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For 20 years I have hunted with a semi-auto that I purchased back in high school. I am used to the gun and am proficient with it. It will not handle 3" or 3 1/2" shells. I tried duck hunting this year for the first time and love it. I borrowed a friends shotgun that handles 3", but he needs it back to chase Chukars. I want to purchase my own gun and wonder about the Winchester's SX3, Benelli's Super Black Eagle, and all of the other crazy guns on the market that shoot 2 3/4 to 3 1/3" shells.

I have a few questions:

Does anyone still hunt waterfowl with 2 3/4 now that lead is banned?

Anyone use the newer semi-autos that handle 2 3/4", 3", and 3 1/2" to hunt upland and waterfowl, or are they meant mostly for waterfowl?

Why would I need 3 1/2" ability? Can I kill geese with "just" a 3" shell? How about a 2 3/4" shell?

I just don't know if I should believe all of the hype about the autos that handle 3 1/2" shells. Is it really worth the $$$ to have the ability to shoot 3 1/2"? Anyone care to weigh in? Thanks in advance.
 

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Its not the size of the shell, but where you aim your barrel.
 

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There is an aricle posted on the increasing sizes of handguns that is along the same lines as this post. No they are not necessary.
 

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2 3/4 or 3" shells are fine for most waterfowl hunting, especially if you are shooting over decoys. The magnum fever came about because steel is lighter than lead, causing many to use increased shot size to retain pellet energy. Bigger pellets means fewer pellets, so the 3 1/2" mags came around to increase the number of larger pellets in a load. These shells also have longer shot strings, which provide a little better margin of error for passing shots.

Geese can be hard to anchor depending on hunting style. If I am hunting them specifically I will use 3" tungsten loads. If I am pass shooting, I may use a 3 1/2" shell to take advantage of more pellets and a longer string. You aren't undergunned with a 12 guage shell of any standard length, just know the limitations of your load.
 

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No, they really aren't necessary. I have guns that have 3 1/2" capability, but I have not used those size shells much. I've patterned my shotguns and found that either there was no difference, or the difference was ever so slight that it really wasn't worth it for me to mess around with the 3 1/2".
 

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My father in law shoots 2.75's an he does **** good with them. I personaly shoot threes. I have shot 3.5" in the past and see no difference from the 3's. Id say shoot what ya like. When it comes to guns, auto loaders can be tricky if you are a hard core waterfowler. The cold, and rain and snow can really mess with them. The benellis are supposed to be good for bad weather, but I still dont think you can beat the reliability of a pump. I shoot a Rem 870 express super mag. Love it. But dont buy a gun because you have heard they are good. Ya gotta get the one that fits or youll be spending your days lookin for the ducks and geese you wing and they get to the cattails, all because you could get the gun sholdered right. That reminds me, wear your heavy duck parka or coat in when you go lookin at guns. Trust me that extra 1/2" of matierial makes all the difference. I listened to one of our hunting buddies whine about his sore bicep from not being able to get his gun up right because of the coat he was wearing.
 

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A contrarian viewpoint: as long as you're getting a new gun, get 3.5" capability. You don't have to shoot them, but if you ever want to you'll be able to. And how much extra are you paying for that capability anyway??
 

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Another point of view...Velocity kills when using steel. Also, pellet size (mass) is important as the other factor in the equation. Just don't go so big that your pattern suffers. Have you patterned your gun with the shells you shoot?
Keep in mind that a 1 1/8 oz load of steel has more pellets than the same pellet size 1 1/8 oz load of lead. I forget the numbers, but you can look it up.
I never found a 3 1/2 inch $hell that the ammo manufacturer'$ didn't like... :mrgreen:

You can do the math, see if this is true....keep in mind that the velocity changes as distance increases.

When something is in motion it is said to have kinetic energy.

Formula

For an object that is moving the kinetic energy equals one half times the mass of the object times the square of the speed of the object. In symbols:

EK = (1/2)mv2
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Example Calculation

How much kinetic energy does an object have if its mass is 5.0 kg and it is moving at a speed of 4.0 m/s?

EK = (1/2)mv2 Formula for kinetic energy.
EK = (1/2)(5.0 kg)(4.0 m/s)2 Plug in values for mass and speed.
EK = 40 J Kinetic Energy equals 40 J.
 

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Me and my dad use 2 3/4 shells for ducks. we do pretty well with em. i have only bought one box of 3 inch and thats because my friend picked up the wrong one for me.
 

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Very very simple...more shot you throw in the air, the better your chances of a clean kill. BUT..

(1) the gun MUST fit well for you to shoot well
(2) 3 1/2" guns are bigger and heavier
(3) 3 1/3 ammo costs a lot

I have a Ithaca Mag 10 10 ga...man it is the sweetest shottin, killingest shotgun I have..but, it is so **** heavy I seldom use it. Lugging that big heavy 3 1/2" gun around is something you may want to consider.

My recommendation: buy the 3 1/2" gun...they are truly awsome killers!
 

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I like 3 1/2s for turkeys, cranes, swans and geese, hevi-shot for all but the geese.

But I still use 12 ga 2 3/4s in Rem 870 or 1100 for ducks and geese over decoys or jump-shooting.
 

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Are they necessary?? No, they're not.

Do people still hunt with 2 3/4? Yeah, and some do quite well. I don't use them because I just don't have confidence in them... stupid, but three inch shells are what I'll always shoot if I had a choice.

Can you kill geese with less than a 3.5 inch shell? Absolutely. Just hit them in the head and neck and they'll fold right up. Anywhere else and you're just tickling them. I saw two geese shot with TM (its dang expensive now) and they folded like somebody hit em with an axe or something. I believe that was in a 3 inch shell, but it might have been 2 3/4.

My advice....?? Take it with a grain of salt but 3 inch is all you need for waterfowling... then if you feel the need to step down to a 2 3/4 shell, you can always do that but you don't have the 3 1/2 cannon to lug around. Its just a bit of overkill for what we have around here I think.
 

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There are days when a 3 1/2" would be nice. However, I have had more days when I wished I had more 2 3/4" shells with me than 3". When you're on - you're on. Get your game together; decoys, camo, location, etc.; 20 yards over decoys and you'll not need even 3". For geese, go with what ever you have, big as you can get. :wink: Geese are one tough customer, almost hard to overkill a goose in my opinion. I mostly shoot reloads (steel) in #4, #3, and #1, from a 2 3/4 hull.
 

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I have a Benelli M2 its basically a SBE II except it doesnt shoot 3.5" shells. I took it to canada goose hunting and it did just fine shooting 3" #2's at geese and ducks. I also took it to South Dakota pheasant hunting and it did fine shooting 2 3/4" shells. Plus it is a little cheaper than the SBE II. I really dont think that you need 3.5" shells.
 

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If you really get down the basics of it all, you will pay about $300 for the privilege of shooting 3 1/2 inch shells. Remington sells their 11-87 SPS camo for around $1200 (suggested price on their web site) and their 3" shooting 11-87 Sportsmen camo for $849. I think this is a valid comparison. They only charge you $45 more in the 870. When it comes to performance, the pattern board will tell you all that you need to know. If you have a short chambered gun, my advice would be to maybe spend a little more for some premium loads and go hunting. If you are looking for an excuse to buy a new shotgun, then of course you need those cigar length shells. I don't know how we ever survived without them.
 

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Of course they are necessary, how else can you make 75 yard shots and kill your birds? :p :lol:

I usually use a 3" # 3 load for most of my hunting.

I save the 3 1/2"'s for the skeet range. :mrgreen:
 
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