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Old October 19, 2012, 10:42 AM   #1
Join Date: October 20, 2010
Posts: 37
Turkey/Waterfowl Shell Length?

I'm looking at purchasing a new shotgun and want input on shell length to really consider. Currently my Wingmaster only shoots 2-3/4 and I find myself limited in shot options.

Looking up upgrade to a 3" or 3-1/2" receiver pump-action shotgun. Friends say the new 3" loads on the market are plenty powerful for pass shooting geese and historically I've downed plenty of passing geese with 2-3/4".

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter at hand. Any ejection issues with a 3-1/2" load? Not worth the coin on 3-1/2" shells? 3" good enough? 3" too small still?

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Old October 19, 2012, 10:54 AM   #2
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The nice thing about getting the 3.5" is that you don't have to shoot 3.5" shells, but the option is available if you feel you need it. I do a lot of waterfowl hunting and on average I like to shoot 2.75" #2's as most of my hunting is done over decoys. On windy days though when the snow geese and specks get closer to the ground I always carry some 3.5" BB's just in case some fly over me
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Old October 19, 2012, 01:24 PM   #3
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If buying a pump that had a 3.5" chamber there is no real downside. I wouldn't ever use the 3.5" shells. If looking at a semi auto many of the 3.5" guns are a little less relable when shooting very light loads. Doesn't make sense to me to own a gun that is very reilable with the ammo I'll likely never use, while handicapping myself with the ammo I'll actually use 99.99% of the time.

For most waterfowl 2 3/4" or 3" are plenty. If all I had was a 2 3/4" gun I wouldn't feel too handicapped, but wouldn't buy a new gun limited to 2 3/4" only. With the larger steel shot 3" shells give you a few more pellets in the pattern which can't hurt.

If you are they type of guy who shoots geese at long range and if you shoot enough to buy steel shot by the case, then the 3.5" shells start making sense. Steel really suffers at longer ranges and on larger birds. The extra payload and the ability to shoot larger shot sizes from the 3.5" shells starts to help.

I'm the kind of guy who primarily shoos ducks. If a goose comes within range I'll take the shot. If It is not within range of the 2 3/4" or 3" shells in my gun I just don't take the shot. Doesn't happen often and I don't feel handicapped at all by not having a 3.5" chamber.

For hunting anything else the 3.5" shells are overkill, by a wide margin.
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Old October 19, 2012, 08:37 PM   #4
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I typically use 3 inch when hunting Geese/turkey and 2.75 when hunting any other birds.

If I really feel the need to shot long range I break out the old single shot 10ga.
Always looking for a good hunt!
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Old October 20, 2012, 01:08 PM   #5
Ben Towe
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Definitely get something with a 3.5 chamber, that way you have the option of shooting anything.
'Merica: Back to back World War Champs
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Old October 20, 2012, 10:14 PM   #6
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Don't get the 3.5", 3" is plenty. Most of the pros of the 3.5" have already been mentioned and their application is limited though I have only heard "no negatives". Fact is any 3.5" gun will be slower than the same gun in a 3" max configuration. The additional stroke to go the extra half inch will slow down your rate of fire on multiple targets.
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Old October 20, 2012, 10:43 PM   #7
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I don't goose hunt. Hunting deer,ducks(not done a great deal of),turkey,upland birds, rabbit or squirrel, have never had the need for 3.5".

A few years back when the then new 3.5" was being pushed by all the manufacturers and most of the gun rags as the 'have to have', 'latest greatest' shotgun, many of my hunting buddies went out and bought em in semi auto. This was one time that I was glad I didn't jump on the band wagon.
Most, if not all have since gotten rid of them and went back to 3" shotguns shooting the 3" or 2 3/4" round.
Reason, they found that they just didn't need the 3.5" for anything to justify the extra shoulder pounding and cycling issue's with some of the 3" or 2 3/4" factory low brass shells in the 3.5" shotguns.
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Old October 21, 2012, 12:58 PM   #8
playin' hookey
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Due to the recoil, I wouldn't shoot 3.5" from a pump. For turkeys, I like high-density shot with 3" shells, since the shots are infrequent and the cost is therefore bearable. I think the main advantage of 3.5" shells is they have space to hold enough large steel shot to throw a decent pattern for waterfowl. If one wants to spend the extra $$ for high-density shot in the numbers most people use for waterfowl, 3" shells should be fine, but for steel there is something to be said for 3.5" shells.
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