Can Ducks and Geese Be hunted with 2&3/4 shells?


October 3, 2007, 03:15 PM
I was wondering if ducks and geese can be hunted with 2 3/4 12 gauge shells. The reason I am asking is because I am really eyeing a Franchi 48-al But it only takes 2 3/4 inch shells. IS this going to work well or do I really need 3 inch shells. I have killed turkey with 2 3/4 inch shells but never ducks or geese.

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October 3, 2007, 03:21 PM
YES, there are no flying critters that I know of where 2 3/4" 12ga shells would be considered "inadequate" in fact this is the standard 12 ga chambering, predating the "magnum" chamberings. Even 16, 20 and in some cases .410 will do the job well. The longes shells just basically throw more pellets (and bruise the shoulder), where proper tecnique, shot size and choke selection will put a larger percentage of pellets on target. 2oz of shot from a 3 1/2" shell in a 12' pattern that just barely covers a duck won't bring him down, 1 1/4oz from a 2 3/4 in a 20" pattern dead on center certainly will.

October 3, 2007, 03:21 PM
I'd get hevi shot for geese, but Kent Fasteel or Winchester Xpert Hi-Velocity 3s bring the ducks down from the stratosphere out of a 2 3/4" gun. No worries. I really prefer a 3" for geese, but a 2 3/4 using hevi shot will do the job admirably. I'd shoot hevi shot 2s in it, personally, for geese. Be sure and pattern 'em. I shoot a modified lead choke with 3 fasteel out of my Winchester 1400 for tight patterns way out there or sometimes loosen it up with IC over decoys especially early in the season.

I'm unaware of any non-toxic shot in .410. LOL Back in the day, I killed a few teal with my little JC Higgins .410 pump and 6 lead. I've killed a LOT of ducks with 20 gauge, but now days use 3" steel 4s in 20. Back in the day, 2 3/4" lead fives were awesome.

October 3, 2007, 03:22 PM
Absolutely, that's what I use. 3" shells haven't been around forever. Even now, 2-3/4" is still heavily used by hunters I know, for waterfowl and upland.

October 3, 2007, 03:27 PM
Shell length means nothing by itself.

The only reason for longer shells is to fit more shot into them. The length doesn't add to the velocity or the energy of the pellets.

Remember: the energy of each pellet depends on the mass and velocity of the pellet, not the size of the shell. The size of the shell just allows more pellets to be stuffed into it. Of course, shotshell patterns degrade when you use a lot more shot volume than is optimal for the gauge.

Ever look at a downed bird? How many pellets actually hit it? Each pellet has to have the energy to drop the bird; more of them in a shell just makes it somewhat easier to hit the thing to begin with.

Steel shot is lighter than lead, so pellet size is a good deal bigger. Therefore, you have less weight and fewer pellets per unit volume. So 3" shells became popular, so you could fit enough steel pellets in the shell to begin to match what lead offers in 2 3/4" shells.

However, if you're willing to spend the money, you can get heavier-than-lead shot for waterfowl hunting (Hevi Shot and a number of others). It's expensive, but it works well, retains velocity and energy much farther out than steel, and you can buy 1 1/4 oz. loads in 2 3/4" shells. No need for 3" shells.

Just make sure the barrel is steel shot rated.

October 3, 2007, 03:33 PM
any body know if the 48-al is okay to shoot steel shot out of?

October 3, 2007, 03:36 PM
Romeo, what does the barrel steel look like?

October 3, 2007, 03:36 PM

All I have ever used for hunting anything, is 2 3/4 shells, except for 2 1/2" .410.
Deer, Geese, Ducks...

1. Check your Hunting Regs along with Migratory Regs.
Some public lands may only allow certain Non-Tox loads and NOT allow other Non-Tox loads, such as Bismuth.

2. Check with Gun Mfg on any special restrictions on Non-Tox Shot, and pay attention to any Choke and Suggested loadings.
Also any warnings to NOT use certain payloads, or shot types.

3. Pattern the gun at known distances.
To save some money, get with some other folks that will be using 2 3/4" shells and share the various loads agreed up to test patterns, chokes an loads.

4. Shoot at known distances and mark distances if can.
Decoy set out at a certain yardage , or a old farm/ranch bucket the geese are used to seeing in fields , and use that for a range marker.

