View Full Version : curious about 2 3/4" 3" or 3 1/2"

April 3, 2009, 12:35 AM
I have read through quite a few posts on hunting, HD, etc... and noticed that few people mention what length shell they are using.

Basically, I am curious about what shell lengths you all use for different purposes.




Oh, not that it really matters, but growing up shooting a .303 enfield as my first rifle, then various other metal butt-plated rifles, like my Grandfathers 30-06.
I learned either to ignore the recoil and/or learned how to absorb it.
In a nutshell, recoil doesn't really matter to me so I shoot 3" and 3 1/2" and it doesn't bother me.

April 3, 2009, 12:44 AM
I cant speak for hunting rounds as I dont hunt. But, for HD, its 2 3/4" all the way. Anything above that is overkill (no pun intended) as far as Im concerned and frankly, only serves in potentially stunting overall capacity. This, for HD, is not a great thing.

April 3, 2009, 01:20 AM
All I use is 2 3/4" for HD and hunting but all I hunt is quail and pheasant (maybe some turkey this year though)...I just don't need anything bigger.

April 3, 2009, 02:49 AM
I shoot 2 3/4 in everything when I am hunting anything that doesn't require steel shot. When I go goose and duck hunting which is few and far between now, I shoot 3 and 3 1/2 steel, only because steel sucks so much you need the bigger shot size to bring them down and I want to keep the pellet count high.

April 3, 2009, 07:13 AM
I'd have to go with 2-1/2" as all my shotguns have Damascus barrels and short chambers. ;)

April 3, 2009, 07:17 AM
2 3/4!!! Shotgunning is supposed to be fun... I like my big dogs to bark here and bite over there.... not bite on both ends...

April 3, 2009, 07:20 AM
The main reason that some shells have now gone to 3" and 3 1/2" lengths is because it gives more room for a less-dense steel-shot payload, which is now required for waterfowling in most areas; the older 2 3/4" shell will still do everything most people will ever want or need (as long as they do their part).

April 3, 2009, 03:13 PM
2 3/4" for most shooting. I use 3" for steel shot when waterfowl hunting. Hard to get enough of the bigger steel pellets in the shorter shells. I go back and forth between 2 3/4" or 3" for turkey. Probably could use the shorter shells just fine but a box of 10 shells will last for years of turkey hunting. I figure I can stand the recoil and cost for 2-3 (at most) shots per year.

I played around with 3 1/2" for a while. I have no use for them.

April 3, 2009, 04:25 PM
2-3/4 for everything - You must be young......wait until you get older and the shoulder has aches and pains that make arthritis seem pleasant.......there's no need to beat yourself up having a good time....unless you're into masochism

April 3, 2009, 05:10 PM
2 3/4" for bird hunting / unless I'm goose hunting or pass shooting ducks - then I go to 3" for a little more shot typically - and a little faster shell.

Even if I'm hunting ducks over decoys - I stay with 2 3/4" shells.

I don't shoot 3 1/2" for anything.

I hunt big game with rifles - not shotguns.

April 3, 2009, 05:27 PM
I've killed deer with everything from 2 3/4" (buck and slugs) to 3" and 3.5" 00 buckshot. I mostly stick with 3" these days as the 3.5"'s are truly overkill.

I've killed turkey with 3" and 3.5" and again I stick to the 3" these days.

Coyotes 3"

HD, 2 3/4"

Small game, dove, quail 2 3/4"

I don't do waterfowl.

April 3, 2009, 05:27 PM
Generally, when folks are talking about 12-ga they mean the 2 3/4-inch shells, otherwise they'll mention the shell length.

April 3, 2009, 06:31 PM
For those of you too young to remember the "good old days", waterfowl hunting laws changed a couple of decades ago to eliminate the use of lead shot for hunting waterfowl. The steel shot that replaced lead is less dense therefore has less knockdown power. Hunters started loosing game. To make up for it, they had to up up in shot size. Those hunting over decoys that use to use 5's and 6's now had to use #4. Those pass shooting that were using #4's now had to start using #2 to get the same hitting power. Going up in size meant that they were throwing up far fewer pellets resulting in less dense patterns.

To compensate for the lack of pellets, manufacturers came up with the 3.5" shell. Using the larger shot, it has the same pellet count as the old 3" shells with small shot.

Then, turkey hunters jumped on the bandwagon. They discovered that they could go up one size plus get much more pellets in the 3.5" shell. When combined with the super tight turkey chokes, they could now reach out 50 yds and further. The downside, is that turkeys that pop out of the bushes at short range now frequently get missed completely because the shot cup still hasn't opened up.

April 3, 2009, 10:37 PM
2 3/4" slugs for deer
3" for Turkeys
2 3/4 everything else

James R. Burke
April 4, 2009, 03:01 PM
For grouse in Michigan I use a 20ga 2 3/4" full power loads. I always believe in using the max. Where I live I see alot of people by the cheapest 12 ga shells they can get, that are probably equal to my 20ga. So why lug the 12ga around? I guess to each is own.

April 4, 2009, 03:19 PM
For me, the only game I could need longer bigger shells would be turkey and for that I would max out at 3 inch for the added payload and possibly a bit more energy on out at the far end of the distance range.
No other game or task would cause me to want more than 2 3/4. I doubt I will do much turkey hunting so likely won't worry about them high dollar shells.

April 4, 2009, 08:13 PM



HD. 2 3/4" buckshot
deer. 2 3/4" buckshot or slugs,3" buckshot
turkey 3" #4,5,6 shot.
geese 3"
quail ,i don't hunt quail but if i did. 2 3/4"
rabbit,squirrel,woodchuck,pheasant 2 3/4".
predators: coyote,fox 3"