Sick of whining about the 3.5 inch 12 gauge.


M Jager
November 13, 2003, 11:50 PM
Rant mode on:
First let me appologize for venting my frustration here, but I am getting sick and tired of people complaining about how bad 3.5 inch12 gauges kick. Every time the topic of 3.5 inchers comes up peope start hollaring about how they kick so bad. Now I am not that big on 3.5 inchers in the 12 gauge but I sure don't have a problem with them.
My first is a Nova, which many say has brutal recoil. No, I didn't buy it because it shot 3.5 in shells, I really like the feel of the gun. Every year for the grins factor I buy a couple boxs of turkey loads to really smoke test crows with. I notice they seem to push harder, but by no way do I concider them bothersome. FWIW light loads in this gun seem like Dave's proverbial creme puffs.
I also have a 3.5 in Super X2, which I bought because my girlfriend wanted to shoot an auto and I got a heck of a deal on it. Recoil with any shell is very light. Now that I am no longer with previously mentioned female this gun is for sale, as in my mind it is "her" gun and will always bring up bad memories.
Granted 3.5 in shotguns aren't for newbies, small framed individuals, and those highly recoil sensitive peope, but unless I am crazy (highly likely as my hobbies include stuff like bull riding) the 3.5 inch 12 gauge punishing beasts most people make them out to be.

Rant mode off: wow I feel better now.

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Gila Jorge
November 14, 2003, 01:30 AM
I used to use a Win 101 with 28inch barrels (m/f) that had its chambers reamed out to 3inch and regularly used it for walk up duck shooting in marshes.
It kicked but was not intolerable....more of a prolonged shove rather than a sharp jolt. Now I didn't leisurely shoot this for trap and skeet but it was not a beast. So I imagine the 3.5 inch is more of the same. I do have a 3 inch in in Browning 2000 and thats not a killer either. But then I straightened the stock to less drop by filing the junction point with the receiver and have about 1 inch of pitch with the recoil ad in place at 14.5 inches pull. Croocked stoks can be beasts even with lesser loads. This 2000 is definitely not a beast.
Neither would I suspect is your SX2....which is a really fine gun old girlies girls notwithstanding. Blessings.

November 14, 2003, 01:33 AM
3.5inch 12 gauge kicks a lot... at least the 1.5 ounce slugs do. :p

Dave McCracken
November 14, 2003, 06:09 AM
Glad you feel better now. Glad also you can shoot the 3.5 howitzer loads and smile. A couple things, though...

First, people vary greatly in recoil tolerance. Factors influencing this include mass,height,experience,physical condition,mindset,fit and commitment.

Second, total number of rounds fired in a session is a big factor. When I shoot slugs from the bench, I tend to tire faster than when shooting say, a 6 MM Remington weighing somewhat less. You mention turkey loads, do you ever fire off 50 of those 2 oz jobs in a short time?

Third, using the Rule of 96 the Brits developed means a shotgun shooting 2 oz of shot should run about 12 lbs. With most 12 gauge 3.5s running less than 9 lbs, we're taking in a lot more ft/lbs of kick than we find comfortable.

It's nice to know shooting the big loads doesn't bother you. Just don't sneer at those it does.

November 14, 2003, 07:17 AM
Recoil tolerance is subjective and I'm one of those who found the Nova to be one of the worst kicking shotguns I've tried. No wonder Benelli offers them with an optional recoil reducer. However, shooting the big candles in a Remington 870 that fit me better and was a touch heavier was quite tolerable. The Nova didn't fit me at all and recoil effect was very much magnified.

I can and have shot the big stuff but when I do it's to get something back for my troubles. Patterning the 3.5" does not convince me that I am achieving a sufficient edge over 3" shells in return for the extra pushback.


November 14, 2003, 07:18 AM
*whine* It hurts! It hurts! *whine*

I don't shoot the things, myself. Two reasons. First, recoil is uncomfortable enough that it takes my concentration off the game, and I'm 6'1", 200 pounds. With that turkey's head bobbing around, the last thing I want on my mind is recoil. Second, 3" shells just pattern better in my gun.

Aside: Why would you waste a perfectly good bull by riding him? Put him on the grill, I say. :D

November 14, 2003, 08:20 AM
Normally, 3" turkey loads out of my 870 or Nova make me flinch just thinking about pulling the trigger.
At an exhibition shoot a couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to shoot a Benelli Super Black Eagle with a Kickeez (sp?) recoil pad. Shot three rounds of 3 1/2", recoil was there but not bad at all.
Now if I just had an extra $1200 lying around I'd be tempted to get one.

M Jager
November 14, 2003, 08:29 AM
I think you mistake my message. You will notice in my last paragraph that I say heavy loads are not for everyone. I have no problem with people choosing to shoot lighter loads, 99+ of my shells are 1 1/8 of 7.5 shot simply b/c you don't need bigger rounds for clays, crows, etc. I am most certainly not sneering at people who don't like recoil, I'm just tired of everytime someone posts a 3.5 in 12 gauge tread it gets turned into a recoil bashing thread. As for rule of 96, yeah I know it. Buddy has a BPS 10 gauge. Very heavy but very pleasant to shoot unless you are sitting on your butt shooting straight up. 50 in a row would get tiresome, thats why one wouldn't choose to shoot trap with such. Like I said before I will buy a box or two when I want something to chuckle about with the hunting partner. Have yet to see a hunting situation that actually called for magnum shellls require more than a handfull.

PJR - Couldn't agree more. Shot a over under one time that fit so poorly that after about 50 rounds I had a hard lump on my cheek the size of a quarter.

