View Full Version : 3 1/2" 12 gauge pump gun?

March 3, 2011, 08:47 PM
Hi guys. I've been in the market for a new shotgun. I'd like to be able to use it for home defense and maybe shooting stuff in the woods, from clay pigeons to turkeys and geese. I know that an HD gun won't be best for woods shooting and vice versa, do you think there is a happy medium? Or do I need two barrels? Two shotguns?
I really like the look of the Benelli Nova tactical shotguns. I like the idea of having the capability to shoot 3 1/2" shells (not that I'm going to shoot them a lot) and I like the rifle sights. I handled one today and it seemed nice enough, the LOP seemed right and the action was smooth enough for me. They can be found locally for $400 plus tax. I've seen them on Gunbroker for $300 used, but then shipping and transfer adds up to almost $100. What do you all think? Should I go with a super nova for the ability to change the barrels? Or look at something comparable by Mossberg? Remmington?
I already have a Mossberg maverick 88 that will handle 3" And I also have probably 100 rounds of 3 1/2" steel (for geese?) shot shells that a buddy of mine gave me.

March 3, 2011, 08:53 PM
I have an regular Benelli Nova and I love it, I always thought about getting one of the tactical models but I never get around to it. You wont be dissapointed, they are reliable and functional.

Edit: FWIW if I were you Id get the plain jane black super nova and get a couple good chokes to suit your different uses. It will be a bugger trying to hit clays and geese with those tactical sights.

March 3, 2011, 08:57 PM
I'm stayin out of this brand or that for the gun.

But, if you want a pump, you really need to look at the BLACKHAWK! SPECOPS STOCK w- Knoxx RST as an add on. It takes the thump outta the heaviest loads.

I just bolted one on this week and have been stunned at the recoil suppression.

See this thread for more: http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=181907

March 3, 2011, 11:29 PM
I have the Benelli Super Nova and think it will do what you want although it is not per se a HD or tactical shotgun. However, it will probably be ok for HD. The recoil pad/system really helps but trust me 3 1/2 shells are simply no fun to shoot for an extended period of time. It is nice though to have it if you need it. :)

I would assume most pump shotguns would do what you are needing. The only drawback, in my opinion, would be a purely tactical shotgun not being suited for most hunting and or clay/skeet work.

The best solution of course is three shotguns; one in Real Tree camo, one in black and one in Advantage Max 4 camo! :) Then you can get "stuff" for each of them.

March 3, 2011, 11:35 PM
I love every Nova I have owned. That being said, don't plan on getting one and a new barrel. Just plan on getting two whole guns, as it is almost the same price. Have you priced Benelli made aftermarket parts? Wow!

March 4, 2011, 01:20 AM
The 3 1/2 shotgun is mostly a solution looking for a problem it might solve. It was developed when lead shot was banned for waterfowl, and early steel shot was found to be inadequate by some hunters. That's not the case anymore with the development of Hevi-shot and others that perform almost as well as lead, and at the same time the 3.5 shell has nasty recoil without THAT much improvement over a 3" load.

And when shooting lead where permitted, 3.5 is truly brutal for not much gain. A 3" shell will kill a turkey just as stone dead within 12 ga range. So, save some $$ and just get yourself a 3" gun, or use the same $$ to step up in quality.

If you need some abuse, go all the way and get a 10 gauge.

3.5 is totally unnecessary/inappropriate for home defense, too hard to control and you're dealing with close ranges. Shoot slugs instead of buckshot if you feel a need for power....

March 4, 2011, 02:12 AM
A 3.5 pumpgun just seems too long a stroke for me to manage, un-natural, and I find I just don't need it. (the alleged 3.5, 2+ oz of shot advantage)

A big +1 to coopers comments, modern 3" shells, whether lead or a modern heavy non toxic space metal, are enough gun/shell for nearly everything.

An alloy framed 3.5 pump, like the Mossberg, will rattle your fillings. A Nova, w/o the recoil reducer, must be really interesting.

March 4, 2011, 02:53 AM
Yes honestly I see 3.5 inch 12 ga's as little better then a novelty... If your that serious about long distance water fowl buy a 10 ga.. Otherwise a 3" load will do the job just fine...

