Some Questions 3 vs 3.5

fish dog

Well-Known Member
Since it's been about a week since anything new was posted here I thought I'd stir the pot and see what folks here think...

#1. If a 3 1/2 inch shell has 1 3/8 oz of shot and a 3 inch shell has 1 1/4 oz of shot (which in a #3 steel shot size would mean the shell has 19 or 20 more shot contained within), why would that be a bad thing to have the potential for one or two more individual pieces of shot the hit the bird thereby making it more likely to kill it in the air rather than having to shot it again on the water if it is not killed outright (assuming, of course it is shot at the same distance)?

#2. How does 3 1/2 inch shells "encourage" skybusting. Is it the same way an AR-15 "encourages" mass shootings, as the media and lefties claim? Are we blaming the tool instead of the operator for this transgression? Do 3 1/2s "encourage" shooting before legal time also?

#3. Is there something I'm doing wrong, (or maybe right), that I don't really feel any difference in the recoil between 3 1/2s and 3s. Do other people feel a significant difference that makes it uncomfortable for them? Could this be related to the size of the person shooting the shotgun?

#4. If 3 1/2s are "not necessary", why aren't 3s "not necessary"? After all, 2 3/4 inch shells are still available, in fact, back in the lead shot days that's all I shot for ducks since the old 870 had a 2 3/4 inch chamber. Maybe when steel first came out it was necessary but shells have supposedly improved so should people that were using 3 inch shells go back to 2 3/4 inch shells?

Just thought I see if this wakes things up in this forum. Curious what y'all think.
 

Limited Out

New Member
Answer to #1 Ever load is a trade off between pattern density and velocity. #2 Unethical operator error or lack of education #3 I don't think there is much difference even if my shoulder turns black and blue #4 If your shot is really on you are going to kill a lot of birds no matter what length shell you are shootin'
 

crab

Active Member
#2: Because some shooters (shooters, not hunters) have it in their tiny brains that they can reach out and kill a duck at 80 yards. Since 3.5 are wildly accepted as being equivalent to the 10ga (which can't be used on a refuge) you can see why folks want to pay $35 for a box of the most powerful 12 ga shells they can buy.
It's refuge hunting and it's why the sport is dying.
Killing ducks at 40 yards is killing ducks at 40 yards; whether it be a 20 or a 12, 2-3/4 or 3.5.
My grandpa hunted the Wister area with nothing but 2-3/4 #6 lead. He always brought home the ducks.
 

Hunt'EmUp

Member
fish dog said:
#2 3.5 doesn't encourage skybusting it just allows skybusters to actually hit longer shots (every-once in awhile), a kin to a 10gauge.

#3. 3.5 will knock your block off unless, you have a kick-off on your gun. I know the first time I tries a 3.5 I was smack backed in to the wall of the blind; I think I lost consciousness. It was new to have a bruise on both the front and back side of my shoulder ;). But then I gots a new Berreta now with kick-off so shooting 3.5 isn't a big deal any more ;).

#4. I only use 3.5 for Geese, as it's a absolute fact that the Greenies are suiting them in Kevlar; Otherwise preference is 2 3/4, (3-4) until you're old wood dowel has shrunk up and the warden can shove 4 of those down the tube of a 3.5 equipped gun (good thing the gun won't cycle when they do that ;). Simply We buy 3in because often they are most available.
 

Zach

Comedian in training, at least on the internet
sureshot said:
#2: Because some shooters (shooters, not hunters) have it in their tiny brains that they can reach out and kill a duck at 80 yards. Since 3.5 are wildly accepted as being equivalent to the 10ga (which can't be used on a refuge) you can see why folks want to pay $35 for a box of the most powerful 12 ga shells they can buy.
It's refuge hunting and it's why the sport is dying.
Killing ducks at 40 yards is killing ducks at 40 yards; whether it be a 20 or a 12, 2-3/4 or 3.5.
My grandpa hunted the Wister area with nothing but 2-3/4 #6 lead. He always brought home the ducks.
I'd be curious as to what the modern day non-toxic equivalent is of that #6 lead.
 

fish dog

Well-Known Member
Zach said:
#2: Because some shooters (shooters, not hunters) have it in their tiny brains that they can reach out and kill a duck at 80 yards. Since 3.5 are wildly accepted as being equivalent to the 10ga (which can't be used on a refuge) you can see why folks want to pay $35 for a box of the most powerful 12 ga shells they can buy.
It's refuge hunting and it's why the sport is dying.
Killing ducks at 40 yards is killing ducks at 40 yards; whether it be a 20 or a 12, 2-3/4 or 3.5.
My grandpa hunted the Wister area with nothing but 2-3/4 #6 lead. He always brought home the ducks.
I'd be curious as to what the modern day non-toxic equivalent is of that #6 lead.
Here's a good comparison of shot weight and size between lead and steel (although it compares #5 lead to #3 steel). I've always been told that you have to go up two sizes in steel to get the same performance as lead. I believe this confirms that.

