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Old 07-05-2019, 07:37 PM
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Default 3.5" Chamber - Is it worth it?

Looking to buy my first semi-auto shotgun. I want it to do alot, I don't want to buy multiple shotguns. It'll pull duty on migratory, upland, and perhaps predator defense. Is a 3.5" chamber really worth it? Seems shotguns were around as 3" for a long time. Thoughts and practical applications appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 07-05-2019, 07:52 PM
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My opinion-- If you hunt geese a lot, yes 3.5" is worth it. While I normally shoot 3" shells the majority of the time it is nice to have the option to switch it up.

I find myself loading 3.5" shells later in the season with the bigger, heavier, fatter geese showing up and being much more reluctant to commit to the decoys.
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Old 07-05-2019, 07:56 PM
elkhunter11 elkhunter11 is online now
 
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I have a shotgun with a 3-1/2" chamber, but I never use 3-1/2" loads, because they just aren't required.. 3" waterfowl loads are plenty for geese, we have killed many geese over the past few years with 3" loads, from early season, to late season. If you place the pattern properly, the geese fall. I only purchased the gun with a 3-1/2" chamber, because it was on sale for less than the same gun with a 3" chamber , because it had an older camouflage pattern.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:08 PM
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Ive got a 3-1/2 chambered semi for waterfowling.
I load a 3-1/2er, as my last shot most times(heat of the inrush, its what ever in whatsoever order), Im also lucky if I get that third shot off 50% of the times I open up on geese. So I seem to do pretty good with 3, 1-1/8, 2s, and blast the odd goose with a 3-1/2, 1-3/8, BB sometimes.

I dunno, but the 3-1/2 shells were bought on sale, so Ill shot maybe a box to a box and a half each season(~10 days hunting) itll take me about 5-6 seasons to deplete my current stock, so why not......
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Dick284 View Post
Ive got a 3-1/2 chambered semi for waterfowling.
I load a 3-1/2er, as my last shot most times(heat of the inrush, its what ever in whatsoever order), Im also lucky if I get that third shot off 50% of the times I open up on geese. So I seem to do pretty good with 3, 1-1/8, 2s, and blast the odd goose with a 3-1/2, 1-3/8, BB sometimes.

I dunno, but the 3-1/2 shells were bought on sale, so Ill shot maybe a box to a box and a half each season(~10 days hunting) itll take me about 5-6 seasons to deplete my current stock, so why not......
I bought a Browning Silver at a heckuva deal that is 3 1/2", I then lucked (?) into 10 boxes of 3 1/2" shells at a good price, once they were gone I went back to 3" and saw no appreciable difference, except on my shoulder...center the pattern where it belongs and the geese die.
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Old 07-05-2019, 08:40 PM
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once they were gone I went back to 3" and saw no appreciable difference, except on my shoulder...center the pattern where it belongs and the geese die.

Smoke 'em if ya got 'em!
Seriously though, my partner shoots a 2 3/4" gun , my son shoots a 3.5" gun, and I shoot mostly BP cartridge loads and muzzle loaders- sometimes I shoot smokeless whatever I have in the Pedersoli if I run out of black powder cartridges.
however most of my waterfowling is done over decoys with a 20 gauge!

If they are decoying well all is good, and where we hunt they are either decoying right on the deck or they are not in the air at all!
The geese in this This tailgate photo were all past shooting targets.
I may not kills as many birds as some guys do but my shot to birds killed is pretty good because we know the fields we hunt and how to set a spread on them, and I practise a lot .
Cat
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Dick284 View Post
Ive got a 3-1/2 chambered semi for waterfowling.
I load a 3-1/2er, as my last shot most times(heat of the inrush, its what ever in whatsoever order), Im also lucky if I get that third shot off 50% of the times I open up on geese. So I seem to do pretty good with 3, 1-1/8, 2s, and blast the odd goose with a 3-1/2, 1-3/8, BB sometimes.

