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3" vs 3.5" chamber, is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by P.B.Walsh, Feb 18, 2010.

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  1. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    Hi, thinking about getting a shotgun (500, 590, or 870) for ultility use being mostly deer and HD.

    So here is my question, is getting a 3.5" chambered 870 going to make that much of a difference then a 3" 500 or 590?

    Just like the idea of a 3.5" for more power.

    So is it worth it?

    Thanks,
    P.B.Walsh
     
  2. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    For deer and HD, NO, it is not needed. 3.5" shines for waterfowl (with steel shot) and turkey. If the 3.5" is the same price buy it, it will handle anything from a 2.75" AA trap load to a 3.5" super turkey (2.25 oz).
    I got a super deal on a Mossberg 835 waterfowl/turkey combo, so it bought it. Would a 3" 870 or 500 done as well? probably, but I like the option of the heavier shell. If it is legal to use buckshot for deer in you state then maybe it makes sense.
    BTW, I patterned the gun with 3.5" buckshot with the intention of coyote hunting in low light. They kicked like a mule!! - I was able to throw a killing pattern for a coyote to 50 yards.
     
  3. Fred Fuller

    Fred Fuller Moderator Emeritus

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    Probably not, given your stated uses.

    lpl
     
  4. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Member

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    I had a 870 Super Magnum Express that I used for deer hunting with buckshot. I didn't like it at all. When I tried to take it skeet shooting I noticed sometimes the pump would get stuck after shooting and wouldn't come back. I even took it back to where it came from and they couldn't find anything wrong. Finally I read to polish the chamber and that fixed that problem. However, it always just jammed more than it should. Even when it wasn't doing the pump sticking thing which it didn't do with buckshot it would have random jams like trying to send two shells into the chamber at the same time, not catching onto the old shell to pull it out after firing, stove piping, etc. If in 50 rounds you only had a couple jams you were doing good.

    As for the 3.5" shells I can't say if they were worth it or not. I used them some but most of the time I used 3" shells. I found that it seemed to prefer 3" Winchester 000 buckshot. It patterened the best out of the many shells I tried. Since they don't make 3.5" 000 buckshot that I know of I couldn't try it. I also tried the Federal Flight Wad stuff which I liked but it also only came in 3". Since these shells were what it liked I used them. The 3.5" patterened decently especailly at close ranges but the 3" 000 buckshot paterned a lot better for me.

    I will say the 3.5" shells really hurt to shoot. I hunt with a couple guys that have 3.5" guns and use 3.5" shells but quite a few of them only have 3" guns and kill just as many or more deer than the guys with 3.5" ones.

    I honestly would go with something more like a 1100 Magnum or Benelli Super Black Eagle II or Browning Gold. Most guys I hunt with seem to think the 1100 Magnum with the 30" barrel is about the best buckshot gun out there and I can't say I disagree. A lot of guys also like 11-87's but a buddy I hunt with has one of those and his seems to have some issues jamming too. Not as bad as mine was but it still jams more than I like to see. I've seen it hang up probably at least once a year on him. Maybe not every year but most and sometimes more than once. I got the 870 as I figured a pump would be more reliable and I didn't want to deal with jamming. Mine never was more reliable so I realized I'd rather just have a semi auto like I preferred in the first place if both might jam. I don't know that the 11-87 is a bad gun and I think he likes his decently it's just not really the gun for me.
     
  5. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    Well, I should have said this first, I will be putting a 20" barrel on the shotgun or cutting it regardless of make.

    The ONLY 2 reasons the 3.5" is looking good is because I can run whatever 12ga. in it and it can throw more shot downrange.

    I don't hunt any kind of bird, although I'd like to try someday.

    I will not always be using 3.5" shells, I'll be using the cheapest stuff I can come across about 70% of the time, so I really don't know if I can even take full
    advantage of a 3.5" (kinda like buying a 30-06 and only loading it to your average .308).

    Oh yea, this shotgun needs to have aftermarket support for just in case.

    I am trying not to go over $500, because in my opinion, shotguns are 100 yards firearms and nothing more, and unless they are finely engraved with precious stone enlays (read O/U, SxS) should cost no more than $500.

    Thanks, and please keep up the advice,
    P.B.Walsh
     
  6. scythefwd

    scythefwd Member

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    I was breaking pidgeons, of the clay breed, with a 2.75 inch single shot 20ga back when I was a kid. I wasn't great, but that was me.. not the shotgun. A 3" chamber should be all you need in 12ga. IF you need a 3.5", you are reaching out there a ways.

    You lose the benefit of denser shot patters with more shot in a 3.5 when you cut the barrel down. See if you can find a 20" barrel that is threaded for chokes, especially if you plan on shoot buck shot out of it...
     
  7. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Member

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    I'd go 3".
     
  8. cottonmouth

    cottonmouth Member

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    I use a 3.5" 870 for turkeys and I like it and if I need a brush gun for deer I have several boxs of #4 buckshot, I figure with 54 pelets I gotta hit something! Or is it 57?

    J.B.
     
  9. hometheaterman

    hometheaterman Member

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    Honestly, If you don't want a semi auto I'd probably get a double barrel. If you really don't want that my choice for a pump would be the Benelli Super Nova. You should be able to get one around your price range.
     
