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Author Topic: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?  (Read 8867 times)

Offline police women of America

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12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« on: February 29, 2016, 05:59:33 PM »
So I'm thinking of getting a shotgun later this year. Possibly even one for my dad too if I can get it cheap enough. But I know very little about shotguns. I do know I need a shotgun 10 gauge or smaller and that can hold less then 4 shot shells. So I narrowed it to these two gauges.
So here's the facts: it will be a pump action, we probably will be hunting goose, ducks, and possibly turkeys with this shotgun. I'm not to concerned with the recoil of the shotgun but I don't want anything to extreme since my adult siblings might use it someday if we do some sort of family hunt. So which gauge do you think would be best?
Thanks!
Hi, my name is Josie

Offline 270Shooter

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2016, 06:05:32 PM »
12 gauge. For shooting targets there is little difference in recoil between the two. When shooting at game you don't feel the recoil as much or at all due to adreniline. The 12 is a much better killer than the 20 in the hands of an average shooter.
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Offline jennyfell55

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2016, 06:27:50 PM »
I run a Mossberg 500 in 12ga as my duck/goose/turkey gun

Offline AWS

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2016, 07:22:53 PM »
Duck and goose hunting is pretty sedentary, most of the time sitting and waiting for the birds so weight is not much of a concern and a little extra helps with felt recoil and selection and availability of twelve gauge non-toxic ammo is much better than a 20ga.

Upland hunting, involves a lot more carrying than shooting, quick handling modest weight are an advantage as are lighter loads, upland game seems die a little easier and usually has no place to dive or swim away.

I have lightweight 12's, 16's and 20's all right at six pounds and are a pleasure to carry in the field, interestingly I shoot pretty much the same load in each, an ounce of shot and they work about the same and really have no preference other than aesthetics.

Handling and fit are everything in a shotgun, you point a shotgun and aim a rifle.  The better the fit the easier it is to point it where you want it.  Try a lot of guns and see which fits you the best.  I'm fairly short 5'7" and have short arms 29" sleeve,  I need a shotgun with a youth stock or have to cut the stocks up to an inch to be comfortable with it.  Long barrels I find awkward and on a pump gun find 21" to 26" work for me with 24" and 26" barrels ideal.

If you are restricted to one shotgun err on it being a little too heavy as it will allow you to be comfortable practicing more on the trap, skeet and sporting clays courses.  Swing smoother in the duck bind and feel better with the heavier waterfowl loads.  If upland hunting turns into a passion for you you can always upgrade in the future.
After the first shot the rest are just noise.

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Offline 12Gauge

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2016, 07:34:24 PM »
When you have narrowed your choice of shotgun, then go to the store and see if that gun fits you.

Search the internet for shotgun fit, it is very important.  You could have a $20,000 and not hit a damn thing if the gun does not fit you right.  I learned that the hard way.

I would go with a semi auto 12 gauge 3" mag. 
Progressives are coming for your guns. 
What are you going to do?

Well me, I do not have any guns, gave away or sold them 15 years ago.

Offline police women of America

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2016, 09:27:03 PM »
Thanks for all the answers! :tup: I'm definitely thinking of getting a twelve gauge since about all of you recommend it.
I'll make sure to hold the guns and make sure they are comfortable before buying them.
Hi, my name is Josie

Offline jennyfell55

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2016, 10:29:43 PM »
Depending on where you're located in western WA, you're welcome to check mine out. I had the stock chopped down so it would fit me better, since I'm only 5'3"

Offline 12Gauge

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2016, 07:50:58 AM »
Thanks for all the answers! :tup: I'm definitely thinking of getting a twelve gauge since about all of you recommend it.
I'll make sure to hold the guns and make sure they are comfortable before buying them.

The fit talks about the length of pull, the drop in comb, drop in heel & tilt.  Make sure it fits.
Progressives are coming for your guns. 
What are you going to do?

Well me, I do not have any guns, gave away or sold them 15 years ago.

Offline Henrydog

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2016, 07:52:50 AM »
The biggest thing for a shotgun is that it Fits you.  You will be pointing not aiming so you want something that mounts.  The vast majority of my hunting is upland, and I use a 20ga, because it fits me and its light.  Its a Ithaca/SKB that is worth no more than $150.00  I have taken well over 250 pheasant/huns/chucker with it in the last 5 years.  A 12ga is much better suited for ducks and like others have said you will not be packing it.  There a couple of companies that make youth or "micro" 12ga, and typically the fit females far better than standard shotguns

Offline C-Money

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2016, 08:05:48 AM »
My wife and daughter use a 20ga. They do well with it. I believe they would be fine with a 12ga. An Remington 870 Express gives you high quality at a bargain price.
I felt like a one legged cat trying to bury a terd on a frozen pond!

Offline jackson7

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #10 on: March 01, 2016, 09:32:31 AM »
agree with c-money. there are also plenty of used guns that are inexpensive. take a look in the pawn shops and some of the gun stores. also armslist.com in Washington.

Offline birddogdad

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2016, 09:39:39 AM »
you specify pump , ok...

I would go 12 for the game you also specified. Plenty inexpensive options.. try them out, SIZE / FIT is essential for you... depending on your arm length and build, you may need to modify stock/recoil pad. also, and I cant stress this enough... make sure it accepts choke tubes, not having a fixed choke (many older guns don't have tubes) will make your shooting experience a happier one. all can plug to 3 shot rules... Possible sling options too.. I would retract this 12 GA if you have a difficult shouldering a heavier gun.. if so, then go 20 they may suit you better..
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Offline GrampasGuns

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2016, 01:58:09 PM »
Benelli Nova cant be beat for a first shotgun. Not too spendy either and they are ultra reliable.

