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20 vs 12 Ga, opinions?

Discussion in 'Uncategorized Threads' started by Oysterboy, Mar 31, 2007.

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  1. Oysterboy

    Oysterboy TS Member

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    OK, so let me ask a question...

    As a kid, I used to shoot a fair amount, I recently picked up the hobby again and took some skeet/trap lessons. Now, I need to buy a gun. Many have told me "buy a 12 ga, it is more versatile". Is this versatility the fact that a 12 ga can be more readily used for various hunting purposes, in addition to target shooting? I am unlikely to hunt in the future (jeez, don't even get enough time to fish anymore) so this aspect of a 12 ga is of no use to me. Considering the number of shells I will need to go through to get decent at trap, I am thinking that a 20 ga would be better and kinder on my shoulder. Anyone got an opinion?
  2. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Active Member

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    a 12 is still the best all around...and you have the versatility to make/purchase loads to suit your every need...there are plenty of good 7/8oz light low recoil loads to be had out there. Also those light loads in the physically heavier 12 bore wil actually seem to kick even less than the 20 and still pattern better to boot
  3. zzt

    zzt Active Member

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    The recoil of the two guns with equivalent loads is the same. With the same load, say 7/8oz @1200fps, the 20ga will have more recoil because the gun is lighter.

    It is true the 12ga is more versatile, for targets and for hunting. A lot more, but you are not going to hunt, and it doesn't sound like you are going to buy more than one gun (at least at first). So decide what you want to do most. If it is trap, your only effective choice is a 12ga. For Skeet the 20ga is just as effective as the 12ga. For Sporting, just as effective out to 45yds, which covers all the courses around my neck of the woods.

    A good Sporting Clays gun with interchangeable choke tubes is a good, all-around, do-it-all gun. 12ga if you will shoot predominantly trap or long range sporting courses. Either gauge for the rest.
  4. superxjeff

    superxjeff Active Member

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    What are you going to use it for the nost? Jeff
  5. OhioBob

    OhioBob TS Member

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    The Calvin and the other posters above have really said it all and I agree completely, in addition you stated yourself : Many have told me "buy a 12 ga, it is more versatile". Heed their advice.

    12 gauge target loads are generally more widely available, and quite often they come on sale at deeper discounts as well. The variety of target loads available for the 12 is reason enough to buy it. You mentioned being kinder to your shoulder, shoot some real low recoil 7/8 oz or 1 oz loads thru a 12 bore gun and you'll think you're shooting a pop gun.

    zzt suggests a sporting clays gun, and I believe that is good advice, since it sounds as though you really haven't settled on which sport you wish to pursue.

    Since recoil seems to be on your mind. Browning makes a sporting clays version of their autoloader....a Browning Gold Sporting Clays model that I think is a very good compromise. Specifically, it has a high enough comb to be shot at trap, 28 inch barrels for sporting clays work and the barrel length is not really an impairment on the skeet field either. It is my shooting family's "Do it all gun".

    I bought the Ladies model for a daughter that moved from a 20 gauge as soon as she was able to physically handle the larger gun, and she immediately noticed the reduced recoil. Surprisingly, I can shoot the her gun quite comfortably as well and I am 6-1

    The only real downside is that they won't reliably cycle doubles shots of the extra-lite recoil shells but do quite nicely with 2 3/4 dram 1 1/8 oz loads.

    Remington has some very nice offerings in their line of autoloaders as well.

    I hope this is a little help.

    Bob T
  6. Oysterboy

    Oysterboy TS Member

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    Thanks all, I never thought about the increased ammo options with the 12 ga but that is certainly the consideration. The one thing that go me really thinking about the 20 ga is a nice used weatherby O/U at my local shop that is in my price range. They didn't have any comparable in 12 ga. Owing to what I percieve (perhaps wrongly) that there is lower resale on 20 ga, am I likely to get a better price on a 20 ga? I want to buy a decent gun, but I still have a mortgage to pay...
  7. OhioBob

    OhioBob TS Member

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    "am I likely to get a better price on a 20 ga?" ...Not really...price will generally reflect the quality of the gun, condition and collector value (if any)

    20 gauge guns do not neccessarily have lower resale than a 12 gauge...see above statement

    Not all guns are collectable or desireable....some can be one, but not the other. Example, a Remington 1100, not really collected by a lot of people (except in the higher grades), but yet a very desireable gun for what you want to do. Therefore, they always bring decent prices because of their excellent quality and suitability for the task.

