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Looking at getting my first semi-auto. I will continue to bring my 877 pump which holds 3.5” shells for a backup on every trip just in case. So what are the pros and cons of gas vs inertia and various manufacturers? Do 3.5” semi autos have jamming issues? If so I’d be cool with a 3”. I do hunt quite a bit in cold weather too. Price isn’t a issue. I’m at a buy once cry once point in my life. Thanks for any advice guys!


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I bought the browning Maxus II which is a gas gun and I've had zero issues with jamming. I've run 2.75" with 1.5 oz up to 3.5" with 1⅝ oz and it cycles like a dream. I shot my buddy's Browning A5 which was also a 3.5" receiver using 2.75" shells and mine was definitely smoother, softer recoil and to me just more enjoyable. Draw backs from the gas gun is they can get dirty quickly and using light loads you can have cycling issues. For the most part its personal taste as far as what feels best to the individual.

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I prefer gas operated autos but I understand the attraction of inertia.
I don’t mind keeping a gun clean- depending on how much you shoot and how dirty the ammo is you probably wouldn’t need to clean it more than once during a season, if that.
I’m not a fan of 12ga recoil. Shot a lot of trap as a youth and avoiding recoil is avoiding the development of flinching. May not be a concern for others.
 

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I have had both, and been around both a lot, I like how my SBE2 handles, light and narrow. Had the original Beretta extrema, great gun as well, just heavier and wider forearm.

I only use 12ga for waterfowl, so I prefer the Benelli but not specifically due to inertia, however the inertia guns just tend to be leaner.

With the available Bismuth loads now I may get rid of the Benelli for another 20ga, my 20s I have currently are too pretty for the marsh!

I shot a lot of field geese over the years with heavy 3.5 inch loads, I am not a large guy and never really notice the recoil.
 

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To me it’s a Ford Chevy Dodge thing. Several years ago I bought an A400, buddy bought a Versamax, and another bought a SBE2. They’ve all had hiccups at different times. It makes for some entertaining ribbing. First season my A400 had lots of issues, I sent in and its been flawless since. To me the Versa is heavy and like swinging a 4x4. The SBE2 is light and kicks like a mule compared to my A400. The Versa is the softest shooting gun. I don’t shoot hardly any 3.5” but can if I want.
This brings me to this season I hunted the harshest nastiest blizzard conditions I’ve ever hunted in layouts! No pits or heaters. 3 days of freezing temps wind blowing 40+. Rain, snow, sleet, ice we had it all. My A400 had zero issues. Both the SBE2 and Versa were useless at different times during some of the best decoying geese I’ve ever witnessed. Now the asterisk here is my A400 is also the best maintained gun of the 3 so………
All that said my next gun will be a inertia driven 20 most likely the M2. I based my A400 purchase on fit and recoil. If you think recoil doesn’t matter, shoot any of these higher end gas autos for a few rounds of trap. Then grab an ole 870. You’ll understand instantly. I didn’t give recoil much consideration till I did this. And this isn’t a knock on the 870. I’m huge fan and have killed plenty with one. Get whatever feels good and get comfortable and confident with it.


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I bought my Benelli M2 this past summer and I absolutely love it. I would agree with D that it really is a Chevy vs Ford thing. I think it all comes down to which ever one feels the best to you. I went for the M2 over the SBE3 because it felt better to me.
 

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I have shot autos for the past 10-15 years switching over from a pump gun. For 12 gauge i exclusively shoot 3” steel and both of my 12 autos(sbe2 and A5) are 3 1/2” guns when i shoot trap i need to shoot 1 1/8oz min otherwise it will not cycle the light 1oz loads. If i were to buy again i would get 3” guns. I personally prefer the A5 over SBE2 but bought the SBE2 first as a dual purpose gun for ducks/deer. I also have a franchi affinity 20gauge that i love for early teal and a browning gold 10g for geese. I typically bring the 10ga on all hunts for geese and have the 12 or 20 in the boat for ducks.
 

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I went inertia simply due to lazy ways for cleaning and the mess that my guns tends to find while hunting from a canoe in the rice and muck. Franchi was my choice simply because it shouldered good and was cheaper than the B brand.

I don’t think you can go wrong with either system. I’d just go to Boone’s and start swinging guns until one feels good.


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I really love my Benelli Super Vinci, just got a SBE3 for Christmas and still like the Super Vinci more after these few duck hunts with the SBE, I’ve never had a jamming issue with it, I don’t have any complaints with gas drive with the exception it does require paying attention to how dirty the gas tube is because it will impact performance


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I shoot a Versamax it’s a gas gun and the recoil is the lightest I’ve ever felt. They are definitely more to clean but I’ll take that for less recoil.


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I have several Benelli's and Berettas. We hunt often and sometimes in bitter cold single digit temps. I am very meticulous with gun maintenance. My guns don't get put away dirty. I'm also picky what I use on them for lubrication. I only use Breakfree CLP for the rails. My guns have never had a failure. The only one that did was my first SBE that had a worn out ejector. That thing saw thousands and thousands of rounds. Overall, I love the benelli and Beretta platforms.
 

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I’ve ran my Browning maxus for 10 seasons now without an issue. Recoil is very tame unless you shoot really heavy loads like 1 1/2oz Boss, 2oz turkey loads or 3.5”s which just aren’t needed for ducks. I’ve been shooting 1 1/4oz Boss 2 3/4” loads with much better accuracy results from the lower recoil. But the maxus runs 1oz and 1 1/8oz target loads without a problem. I use it for sporting clays tournaments and target practice all year long as well a dove hunting besides duck/ goose duty. Cleaning is super simple. I just swab the barrel and clean where the piston rides on the magazine tube for most cleanings. Of course a more through break down and cleaning if I hunt in the rain or like I’ve done a time or two drop it in the marsh. And give it a really deep clean once a year after season is over.
 

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Love my maxus and SX3. Make sure you shoulder them. When I shoulder a Benelli SBE2 or 3, I immediately dislike the way it feels.
Both handle 3.5" shells just fine and target loads just fine.

I will say I don't think there's much advantage to 3.5" shells, even for geese (which is what I use them for). For a dedicated goose gun a 10ga is the better way to go.

If you're only shooting a case of shells per hunting season, you likely don't need to clean gas guns. The exception being if it rains or shooting really dirty shells.
 
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