Offline thinkingman

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2016, 03:15:53 PM »
12 gauge. For shooting targets there is little difference in recoil between the two. When shooting at game you don't feel the recoil as much or at all due to adreniline. The 12 is a much better killer than the 20 in the hands of an average shooter.
I don't consider my self an average shooter.
I'm lucky to score 15 at the trap line.
That said, I've killed many more birds with my 20ga than my 12 due to the fact the 20 fits me and the 12 does not.
Fit is what kills birds, not bigger payload.
I shoot 3" 20ga 1 1/4oz loads at roosters and I used to think that was a pretty hefty 12ga round back in the day before 3.5" was available.
Go to a shop with a good selection of shotguns and see what comes up to your shoulder and eye most naturally and buy that shotgun, not somebody else's favorite.
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Offline T-Bone

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #14 on: March 01, 2016, 03:28:35 PM »
Depending on where you're located in western WA, you're welcome to check mine out. I had the stock chopped down so it would fit me better, since I'm only 5'3"

Great advice! My wife is 5'3", as well. A Youth Model generally fits her very well. An ill fitting gun can heighten felt recoil sensation and cause other problems, as well. If you go with a 12 Ga., non-Youth Model, I suggest having the gun fitted to you by a professional gunsmith.
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Offline NRA4LIFE

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #15 on: March 01, 2016, 03:32:12 PM »
My wife had problems with a 12, too much recoil when we got up to heavier loads for turkey.  I bought her a youth model 20 and she has fired everything through there with no problems.
Look man, some times you just gotta roll the dice

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Offline Fishnfowler

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #16 on: March 01, 2016, 11:28:16 PM »
12 gauge.  The recoil has nothing to do with the gauge and everything to do with the weight of the load compared to the weight of the gun.  A 7 pound 12 gauge shooting 1-1/2 oz will kick more than a 7 pound 20 gauge shooting an ounce at the same speed.  The 12 gauge will be much more versatile and if you really want to send a bunch of lead down the barrel, the 12 will let you do it, (albeit with a price to pay in recoil).  Remember, "every action has an opposite, but equal reaction."

Offline jackson7

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #17 on: March 02, 2016, 11:16:40 AM »
if you are going to use for ducks and turkey,12 gauge it is. if you are going to be using for upland , a light 16 or 20 gauge.

Offline police women of America

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #18 on: March 02, 2016, 05:46:52 PM »
Thanks for the awesome advice! Definitely learning a lot.
Hi, my name is Josie

Offline asmith

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2016, 10:14:20 AM »
IMO, going off what you listed as birds you would be hunting, I would get a 12 gauge that can hold 3.5", 3" and 2.75" shells.  That way you have the options covered.  I use a benelli nova as my all around gun, for everything.  A bit on the heavier side, but you can beat it up and it still works.
Right wing shooter, I aim for the left!!!

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Offline Tiger1358

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2016, 05:16:56 PM »
Thanks for the awesome advice! Definitely learning a lot.
If you want a cheap, but a bomb proof shotgun, I'd recommend Mossberg 500 All Purpose shotgun, you can get a brand new one from Walmart for $250. Pump action, holds 5 in the mag and one in the chamber, has a 28" barrel and wooden stock. I've been using the same for a few years and never had even a single problem. If you don't care about the recoil, I'd recommend 12 gauge,it's a great caliber for both small and big game.

PS. that gun has a 10 year warranty and it's made in USA.

Offline fethrduster

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2016, 07:14:05 AM »
IMO, going off what you listed as birds you would be hunting, I would get a 12 gauge that can hold 3.5", 3" and 2.75" shells.  That way you have the options covered.  I use a benelli nova as my all around gun, for everything.  A bit on the heavier side, but you can beat it up and it still works.

A 3.5" magnum howitzer isn't necessary and just adds extra weight you don't need.  Shotguns are more efficient with lighter loads, not heavier ones.  Anything that flies can be killed cleanly with 2.75" loads of 1 to 1.25oz shot.  My favorite duck/goose load is one ounce of reloaded ITX #4's in a 2.5" or 2.75" hull.   Deadly.

Offline nwwanderer

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2016, 07:31:29 AM »
If you have only one, 12 gauge that will shoot any of the available loads, Rem 870 and Nova are good examples.  To reinforce the fit, point all of them, buy the one that comes up flat and fast.  You made need some help with the stock from someone that knows the ropes.  Good shooting!!!

Offline boneaddict

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2016, 07:34:48 AM »
I have this horrible personality trait....I want one of each. 😀

But to,answer your question, having the 12 would give you the most options.

Offline theleo

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Re: 12 or 20 gauge shotgun?
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2016, 08:32:31 AM »
I'll go ahead and say your probably best off getting a 12ga that will take up to 3" or 3.5" shells (I'm not a fan of the recoil from 3.5" shells though). Benelli Nova, Remington 870, and Mossberg 500 are going to be best bet for function and reliability.

Now, with the generic advice out of the way, I'd recommend you get in touch with some members on here and see if some are willing to meet you at a trap club for a round or two on you, in exchange for them letting you try their bird guns.

 

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