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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know we talk about this all the time but I am needing some opinions.

I have hunted over my Stoeger M3500 for 6 years and loved it. I also hunt with the Stoeger M3000. I love both guns and I am a decent shot with them. The only complaint I have is that sometimes the M3500 doesn't like to cycle 3.5's. I am to the point though were I would like something a bit nicer. I have been to Scheels and thrown guns up and the Benelli's felt the most similar and good. I didn't like the A'5s feel (the look is something hot though!!) and the Berettas were comfortable.

Have any of you made the switch between Stoeger and Benelli? Did you notice a major difference? I won't go with the SBE3. I'm thinking more about pinching my pennies for the ethos sport. I also liked Berettas A400 xtreme.

What are your opinions?

PFA
 

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I had a Stoeger once, for about a week. I hated everything about that gun.

I've shot a Benelli for a decade and a half now, and didn't ever see a reason to switch. I bought my son a Franchi Affinity 20 gauge and it rivals my M2. Honestly, my vote is either for a Franchi Affinity or a Benelli M2 - you can't go wrong either way. FWIW, I have no use for a 3.5" gun.
 

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I was going to say exactly what CPAjeff said. No need for a 12 gauge and definitely no need for 3.5" shells. A soft shooting, fast swinging 20 gauge is the ticket. The Franchi Affinity or M2 in 12 or 20 gauge should work for you. The problem this year is finding 20 gauge shells, for a reasonable price anyway.
 

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I'd be embarrassed if I needed anything larger then a 28 gauge to kill a duck


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I'm too cheap to shoot anything but steel, so only rarely use my 28s. An occasional ice hunt, but with global warming they're not happening much in the last few years.
 

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I used to shoot 3.5s 10-15 yrs ago out of my 12s. Only for geese though. There’s really no need for them. More kick, more price, marginal improvement in results, if any.
 

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I went from a SBEII to a SX4 because I have a hard time paying the sticker price for a new benelli that’s gonna be beat pretty hard. I love the SX4. Wouldnt hesitate to get another…

as far as 3.5” shells go, it’s nice to have the option on your gun. Especially if you’re a turkey hunter. But definitely not needed for a waterfowl gun. I think I shot 3.5s 1 time in the last 2 years duck hunting and that was to kill a swan. Get the right load/choke combo and 3s is all you’ll ever need
 

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Franchi is the poor man's Benelli, it's what I've used for the last 3 years w/o any issue, other than I seem to not hit anything lol. I love my Affinity 3.5 though! It's light and handles recoil well, even on the 3.5 inch shells.
 

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I went from a SBEII to a SX4 because I have a hard time paying the sticker price for a new benelli that’s gonna be beat pretty hard. I love the SX4. Wouldnt hesitate to get another…

as far as 3.5” shells go, it’s nice to have the option on your gun. Especially if you’re a turkey hunter. But definitely not needed for a waterfowl gun. I think I shot 3.5s 1 time in the last 2 years duck hunting and that was to kill a swan. Get the right load/choke combo and 3s is all you’ll ever need
I like having the option too, heck I even shoot them once in a great while :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I had a Stoeger once, for about a week. I hated everything about that gun.

I've shot a Benelli for a decade and a half now, and didn't ever see a reason to switch. I bought my son a Franchi Affinity 20 gauge and it rivals my M2. Honestly, my vote is either for a Franchi Affinity or a Benelli M2 - you can't go wrong either way. FWIW, I have no use for a 3.5" gun.

Do you really find that the Franchi is that much different from the Stoeger? does it have features the Stoeger doesn't? What do you like about the M2?

I should have clarified in my original post that I wanted the option of 3.5's for geese and swans. I was really looking to see what preference people had and opinions people had about the brands/guns I listed and didn't realize the shade that would be thrown my way because I mentioned the larger "un-needed" hull. ;) I typically shoot Winchester Super X 3 inch 4's for ducks and have even been considering going up to 6's.
 

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Do you really find that the Franchi is that much different from the Stoeger? does it have features the Stoeger doesn't? What do you like about the M2?

I should have clarified in my original post that I wanted the option of 3.5's for geese and swans. I was really looking to see what preference people had and opinions people had about the brands/guns I listed and didn't realize the shade that would be thrown my way because I mentioned the larger "un-needed" hull. ;) I typically shoot Winchester Super X 3 inch 4's for ducks and have even been considering going up to 6's.
The grandson got a left handed SBE3 last year, I saw you didn"t want one.. He loves his. They are $$ like MooseMeat stated earlier.