Remember, stationary pattern board testing in only Part of the pattern.
Shot, of any kind, does not all arrive at the same time.
Moving targets add another dimension to patterns.
So pattern boards reveal the pattern size and density.

Long Shot strings mean it takes more time for shot to all arrive.
Short Shot strings means more of the shot arrives at the same time.

Interesting thing (just one) is sometimes more shot being shoved into that forcing cone, under pressure, "blows" a pattern.
Too much shot, vying for that small diameter bore.
With lead, pellets deform.
Steel and other hard pellets, they too "react odd" vying for that forcing cone, bore and exiting muzzle.

Often times ones gets a Short Shot String with Less loading than with more and therefore more effective hits , and moving targets that get more pellets onto them - fall.


October 3, 2007, 03:38 PM
The rage for geese when steel was mandated was the new F or T shot in the new Mossberg Ultimag for 3.5" magnum. 3" has been around since I have and I've been around 55 years. Well, at least I had a friend with a 3" Marlin goose gun back about 1967. NObody used the 3" back then on ducks. I was shooting a 20 gauge 2 3/4" Wingmaster on ducks and a single shot 16 gauge for geese back then. The Ultimag came out in the early 80s right after the advent of steel shot laws. Then, along came Bismuth, like 60 bucks a box of 10 or something ridiculous at first. Hevi shot sells for close to 20 a box of ten, but for goose hunting, it's worth it. Even 3" BB with steel is pretty worthless outside of 35 yards. I haven't tried any of the new fasteel loads on geese, haven't shot geese in a couple of years, but I've heard that it extends your range out to 40+ and if that's so, it's good 'nuf. I still have a bunch of hevi shot stored up, though, if I go this season and no more often than I hunt geese, I'll probably stick with hevi shot. That stuff is amazing on big birds. If I get another goose lease in the future and start shooting more at 'em, I'll try the hevi steel or fast steel. Hevi steel is new from Remington and sells for not much more than steel shot, yet is supposed to be more dense and more effective. It sells for about 20 bucks a 25 round box. So far, though, I've only seen the hevi steel in 3" loads. They haven't come out with it in 2 3/4. Fasteel is available in 2 3/4.

October 3, 2007, 03:50 PM
what do you mean trueblue? It is blued or matte. Whichever i prefer and am willing to pay for.

October 3, 2007, 03:53 PM
Sorry, didn't realize it was a modern gun. sure, steel shot is fine.

October 3, 2007, 03:56 PM
You can buy Hevi-shot and steel shot.

You could load your own 2 3/4" steel shotshells pretty cheap, if you don't need long-distance performance.

October 3, 2007, 03:57 PM
WHat do you guys recommend I start out with patterning for ducks and geese. I saw 2's for geese and maybe 4's for ducks?

October 3, 2007, 03:58 PM
Like I said, steel is a lot lighter than lead, whereas hevi-shot and competitors are heavier than lead.

So shot size would depend on what kind of shot... It's energy that matters, and energy is a function of weight, not size.

October 3, 2007, 04:03 PM
what if i went with hevi-shot

October 3, 2007, 04:13 PM
I use HeviShot for all my waterfowl shooting (except I carry a few cheaper steel swatter loads for the occaisional cripple).

I use #4 and #6 shot for ducks in 2-3/4"
and #2 and #4 for geese- usually 3" but 2-3/4" will work OK too.

HeviShot is definitely worth the extra cost compared to steel. Try an IC choke first, nothing tighter than MOD in my experience.

October 3, 2007, 04:20 PM
Whatever size of hevi-shot you shoot, do not over choke it.

From my experince you can over choke Hevi-shot quickly. I have good luck using Mod for most applications.

October 3, 2007, 04:22 PM
Great. I really like that gun and Im glad to know that I can shoot pretty much anything with it. It will be nice on those long upland hunts and I will simply add a recoil pad for some heavier loads.

October 3, 2007, 04:22 PM
I don't think I have used Hevi-Shot. :p

Last Geeses I felled...
Super X Model 1, with Steel approved external knurled .735 choke [ I was too lazy to remove this choke I use for SKeet and all mind you] and used 2 3/4" shells since the chamber is only 2 3/4" , of Win #1 Steel shot and distance was about 30 yds.
No camo, just out near a farm structure and the damn geese were making too much racket.

