3" shells for geese?

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3" shells for geese?

Postby elwoodUT » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:25 pm

How many people here shoot 3" shells for geese? I am buying a Benelli and just wondering if it will be worth it to spend the extra $300 to have the 3 1/2" option. Thanks for the input.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby matt_3479 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:39 pm

Before the 3 1/2" shell came out what do oyou think everyone used?
The 3"
before the 3" came out, what do you think everyone used?
2 3/4"

Why do you think they upgraded the length of the chamber? because the others didn't work? because the others didn't have the power? No, it was actually because people wanted the extra power, extra range for the big geese at extended ranges. And those 3 1/2 shells really put a number on them. Now as people what they use most often and they will tell you there preference but every size has done it for years and will continue to.

In my hunting party we have 5 guns that only shoot 2 3/4" and yes one of them was me. We killed just as many birds as everyone else. You could tell on the further shots how the larger 3" helped and now the 3 1/2". I then wanted to upgrade my gun not because i didn't like 2 3/4" but because half my party uses 3" and this way i can grab any shell and throw it in. So i picked up the 3" maxus. This gun fits me better and so my shot has improved. My range has improved, so my success has gone up. but both work. Now we recently had a guy pick up a 3 1/2" gun only cause the supernova only came in that chamber so he grabbed it.

The 3 1/2" really beats you up, especially after a full day of shooting. The 3" is a lot more tolerable and works amazing, why up size. Its all preference. My preference is 3" cause i dont need the 3 1/2" and it saved me 250 dollars.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby Jkling12 » Thu Sep 08, 2011 8:47 pm

I would go 3 1/2 if your buying a new gun just incase you ever want it. Turkey for example. I shoot a 3inch all year till late goose bc they get big and shots can be a little farther. I only shoot decoying birds till late season.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby Rick Hall » Fri Sep 09, 2011 4:13 am

My goose gun is an early HK import SBE, and I've not bothered with 3 1/2" shells in years. If something ever happens to it, I'll probably get a 3" M1 or M2.

(But if you're the type of person who looks for excuses beyond your own abilities to work birds and shoot, better get the 3 1/2" and stock up on HeviShot. Or maybe not...might be out of excuses, then. Have long thought it would be fun to see what folks who cry about steel would blame if lead were reinstated.)
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby Eschutz » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:42 am

I was in the same spot when I bought my Beretta last year. I've got a super mag 870 so I'm covered for cduck turkey etc. and figured I'd use that the few times I needed to shoot candle sticks, otherwise it's 3" out of the AU 391. If its your only shoti, I'd go bigger.

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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby i_willie12 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:20 am

I shoot 3' #2's!! But like someone said if your buying a NEW gun might as well buy the 3.5"
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby zeus50 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 10:48 am

some one on another forum made a comment to this, that i liked.

If you're in the market for a new gun, pay the extra for 3.5 model...

If if you don't hunt 3.5.....

there might come a day where you say... "oh sh!t, i forgot my shells"....if your buddy only hunts 3.5 you're SoL...

Just a thought...

the only time i use 3.5 is with my 10ga....with the 12 i only shot 3s...


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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby H2OfowlND » Fri Sep 09, 2011 12:14 pm

That extra $300 is also 2-3 cases of shells. Shoot within your abilities and you'll be just fine. Just because you can reach out the edge of your range, doesn't mean you need to. Better to get them in close and kill 'em with a clean shot. I still use 2 3/4" and get my fill. Just have to know your range and stick inside it.

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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby tripleb » Fri Sep 09, 2011 2:28 pm

If you like to shoot big shot for geese, get the 3.5", you can keep the pellet count and velocities up. If you plan on reselling the gun .... get the 3.5", it will have the interest of a larger number of purchasers.

The 3" Remington Hypersonic is an interesting alternative to the 3.5" shells, since it delivers respectable payloads and velocities ..... if it performs properly. But, there's been an increasing number of reports that it's not doing what it's supposed to do .... fire properly .... and it can show signs of high pressures. Time will tell if the 3" hypersonic load will replace the standard 3.5".
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby seabee07 » Fri Sep 09, 2011 6:42 pm

ben hunting for 24 years for ducks and geese dad broke down and got a 3.5 last year hunted everday he did finished 2 geese behind him hey hes got 24 years on me i did ok ha ha anyways as long as u got the lead down it dont matter if its a 410 its all about shot placement 3 inch is a great choice
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby Have Gun Will Travel » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:09 am

Gotta agree with Seabee here. You can hit it with BBB all day long on the rear and not bring a goose down. Get what your wallet can afford and prcatice. It is all about shot placement.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby tripleb » Mon Sep 12, 2011 11:25 am

Have Gun Will Travel wrote:Gotta agree with Seabee here. You can hit it with BBB all day long on the rear and not bring a goose down. Get what your wallet can afford and prcatice. It is all about shot placement.