Guyon -
Why ride them - well, cowboys are naturally crazy you know. In all honestly I can't say exactly why I do it, maybe I just like the rush, maybe its just in my blood, maybe I am just young and stupid. Actually its something I think most people should try once, deffinately a trip like no other.

Dave McCracken
November 14, 2003, 07:47 PM
Someplace in my past is my old RCA membership card. No bulls, just saddle broncs. Got it out of my system early.

I see little need for the 3.5. However, it's a free country and your money. shoot what you want.

I do see a need to publicise the fact that light loads do most of what the heavy stuff does. This is for new shotgunners and those weary of sore shoulders and scraped faces.

BTW, I've been known to plink with 45-70s and a 375 H&H. Bench testing slugs mandates a wearable pad and good technique, but I don't mind it.

Still, most of the loads I shoot run 1 oz or less. Why? Because they're enough for the mission.

November 14, 2003, 11:31 PM
I kinda like the recoil of my 835 with 3 1/2" turkey loads.:D

Its a dream shooting 2 3/4" 1 1/8 ounch, 3 dram, 7 1/2 shot shells for dove/quail.

Cant wait to get some 3" and pattern for ducks whenever I get to an area that has a good duck season.

November 15, 2003, 12:14 AM
FWIW, the best thing to do for any shotgun is to have the gun fitted by a competent gunsmith, and install a good recoil pad (Pachmayr or Kick-Eeze).

Decreasing or increasing overall Length-of-Pull (LOP) by a 1/2" or more can increase hit rates, shooter confidence, and reduce perceived recoil.

Expect to pay about $40 in labor, $35 for the pad, and allow about a month for the work to be done.

November 15, 2003, 02:27 AM
I've always kinda seen the 3 1/2 inch as a marketing ploy. Back before I stopped hunting, myself and a group of youngin's did more shotgunning than anything else. When you have no job, and school lets out at 3:30 hitting the field everyday isn't much of a challange. With the exception of geese and turkey, we never even bumped up to 3 inch shells (well, okay Larry almost always used 3 inchers on duck, but he had a 20 ga). The 2 3/4 inch just seemed to pattern better for some reason. To each his own tho'

November 15, 2003, 02:41 AM
I believe in using enough gun. I believe in knowing the gun/loads/limits/game/range/anatomy. I believe in the pattern board. I believe some choices are not enough, some are too much. I'm not recoil sensitive, I've run 20K+ rds a year, been known to shoot 16 rds of skeet in one day. Yep I hunted with 12s in 3.5, hunted with 10 bores too.
All my current guns have 2 3/4 " chambers only. I too like the way mine pattern with the loads I use in 2 3/4" better. Forcing cones,chokes and my bores are overbored...tweaked... according to PB.

We got a saying, "If I can see it, it'll fall".
Might be a 1oz load of #8.5s or 1 1/8 of #5s, or XX mag load of 2s with grex buffering, rifled slugs...gonna fall.

Dave McCracken
November 15, 2003, 06:40 AM
Lennyjoe, I lived in Tucson long ago going to college there. Duck season there can stand some upgrades. OTOH, desert quail and both kinds of dove are lots of fun, if you don't mind walking some. Neither needs a teacup of 2s to fold.

Capt,Amen. Fit is crucial, and one reason it is is less felt recoil, AKA kick.

John and 73, all the geese I took with dinky li'l 2 3/4" loads would be astounded if they could be told they weren't shot with "Enough Gun". Non tox mandates giant payloads, but for most of us the 3.5" is Overkill.

November 15, 2003, 10:24 AM
Shows how long it's been since I graced a blind. I had completely forgotten about no more lead shot. My guns shoot nothing but lead, and hopefully that's all they ever will. But if half the things I hear about non-tox is true, maybe there is a use for the 3.5's after all.

November 15, 2003, 12:33 PM
Lennyjoe, I lived in Tucson long ago going to college there. Duck season there can stand some upgrades. OTOH, desert quail and both kinds of dove are lots of fun, if you don't mind walking some. Neither needs a teacup of 2s to fold.

This is true. I hunt Quail and dove quite a bit here. Expecially when I didnt get drawn for the hunt lottery for deer, elk or javalina.

The fact of the matter is, I like to have a gun that can be versitile enough to shoot 2 3/4" all the way up to 3 1/2" if I want it too. Without having to change to a different shotgun.

Dave McCracken
November 15, 2003, 06:40 PM
I like the 835,Lennyjoe, shot a couple some. But, I think it's a little on the light side for heavy nontox stuff and more weight than needed for quail and dove loads. Compromises are always thus,not as good as a dedicated tool. However, if it works for you, that's all that counts.

November 16, 2003, 12:38 PM
I dont really notice much difference in weight between the 835 and my Winchester 1400.

Recoil is a little different only cause one is an auto and the other is a pump.

Wish I had the funds to get one for each type of shooting sport, but the government job I hold and having 3 teenagers makes it hard to finance that type of commitment.

Either way, I like them both.

Dave McCracken
November 17, 2003, 05:09 AM
2 in College here, and I'm retired from the govt. Otherwise, I'd probably have some more shotguns.

To paraphrase Will Rogers, I've met few shotguns I haven't liked...

November 17, 2003, 07:22 AM
I'm perfectly content with not shooting 3 1/2" shells. My 2 3/4" reloads seem to kill those clay b@st@rds pretty well. ;)

November 20, 2003, 10:48 AM
I have a 7 pound 3.5" 12 ga. I weigh about 135.

Kicks? Yes with 2.25 oz turkey loads.

Hurts? No.

Works? Yes.

Grow up.

:neener: :D

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