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Im a duck hunter and am just getting into goose hunting and am using 12 ga. 3 inch mags in a mossberg that does not take 3 1/2 and am wondering what the best load would be for goose hunting ?
 

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The easiest choice is to buy hevi shot, but it does get expensive.

If you can get your hands on a variety of steel loads, take them out and test them. Take a large sheet of paper (I can't think of the paper type, but the kind used to draw on for meetings and such) and draw a large circle.

Shoot the variety of loads at 35 and 50 yards and keep track of the pellet counts inside the circle.

What load works best depends on the gun/barrel itself.
 

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i think the remington heavy shot works best in any conditions. but it can definitely get expensive so another good load is the winchester dry/lok
also try shooting #1 shot ive heard it can do the job ive only seen them in federal though. make sure on the #1 shot you get it inn steel.
 

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I only use a 12ga. 3inch steel shells with shot size T or BB. If you can't get geese 35 yards or closer you don't deserve to shoot.

So no you don't need 3 1/2 shells.
 

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Here we go on the old 3 1/2" vs. 3".

You will just have to figure out which load patterns the best out of your gun. Most mossbergs have a slightly larger bore size in the barrel so they tend to patter larger shots (T's BBB's and BB's) better than other guns. I personally like #1's. You get a few more pellets but they are still big enough to knock em' down. But latter in the season if your shooting 3" steel I would highly recomend Hevi-Shot or at least using BB's and BBB's.

But like Chris said, go get some butcher paper ( I think that's what he meant) and pattern your gun. That is the best way to find out.
 

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The advice to pattern your gun is very good. Few hunters I've come across have actually tested their shotguns with various loads, although many are aware of the practice.

Just my experience with steel shot, I don't like BB's or anything smaller. I prefer BBB's. T's and F's are so large the shot pattern isn't as dense as I'd like it.

3" shells are plenty. My gun will handle 3.5", but I usually shoot 3".

JMO
 
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