I did some pass shooting for geese in January of this past and the preceding seasons because of where the birds were flying between roosting and feeding areas. A couple other guys were hunting the same spot, using 3" guns and BB's. They were constantly biaching about not being able to find BBB loads for their guns during that last two weeks of the goose season. And, their shots fired to birds recovered ratio seemed to verify the reason for their displeasure with the 3" BB loads ..... they produced too many wounded birds, in comparison to what the shooters had experienced when they still had BBB loads.

I've used BBB loads for geese for many years, while friends have continued to use BB's. Fast steel BBB loads (provided they pattern properly) seem to be noticeably more effective on large geese when shot at less than ideal angles at longer ranges than fast steel BB's have been.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby Have Gun Will Travel » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:12 am

I agree tripleb the larger shot will perform better for you on odd angles to the vitals. However I have been on top a steep bank with shooters below me and seen the shot rip out the backs of the geese and they keep going. If they are hit in the butt they arent coming down. I can see where if shot with larger shot if the bird is leaving how the larger shot can give you better penitration as you were saying. I shoot 3", #2 shot on them out to 45yds without complaint, and sometimes #4's if Im hunting smaller bodies of water. Its crazy to me how so many have this attitude that it takes a 3.5" to kill geese. To me a longer shot string doesnt mean more killing power/range at all, but to each his own.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby tripleb » Wed Sep 14, 2011 9:02 am

Have Gun Will Travel wrote:I agree tripleb the larger shot will perform better for you on odd angles to the vitals. However I have been on top a steep bank with shooters below me and seen the shot rip out the backs of the geese and they keep going. If they are hit in the butt they arent coming down. I can see where if shot with larger shot if the bird is leaving how the larger shot can give you better penitration as you were saying. I shoot 3", #2 shot on them out to 45yds without complaint, and sometimes #4's if Im hunting smaller bodies of water. Its crazy to me how so many have this attitude that it takes a 3.5" to kill geese. To me a longer shot string doesnt mean more killing power/range at all, but to each his own.


It doesn't take a 3.5" to kill geese, but having the extra shot .... or driving it at a higher velocity, does provide an advantage on some shots ... providing the gun patterns the shells well, of course. What I have observed is that if you have a group of geese come it to your decoy spread, the first shot is often at the best angles .... frontal or side shots. After the first shot goes off, the birds are scrambling to put altitude and distance between you and them. That often means angling away and butt shots as follow ups. I've noticed I get many fewer runners and sailers than my friends who use BB's and smaller shot under those conditions.

We don't get so many opportunities that we can afford to pass on shots at less than ideal angles. BBB's break wings, legs, necks and skulls. Even if they aren't dead on the ground, usually they are so incapacitated that you don't have to engage in a foot race to recover them.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby twisted » Wed Sep 14, 2011 8:30 pm

tripleb wrote:We don't get so many opportunities that we can afford to pass on shots at less than ideal angles. BBB's break wings, legs, necks and skulls. Even if they aren't dead on the ground, usually they are so incapacitated that you don't have to engage in a foot race to recover them.



isnt that what we bring the pups along for? :biggrin:

im glad i found this thread, im looking to replace my Nova pump with a autoloader.
my budget wont afford me a good quality 3.5" gun so i have been looking real hard at the nicer 3" guns.
i have narrowed it down to a franchi I 12 and was looking for comments on the 3" for geese.

i have generaly used 3.5" for goose hunting because my Nova will shoot them, i have a couple herniated disc in my neck so im gonna enjoy shooting the lighter recoil 3" shells i think :yes:
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby goosewhisperer » Thu Sep 15, 2011 5:51 am

I have never shot a goose of any species with anything but 3 inch shells.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby ddragon47 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 6:57 am

3" is all my gun can shoot and It's always been good for geese.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby A-Bomb » Thu Sep 15, 2011 9:54 am

3 1/2" #2 for me from start to finish on geese. Only reason is the payload. I like a big payload and pattern density. For killing, pellet count on target is where its at. I dont buy into the larger pellet theory as i try and shoot mine in the head and neck. Anything will work for that. And if i do body shoot them the smaller shot penetrates deep, infact, it usually goes through to the other side of the bird and lies under the skin if it doesnt exit. And if i cant kill them with that, theyre too far out.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby tripleb » Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:10 am

A-Bomb wrote: And if i do body shoot them the smaller shot penetrates deep, infact, it usually goes through to the other side of the bird and lies under the skin if it doesnt exit. And if i cant kill them with that, theyre too far out.


