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Effective Range . Debate or Facts

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What is Really the effective range of a 3" in magnum v. a 3 1/2 in magnum v. a 10 guage, say all the same shot size.. # 4's or # 2's.
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   Guy L
My amateur opinion is that there will be practically no difference in the range of each of these shells, only the fact that more pellets will be flying at the target with the 3.5 or the 10 ga over the 3". While there is more powder in the larger shells, there is also pellet weight too. This causes the velocity to remain the same. Check on the boxes and you will see, the velocity will be identical, with the only difference in the pellet weight. If each pellet exits the barrel at the same velocity, they will travel the same distance because each pellet is identical in weight/diameter no matter how many of them are packed into the shell.

As far as the distance goes, that depends on your choke and your individual accuracy. I usually hunt with a modified choke and shoot 3.5" #2. I am an average shot and try not to shoot over 50 yds. If you are a very good shot or use a full choke, you maybe can effectively shoot/kill at 60, but I would think that is the max with any shotgun for ducks.
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   dogrie17
I know the length of the barrel makes a significant difference. I shoot a 10ga with a 32in barrel and my friend shoots a 12ga 3.5in with a 28 inch barrel. I shoot mod. he shoots full choke and i still throw a tighter pattern at 50yds than what he does. His bbs are all over the place. Tighter pattern means more knockdown and i think it has more to do with the barrel than the gauge.
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Ballistically, the length of the barrel has nearly zero to do with your pattern. A barrel length difference of 4" as mentioned below may have a slight effect but nothing like the effect of different chokes. Lots of people want to say "longer barrel, shoots further!!" hahaha, not even close. Guy L is correct in that the larger shells only allow for higher payloads. Knockdown power is a formula of Pellet Weight and it's individual velocity. If either of the two drops, you lose perceived "power." Speed helps to carry steel further since steel is so light and loses it's energy faster than lead or high density alternative. Some of the bigger shells will allow for a hotter load and thus give you a bit more range but typically only allow for more pellets with a nearly identical powder equivalent and then you end up with more pellets flying at a slower pace! I shoot 3" #3's and #2's. See duckhuntingchat.com for all the debate you'd ever want to read on this topic.
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   pecka
http://www.federalcartridge.com/default.asp?br=1

You can compare all of them here.

Its always been my opinion that if you use the same amount of propellant the speeds should decrease as you add more shot. The 3.5” has the same amount of propellant as the 3” but more bb’s. Common sense wise it seems like the 3.5” would be a little slower but the chart says different. Go figure…
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   gauger
What GuyL esplaned. No more power or range, just mo pelluts.
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