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What is the point of 3 inch magnum shells?

Discussion in 'Tactical Shotguns' started by Devin459, Feb 6, 2010.

  1. Devin459


    Jan 21, 2010
    Ok I just want to know why you would use 3 inch shells in your shotgun. Whether its buckshot, or slugs in a tactical or even hunting situation. What is your choice and why? Because when I do comparisons. A 1oz rifled slug fired from a 2 3/4 inch shell, has a slightly faster muzzle velocity than a 1 1/4oz rifled slug out of a 3 inch shell. I realize the second one is a quarter of an oz heavier, but the energy is only 591 foot pounds more. Is that really worth the difference in price and recoil, when a 1 oz slug fired from a 2 3/4 inch shell with 2090 foot pounds of energy at 20 yards will do the job just as good? Am I missing something that would explain why a 3 inch shell would do any better than a 2 3/4 inch within 20-30 yards? BTW, the shells I'm comparing are Federal Power-Shok rifled slugs
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2010
  2. I wouldn't use the 3" for anything other than hunting in some situations. For defensive purposes, the 2.75" is quite adequate.

  3. I know I'm mixing apples and oranges here, but "only?"

    Cor-Bon's 10mm DPX load uses the 155 grain Barnes-X bullet at a muzzle velocity (MV) of 1200 fps and muzzle energy (ME) of 496 ft. lbs. from a 4.6" barrel.

  4. K.Kiser


    Jan 23, 2010
    Shreveport, La.
    The difference is there for the same reason that there are different cartridges of all descriptions, it depends on what Your hunting and how far away You may want to shoot it... The 3" shotshells for example make alot of sense, because they offer a higher pellet count which gives a denser pattern without losing velocity.. For self-defense against a Human, I say the 3" is pointless... I see them as having some added benefit against hunting large game such as wild hogs, bear, etc for extra penetration for slugs or more points of entry for the shotshell...
  5. aippi


    Jun 12, 2009
    Great points above - Our departmental load was the 2 3/4 Magnum 00 which has 12 pellets. So we got more lead and did not give up a round in our tubes. However, that was changed to standard 9 pellet 00 in the early '80's to accomidate officers who were having trouble qualifying due to recoil. So the change was state wide.

    If you want more pellets this is a great option and since most of my 870's have either the Knoxx SpecOps of Mesa Tactical with Endine, recoil is not an issue. It is certainly not need for HD but I have out building to check and a threat could be at distance and those three extra pellets could be the factor that ends the trheat against me.
  6. For late season geese and as my 3rd round in early season, I use Remington 3.5" T's at 1300fps out of my Benelli SBE with a Briley extended modified choke. I've stoned geese out to 60+ yards with that round and set up. For the early season, I shoot Federal 3" 2's at 1425fps with the same gun set up. That load will kill geese reliably at 50+ yards.

    There are other "non-toxic" shotshells out there, but they are way more expensive than the steel ones.
  7. inzone


    Aug 20, 2009
    the experts say that magnum shotshells give you more likely hits at greater range.....
  8. Faulkner

    Faulkner Patriot Millennium Member

    Aug 21, 1999
    Arkansas Ozarks
    I use 3 inch turkey loads during the spring hunt to put extra lead downrange on ol' tom turkey. Makes a big difference too. I don't see the need for 3 inch loads for defense.
  9. Nest


    Nov 3, 2009
    3", 1oz slugs have a flatter trajectory, and hit harder and and more accurately out to 100 yards. For deer hunting that is a big plus. I can take a deer anywhere from the muzzle out to 100 yards wihtout having to adjust my point of aim very much. Realistically, I don't have to adjust at all to have an immediate kill on a deer at any range out to 100 yards. It may be a little high or low depending on the range, but it is sill a good solid heart shot. 2" high or low with a slug don't matter, and the 3" shell provides that.

    For defensive purpose, I prefer 2 3/4" just because my shotgun can hold one more shell, and follow up shots and shooting from an akward position are easier.
  10. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear Protective G'pa CLM

    All of my shells are 3" or 3 1/2" magnums. Primarily because my 935 does not function with 2 3/4". I also have better weapons for SD so the shotguns are for hunting.
  11. 3" magnums are for goose hunting in my neck of the woods...

  12. And which weapon is it that's better than a shotgun for home defense or other CQB situations???

  13. This,

    The whole point of the 3" and 3 1/2" 12 ga shells is to put more lead down range. The bigger the cloud of lead the better chance you have of hitting a small moving target.

    As stated by others, in a home defense situation there is no need for it and a 2 3/4" buck shot is just fine.

  14. Got that right!!!! Heck, for HD, a shotgun loaded with trap loads.........2 3/4" 6's........will get the job done. I've had to dispatch numerous road injured deer with this load. I always stop at deer/car crashes, as I may get free meat!!!!! Anyhow, a load of 6's does some crazy internal damage. This is just me say this now, but for HD, screw the OO buck and go with birdshot of size 4's or larger. Especially out of a short barreled, open choke/no choke shotgun!!!! Just my .02 cents.
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2010
  15. Poppa Bear

    Poppa Bear Protective G'pa CLM

    My G22 with Crimson Trace and my 16" AR. This is to finsh off any BG left after Missy chews them apart. She is a very protective dog when it comes to HER house.

  16. Hard to beat having a good dog!

    I dunno I'd still take a nice 12ga shotgun over any rifle in an up close and personal situation.

    Now if I needed to reach out and touch somebody yeah then I'd want a rifle, but for up close I still feel the shotgun has a much more devastating firepower.

    IMO ;)
  17. Devin459


    Jan 21, 2010
    Hmm, if you feel more protected with a .40 and a .223 over a 12 gauge then more power to you. I would not trust either of those weapons over a 12 gauge myself, but it's all about whatever you feel more comfortable with. IMO, .223 doesn't have near enough knock down power for home defense(especially with adrenaline pumping). A .40 might have pretty good KDP, but compared to the damage of a 12 gauge slug or buckshot? Not comparable. IMO nothing in the civilian market is near as devastating at close distances as #4 buckshot and higher all the way up to 1 1/4 oz slugs. Just my opinion, but again, it is about what you feel more comfortable shooting. You could make a point that the G22 is much easier/faster to deploy in a defensive situation, and that would be a valid point, and if that is your reason, that is totally acceptable, but I can't think of any other advantage it or an AR might have over a 12 gauge. Number of rounds/ease of reloading really doesn't matter with good shot placement(which isn't hard to achieve with a shotgun)especially after decent trigger time and training. Also, I believe the psychological factor of wielding/racking a shotgun, is sometimes enough to end a situation without any shots fired. The intruders never know what kind of load you might have!
  18. B Coyote

    B Coyote

    Jul 3, 2001
    NW Indiana

  19. Jdog


    Sep 10, 2007
    wasatch range
    yup... you need the extra powder to get those pellets up that high at a lethal velocity against a huge bird especially since steel is lighter than lead
  20. If I feel the need to put more than 9 pellets down range in a single shot it will be 16 pellets of 1BK rather than 15 pellets of 00BK.

    On the other hand, 12 pellet 00BK Federal Vital Shok patterns extremely well.