Win 1400, 20 ga, again restricted to 2 3/4 " chamber, and again left the IC choke in it, as I was too lazy to change it and used Some Win Steel load, which I did not bother to look or ask.
"Hand me your gun and some shells and how many Geese do you want".
Again, no camo, and trying to check out something and the damn Geese would not shut up.

Last Geeses, Goosess, whatever...
H&R Topper, Youth, Single Shot 20 ga, fixed modified barrel.

Some 20 ga Federal load I was tossed, again, no camo, just out and supposed to be watching and "What a dumb gun, you can't fell a honker with one of them".
Bang, Bang.

"Aw hell, don't tell my gun that, you will hurts its feeling".

Rebel...umm...I might have rebelled against a few things in my life. ;)

Fella had the nice Ulta Mag with 3.5" shells...just could not shoot worth a flip.
I was out watching the dawgs and my intent for my wittle gun, was to shoot some small game on the way back in.

Geeses, Gooses, whatever you want to call 'em are helluva lot heavier than wabbits...:D

Bismuth I bought to reload , was #5 shot, as I like that shot size for ducks.
If a dumb geeses/gooses is going to get in the way, just shoot'em in da head.

I do this in no camo stuff and most often critters show up when you take a leak, sip coffee or light a cigarette.

Tip, easier to stop sipping or lighting a smoke than to stop peeing.

October 3, 2007, 04:27 PM
It will be nice on those long upland hunts

The nice thing about upland hunting for geese is that you can see them in the grass more easily than quail.

The bummer is that a few of them in a group can critically injure your dog.

October 3, 2007, 04:33 PM
Well I was actually referring to using it for upland hunting quail and pheasants and then being able to use it for ducks and geese. I have always doubted how necessary 3" shells were and now I know. I have heard the best things about the al-48 and am dying to get one myself.

October 3, 2007, 04:37 PM
You are so correct about Geeses hurting dawgs.

They will hurt people too! Especially kids and the elderly.

Hunting has all sorts of safety attached.
Do not forget more tame critters like ducks and geese on property - will hurt dawgs and humans if they feel threatened.

Buddy of mine lost hunting pup to a geese as ArmedBear shared.

Stray dawg was hurt so bad it died, the ducks on property, momma ducks, ganged up and put the hurt on this stray dawg dumped out in the country.

I ended up putting the dawg down...he was that bad off.

October 3, 2007, 04:49 PM
Thanks sm.

I'll never feel bad about shooting, eating, or hobbling a duck for dog training again.

Bastards have got it coming.

October 3, 2007, 05:01 PM
It is I that thanks you.

There is a Natural Order to things. We speak of Firearm Safety, Hunting Safety, Ethics and being civil and polite.

Hunters go out into the environment, where critters, including Geese, are "doing" this Natural Order Of Things.
Prey and Predator.

Firearm and Hunting Safety Applies, to one's self, to others, dawgs, equipment, vehicles and structures.

Ethics...encompasses a lot.

Sky Busting with 3.5" shells is not hunting, not ethical, not safe or anything.

The Hunter, that has a knowledge of game and habitat, is Safe with firearms, safe in regard to hunting, follows rules, is civil,polite, respectful, of others, of property and dawgs, has skill sets, in hunting, shooting, patterning a shotgun...with a 2 3/4" only shotgun is not only a more successful hunter , also a better Representative of Firearm owners, of Hunting, and a better Human Being - period.

October 3, 2007, 10:49 PM
Just dont skybust and you will kill both. If the target is still coming-wait-dont shoot. 30-35 yards and youll be picking before you know it.

October 3, 2007, 11:01 PM
I've shot a LOT of Hevishot the past few seasons... at everything from ducks and geese to pheasants. IMO, there is little better than #6 Hevishot in a MOD barrel. I've had more dead-in-the-air kills with #6 than any other size, and I've shot a bunch of #4, some #2 and some B.

I wouldn't hesitate to use #6 out to 40 yards on anything through rooster-pheasant/mallard sized birds. Truth be told, I've taken a couple geese with them at under 30 yards... although they were both coming into decoys and I had good looks at their heads and necks.

Of the #4 and #6, I've probably split them evenly between 3" and 2 3/4"... and don't think there's a lick of difference between the two in terms of how they kill birds.

On geese, especially when pass-shooting (NOT sky-busting), the B and #2 both work well and can do a great job at penetrating and breaking wings'n'stuff.