I dunno, but the 3-1/2 shells were bought on sale, so Ill shot maybe a box to a box and a half each season(~10 days hunting) itll take me about 5-6 seasons to deplete my current stock, so why not......
I dont know if it helps at all but I do the same thing. Makes me feel better to have the last round a 3.5. If you get three off the last one is usually a little longer of a shot.
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Old 07-05-2019, 11:03 PM
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Get a semi-auto that handles everything from 2 3/4 to 3.5.
Beretta A400. Buy once, cry once.

On geese its nice to have the option and that third shot. Load 2 of the 3 and for the final shot a 3.5. Gets you the distance shot youd normally miss due to range.

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Old 07-05-2019, 11:25 PM
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I could kind of mathematically figure out about how many percent "better" it is, but only you can figure out if it's needed.

One thing to consider, is how many shells that are actually the big 3.5" you'll actually put through it. If you are shooting mostly 3" your pattern won't be quite as nice having to go through the longer chamber. So there's a bit of a trade off, depending your usual choice. Not sure how big a difference, but it makes sense, and that knowledge was gleaned from guys that should be more knowledgeable about shotguns than myself.
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Old 07-06-2019, 05:48 AM
elkhunter11 elkhunter11 is online now
 
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Originally Posted by Tactical Lever View Post
I could kind of mathematically figure out about how many percent "better" it is, but only you can figure out if it's needed.

One thing to consider, is how many shells that are actually the big 3.5" you'll actually put through it. If you are shooting mostly 3" your pattern won't be quite as nice having to go through the longer chamber. So there's a bit of a trade off, depending your usual choice. Not sure how big a difference, but it makes sense, and that knowledge was gleaned from guys that should be more knowledgeable about shotguns than myself.
So if the -pattern is not as uniform going through a longer chamber, why does Kreighoff, a top manufacturer of clays shotguns use 3" chambers on their trap, skeet and sporting clays shotguns? These guns will never see anything but 2-3/4" shotshells, and pattern uniformity is more important for competitive clay shooting, than for hunting. Could it be that with the modern extended forcing cones, it isn't an issue? I have two Winchester SX-3 shotguns, one with a 3" chamber, and one with a 3-1/2" chamber, and using the same 3" loads in both, the patterns are pretty ,much equal in both shotguns.

Quote:
Gets you the distance shot youd normally miss due to range
If you misjudge the lead and miss with 3" loads , you will miss with a 3-1/2" load. Ad with the same velocity, the range that the shot travels is the same, regardless of the shell length.
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Old 07-06-2019, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by BlackHeart View Post
Get a semi-auto that handles everything from 2 3/4 to 3.5.
Beretta A400. Buy once, cry once.

On geese its nice to have the option and that third shot. Load 2 of the 3 and for the final shot a 3.5. Gets you the distance shot youd normally miss due to range.

Flame suit on.
Any shotgun that is chambered for 3 1/2" will handle 2 3/4" and 3 as well. It's certainly not limited to a certain brand
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Old 07-06-2019, 08:23 AM
elkhunter11 elkhunter11 is online now
 
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Any shotgun that is chambered for 3 1/2" will handle 2 3/4" and 3 as well. It's certainly not limited to a certain brand
What I have found, is that some 3-1/2" chambered shotguns do not do well with some lighter target loads . Fr
This seems to be less of an issue with shotguns with 3" chambers.
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:07 AM
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100% worth it
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Old 07-06-2019, 12:51 PM
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As the others already said. You do not need a 3.5" but its nice to have it.
3" will cover almost all waterfowl hunting situations.
For long shots on fly by birds, I would think a 10ga is a better option.
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Old 07-06-2019, 01:43 PM
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I have 2 guns capable of 3.5 inch, just never use 3.5 inch shells.
Buy the gun that you like. Don't worry if it is 3 inch chamber.
Sky busting doesn't have a good percentage return anyway.
Get em in close, and birds begin to fall.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:15 AM
Tactical Lever Tactical Lever is offline
 
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Originally Posted by elkhunter11 View Post
So if the -pattern is not as uniform going through a longer chamber, why does Kreighoff, a top manufacturer of clays shotguns use 3" chambers on their trap, skeet and sporting clays shotguns? These guns will never see anything but 2-3/4" shotshells, and pattern uniformity is more important for competitive clay shooting, than for hunting. Could it be that with the modern extended forcing cones, it isn't an issue? I have two Winchester SX-3 shotguns, one with a 3" chamber, and one with a 3-1/2" chamber, and using the same 3" loads in both, the patterns are pretty ,much equal in both shotguns.



