Jdw wrote:Lots of serious turkey hunters like TTS.
I have been shooting 3”#5 in XR for a while.
I have shot 3.5” and I have no interest in putting myself through that much recoil to kill a turkey.
My son has killed several birds out to 40 yards with 2 3/4” copper plated # 5 pheasant loads.
IMO the key is to pattern your gun with whichever loads you choose and see what you’re maximum range is and not exceed that.
Could not agree more!
The OP asked "Is there a big difference between a 3" shell vs 3.5" shell? 1 3/4 oz vs 2 oz?" There sure is, it a difference of a 1/2" and a 1/4oz!
There's never anything wrong with asking questions!
Do you need a 3.5"? Depends on you, what range are you looking for? What choke do you shoot? It is possible to have too much shell, it can effect shot density down range, cause shot deformation(especially when paired to a extra full or even tighter full choke).
The fact of the matter is you can get the performance that you prefer out of a much "less capable" shot shell.
For example, last year my daughter (9 yo) took her first long bird at 18 yrds shooting a 12ga with 6 low brass small game loads. Now she and I had been shooting these loads all winter and spring so we knew how the load patterned with the shotgun/choke combo we had. My preferred shell is a hornady #6 2--3/4 turkey magnum. It is a slightly beefed up pheasant load. Its lethal to 45-50 yards with my gun/choke. That's about as far a shoot as I be able to take around here anyway. Granted I'd never taken one that far nor would I probably try, I just know the gun has patterned well enough to.
Point being, take a little time shoot a different lighter load or two, save you self some money and shoulder pain!!! Good luck!