12 ga 3.5 or 10 ga 3.5

Discussion in 'Waterfowl Hunting' started by D.Camilleri, Dec 17, 2009.

  1. D.Camilleri

    D.Camilleri Well-Known Member

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    I am trying to decide on a new shotgun and don't know if I want a 12 ga that can shoot 3.5 shells or a 10 gauge. This will be a primary waterfowl gun, as I have others for upland game. Tell me the thoughts from those with more waterfowl experience than me. Last year I used my old remington 870 and it was marginally sucessful but it is only a 2 3/4 with a fixed full choke.
     
  2. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    Will you be reloading or buying pre-made? Will you be travelling far from home on commercial transportation? What's your emphasis, ducks or geese?

    If you are slinging the same payload thru both bores, the 10ga. will give you a wee bit less recoil than the 12ga providing the gun weight, action and projectile speed is the same.

    While I haven't done any side-by-side comparisons against a 10ga, my Remington 1100 12 ga. with the Stan Baker Big Bore Barrel patterns steel better than the regular 12ga barrel, and that's with .060" choke constriction in the SBBBB.

    If the Baker BBB was readily available, I'd say go with it, but I haven't seen many for sale in the past few years.
     

  3. D.Camilleri

    D.Camilleri Well-Known Member

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    I will be hunting close to home, ducks and geese. I will only be shooting factory ammo.
     
  4. D.Camilleri

    D.Camilleri Well-Known Member

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    I am thinking of a browning bps, but can't make up my mind on 12 ga or 10 ga. I think the 12 might be more flexible because I don't have to shoot 3.5's all the time. I was also considering a Benelli SBE, since they make them in LH, but I don't know if they are worth the money. I heard the Cabellas in MT has a used SBE for 1100.00, but I am finding a lot of BPS's for around 600.00
     
  5. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    The Brownings are nice if you're hunting in a blind with other people because of the bottom ejection. A friend had one but sold it because he didn't like the recoil vs. his SBE. The 12ga. IS more versatile than the 10 ga because of the availability of different shells, and you don't have to shoot 3.5's as a steady diet. The 12 ga will be a lot cheaper to feed, the availability of shells and variety of shells is better than the 10 ga.

    If you can, go to a store where they have them both in stock. Handle them, close your eyes and throw each one up to your shoulder like you are shooting at a duck. Open your eyes and see what gun fits you better without you having to move your head at all. Is your eye aligned over the barrel? Is your eye looking down the barrel or are you looking at the whole top of the barrel? It would be even better if you could shoot them both, but that might be hard to do.

    They're both pretty bulletproof guns. This is a personal choice, but I'd go with the SBE over the BPS. There might be a reason why you are seeing more BPS's for sale than SBE's (and I'm a browning shotgun person).
     
  6. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I have owned just about every brand and type of shotgun and in almost 50 years of hunting
    I have and recomend the 3.5'' over the 10 gauge because of available ammunition and the
    firearms that are available in 10 gauge.

    I have owned 2 10 gauges and loved them for geese but they were to heavy for ducks and ammo
    was hard to find in the smaller shot sizes and ounce.

    The shotgun that I like the best for ducks and geese is the Beretta 391 Extrema semi auto.
    It is a purpose built 3.1/2 '' (Not a 3'' that has been modified to shoot 3 1/2 '' shells like
    most brands).

    It is a large shotgun and has the best gas system that I have ever seen (It will shoot everything
    from 1 ounce light dove loads to 2 1/4 ounce heavy turkey loads without any adjustments.

    So when I'm waterfowl hunting I can carry several different loads with out fear of switching
    and having a problem. In fact we have coyotes in the marsh and I carry some buckshot loads
    (In steel) also.

    This is also my favorite turkey gun and where I hunt the turkeys are very call shy and hold up at
    50+ yards (No problem for the 2 1/4 ounce loads out to 65 yards).

    I have hunted in the swamps in Arkansas and the marshes in Texas and the only shotguns that
    never failed to work in freezing weather and with an occasional dunking under water was the
    Extrema and the 870 wing master pump.

    Like you I prefer the over/under for upland game but for an all round waterfowl and turkey
    shotgun you will be hard pressed to beat the 391 Extrema in 3.5 inch.

    Just my opinion.