If you misjudge the lead and miss with 3" loads , you will miss with a 3-1/2" load. Ad with the same velocity, the range that the shot travels is the same, regardless of the shell length.
First off, If you multiquote, it doesn't look like I made the second statement.

I'm not sure why Kreighoff uses 3" chambers. Prejudice? Marketing? Or maybe they don't agree. That's fine, too. Browning seems to have thought the opposite, and cited a difference of 10% pattern loss. Seems to be no real consensus. I have also heard that there is a pattern loss in the ultra long shells versus going up to the next bore, and shooting the same weight.

My newest shotgun only has a 2 3/4" chamber, so maybe they are in the other camp. I haven't done formal pellet counts with multiple shells, so can't really say one way or the other. If I knew that I'd only shoot the shorter shells, I'd probably just get the one (if there was a choice between 2 exact guns) with the shorter chamber to maximize my chances of getting the best patterns.

I'd argue pattern uniformity is more important in a hunting shotgun. You will break a clay with a couple pellets, but hitting a duck with half a dozen likely means losing a the bird, to die later or crippling it.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:42 AM
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I'd argue pattern uniformity is more important in a hunting shotgun. You will break a clay with a couple pellets, but hitting a duck with half a dozen likely means losing a the bird, to die later or crippling it.
Unless you are not leading enough, and are only hitting the rear portion of the bird, half a dozen pellets will provide clean kills. In fact two or three pellets in the head/neck area, will fold a duck, or a goose, and a few pellets will break a wing, dropping the bird. I shoot for the head neck area, and most of my birds are not riddled with pellets, even at close range. For skeet, you are close enough that a pattern can be pretty irregular, and still break clays, but for 50 yard plus sporting clays targets, it doesn't take much of a hole in a pattern , to have a gap large enough for the side profile of a target to sneak through, especially a mini. And given that one target is often the difference between winning and losing, losing even one target because of a bad pattern,is too many. In recent years, pretty much every top manufacturer has gone to extended forcing cones, so what may have been an issue decades ago doesn't appear to be a factor today, or companies like Kreighoff wouldn't be among the top choices for clays guns.
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:38 AM
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As the others already said. You do not need a 3.5" but its nice to have it.
3" will cover almost all waterfowl hunting situations.
For long shots on fly by birds, I would think a 10ga is a better option.
3.5 12ga throws roughly the same payload as a 10ga.
The 3.5 became all the rage on the duck marshes in an attempt to duplicate 10ga performance back when steel shot became mandatory and we didnt have all the new non-toxic load options that we do today such as bismuth,tungsten etc.
I really dont see any appreciable difference in birds hitting the deck with 3.5 vs 3 or even 10ga vs 12ga.A couple of my waterfowling partners back in the 90s were shooting 10ga semis and they didnt knock down any more birds then me with 3 12ga pump on most days,some days they hit less....it just cost them a whole lot more for ammo every day,lol
I think it just comes down to either you are good wingshooter or youre not,trying to compensate for weak shooting skills by putting more pellets in the air aint gonna help ya much.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:02 AM
Tactical Lever Tactical Lever is offline
 