#5 lead shot is 0.12 inches in diameter. Since we measure the weight of shot in grains we have to do a little math. One ounce equals 437.5 grains. In an ounce of #5 lead shot there are 170 pellets. If you divide 437.5 grains by 170 pellets you find that each pellet is 2.58 grains. If you do the math for #5 steel you’ll find that weighs 1.80 grains, only 70% of the weight of #5 lead.
Since, by conventional wisdom, you must go up two shot sizes to achieve near the same performance when going from lead to steel then we need to compare #3 steel shot. #3 steel shot is 0.14 inches in diameter. There are 158 pellets in an ounce of #3 steel shot. If you divide 437.5 grains by 158 pellets you find that each pellet is 2.76 grains.
Now, being that the #3s will be physically larger, thereby creating more air resistance than #5s would, the #5 lead at 2.58 grains and the #3 steel at 2.76 grains have probably about the same performance as each other within hunting ranges considering their size and weight and assuming they are fired out of the shotgun at the same muzzle velocity.
 

Limited Out

New Member
If you get an opportunity to use the KPY Ballistic Software it will explain and accurately compare the differences between steel and lead shot performance.
 

raybanfoxman

Active Member
More velocity and more shot in the pattern adds a few confidence points to longer shots (3.5s being the biggest, must mean the bestest, yeah?) I don't hunt with a dog, so I like to kill them close. 2 3/4 and 3" shells work fine to that end. Tealsteel #5s work on any duck inside 30 yards (and are also a great chukar round, for anyone that cares). Save a few bucks, save a few steps, kill them close.
 

Fowl Play

Well-Known Member
I have never met anyone that shot 3.5" shells purely for more ethical shots on ducks within reasonable range ~40 yards. Only reason was trying to extend their range or for shooting geese. If you think shooting 3.5" shells improves your sub-40 yard shots, take them for a couple rounds of sporting clays and try to hit pairs. Unless you are a monster of a man, the larger rounds make it much harder to get back on target for repeat shots -- I'd bet you'd shoot better with 3" (or 2 3/4" for clays). And for a hunting situation, if your decoying birds and are a halfway decent shot -- all the extra 1/2" is doing is creating more pellets to pick out and hamburgered meat. It'd be like me picking up the .300 win mag for my 100lb Florida deer, unnecessary.

As for why not 2 3/4" vs 3". It's choosing the round based on the game at hand. 2 3/4" is typically dove / target loads. 3" for medium size game (ducks) and 3.5" is typically reserved for the larger game (geese and turkeys at extended ranges). My 2 cents.
 

Modoc

Member
The only reason that I have a 3-1/2” Browning Gold, is that the price was right and the weight of it does make for a much softer feeling when shooting 2-3/4” shells. Like most here, I have a tendency to let the birds get closer before taking the shot. That said, my first goose was taken with an 18” barreled Remington 870 with an extended modified choke using 1980’s vintage steel shot shells. It’s not the cartridge but the hunter who does the REAL work in bringing home the meat.

I’ve seen knuckle heads skybust with 2-3/4” shells as much as 3-1/2” (only know because I found the hulls later).

They do give confidence by having more shot in the cup per trigger pull, but not at the expense of my reconstructed shoulder.
 

fish dog

Well-Known Member
For you guys that can get them real close...



...(yeah, I know these are slugs but I'm sure they have #5 steel just for you, LOL.) Just have to modify your plug.
 

sdhunter

Well-Known Member
3" versus 3.5", Benelli vs Mossberg, Ford vs Chevy....blah blah blah

I shoot a 3.5" gun, use 3.5" shells, and I love how some of you purists make simple inferences that if you shoot 3.5" shells, you are a skybuster....too damn funny. Some folks try to portray themselves as more ethical hunters, just because they don't use 3.5" shells....what an eye-roller!

It's a free country, use what you want when you want (within the law of course), have fun, and wish good hunting on others!

Not that I feel a need to explain myself, but I like the combination of velocity and payload.
 

Green House

Active Member
I went back to 3.5 inch shells a couple years ago. I use a gas gun so the kick is not bad. Very few cripples, most birds stone dead. For geese it gives me more on that second and third shot. Im getting where i dont want to chase anything so its has to be close and dead when it hits the water.
 
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