Apparently you have more faith in small shot on body hits than I have. About 10 years ago, I did a penetration test of 3's, 2's and 1's at a nominal 1600 fps. MV at two ducks, a woodduck and a mallard set up breasts toward shooter at 40 yards. I fired two of each shot size, inspected the cardboard behind the birds to see if there was complete penetration, then placed new cardboard for the succeeding two shots. Only the 1's made it completely through either bird, including the offside skin, to puncture the cardboard backer. After seeing that, I decided that 1's would be the smallest shot size I'd use on body shots. And, I've found it to work adequately for that purpose out to around 40 yards on frontal and side shots. I've never been a subscriber to the "use different shells for different ranges" philosophy of steel shot shells. If I'm after geese, I'll put in BBB loads. It will kill them at 50 yards and it will kill them at 10 yards. The geese I see don't give me the courtesy of advance notice of how close or how far away they intend to come, so I'm prepared for the longest shot I might take ..... while hoping they will give me a closer shot.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby A-Bomb » Thu Sep 15, 2011 10:24 am

Yes i do, #2's have served me well.....Bottom line, use what works for you in your gun. And this works for me.

Just curious, have you tried that same test on geese?
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby tripleb » Thu Sep 15, 2011 12:16 pm

A-Bomb wrote:Yes i do, #2's have served me well.....Bottom line, use what works for you in your gun. And this works for me.

Just curious, have you tried that same test on geese?


No, I haven't had a chance. I live in a residential area now and can't simply walk out beside the garage and crank off a few shots after a hunting trip like I could when I lived in the country. If I did, I'd cut off the breasts, leaving the feathers, skin, muscle and bone intact, and put them up against some phone books to see what kind of residual energy was left after punching through the feathers, skin, muscle and bone to penetrate and disrupt the vital organs.

The best way would be to simply X ray the birds to see where the pellets stopped, like Tom Roster did, but I don't have that sort of equipment available to me.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby WF1 » Thu Sep 15, 2011 2:04 pm

There was an article written in a local newspaper talking about choke tubes, patterning, size of shot/shells, etc. After I read it was pretty eye opening.

Here is a quote from it:

"One thing we keep finding in our patterning is that three-inch shells pattern better than 3 1/2-inch shells in almost all cases," Carlson said. "It can be a real surprise to a lot of people who shoot the bigger shells. Things aren't doing what they think they are."



Read more: http://www.kansas.com/2010/12/26/164784 ... z1Y3MnhC3t

I can only shoot 3", but I went and patterned the choke tube I had with my gun, and the cheap Kent Faststeel patterns much better than the expensive hevi-shot. Finding the right combo for whatever gun you get is the biggest factor IMO.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby tripleb » Thu Sep 15, 2011 3:03 pm

WF1 wrote:There was an article written in a local newspaper talking about choke tubes, patterning, size of shot/shells, etc. After I read it was pretty eye opening.

Here is a quote from it:

"One thing we keep finding in our patterning is that three-inch shells pattern better than 3 1/2-inch shells in almost all cases," Carlson said. "It can be a real surprise to a lot of people who shoot the bigger shells. Things aren't doing what they think they are."



Read more: http://www.kansas.com/2010/12/26/164784 ... z1Y3MnhC3t

I can only shoot 3", but I went and patterned the choke tube I had with my gun, and the cheap Kent Faststeel patterns much better than the expensive hevi-shot. Finding the right combo for whatever gun you get is the biggest factor IMO.


That quote is actually a bit misleading in most cases. If you've taken the time to pattern your gun, using a decent choke and quality shells, even though the pattern percentages may be lower when using a 3.5" shell than when using a 3" shell, the pellet numbers in the 30" circle are almost always appreciably higher when using the 3.5" shell, assuming the loads of of the same velocity. However, if you use crappy loads, and/or chokes not suitable for your loads, you can't count on pellet numbers going up simply because you're using a 3.5" shell.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby VincentCorrea » Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:01 pm

"One thing we keep finding in our patterning is that three-inch shells pattern better than 3 1/2-inch shells in almost all cases," Carlson said. "It can be a real surprise to a lot of people who shoot the bigger shells. Things aren't doing what they think they are."


I don't know where they got that from, my 535 with 3.5" is a big difference compared to a 3" chambered gun. I shot a ruddy duck around 30 yards with #2 shot last year and hit with it with so many pellets it surprised me big time. I patterned #2's and 4's thru a modified choke and had way more pellets on target(3" couldn't compare) then my old 3" gun could do with full choke at the equivalent range. Deffinently a better choice if you like to take those shots that would be at the extreme end of a 3" range.
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Re: 3" shells for geese?

Postby MagTen » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:49 pm

I have hunted geese for many years. Back before steel was mandatory I used an Ithaca magten with BB shot and this was the best long range killing machine I had ever seen. When we started using T steel shot we found we wounded many birds. I have stood in the field with several very good wing shots using 12ga. 3.5" guns in TX and they could not keep up with me. Now that I have gotten older and don't like carrying a 10 pound gun I shoot a new Rem. VersaMax and shoot most often 2.75" #2 shot. Out of all the shot sizes I have used and found a #1 steel to be the most lethal load to shoot. I shoot for the head and have stone killed more birds with #1s than any other size.

I do think you would be satisfied with a 3" gun.
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