Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

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Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby Franco » February 11th, 2011, 9:51 am

It appears most on here shoot 3 and 3 1/2 inch shells. Then I see where some shoot 20 guage.
I have several 12 ga in the house and they all are chambered for 2 3/4. Even though I plan on buying a gun (Remington 870 or Benelli SN) that shoots all sizes - I have little ones in the house. I am concerned mixing in 3 and 3 1/2 shells when most of my guns only shoot 2 3/4.
Never killed a turkey or even shot at one, but what about turkeys make them harder to kill than other small game?
Can you be a deadly turkey hunter with 2 3/4 inch shells?

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RE: Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby Steve_In » February 11th, 2011, 10:07 am

Turkeys were almost made extinct by 2-3/4 shells. Most were light loads and black powder too. You do not need "TURKEY LOADS" to kill turkeys. Any load will do the job but as Dirty Harry said you have to know your limitations. We use 20 ga Remington Nitro Pheasant 3" shells in my 870 with a Carlson x-full choke and get good patterns at 35 yards (no more than 35 yard shot).
I understand your concern with mixing up shells.
Steve, I love "smoked" turkey

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RE: Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby kenturkey89 » February 11th, 2011, 10:37 am

Steve is right, a 2.75" shell can kill a turkey dead just as much as a 3.5" magnum shell can. Many people tend to shoot 3" and 3.5" shells because they have a little more knockdown power than the 2.75" shells, especially at longer ranges. With that said, if you feel that you have a solid pattern with 2.75" shells and you're satisfied and comfortable with your set-up, then that's all that matters![;)]

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RE: Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby mark hay » February 11th, 2011, 1:06 pm

#6 lead moving at 1300 feet per second is deadly no matter if it came from a 2 3/4 '' or 3.5 ''. Actually I don't know what the velocity is on the longer shells . I use the 2 3/4 '' and have for the past 5 seasons . But they are beginning to wear on me too . I can't take too much recoil due to my neck . I never did enjoy the kick even when my neck would take it .
 The bigger shells have a lot more shot which puts a larger swarm of pellets down range . The idea being that more is better to kill that ol' tom at 40 yards .
 I think what actually makes turkeys so hard to kill is the excitement that comes in with the turkey . We prove out the gun on the range to gain confidence in its ability to hold a tight pattern to a given yardage . But when we do this range work we are not all excited or shaking or breathing hard . We tend to be very deliberate , or should be anyway . But when old mountian shaker starts our way with his thunderous gobbles we tend to fall apart ,,,some worse than others . Sitting in an out-of-sorts position as a WILD turkey is marching striaght as us ,,,showing off his tail feathers and gobbling ,,,it's so much to see and without realizing it our head raises ever so slowly off the gunstock . Then that moment seizes us that it's time to shoot and we put the bead of our skyward barrel on the head or neck and jerk the trigger . BOOM! we just shot right over the toms head .
 I ain't been in this game all that long . But , the longer I do it the more I enjoy it . I recall the last few birds that died in front of my 3 inch shells . I still recall thinking ,,,,''THIS IS GONNA HURT''

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RE: Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby Duke0002 » February 11th, 2011, 2:22 pm

I've taken a half-dozen birds with Win 2.75 pheasant loads # 5.  None have run off.   Know your limits!

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RE: Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby allaboutshooting » February 11th, 2011, 6:15 pm

As has been so well stated, there's nothing at all wrong with 2.75" shells. Many of us shot our first turkeys with them loaded with some lead shot, usually #4's back then for me. We kept shots at 25 yards or so because that's the way we were taught and that was about the maximum effective range of the guns we shot. Choke tubes were not even a glimmer in the eye of most of us.

Today, with improved guns and chokes, the 2.75" shell is much more deadly than it was back then. It just has a little lower shot payload than the larger shells. Manufacturers tend to make what the market demands and that has been longer shells with more shot to produce more holes in targets.

Again, a good swarm of pellets in the turkey's vital regions, head/neck area will cleanly kill him, whether from a 2.75" shell or a 3.5" shell.

All my best this spring.

"If he's out of range, it just means that he has another day and so do you."

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RE: Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby shaman » February 12th, 2011, 12:35 am

One of my pet peeves with the outdoor industry is the hype over turkey guns.  This subject is a perfect example. 

Back when I first started hunting, it was quite reasonable to take a standard trap gun out turkey hunting.  In fact the first three guns I used were a Winchester Model 12 Trap in 12 Ga, a Model 12 in 16 GA and a Remington 1100 TB trap in 12 GA. The 12's were both 2 3/4 guns, and no one laughed at me. Of the few turkeys that got away from me over the past 30 years, nearly all of them have been due to a having the bird in too close and having the choke too tight. 