March 4, 2011, 09:35 AM
Like I said, I'm not planning on shooting the 3 1/2" shells real often. But why should I limit myself to 3"? This will mostly be a fun gun for me, I have a mossberg that I use for HD (and clays) currently. So a little longer stroke on the pump isn't going to be a life and death issue. My question was not about the 3 1/2" 12g cambering (I understand that it's not for everyone) but about barrel length/ sights and about the model of shotgun in general. What length barrel to you all like for shooting flying things and maybe a turkey or two? What type of sights to you all like to use? I only have experience with the little brass bead front sight on my mossberg. The Benelli is offered with rifle sights.

Do you all think that $400 is a good price for a Benelli Nova? Are the Mossberg 835 or Remmington 870 Super Magnum any better?

Right now I'm getting ready to go out and shoot some clays with my 18" Mossberg riot shotgun. My buddy has a nice 20g over under and were going to have a friendly competition I'll let you all know how I do.

March 5, 2011, 02:36 PM
But why should I limit myself to 3"?

No reason to, imo. Like you said, you can shoot 3 1/2" shells if you want to and everything else if you don't. I've got pumps with 2 3/4", 3" and 3 1/2" chambers and I've never noticed a difference in the length of the stroke to make a bit of difference in actual use. I agree that 3 1/2" shells have a limited use for most hunting and self-defense applications but I fail to see the liability in having a half an inch longer shell capability for those times when a heavier payload might be more appropriate.
There is one caveat that I think is pertinent when deciding on which 3 1/2" shotgun to buy, especially if you intend to shoot it with any regularity: due to the admittedly punishing recoil, I'd steer away from anything weighing much less than seven pounds, and more weight is better. My Nova weighs 7.2 pounds and I find my much heavier Browning BPS to be lots more pleasant to shoot when I'm using 3 1/2" shells over goose decoys. But, if, as you say, you don't plan on shooting 3 1/2" ammunition routinely, the Nova should work fine for your needs.
I agree with dawico in that because Benelli after-market parts (including barrels) are so expensive, a second shotgun might make better sense than a second barrel in terms of value.

March 6, 2011, 06:57 AM
Buy a standard 26" Benelli Super nova, then buy chokes. The benelli Super Nova is a sleeping giant, it has so many features that could sling it way ahead of the 870. It has an inner steel reciever, a mag cutoff, stepped rib, smoother action (which gets even smoother when cycling in front of the tv), and it has a crio treated chrome lined barrel. The pumping length is the same on their 3" 20ga Nova models. The rotating bolt head lowers recoil also, more noticable when using heavy loads.

March 6, 2011, 09:19 PM
I ended up buying a Benelli Nova tactical with ghost ring sights. I think I will sell my Mossberg and buy a nice used shotgun with a longer barrel and shorter magazine for shooting at birds.

March 7, 2011, 02:12 AM
Sounds like a plan-and a good one.

March 7, 2011, 02:53 AM
And I also have probably 100 rounds of 3 1/2" steel (for geese?) shot shells that a buddy of mine gave me.
IMHO, perhaps you should shoot some of them before you decide you must have a 3-1/2" capable gun.

March 7, 2011, 03:28 AM
I have a remington 870 express super mag that shoots 3.5'' shells. I like having the option of the 3.5'' shell. My remington has a 26'' barrel and I have several chokes, I dont see the need for a longer barrel myself. Its been a great shotgun. I have had it for over 10yrs. and its never given me any trouble. I dont know if its better than any other but its not a bad shotgun.

March 9, 2011, 11:54 PM
I am a real fan of the 3.5 for duck&goose and know that it helps. I do not like the idea of a 3.5 gun for HD, too much of a chance to short stroke it. I really can't think of anyone that makes a bad pump though, take your pick.

March 11, 2011, 05:37 AM
I agree with the worry of short stroking, but then you need an auto. The benellis all have the same stroke length regaurdless (a 20ga 3" will still have the stroke length of a 12 3 1/2").

I talked with a goose hunting guide, he uses 10ga almost exclusivly. He said that 3 1/2 was absolutly necessary in a 12, but that even sometimes doesn't cut it. He uses an SP10 and a 10ga Gold, but lets his "fleet" of SBEIIs take care of customers without good goose guns.

March 11, 2011, 09:32 AM
Before I answer, let me preface my recommendation by saying that I am a die hard 870 fan for 3" pumps. I have five. It is my favorite gun for a variety of reasons.

That said, get the Nova. It is the only 3.5" pump I would consider. I used to own an H2O which I foolishly sold. The NOVA action is ridiculously smooth and the gun balances very well. With the 870 Supermag, the action tends to jam if you do not work it just right in my experience. The 3.5" Mossbergs do not balance very nicely compared to their 3" counter parts.