  10. gfpd707

    gfpd707 Member

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    I have a supernova and it has the 3 1/2 chamber. It wasn't a factor in buying it but it is nice that you can shoot any 12 guage shell. I have to admit when you put that 3 1/2 next to a 2 3/4 it looks pretty cool
     
  11. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    I have found hardly a use for 3" let alone 3 1/2". I tend to think the majority of the 3 1/2" crowd never use it or use it when it is not needed. Maybe trying to compensate for bad shooting too.
     
  12. Al LaVodka

    Al LaVodka member

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    No.

    A 3" Mag will be striving to reach 50% more energy (than a standard 2.75" shotgun buckshot shell). A 3.5" Mag can give you 100% more energy, but who the heck wants, needs, or can manage it!? The particular advantage of the latter is there is less degredation of velocity despite the bigger payloads. But you are gonna pay for it in every way...

    Al
     
  13. bernie

    bernie Member

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    I am an avid waterfowl hunter, and 3" is generally all that I need. That being said, I can see that a 3 1/2" could be nice on geese a little further out than I can reach, but that is not a huge handicap. While not a turkey hunter, I can see the increased payload being useful for turkeys as well. But those are the only two scenarios that I (and Me alone, not speaking for anyone else) would want or need the 3 1/2".
     
  14. Kingcreek

    Kingcreek Member

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    After shooting plenty of everything at waterfowl, I found 3" of hevi-shot was a far better performer than 3.5" of steel. I still have a few boxes of 3.5 steel around but I will give them away before I shoot them. (At 6'2 and 245lbs, I'm not at all recoil sensitive.)
    for me... The percieved advantage of more shot payload is more than canceled by the recoil generated by trying to get all that shot to the same speed and by the cost at the time of purchase. I can cover everything with 2.75 and 3" and step up to hevi-shot when I want just a little more performance on big birds at longer distances.
     
  15. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    All very good points. I see what you mean by the loss of velocity with a 20" barrel, I quess thats like a 300WM out of a 20". Sorry I make mos pf my comparisons in life related to rifles.

    Hmm, I just need to think about it.

    An 870 Wingmaster or something like that is around $350 with a 3.5". A 500 is about $350 with a 3". I'd have to add the cost of getting the barrel cut on the 870. And I'd like a wood stock.

    Is there a 20", woodstocked, 3" chambered 500?

    Thanks,
    P.B.Walsh
     
  16. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    I'm not sure about the Remington. I know the 835 Mossberg ultimag has a "backbored" barrel, meaning it's oversize for better patterns. A slug would wobble down the bore, lose pressure, be lucky to hit paper at 25 yards through such a barrel.

    Hevi shot is good on geese, but steel T shot kills 'em just as dead just as far away and costs one HELL of a lot less for those of us on a tight budget. If you can afford hevi shot in any quantity, I envy you, must be one of those greedy wallstreeters I read about. :D Of course, I'm shooting 'em out of a 10 gauge that patterns over 90 percent at 40 yards. Best patterning gun I've ever owned. The thing is just plain deadly on high flying snows and specs.
     
  17. oletymer

    oletymer Member

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    You will not get a new Wingmaster for $350, you would be getting an Express. Cottonmouth please tell me you were not serious about using #4 buckshot for deer.
     
  18. chas08

    chas08 Member

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    I've found that the 3.5" does have a place in my fiream stable. It is good for shooting large steel shot at Geese. Particularly T-Shot. Other than that, you are probably wasting your money for your intent and purpose.
     
  19. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    Ok, can someone explain to me the difference in shot number. Really I have no clue what the difference is in #6, #4, #9?

    And for deer I will probally just use slugs, so I need something accurate with a 20" barrel out to 100 yards, 50 yards being 85% of the time. For HD it'll be 00 or 000 buckshot.

    Thanks, that 3" chamber is looking more better.

    I'm sorry I knew that it was either a Wingmaster or Express.

    Thanks,
    P.B.walsh
     
  20. Pharmacology

    Pharmacology member

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    No such thing as a 590 with a 3.5" chamber anyhow.

    That should tell you something.
     
  21. oneounceload

    oneounceload member

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  22. P.B.Walsh

    P.B.Walsh Member

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    Yea, that the military dosen't have a use for 3.5" shells. My use is a bit different seeing as how the primary duty of a 590 will be used to breach doors, used with a PGO, and a breaching device on the end of the barrel, will have a holster for it and is used as an auxilliary weapon

    Mine will have a wooden or laminate stock, baisic barrel, bead sight, and mabey a flashlight, and be used primarily on deer. This will be a primary weapon carried by a cheap sling.

    Thanks,
    P.B.Walsh
     
  23. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    3 1/2" chambered guns are bigger, longer, and require more slide travel distance to operate them with 2 3/4" or 3" shells.

    Why handicap yourself for all your needs if you are not a goose hunter required to use steel shot loads?

    I have got by quite nicely for close to 60 years of upland hunting, clay target shooting, turkey hunting, and HD using nothing but 2 3/4" shells in shorter, lighter, and easier to operate guns.

    I have never hunted deer with a shotgun, because there is no legal requirement to do so here. But if there was, a 2 3/4" slug would do the job just perfectly fine too, I betcha.

    rc
     
  24. sourdough44

    sourdough44 Member

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    Also with many magazines you can fit one more round in with 2 3/4" shells. I'm talking HD here.
     
  25. MikePGS

    MikePGS Member

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    If you want to use copper slugs I've read that some, the brenneke in particular are a bit longer than advertised. That would be one reason to use a 3.5, but thats about it as far as I can see.
     
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