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I'm thinking about buying a 3.5" mag 12 guage for geese and crane purposes.
Anybody got an idea of what the best brand is for your money in one of these?
 

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Don't bother with the 12 gauge/3.5" shell. Stick to the 12/3" gun of your personal preference with loads like Hevi-Shot or Bismuth. Without being hamstrung by steel shot there is utterly no purpose for the 12 gauge 3.5" shotgun. Such a gun shooting steel isn't the equal of a 12/2.75" smoothbore using Hevi-Shot, Bismuth, or lead.
 

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I have very little experience in this area, but for a 3-1/2" gun I'd go with the Remington 870.  Some folks like the Mossberg, but I just trust Remington more.  If you consider the Browning, you may as well get a 10 gauge as lug that around in my opinion.  The Benelli Super Black Eagle is THE gun, if you want to spend that much money I do believe.  Not heavy at all and handles like a dream for me.  You will know when you touch it off, as with the Remington or Mossberg.
I do agree with Bill though.  If you have a 3" 12 already, spend the money on premium shells and see if you aren't satisfied with the results.  Thanks to Hevi-shot, I sold my 10 gauge.
 

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Super Black Eagle

Virginian said:
I have very little experience in this area, but for a 3-1/2" gun I'd go with the Remington 870.  Some folks like the Mossberg, but I just trust Remington more.  If you consider the Browning, you may as well get a 10 gauge as lug that around in my opinion.  The Benelli Super Black Eagle is THE gun, if you want to spend that much money I do believe.  Not heavy at all and handles like a dream for me.  You will know when you touch it off, as with the Remington or Mossberg.
I do agree with Bill though.  If you have a 3" 12 already, spend the money on premium shells and see if you aren't satisfied with the results.  Thanks to Hevi-shot, I sold my 10 gauge.
I just got a the Benelli Super Black Eagle and you are right. I just happened to find one at a great store for a crazy low price. I just got to go duck hunting with it for the first time. That thing is a slayer! It has a great feel. The 3.5" do seem to be a little much. My shoulder feels like it went through a meat grinder. I think I am going to try some 3" nitros next time to take the ease of my shoulder. I did look at the Remington 870, totally different gun (look at price difference). Just not the same category. If you can handle a pump the Benelli Novas a great also and much more reasonably priced.
 

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Well an interesting question. When the 3.5 inch came out I bought a Remington 870 with the black stocks. My hunting partner has the Mossberg 835.

I thought I would rather trust the Remington. I've got to say that gun was brutal to shoot compared to my friends 835.

I finally ended up selling the 870, just couldn't shoot it with the 3.5 inchers. I'm not usually bothered by recoil. I shoot a rem 8mm mag for big game and have no problem with this gun off the bench rest for a day.

What Bill Lester says makes a lot of sense. If I was going to do it again I would follow his advice. In fact I have friends whom now turkey hunt with a twenty gauge with Hevi-shot and are very successful. The new shotgun shell developments make the 3.5 inch shell a non-issue and certianly not worth the extra recoil.
 

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3.5" smoothbores will handle any 12 bore ammo

Gentlemen:

I have not fired many 3.5" hulls in the 870 synthetic Express Supermag I won a few years back. That is mostly because no factory buckshot loads for the long shell have a shot cup long enough to protect the entire charge from bore scrub.

The 870 Supermag is among my favorite shotguns because it has the smoothest action of any pump gun I have ever used. It is far smoother than my standard 870 express or adult stocked 870 20 bore youth gun. The long chamber and gradual forcing cone don't seem to hurt patterns with shorter shells at all.

That said, is it worth an extra C-Note if you are not going to use the long shells - probably not.

Ralph
 

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rgparish said:
I'm thinking about buying a 3.5" mag 12 guage for geese and crane purposes.
Anybody got an idea of what the best brand is for your money in one of these?
I'm no expert so I asked our goose guide a few years ago what in his opinion was the shotgun with the fewest mishaps in the field. Without question he said it was the Benelli and the Beretta.
I was using a Remington 870 with 3.5" shells that had literally beat me to death. The frame on this gun is just too light to be comfortable to shoot.

Hevi-shot is a fine load but go price the ammo before you decide to go with a 3" gun.
Seems to me that if you get a 3.5" to begin with, then you can use whatever you like.
We use the FF shot in the 3.5" and it eliminates as many cripples as possible.
However, it also seems to me that doing away with steel shot, would save more birds than anything else.
I went with the Beretta Extrema and put the mercury stabilizer in the stock as well. It will run you $1000, but it's worth it.
I may only shoot 50-100 ducks and geese a year, but I want to be comfortable doing it!
Good Luck
 

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I've shot a SBE from the time H&K started importing them to the US market. I also had money down on the Browning BPS 10ga pump months before they were for sale anywhere in this country & I still have it as well.

But my 10ga will soon be sold, my usage of it just doesn't amount to enough to keep it any longer. The SBE is lighter, faster & better balanced. I like the SBE so well I now have 3 differant barrels for mine for differant uses.

Both these guns offer a clear advantage in killing power & range over smaller gauge guns/shells. A larger loading/gun will always offer such advantages & heavy shot, lead shot ect don't change that. The larger shells/guns can be loaded with lead, heavy shot or whatever as well & will thus still outrange smaller loadings.

The real determination to be made by each shooter is can he/she handle the 1) added recoil 2) added weight of many such guns. If the shooter can then it's a great option to have on tap.

A look at some of the newest loads being released show how the ammo companys are finally offering better loads for the bigger shells. Winchester this past fall released a new weight of loads in buckshot in both 3" & 3.5". The new loads are MUCH HIGHER VELOCITY. The 3" load carrys the 12 pellets that were the 2 3/4" magnums of past years & the new 3.5 carrys the 15 00 pellets the 3" load carried until this past fall. In the case of the 3.5" loading these 15 pellet loads are 400fps faster than the old 18 pellet loads, that's a huge gain in energy per pellet.

Such new factoy loads are no surprise to wise handloaders who've had such shells for years. Even in the 3.5" 12 ga there is NO reason for loads of 2oz and more, even in turkey loads, lighter loads @ higher speed are superior.

Those who say there's no place/use for the magnum 3.5" guns/shells havn't shot them enough to know what they are saying. You can kill turkeys with a 20ga, but do any really believe for a moment that this means 16 & 12ga guns no longer have a place? Of course not, and the same is true of the 3.5" guns.

The differnace is really in what the individual shooter can handle. In the British isles the 8ga is still used for geese & is very well suited to it.
 
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