Just due to the price, I keep a handful of #6 or #7 steel in a pocket, so that I can anchor a bird that falls in the water, but isn't immedately dead. However, I won't hesitate to follow up with another Hevishot if the bird is quickly diving or swimming rapidly away. I'd rather lose a dollar or two than a bird.

October 4, 2007, 10:32 AM
I can justify the use of hevishot on geese, don't hunt that often, don't fire more'n 10 or 15 rounds on the BEST day and usually under 10. But, I do way too much duck hunting to afford to use hevishot on ducks. And, besides, you don't need it! Ducks over decoys are well within 35 yards, usually 30. Late season, you might take a few 40 yard passers, but the idea is to get 'em settin' in the deeks. I've never had a problem with 3 or 4 steel and the new fasteel stuff is even better out at 40 plus, but I've taken ducks at over 40 with steel. They're not as tough as geese to knock down. I go through some ammo in a duck season, couldn't afford to burn that much hevishot. Like I say, steel works FINE on ducks, no need for hevishot.

I can knock geese down just fine 35 yards and in with BB steel, but it's those 40-50 yarders, wise snows that just sit there and hover for a minute and won't come any closer, that irritate me. If they're decoying fine, no problem with steel BBs in a 3". But, outside 35, the hevi shot is much appreciated. Now, I'd not even consider steel in a 2 3/4", not enough shot in the pattern. Inside 35, though, it'd likely work, just I'd rather be shootin' number 2 hevishot at 'em. BB hevi shot is pretty awesome in a 3", but 2s will give you a more complete pattern in a 2 3/4" load and reach out there as far as you're going to need to be shooting.

October 4, 2007, 10:51 AM
+1 for hevi-shot. 2 3/4" hevi shot will do the trick without any problems

October 4, 2007, 03:20 PM
What is sky busting?


October 4, 2007, 05:10 PM
What is sky busting?

Shooting at geese or ducks that are out of range. It is generally disdained by good duck and goose hunters who know that they can get 'em closer with another pass. Newbs tend to get anxious and start blasting away at 80 yards. I had a guide calling shots like that once and chastising everyone for being bad shots. :rolleyes: I about got into it with this kid. I was goose hunting before he was born. He couldn't get 'em any closer and he knew it. It wasn't a good day, not saying it was his fault, but they just weren't committing. It happens, but shooting at 80 yards is a waste of ammo even with hevishot. Might as well TRY to get 'em back around. Often times they'll hover out of range first couple of passes just testing the waters before committing. A good caller will work 'em, not stand up like an idiot and shoot 80 yards out.

October 4, 2007, 11:01 PM
I was wondering if ducks and geese can be hunted with 2 3/4 12 gauge shells. The reason I am asking is because I am really eyeing a Franchi 48-al But it only takes 2 3/4 inch shells. IS this going to work well or do I really need 3 inch shells. I have killed turkey with 2 3/4 inch shells but never ducks or geese.

You bet. Everyone I know hunts with 2 3/4 shells with no problems. Just use the correct shot and you'll be fine.

uk roe hunter
October 5, 2007, 03:05 AM
are you guys allowed to use lead on duck?

October 5, 2007, 03:35 AM
Nope. Lead was banned nation wide in 1991 for hunting waterfowl.

October 7, 2007, 12:48 PM
Good grief. I would never take a long-distance shot. If they aren't within, say 40 yards I just don't waste the shot or noise.


October 7, 2007, 06:20 PM
Nope. Lead was banned nation wide in 1991 for hunting waterfowl.

Was banned in Texas about 1980 or 81. First came steel, then Bismuth. Now there are a variety of types of "hevi shot" that are better'n steel. Steel is still the most affordable of the non-toxic, though.

Good grief. I would never take a long-distance shot. If they aren't within, say 40 yards I just don't waste the shot or noise.

With 3" BB hevi shot or Federal Tungsten/Iron, I've stretched it to 50 yards, but any more and you're pretty much just makin' noise. If you have the pellet energy, you won't have the pattern density. Goose hunting is about calling and decoying the birds more than just the shooting. Think of it as making the stalk to get within range before taking the shot.

Jeff F
October 8, 2007, 10:27 PM
In the past 30 years that I have hunted waterfowl I can count on one hand the times that 3 inch shells were a must. Even with steel shot today the short shells get it done.

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