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Shotgun Shells - Is Size That Important?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by longcolt, Oct 25, 2012.

  1. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    I know that the larger 3" and 3.5" shells are the rage for duck hunting, but won't the 2 3/4 size shells handle about 90% of hunting applications?

    I am sure when buying a new shotgun you-all want the ability to shoot the longer shells but on a used shotgun is it that important?

    Larger shells a must have?

    Not so critical?
     
  2. slingshot1943

    slingshot1943 salem or Well-Known Member

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    I'm no expert but I think it is extra power to make up for shooting steel instead of lead.
     
  3. Throckmorton

    Throckmorton Florence,Ore ah gone Well-Known Member

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    if lead shot is legal for what u are hunting,then yes,2 3/4" shells will handle a lot of hunting situations.When steel is required,the gun must be made for it,and chambered for the longer shells.
     
  4. Jamie6.5

    Jamie6.5 Western OR Well-Known Member

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    It would be a total bummer if some day in the future, shotgun shells got REALLY expensive or hard to find, and a person happened upon a great deal on 3" shells, but only had a gun that would take 2-3/4".

    The reality is, if you care more about velocity and less about the number of pellets, most 2-3/4" shells are just as hot as the 3"ers, and sometimes hotter.
    More shot gives you a longer shot column, and therefore usually results in a denser pattern. This can be good (better) for low percentage shots.
    Lower percentage shots are usually at extended ranges though, and if we are talking about steel, then the definition of "extended range" changes a LOT.
    I have never found steel able to kill at the distances lead will.

    I have found over the years that I prefer a higher velocity load to a heavier shot charge.
    I tend to believe that having to use less lead (pronounced leed not led) gets me more hits, and better penetration when I do hit.

    YMMV.
     
  5. JackThompson

    JackThompson Valley of the Demons Well-Known Member

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    For hunting I would pick up a cheap single shot that will take 3" shells. For trap, skeet and self defense go with a good new or used gun that uses lead and don't worry about the size of the shells it can take. I personally have both for that reason. That way I didn't have to ask myself that very question.

    The new Browning A5 would have been the answer to that question if it didn't come with an aluminum receiver.
     
  6. badclam

    badclam willapa bay Sunny SW WA Active Member

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    My wife has always told me size doesn't matter, buy I think she's just being nice!

    All kidding aside, steel shot sucks for those of us that grew up using lead. Its faster but doesn't go as far. In general we use larger shot sizes to get the same effect from steel shot, meaning a #2 steel pellet most closely acts like a #6 lead pellet. Since your using larger pellets you need more room to get as many steel pellets as you used to get with the smaller lead pellets. That is the mainstream thinking. I on the other hand I can afford to shoot Heavy Metal shot which goes even farther than lead which is great for geese. For ducks over decoys I use smaller 2 3/4 steel as the birds are so close it doesn't really matter. Confused yet?

    Its best to get a 3 1/2 inch shotgun and form your own opinion through experience. A 3 1/2 gun will shoot any size and leaves your options open, IMHO.
     
  7. longcolt

    longcolt Zephyrhills, FL Active Member

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    Thanks for the education folks, I am not a shotgun guy and enjoyed reading your comments.
     
  8. DeanMk

    DeanMk Poulsbo, Wa. Active Member

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    Longcolt,

    Always remember, the size of the shot is more important than the size of the shell.
    I hunted upland for years with nothing more than 2 3/4" Hi-brass loads, but always #6's.
    Worked like a champ.


    Dean
     
  9. Flopsweat

    Flopsweat Slightly right of center Well-Known Member

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    Now if you go to shoot a 3 1/2" slug, you'll probably notice the difference...
     
  10. DirectDrive

    DirectDrive Vancouver, WA Member

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    Ugh.
    One day in the duck blind with that single shot while your buddies are having fun with pumps and autos would very quickly change your mind on that.

    I saw a guy once with a black powder twice pipe hunting bandtails.
    I think he was on more of an outing than hunting trip.
     
  11. badclam

    badclam willapa bay Sunny SW WA Active Member

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    I'm glad you said it first. Single shots are for kids when it comes to duck hunting. It will make you learn to place your one shot well, but it's only a third as good at putting game down.