10 Gauge Vs 3 1/2″ 12 Gauge


Dear Technoid,

Is it true that the 3 1/2 inch 12ga guns have just as much range/knock down power as the 10ga guns? I am interested in shooting steel shot and am considering buying a new 10ga. The 10ga guns are all very heavy and if the 3 1/2″ 12ga has just as much power, it might suit me better. What’s your recommendation?

Thanks, Dave

Re: 10 GAUGE VS 3 1/2″ 12 GAUGE

Dear Dave,

I would get a 12 instead of a 10. “Power” and “range” pale in importance when compared to “accuracy”. A 3 1/2″ will carry enough shot to kill anything that you are entitled to. The big thing is that the 12 will also handle inexpensive target loads and this will allow you to practice, practice, practice on clays so that you can actually hit something when you go afield. Trust the Technoid, that is GOOD advice.

Best regards,

Bruce Buck Shotgun Report’s Technoid

Re: 10 GAUGE VS 3 1/2″ 12 GAUGE

I used to hunt geese with a beautiful Spanish 10 ga. SxS back in the days of lead shot. It was responsible for more spectacular kills than you would have thought possible given the physical limitations of our universe. But it wasn’t safe to shoot with steel, so I reluctantly let it go one day. Advances in ammunition technology today have made the 10 ga. obsolete for American waterfowling. Shot more dense than lead and ultra high velocities make today’s ammo the most deadly in our short waterfowling history. And Bruce is right…the fact that you can practice with these same guns using $22.97 / 100 promo loads means you’ll be more proficient with that gun when hunting season rolls around. I’m might even venture to say that the vast majority of turkey and waterfowl hunters don’t even need the long twelve….the “old” 3″ inch 12 ga. is really all that we need thanks to modern loads. I have no problem taking a pounding on my wallet or shoulder when it’s necessary, but this just isn’t one of those times.

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4 Responses to 10 Gauge Vs 3 1/2″ 12 Gauge

  1. Roger Houge says:

    I agree with Daniel when it comes to the better pattern with a 10 ga. (there is a reason for that) there is more shot in a 10 ga. than there is in a 12 ga. 3 1/2 inch.
    I have BOTH a 10 ga, BPS Browning and a Remington 10-87, the BPS kicks like a horse and the 10-87 has more of a push than a kick.
    I’m just guessing Daniel would agree with me that the 10 ga.’s separate the men from the boys..
    If you can stand the kick and the weight of a 10 ga. there is NO comparison between a 10 ga. and a 12 ga. 3 1/2.
    When I go to my duck blind I carry BOTH a 12 ga. 870 for ducks and the 10 ga, 10-87 for pass shooting and geese. (No law against having two shot guns in one blind that I know of), 3 shells per gun, got to love them government regulations.

  2. Roger Houge says:

    If you use steel shot to practice with you still have to use your hunting loads because of the velocity differences between light duck loads and the high velocity of the goose getters.

  3. Roger Houge says:

    I have a 10-87 Remington and it will shoot circles around any 12 ga.
    Yes it is heavier, there is a reason for that, and the yardage and volume of shot in the air means everything when shooting geese.
    The other thing is you can use larger shot that carries a bigger punch and longer ranges.
    Obsolete, Not hardly..

    • Daniel Cowan says:

      I have both a benelli 12g 3 1/2 sa And Browning 10g sa both have lead loads up to 63gr and I will totally agree that they both have the same killing range but I do find that with them having the exactly same choke the 10g holds a better pattern over distance!

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