    Another example the other way....a Winchester model 21 side by side in 20 gauge....probably NOT widely desired as a clays gun, but very highly sought after by Winchester collectors....again quality comes into the equation here.

    The bottom line....buy a gun suitable to what you want to do with it first and foremost. The posts above have steered you in the right direction.

    Your $$$ budget will determine the balance of quality and condition that you can afford.
  8. BDodd

    BDodd TS Member

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    I'll 2nd and 3rd the many comments; you can down load the 12 ga. shell all the way to that of a 28 ga. in power (=recoil) where the 20 ga. will never load up to the most powerful 12 ga. Then, recoil is based on weight of ejecta X velocity vs weight of the gun and most 20 ga. guns are lighter than 12 ga. guns thus, more recoil if the shells are equal. But, there's not a thing wrong with the 20 ga. guns and they'll shoot 16 yard trap and skeet birds all day long and there are plenty of them on the sporting courses too. If, however, you ever get seriously interested in any one or more of these disciplines, you'll be shopping for another gun or two soon enough. The starter, single gun for all purposes clearly is the 12 ga. auto-loader or over/under and with one, you can avoid more purchases for a very long time....breakemall....Bob Dodd
  9. zzt

    zzt Active Member

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    Oysterboy, if you like the Weatherby 20ga, buy it and have a ball. Since you are buying used, someone else already took the depreciation hit. You could shoot it for 6 mos or a year and turn it over for pretty close to what you paid for it. I love my 20ga O/U and enjoy shooting it more than I do my 12ga O/U. And the ammo is lighter to boot.

    Remington makes STS 20ga shells with 7/8oz shot @1135fps. These are incredibly good shells and reach out there a long way. You surely won't be underguned. If you decide you like ATA trap and want to shoot handicap, you are eventually going to want a trap gun. Your 20g O/U can still be used for doubles and everything else. I enjoy shooting mine so much i really don't give a damn if it costs me a Sporting target or two per hundred.
  10. ljutic73

    ljutic73 Active Member

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    mide-size pickup truck vs full size...all depends on what you want to use it for...
  11. rjdden

    rjdden TS Member

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    I started out with a Remington 870 and to this day still shoot a Remington 870. I purchased here many years ago a Remington 1100 for my wife to shoot. She loved it. Then She got me another Remington 870 as a back up to my original one because it had so many rounds shot through it. They all were 12 gage. I had a MEC jr. reloader of the older kind and did versital reloading through it. I even shot the 1100 at times. Great gun for no recoil at all. But I loaded shells to eliminate the heavy recoil on both models. After you have shot whatever you purchase get yourself a reloader. Used if you have to or new cheep loader that will do the loads you wish. I have now a MEC jr. That was given to me for some specialty work I had done for a person and I have a Lee Load All II. The MEC will cost you aproximately $110.00 and it will do a great job for ya. The unit comes with I believe 3 bushings. The rest you have to purchase the rest. As to the Lee Load All II it comes with every bushing you would need plus a couple of other things. This unit will cost not more than $40.00. it will load anything your heart desires. I loaded about 700 rounds when this friend of mine gave me the MEC. They loaded great and they shot just fine. Could not tell any difference in a loaded MEC ot the Lee. So goes to show ya that if ya ask up you might get more info than you would if you didn't ask a thing. My Grand Daughter is learning to load on the Lee. In fact I am giving it to her if she stays into shooting. All good answers by everyone. But the 12 gage is so versital. Load anything from a heavy 28 gage to a medium heavy 10 gage. Rich.(inPeoria,Az.)
  12. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Rich - Your 870 is an excellent gun for singles and handicap. The very few times I tried an 870 on doubles, I discovered something I did not like. I do prefer 12 ga guns, although a 410 can be fun to shoot at skeet.

