" shells through it.
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Old November 6, 2008, 01:14 PM   #5
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To add to that - if the gun is chambered and marked for 2-3/4", that is the MAX length cartridge you can fire - as measured by a fired hull. You could also shoot 2 and 2-1/2" if so inclined, (but they are expensive)
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Old November 6, 2008, 01:27 PM   #6
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One more item re chamber length: As stated, do NOT fire shells longer than the chamber length of your gun as stamped on the barrel. Note that length of shells refers to fired length, not loaded length. That is, UNFIRED 3" shells will fit into 2 3/4" chambers but when fired the cases will unfold forward and exceed the chamber length. This can increase pressures substantially and is NOT recommended as a safe practice.
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Old November 6, 2008, 01:49 PM   #7
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If you are going to hunt with it - in general, I think you'll be better off with a gun chanbered in 3" so you'll have more shell options to choose from.

But, if you have a 2 3/4" chambered gun - you can hunt with it as well, but you will be more limited on shell options.

Like others advised - you cannot shoot 3" shells in a gun that has a 2 3/4" chamber - so read the boxes of the shells you buy carefully. I've seen more than one shooter show up at the range with 3" shells when he had a 2 3/4" chambered gun because they misunderstood the markings on the box between 3 Dram and 3" .
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Old November 6, 2008, 02:16 PM   #8
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2-inch 12-ga reloads

There was a good 'ol boy at the T & S club who was determined to get as many reloads as possible from his hulls. He loaded 1 1/8-oz, 2 3/4-in, 12-ga target loads. When the plastic at crimp started to burn thought, he made his own 2-inch shells buy trimming off the crimp, and changing to 7/8-oz loads. He'd modified his reloading press so it could be set-up to for his 2-inch shells. His O/U needed no changes to shoot the 2-inch 12's.

I thought the whole process was a little bizarre and time consuming, but he was quite proud of his accomplishment. The 2-inch 12's were quite a conversation piece for a while. Since the ol' boy wasn't a very consistent shooter, it was hard to tell how well the shortened shells performed.
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Old November 6, 2008, 02:24 PM   #9
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Makes me think about the column in Shotgun Sports Magazine - the "Aloof gang" ....that's the kind of stuff you could see of those boys trying ... and then debating the balistics for 2 hours over lunch ....

I'm not associated with the magazine in any way ( just a subscriber ) - but I think its a great magazine. There is a mix of topics on Target shooting and hunting primarily - but its a good mix of articles / very well written in my opinion. One of the few mags I literally read cover to cover vs go thru in 10 min or less on some of the others.

http://www.shotgunsportsmagazine.com/
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Old November 6, 2008, 02:44 PM   #10
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Some very intense shotgunners feel that accuracy or pattern density suffer from a 2 3/4 shell firing from a 3 inch chamber. But for routine shooting by average guys like me I do not notice it at all.
Brent
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Old November 6, 2008, 02:55 PM   #11
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Quote:
I've seen more than one shooter show up at the range with 3" shells when he had a 2 3/4" chambered gun because they misunderstood the markings on the box between 3 Dram and 3"
A point very well taken, BigJim.
It's nice to see that we're were slowly breaking away from the antiquated dram equivalent info and giving velocity. There are so many more loads available these days, it's easy to get confused.

Sadly, many shells are labeled extra light, maximum, or something similar, and you don't have a clue what you're actually getting.
If you don't know that 26 grams equals 7/8-oz, you're really in the dark with these shells.

Last edited by zippy13; November 6, 2008 at 06:47 PM. Reason: ICT4S
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Old November 6, 2008, 06:29 PM   #12
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You gotta love those " marketing guys " ......
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Old November 6, 2008, 06:44 PM   #13
mberman09
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So bottom line.....

2 3/4" or 3"

Which is the better of the two?

Opinions anyone?
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Old November 6, 2008, 07:10 PM   #14
hogdogs
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If it matters to you I have shot maybe 5 rounds of 3 inch in my life... If you water fowl or turkey hunt yeah 3 inch. Other than that you would only need 3 inch for a higher payload or maybe a longer range... I use 2 3/4 for everything. Much easier on the body especially when just shooting.
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Last edited by hogdogs; November 7, 2008 at 12:20 AM.
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Old November 6, 2008, 11:56 PM   #15
zippy13
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Quote:
mberman09:
So bottom line.....

2 3/4" or 3"

Which is the better of the two?

Opinions anyone?
There is no "better" chamber size, no more than a 3/4-ton pick-up is better than a 1/2-ton -- they're different.
You said you want a gun for targets and hunting -- hunting what? As hogdogs said, you might want 3-inch chambers if you're going for turkeys or waterfowl and want an extra punch, otherwise 2 3/4-inch will be fine.
For me, I wouldn't let chamber length be a deciding factor unless I was specifically getting a dedicated turkey or duck gun.
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Old November 7, 2008, 08:47 AM   #16
SumToy Custom Barrel
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From the test work we have did the 2 3/4 will hit harder and repeat better. If you are just going to hunt and play with it go with what ever you find and you like. The new guns the 2 3/4 will be more $$$$.
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Old November 7, 2008, 05:42 PM   #17
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What the heck ...

Sumtoy you said:
PHP Code:
.." From the test work we have did the 2 3/4 will hit harder and repeat better. If you are just going to hunt and play with it go with what ever you find and you like. The new guns the 2 3/4 will be more $$$$. 
I have to disagree with all the points you are making.

I don't know of any balistics tests that suggest 2 3/4" vs 3" shells change the velocity / so they certainly can't hit harder just because they're 1/4" longer. You can shoot 1 1/8 oz in a 2 3/4" shell - just like you can in a
3" shell - and if both shells have a velocity of 1200 fps / they will both perform the same / and they will both hit just as hard if they have the same size shot in the loads. If you can site some tests, I would like to take a look at them.

2 3/4" chambers are not just on new guns, they've been around a long time. Some of the newer guns chambered in 3 1/2" are a little more expensive than a gun chambered in 3" ...but that isn't what you said, and this person is asking about 2 3/4" vs 3" ... 2 3/4" guns are often higher grade target guns / and they may be more expensive for any number of reasons - but not just because they're chambered in 2 3/4".
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Old November 7, 2008, 09:55 PM   #18
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DONT PUT THE 3 in IN THE 2 3/4 BAD VERY BAD. But you can put the 2 3/4 into the 3 in . Their is a price diiference between the two guns some of the target guns i shot over the summer like the Silver Seitz double barrel was only 20 k i think. And the one 3 in i have is only 1 k. Just depends on quality and make or model
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Old November 8, 2008, 12:18 AM   #19
SumToy Custom Barrel
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BigJimP What I was talking about is how meny shot it will put on a card. Not the force that it will hit with. LOL We do alot of target guns and we rechamber 90 % of what we do. The chamber is 50 % of what will make the gun hit the same spot over and over.
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