    J E CUSTOM
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2009
  7. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    J E

    I forgot about that one! I'd have to take a serious look at it if I didn't have my 1100. It's a 3" Magnum duck gun, and since the 12 ga. Stan Baker Big Bore Barrel has an internal barrel dia. of .800", I could shoot 3.5" shells if they'd eject.:D
     
  8. J E Custom

    J E Custom Well-Known Member

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    I hear you .

    But I have had problems with the 1100 and the 1187(The 3.5 version) tuning them for all
    the loads that a waterfowler has to use.

    The 1187 can be adjusted to shoot eather 3 or 3.5 but not both well with the same setting.

    I used a 1100 for trap for years and it was great and a friend used one in 2 3/4 ''
    but carried a 10 gauge for geese.

    I also remember the great old A5 but it was temperamental at best.

    I just like having one shotgun that if I want to I can hunt doves,quail,ducks,geese,turkey and larger game like varmints and even hogs without having to change rings,springs and other
    parts just to change shells.

    There are other brands of shotguns that I like better. But It is the best shotgun I have ever owned for all round shot gunning.

    Under the most severe service it just keeps on working. And no I don't own Beretta stock. Ha, Ha.

    J E CUSTOM
     
  9. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    That's true. You posting that reminds me what I had to do to tune it. I had forgotten. I drilled and tapped the gas ports on the barrel, and installed set screws. I drilled thru the center of the set screws to regulate the barrel for the heavier loads. (Well, I drilled a couple of pairs of set screws before I installed them in the barrel, the 2nd set that I tried worked, and they've been in the barrel ever since.)

    It really didn't like the heavier loads because Stan regulated the barrel for trap loads. I ended up welding up the top of the barrel where the "bolt" would lock to the barrel when fired because there was too much headspace. It took 3 tries before the weld held up. The first couple of times it'd work for a while, then the weld would start to crack. I did it a 3rd time and sent the barrel out to be cryo treated. Problem solved.

    When shooting the Activ shells, the case would separate right in front of the rim, and the rims of the Federal Paper shells would be twice as thick as they were before they were fired. It's fixed now. I called Stan about it and he said that the barrel wasn't guaranteed for shooting reloads..... He's long gone now, and I don't know if anyone took over the business or not.

    That drove me to make my own "big bore barrel" for my Model 12, turning it into a Model 25. Patternmaster was kind enough to make a choke for it, although any 10 ga choke tube that will fit a Browning will fit this Model 12.
    I retired the 1100 to waterfowling.
     
  10. JARHEAD1371

    JARHEAD1371 Well-Known Member

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    I have hunted with my SBE for about 8 years now and love it. It never gave me problems, even after I used it as a boat paddle. I've only shot 3.5" shells a few times because saw that my buddies were killing just as many geese as I was with 3" shells. When I lived in NC we shot 2 3/4" #3's with IC or Skeet chokes for ducks in the timber and killed them with no problem. Which ever route you go it is more important to pattern your gun to ensure the load/choke combo shoots great. Be sure to check out specialty chokes, especially for Black Cloud, they shoot way better than factory chokes.

    With the avaliable ammo for the 12 ga the 10 ga is obsolete.
     
  11. D.Camilleri

    D.Camilleri Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the replies, I think I will lean towards a 12 ga with a 3.5 chamber, I am leaning towards a Browning BPS because it is bottom eject with a thumb safety so it will be left hand friendly, but I am open to other suggestions.
     
  12. D.Camilleri

    D.Camilleri Well-Known Member

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    Now for the next question, would it be worth the expense to have my 28 inch full choke barrel on my old 870 wingmaster fitted for a screw in choke for waterfowl hunting or buy a new barrel that is already equipped with screw in chokes or just put the money towards a new shotgun. Keep in mind that the old 870 is only a 2 3/4 chamber.
     
  13. JARHEAD1371

    JARHEAD1371 Well-Known Member

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    New gun, without a doubt. My wife shoots a Beretta AL391 and it's awesome. 3" chamber, adjustable length of pull, and around $800.
     
  14. esshup

    esshup Well-Known Member

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    I'd look for a new gun. If it was a 3" reciever, then I'd lean towards a new barrel. For the non-toxic shot, you are handicapping yourself too much by having to limit yourself to only 2 3/4" shells. The saying "speed kills" is very true when looking at non-toxic shot and the only way to get more velocity is to go to a longer shell.