    Pat Ireland
  13. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Active Member

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    Oysterboy...I have a really nice Weatherby Orion O/U I am selling with 28" barrels in a Browning fitted hard case for 850 plus shipping...reason I am selling cheap is because forend suffered some dent/dings in shipping when I purchased it,..it can be fixed/and refinished inexpensively but I have no time to play with it..can send you pictures
  14. 682b

    682b Member

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    Oysterboy, Your question is not a unusual one. 20ga or 12ga O/U or auto, well the Weatherby is a good gun. If my recollection is right they are made by SKB. Good customer service, and they are shot by a lot of good shooters. Some may say that is not true but just look up Dewey Hancocks ATA records He shot one and could buy any gun he wanted. As you venture in to the shooting sports you will well get the FEVER from time to time. Don't buy the first flashy gun you see. Shoot some and try all you can. Guns are like women the flashy high maintenance ones are just that and that does not mean they will be with you over the long haul and sometines cost you to get rid of them. Bur there is always the exception. While you are looking for the right one try a 12 ga auto. others have explained the virtues of the 12ga. Others have made a case for the 20ga. My vote is a 1100 auto. great entry level gun that you can customize easily and will not get hurt badly at resale time. 1100 trap guns can be had for 550.00 and up and if you don"t like the trigger you can replace it with a great custom for less than 200.00 you can't do that with a
    O/U If you don't like the wood you can find Drop dead gorgeous wood for less than 400.00 that would sell for over 1500.00 on a O/U. Upgraded barrels are cheap compared to O/U. You can buy a Great custom barrel for a 1100 for about what you would pay for a add on ribb for a O/U. Save all your original parts and when you want to sell them bring them back to Trapshooters.com and they won't last long. The Beretta series 0f 390 guns are good along with the 303 but they are a bit more expensive to customize and believe me you will in time want to do that. That is my take of O/U vs Auto. Good luck and have fun. Take some of that extra money you saved on a auto and shoot lots of rounds. JIM
  15. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Oysterboy, let's examine a key point in your post: "I am thinking that a 20 ga would be better and kinder on my shoulder."<br>
    <br>
    If soft recoil is important, perhaps you should be looking for a gas operated semi-automatic.<br>
    <br>
    The Remington 1100 and 1187 shotguns are among the softest shooting, if not the softest. You might want to start with a good, used 1100 or 1187 trap gun. They are often offered for sale on this very board.<br>
    <br>
    I could stand only about 3 boxes of shells with my old 870. I can literally shoot my 1187 all day long.<br>
    <br>
    On a different point, it has been said that a 20ga can kick as hard or harder than a 12ga. This is true in some situations. In other situations, the opposite is true - the 20ga is far softer shooting. The Remington 1100 and 1187 20ga guns are softer shooting than their 12ga counterparts because they can cycle lighter loads than the 12ga guns. For example, they can cycle 7/8 oz 2-1/2 dram loads, while the 12ga guns can't cycle below 7/8oz ~ 1oz at 2-3/4 dram. That's a 1/4 dram less powder, and in some cases less shot. Recoil is very light. I built a 7/8ths scale trap gun using an 1187 20ga and putting a monte carlo stock on it. The 1100 Sporting 20 could be modified with a buttstock change into a similar trap gun for the softest recoil possible.<br>
    <br>
    It is also possible to ballast up shotguns so they weigh so much their mass dampens recoil. I've tried some 10 lb or heavier trap guns, and they ain't for me.<br>
    <br>
    There are also recoil reduction devices that can be used, like Soft Touch, PFS stocks, etc. Problem is, they cost as much or more than a good gas auto.<br>
    <br>
    I suggest you start with a Rem 1100 or 1187 trap gun in 12ga, and go from there.
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