3 shotguns....really worth it?


appalachian hunter
February 18, 2013, 10:34 AM
i'm looking to get a new pump shotgun and i'm debating if getting a 3 inch chamber is worth the extra buck. i mostly hunt deer,bears,upland and the occasional turkey.

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February 18, 2013, 11:06 AM
I like having a 3 1/2" chamber. For a multi-purpose shotgun, a 3" should do most anything you ever need though. I would be more concerned with finding a gun that fits you well. Welcome to THR.

February 18, 2013, 11:12 AM
I like mine because it will run any 12ga shell on the market! That being said, the only time it has fired 3 1/2 inch ammo is at Snow geese with large steel shot such as BBB or T! Mine is an 870 Supermag I bought new in '97 or '98 !
Welcome to THR!

As a side note; there is no trade off in weight, Barrel options, or Pump stroke length between the Supermag or the 3" Express! I've owned both and sold the Express a couple of years after I got the Supermag!

February 18, 2013, 01:28 PM
I've tried 3.5's. Now I don't see the point, expensive and hurts on both ends. Check the ballistics on the 3's and 3.5's, see what you think.

February 18, 2013, 02:12 PM
Ive shot 3.5 slugs ....twice.Never again.

February 18, 2013, 02:29 PM
Ouch is right. There may be some benefit downrange with geese, but with some of the newer "heavy" non toxic loads, I think I would just bite the bullet and buy the expensive loads rather than shoot 3 1/2" shells.

appalachian hunter
February 18, 2013, 04:03 PM
ok so ....3.5's hurts like hell to shoot and are way more expensive for no noticeable advantage except for long range geeses

February 18, 2013, 05:22 PM
I shoot 3.5" on turkeys. That is because they pattern best in my gun. If my gun had a 3" chamber I wouldn't feel disadvantaged using 3" shells for turkey.

The 3" chamber will do 95% of what you would realistically ask a shotgun to do.

Like I said before, it is more important that you find a gun that you like and fits you well.

February 18, 2013, 05:34 PM
Don't do it. The 3 inch shell will do almost everything you could ever want to do. I shot 5 3.5 inch shells ONE time, and will not do it again. I had a friend with a new mossberg turkey gun that would not cycle correctly. (the knuckle-head didn't read the manual, and failed to apply gun oil where required). I cleaned, lubed and shot that gun, and my whole side hurt for 2 days. This was at the same time I was shooting A LOT of skeet, and a fair amount of rifle ammo.

If you need that large of a shell to hit the geese, step up to a 10 gauge shotgun. Otherwise have fun with a 3 inch chamber and learn your limits.

February 18, 2013, 05:35 PM
I have hunted & killed everything in Kansas for 50+ years with 2 3/4" guns.

A 2 3/4" 1 5/8 oz Mag hurts me bad enough.

The only reason I would ever buy a 3" gun would be for use with steel shot for goose hunting.

Used to kill them as far as anyone should be shooting at them with 2 3/4" lead until they were outlawed for migratory waterfowl.

I have a 3" 20 ga double that has never had a 3" shell fired in it in 40 years and it has killed enough pheasants to fill a reefer truck.


February 18, 2013, 06:07 PM
I have no need for 3 1/2" shells. Truthfully the only place they make sense if for guys who shoot a lot of long range geese and buy ammo by the case. The recoil on 3 1/2" steel isn't too bad and they are a lot cheaper than the other non-toxic options. No way I'd turkey hunt with them. You are getting 458 win mag recoil levels. No turkey is worth that to me.

I wouldn't pay extra for it, but some guns, such as the Benelli Nova are all chambered the same. If i liked one and it was chambered for 3 1/2" ammo I'd buy it. Wouldn't buy any shells longer than 3" though.

I used to own one of the Nova's. I liked it well enough and did try enough of the big shells to know I don't need or want them.

February 18, 2013, 08:07 PM
I don't know that I would pay extra for 3.5", but I got mine (870) used for a good price.
I hunt coyote and in heavy brush or on state ground I use shotgun. The 3.5 patterns well and has a few more pellets to give me some kind of perceived edge. :D

Sent from my DROID RAZR using Tapatalk 2

February 18, 2013, 08:32 PM
I have a 3.5" Beretta semi with their Kick off recoil system. This gun has seen 1-1/8oz target loads a few times and that is the heaviest load it will EVER see. It was purchased because it wasn't too heavy for my wife to shoot for sporting clays AND it works flawlessly with my 3/4oz reloads.