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Unless you are not leading enough, and are only hitting the rear portion of the bird, half a dozen pellets will provide clean kills. In fact two or three pellets in the head/neck area, will fold a duck, or a goose, and a few pellets will break a wing, dropping the bird. I shoot for the head neck area, and most of my birds are not riddled with pellets, even at close range. For skeet, you are close enough that a pattern can be pretty irregular, and still break clays, but for 50 yard plus sporting clays targets, it doesn't take much of a hole in a pattern , to have a gap large enough for the side profile of a target to sneak through, especially a mini. And given that one target is often the difference between winning and losing, losing even one target because of a bad pattern,is too many. In recent years, pretty much every top manufacturer has gone to extended forcing cones, so what may have been an issue decades ago doesn't appear to be a factor today, or companies like Kreighoff wouldn't be among the top choices for clays guns.
Half a dozen over a bird seems pretty light to me. Point being that a spotty pattern could end up missing vital targets.

A clay is a small target when it's sideways that far out for sure.

Probably isn't an issue now, and Browning doesn't seem to mention it anywhere now. Different ways cutting a chamber and different choke styles may have either made up for it, or magnified it. But that there is no real agreement leads me to believe that it is a non-issue.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:20 AM
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Half a dozen over a bird seems pretty light to me. Point being that a spotty pattern could end up missing vital targets.

A clay is a small target when it's sideways that far out for sure.

Probably isn't an issue now, and Browning doesn't seem to mention it anywhere now. Different ways cutting a chamber and different choke styles may have either made up for it, or magnified it. But that there is no real agreement leads me to believe that it is a non-issue.
It doesn't matter how many pellets strike the bird, only how many strike the vitals. Shooting for the center mass of a bird is like shooting center mass on a big game animal, shoot for the vitals, and your odds of a clean kill go way up.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:28 AM
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Default 3.5 chamber

I have hunted waterfowl for over 45 years, and had my own waterfowl company for a few years, until I realized it was too much while for me working a full time job to boot. Geese are 75% of our harvest each year. In my opinion, a 3 1/2 chamber is a waste. When shooting over decoys, all I ever use is 2 3/4 ammo. Pass shooting is where 3 comes in. The price of 3 1/2 ammo is not worth it. Its like the big magnum caliber for big game hunting. I would much sooner hunt with a guy who shoots an old .270 that he has used for years and that he can shoot very well, than someone with a big bore rifle that makes them nervous to shoot. I shoot all the time beside guys with 3 1/2 shells, and over decoys they dont have any advantage over my 2 3/4 loads. This is the voice of experiance talking.
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Old 07-07-2019, 09:36 AM
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I have hunted waterfowl for over 45 years, and had my own waterfowl company for a few years, until I realized it was too much while for me working a full time job to boot. Geese are 75% of our harvest each year. In my opinion, a 3 1/2 chamber is a waste. When shooting over decoys, all I ever use is 2 3/4 ammo. Pass shooting is where 3 comes in. The price of 3 1/2 ammo is not worth it. Its like the big magnum caliber for big game hunting. I would much sooner hunt with a guy who shoots an old .270 that he has used for years and that he can shoot very well, than someone with a big bore rifle that makes them nervous to shoot. I shoot all the time beside guys with 3 1/2 shells, and over decoys they dont have any advantage over my 2 3/4 loads. This is the voice of experiance talking.
Agreed....again,Id say the 3.5 was a kinda novel idea back in the early days of steel,but kinda obsolete now with the advances in non-toxic loads of today.
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Old 07-07-2019, 10:50 AM
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3.5 12ga throws roughly the same payload as a 10ga.
The 3.5 became all the rage on the duck marshes in an attempt to duplicate 10ga performance back when steel shot became mandatory and we didnt have all the new non-toxic load options that we do today such as bismuth,tungsten etc.
I really dont see any appreciable difference in birds hitting the deck with 3.5 vs 3 or even 10ga vs 12ga.A couple of my waterfowling partners back in the 90s were shooting 10ga semis and they didnt knock down any more birds then me with 3 12ga pump on most days,some days they hit less....it just cost them a whole lot more for ammo every day,lol
I think it just comes down to either you are good wingshooter or youre not,trying to compensate for weak shooting skills by putting more pellets in the air aint gonna help ya much.
I agree, being a good shooter is paramount.
However, when it comes comparing 10ga with 12ga, the 10ga has some clear advantages. It can handle big shots (BB, BBB, T) much better compared to the same payload of a 12ga 3.5". Exactly the loads used for long shots - this is where the 10ga really shines.
Aside from that is sooo much fun to shot, at least the 10ga SXS my father had.
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:00 AM
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100% worth it
What about the recoil on the other end ?