Jeans Sky Cloud Ecoregion Plant
 

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Do you really find that the Franchi is that much different from the Stoeger? does it have features the Stoeger doesn't? What do you like about the M2?

I should have clarified in my original post that I wanted the option of 3.5's for geese and swans. I was really looking to see what preference people had and opinions people had about the brands/guns I listed and didn't realize the shade that would be thrown my way because I mentioned the larger "un-needed" hull. ;) I typically shoot Winchester Super X 3 inch 4's for ducks and have even been considering going up to 6's.
6 and 7 1/2s will absolutely SHRED ducks inside 40 yards with a full choke. I bought several cases at Walmart years ago with they were $3 a box. Been using them the last few years on late season GSL teal and spoons. Holy balls 🤣
 

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Do you really find that the Franchi is that much different from the Stoeger? does it have features the Stoeger doesn't? What do you like about the M2?

I should have clarified in my original post that I wanted the option of 3.5's for geese and swans. I was really looking to see what preference people had and opinions people had about the brands/guns I listed and didn't realize the shade that would be thrown my way because I mentioned the larger "un-needed" hull. ;) I typically shoot Winchester Super X 3 inch 4's for ducks and have even been considering going up to 6's.
To me, the Stoeger feels more clunky. It’s like the factory took all the unwanted parts and put them together. If you like yours, and shoot it well, I can’t see a reason to switch! Guns are all about how they feel and how they fit a person. Someone mentioned a SX4 earlier, I handled one in Scheels and thought it felt fantastic! I don’t have one, so I can’t give a recommendation on one.

For me, the Franchi and Benelli just feel better. I like the more slender feel of them. I like the M2 because it comes with five chokes and a hard case!! 😉 In all honesty I’ve shot Benellis for what seems like forever and have never had one issue with them. No jams, no failure to eject, no issues whatsoever. My hunting days are important to me, and if an additional $600 up front for a higher quality shotgun ensures I have less issues in the field, then that’s $600 well spent.

On the 3.5” shell, I was just giving you some crap! Some people like them and others HATE them. With the advancement of shotshell technology and availability in choke selections, I just don’t see the reasoning behind them anymore. I usually shoot 2.75” #4 or #6 at ducks and 3” #4 Hevishot at geese, cranes, and swans (found a killer deal on Hevishot). I’ve yet to shoot any, but have heard incredible things about #9 TSS!
 

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Its kind of how a guy can change over the years. Back in the lead days I liked #5's for ducks. Steel becomes mandatory and reading as much info I could get my hands on at the time a buddy and myself settled in on BB's for ducks. Results weren't great. Of course we blamed steel shot and not ourselves. Everytime I dropped a shot size I got better results in the field. I started patterning loads and chokes and pretty much got a wakeup call. It wasn't pellet size but pellet count in the load that made the difference. I've settled in on #4 steel for ducks and it patterns and works great for my style of hunting. #6 steel is flat out deadly on decoying ducks. But with the pellet count you can really destroy a bird.
 

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Do you really find that the Franchi is that much different from the Stoeger? does it have features the Stoeger doesn't? What do you like about the M2?

I should have clarified in my original post that I wanted the option of 3.5's for geese and swans. I was really looking to see what preference people had and opinions people had about the brands/guns I listed and didn't realize the shade that would be thrown my way because I mentioned the larger "un-needed" hull. ;) I typically shoot Winchester Super X 3 inch 4's for ducks and have even been considering going up to 6's.
I've used 2 3/4" shells for both ducks and geese for the most part, although I bought some 3" 20 gauge shells on sale once. One year when we arrived in Canada I discovered the case of 12 gauge shells I loaded in the truck were #4s instead of the usual #3s. I was a bit concerned at first but it didn't make any significant difference.

I've never put in for a swan tag, but would think 3" shells would be sufficient.

I agree with Jerry, #4s are just about perfect for ducks. In a 28 gauge, #5s seem like they'd be the ticket. Sixes put a lot of pellets in a bird, the likelihood of biting one is increased. Effective to 30 yards, maybe a bit more, but I don't like the way they taste.
 

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I bought a bunch of 2 3/4" 1 oz and 1 1/8 oz. #6 & #7 steel 12 gauge loads this year. I like to shoot these in my O/U with IC and Mod chokes. I have to be careful on the flocks of teal at 20 yards because it's easy to smash 3 or 4 with one shot.
I agree 100% pattern density is the killer!
 
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