If I want to enrich my ortho surgeon, I'll just have someone hit me in my shoulder with a baseball bat - it should hurt less...................

February 18, 2013, 09:05 PM
Deer....3" more than enough.
Bear....3" more than enough.
Occasional turkey...3" more than enough.
Upland....you'll find that you are swinging a Howitzer. It will work but do you really want to carry the extra weight?

I have a Mossy 835. I bought it for water fowling when steel was the only option, 1993. From your list you aren't stuck with non-tox. loads, a 3" chamber will do anything you ask of it. Today's non-tox. options make a 2 3/4" or 3" shell viable for waterfowling...expensive but viable.

February 19, 2013, 10:02 AM
3.5" shotguns are now a solution looking for a problem. In the very rare circumstances where you may actually benefit from the extra payload, you can easily substitute bismuth/tungston/hevishot shot for steel.

The availability of denser non-toxic shot make these guns obsolete.

February 19, 2013, 10:26 AM
I don't find 3.5" shells to be all that much worse than anything else, but I'll only use them for geese and sometimes for ducks (longer passing shots or other situations that may call for more shot in the air) I really haven't found much of a difference, but sometimes I find a deal on them and I snatch them up.

I'd definitely agree that a 3" shell will do almost everything a 3.5" will do, and you'll be more successful with a 2.75" chamber that you can shoot accurately and fits well than you will with a 3.5" that beats the crap of out of you and you can't shoot well because it's no fun to practice with.

February 19, 2013, 11:05 AM
The availability of denser non-toxic shot make these guns obsolete.

Not if you can't afford $4 a shot!...lol

February 19, 2013, 11:16 AM
My 835 Mossberg is my go-to shotty. It eats everything I feed it. Recoil problem attended to by switching to a LimbSaver recoil pad. Max loads fired to date were 2 1/4 oz. turkey hammers, no damage to me but you DO gotta remember to lean into it. My only whinge is the overbored barrel, so no slugs (though I've done it as a test). I get around the no slug issue by reloading up to 4 fifty caliber balls into the wad.

February 19, 2013, 07:40 PM
I shoot 3.5"s through my Xtrema2 all the time. The KO system makes them feel like regular 3" shells. I use them primarily for duck, goose and Turkey. For your intended purpose a 3" gun will work just fine.


February 19, 2013, 10:03 PM
Not worth it.

appalachian hunter
February 20, 2013, 03:02 AM
thanks a lot for the info and the warm welcome to THR...

February 20, 2013, 04:03 AM
Larger shells = less shells in the chamber.

May not matter for hunting, but it may for home defense.

Steelin' Ducks
February 20, 2013, 07:08 AM
I prefer shooting 3" shells. However I like knowing I have options.

February 20, 2013, 07:38 AM
If you do lot of long-range wildfowling with steel shot it is very nice cartridge to use.

Blue Line
February 20, 2013, 10:14 AM
I have the Remington Supermag 870 and love it. I shoot mostly 2 3/4 shells but its nice to have that Extra flexibility. I have shot the 3.5's and don't mind it. I bought this gun with the idea that I can shoot ANY 12 ga shell. I have other 870's as well and this just adds to the stable.

February 20, 2013, 11:33 PM
+ 1 On the Nova. Bought mine 10 years ago. It fits me perfect. Toughest gun I've ever owned. The 3 1/2 feature is nice if you ever need it. My thought is its better to have and not need, than to need and not have. And when something is happening (birds flying in, hogs or bears decide they aren't going to run) you don't feel recoil. Your brain is focused on the target. Not your shoulder. Now at the target range that's a different story.

February 20, 2013, 11:59 PM

I really like the Mossberg 835 Ultimag! I had this Gun in the NWTF ( National Wild Turkey Federation) when it first came out around mid 90's I believe? I believe it had 26" or 28" barrel and it shot like a rifle.

I have had a newer 835, but I have been looking for an Older NWTF... I miss that gun something terrible.

Jorg Nysgerrig
February 21, 2013, 02:36 AM
Larger shells = less shells in the chamber.
Seems like no matter which length shell I go with, I can't cram more than one in the chamber.