In the middle to late 80's you started seeing  10 GA, 12 GA 3.0 and 12 GA 3.5  showing up in all the ads.  You started seeing fancy choke tubes and then the Heaver-than-lead thing hit and it all spiraled out into outer space.

Here's the bottom line:

1)  The average turkey is taken well within 25 yards.
2)  The average full-choked 2.75 inch 12 GA can put out killing pattern out to 30 or even 35 yards given high-brass #4-#6 fodder
3)  The  average full-choked 20 GA 3" can usually do 25-30 yards.

There is now an entire generation of turkey hunters who have been led to believe they NEED a $7 3.5" heavy shot load fired through a $70 choke tube to kill a turkey, and it has caused an entire sub-sport to be created that involves spending gobs and gobs of money firing ammunition at patterning boards.  In fact, you are now likely to find fellows that spend more time  and money on the sport of patterning than they do on turkey hunting.  I have even seen a few that say they like patterning better than turkey hunting.

Having said all that, I have a Mossberg 500 that shoots 3" shells.  I shoot Federal #4.  I admit to all of you that this is rank overkill.   My youngest son will be switching 12 GA 2.75 Remington 870 TB Trap this year, shooting #4 Remington Nitro Magnums.   My hope is that he keeps his youthful enthusiasm for calling his gobblers in close and does not fall prey to the temptations of outdoor ads.
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RE: Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby TeocTom » February 12th, 2011, 3:37 am

I love these forums!

I have to admit as a new hunter that it is very tempting to fall into the gadget trend.
That is what our generation does, gadgets. We try to cut down the work as much as possible. If some states allowed using Howitzers, you better believe that someone out there would be hammering the woods with one.

With that being said, the 2 3/4" load will difinitely get the job done and has for years.
I personally use 3" in my 20 gauge 870, but I am using a Rem Super full choke that only cost me 20 bucks. After reading all of the advice in the forums, there is no substitute for good calling and woodsmanship. That will bring that bird in close enough to put him out with a 2 3/4" load.
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Turkeys on a Plane


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RE: Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby kygobbler » February 12th, 2011, 4:27 am

Franco, everybody on here has given you sound advice and it reminds me of a funny story that you might like. My uncle owns a tobacco wharehouse and there is always turkey behind it during the parts of the day. Well my uncle decided that he wanted a turkey for dinner and got out his old 12 ga Remington and shot a hen. He told my brother to go out in the field and pick it up for him. The hen was laying there doing thier usuall flopping after being shot but when my brother grabbed a hold of that hen, she suddenly came back alive and commenced to opening a can of whop a$$. The hen started kicking, throwing upper cuts, and giveing head butts. My brother tackled her to the ground and the hen countered his move and penned him to the ground. While they were fighting it out, all my uncle and I could do for support was laugh our butts off. My uncle hollered at my brother to ring her neck and the only response my brother could give was "I'm trying but she has bitin' me 5 times." After my brother and the hen body slammed each other about 5 more times my brother finally won the battle. That happened about 8 yrs ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. The point of my story is that no matter if you decide to go with the 2.75", 3", or 3.5" you got to know your limits and don't let the turkey open a can on you.[:D]
Is it turkey season yet?

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RE: Are 2 3/4 shells a no-no

Postby Franco » February 14th, 2011, 4:03 pm

Thanks for the good replys and have learned a bunch. I also understand the frustration of the market and in how it not only provides, it persuades. I bass fish and use to do more of that too. There are a lot of ways to catch fish, old and new. I always tell people that in today's market, fishing lures are designed to first catch the fisherman and to keep that in mind.
I like the comment about a good caller, patience and woodsmanship. When I was a young boy, I killed my first deer. I was using semi-auto 12 gauge with slugs. My first deer came running by me like a car at the Indy 500. I pumped out all 5 shells, plus 1 more, I was more like a gunner manning an anti-aircraft station. Out of those 6 shots, I hit the deer twice in the gut, once in the lower neck,  and skimmed the back leg. It slowed the deer down and for some reason stopped to appear to look at me. I shot the 6 shot directly in the heart. Even as a young boy, I decided that was not a sport and I was not the hunter I should be. From that moment on, my intent was to place one shot, end the suffering, and treat my kill with respect. If I didn't feel like I had the shot, it wasn't my day and luck either wasn't shining on me or I didn't do my homework.  Every deer since that first kill has been one shot even though I still hunted with a semi.


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