BBK wrote:The 3.5" shells will hold more shot, thus giving you a better pattern at longer ranges... usually.
A 3" 1 1/4 load is going to be going about 1400-1475fps. A 3.5" 1 1/4 load is going to be going 1650fps or about that. That added speed will equate to your shot being lethal to a longer range. Its all about penetration.
The first part of that is pretty much true: more shot usually gives more pattern density, which equates to longer range
The second part is incorrect; penetration does not determine max range of a shotgun, pattern density does.
When you run out of sufficient pattern density, you've reach max range...no matter how fast each individual shot is going.
In 99.99% of the waterfowl loads and chokes used today, you will run out of pattern density before you run out of penetrating pellet energy. Even the slowest waterfowl loads today....about 1275fps MV...have enough penetration to kill birds long after their pattern densities have degraded to the point where they are no longer effective.
I just shot up my last six boxes of 1275fps 1 1/4oz duck loads. They killed ducks as efficiently as any other load I shoot (which are usually 1400fps). I hope I can find some more......