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Old 07-07-2019, 04:48 PM
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I have layed in a coffin blind shooting geese with a 3-1/2 pump. Kind of takes the fun out of goose hunting when you get pounded into the ground. I tried a 3-1/2 semi on geese and yes they do have a little further reach but I dont think it makes any difference on filling your daily limit whether you are using 3 or 3-1/2
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:08 AM
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It doesn't matter how many pellets strike the bird, only how many strike the vitals. Shooting for the center mass of a bird is like shooting center mass on a big game animal, shoot for the vitals, and your odds of a clean kill go way up.
Just a question .. When shooting over deoys or pass shooting, just how do you manage to center the shot pattern consistently on the head.? AFIK . the shot pattern at 30 to 40 yds will be anywhere from 30-40 in wide and the shot string
wil be about 12" long (depending in Choke used) and the barrel is usually moving. The bird could be moving in any direction at approx. 33 ft per second. What's your secret? I'm thinking every Clay you shoot must be a duster. It's not that I don't beleive you, just that I would like to see you do it.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:49 AM
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Just a question .. When shooting over deoys or pass shooting, just how do you manage to center the shot pattern consistently on the head.? AFIK . the shot pattern at 30 to 40 yds will be anywhere from 30-40 in wide and the shot string
wil be about 12" long (depending in Choke used) and the barrel is usually moving. The bird could be moving in any direction at approx. 33 ft per second. What's your secret? I'm thinking every Clay you shoot must be a duster. It's not that I don't beleive you, just that I would like to see you do it.
I am not saying that I am able to center every pattern over the head/neck area, I am saying that I use the head/neck area as my target area, rather than just shooting at the mass of the body. As to being able to hit the head/neck area fairly consistently, compare the side profile of a clay, to the head/neck area of a goose, and it should be obvious, that the head/neck of a goose is larger than the side profile of the clay. As to the speed of the birds, a goose flying by might be doing 45mph, while a landing goose may be less than 10 mph, whereas a clay could be doing anywhere from 5 mph to 60mph, depending on the presentation.
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Old 07-08-2019, 11:23 AM
Salavee Salavee is online now
 
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I am not saying that I am able to center every pattern over the head/neck area, I am saying that I use the head/neck area as my target area, rather than just shooting at the mass of the body. As to being able to hit the head/neck area fairly consistently, compare the side profile of a clay, to the head/neck area of a goose, and it should be obvious, that the head/neck of a goose is larger than the side profile of the clay. As to the speed of the birds, a goose flying by might be doing 45mph, while a landing goose may be less than 10 mph, whereas a clay could be doing anywhere from 5 mph to 60mph, depending on the presentation.
Still would be nice to see such competency in real life.
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Old 07-08-2019, 12:06 PM
elkhunter11 elkhunter11 is online now
 
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Still would be nice to see such competency in real life.
Enter the DU shoot at Beaverhill Sporting Clays next year, and you will see a few people that can shoot very competently.
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Old 07-08-2019, 01:30 PM
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Enter the DU shoot at Beaverhill Sporting Clays next year, and you will see a few people that can shoot very competently.
I've shot many DU shoots @ Beaverhill and also rec'd my Alberta Sporting Clays Provincial Championship Belt Buckle In 2007. Have also squaded with quite a few Master Class Clays shooters, so i know a bit about Clays and shotgunning.. I'm not the best by any means. nor do I pretend to be ,but you sound like you're in the same category as Geo Digweed. It's very strange we have'nt met over the course of time.
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