February 25, 2013, 04:46 PM
Seems like no matter which length shell I go with, I can't cram more than one in the chamber.

You must not have one of them fancy new "Assault" shotguns! :)

February 25, 2013, 05:49 PM
I've got a 2-3/4 and some 3s. Never saw the need for a 3-1/2, but I've never hunted "geeses."

Mat, not doormat
February 26, 2013, 01:54 AM
That's funny, a lot of my guns'll fit two in the chambers.:neener:

March 5, 2013, 03:10 AM
Should you decide to handload hunting shotshells, the 3.5" will give you a higher pressure ceiling to work with and extra room to assemble specialty loads to fit your hunting needs. A lot of 3.5" loading data is available. And no you don't have to handload 3.5" hulls to the "factory level hilt." It has already been mentioned that most 3.5" chambered repeating shotguns will work with shorter shells.

Reality it comes down to - "you pays your money and takes your choice."

March 5, 2013, 04:33 AM
Yes - I like the option and besides that, when I'm in the field (on the water really since I'm mostly a duck hunter) it's a rare time to enjoy. I like to do so with the best equipment (to me at least) that money can buy.

Having said this, I do not hunt squirrels or dove with 3.5s!

March 5, 2013, 09:04 PM
A 3.5" is a great 2nd or 3rd shotgun. I bought my Mossberg 835 specifically to shoot steel shot at geese. It came with a turkey barrel and instantly became my go to hunting gun. If you don't mind paying for Hevishot a 3" will do everything the 3.5" will do, may be quite a bit lighter, and will kick less.

March 6, 2013, 05:55 AM
When I am shooting game I am to focused on the game to notice recoil. If you really like turkey hunting I would spring for the 3 1/2" model. Head shots on turkey require great shot density. The 3 1/2" turkey load will give you unparalleled shot density.

March 6, 2013, 08:07 AM
Lol I'm goin with the 3 1/2 inch 10g on the turkey and high flyer geese for this comin year..

March 6, 2013, 08:10 AM
I've watched a lot of videos of spring gobblers getting dropped in their tracks with the 10g.. That's what I'm looking for this year.. Where we hunt, sometimes it's hard to get the bird in real close..

March 6, 2013, 08:17 AM
My Maxus doesn't pattern 3.5" shells. I just stick to 3" #1 Kents. Use a Patternmaster Code Black Goose and Upland.

No issues knocking down geese "out there a ways". I prefer takin em at my feet but the world isn't perfect! Those Patternmasters are great!

In God and Glock we Trust

March 6, 2013, 08:20 AM
Outside of turkey's I don't feel like I need anymore then 3inch 12g.. That's all I've ever used

March 6, 2013, 08:21 AM
Something about having 2 1/4 oz of shot through a turkey choke makes me smile

March 6, 2013, 08:55 AM
Hello friends and neighbors // Yes, if you are only going to have one shotgun, the 870, why not utilize the versatility of a 3 1/2" chamber to shoot 2 3/4' and 3" shells as well.

The Remington choke system gives you even more versatility.
The availability of a Cantilevered rifled barrel and scope or a cut down HD barrel for the 870 help make your "one" shotgun many.

Compare the 2005, 870 Express, Turkey(Rem. had a rebate last year for a total cost of $325.00 +tax) to the 1953, Wingmaster with Brush barrel and there is not too much length or weight difference.

That is how I made my choice of which shotgun to leave at our hunt club for use hunting Deer (on drives or thick brush), Turkey and pests like Crows and Coyotes.

HTH, Enjoy the search, content

March 6, 2013, 11:16 AM
I think 3.5 was an advantage when steel was the only non-lead shot you could buy, and you needed a bunch of BB shot to get those Canadas. I'd say nowadays the denser than lead shot have made the 3.5 functionally obsolete, unless you need more than a 2 ounce load and can handle the recoil.;)

March 8, 2013, 11:26 PM
3 shotguns....really worth it?


March 9, 2013, 12:39 AM
Looking at the new Brownings (MSRP) it's $140 more for an A5 chambered in 3.5" and $130 more for a Maxus in 3.5" (compared to the same gun chambered in 3"). I don't think this is a bad deal to get a great deal more flexibility.

In the used market (gunbroker.com) there doesn't seem to be much difference in price at all.

Just my .02.

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