ard and imixer,
they are indeed different size alphas. i had trouble with the reel seat on my 3/4, so justin sent me a replacement, actually 2, that fit right. the reason why he sent me the 5/6 instead of the 3/4 is that when i initially contacted him, he said he didnt have any spare 3/4 seats at the time, but could send me the same seat but with a 5/6 marking. or i could wait and he would send a 3/4 marked seat when available. not really caring about the stamp at the time, i took the 5/6 stamped replacement. not a big deal.
I love my bauers.....
I have the MSL.5 on my 8' 4wt, the MSL2 for my 6wt, and the M3 on my 7wt. I just got the smaller reels but the M3 has been mine since 1994, but only got used for a few years before taking a long vacation touring different closets through the years. I actually just sent the M3 to Bauer for a rebuild and drag upgrade, took about a week and $62, including parts, labor, return shipping, and a new reel cover, it's just like new ready for the new rods I have for it.
I also realy like my Galvan Spoke 4 for my 5wt rod, and my Ross Canyon Big Game 4 for my 8wt rod.
I have a few others but the two reels I wouldn't think of selling or trading off would be my SA System 2 5/6l, and a J.C. Higgins reel I got from my grandfather along with an old glass rod. The J.C. Higgins outfit may not have alot of monetary value but it's worth millions to me. The SA 5/6l I got in 94(14th b-day), mom baught it, and I caught my first fish on the fly and literaly 100's of trout with it in my youth.
I recently bought a new Abel TR3. I don't know if I love it, but I really like it. I have a line on another NIB Abel TR3 for Yvonne, but the Abel Creek looks nice as well. Tough decisions.... The workmanship on the Abel is above and beyond, although I haven't even spooled a line on it yet. The first scratch is going to be a tough one. The TR3 is intended for use on my 4 and 5wt rods. I have used a click/pawl reel in the past (SA System 1), but the Abel has a much smoother action.
They are about the smoothest reels I've ever used. The drag also demonstrates a very noticeable range of tension between full off and full on. That is not true of all clickers, I've kept up with my Hardy reels making sure to always release the spring tension at the end of the day. They are however no comparison to the CFO for smooth operation. Glad to hear you've got one,