I believe the 16 gauge is "deadlier" than other gauges. Seems so to me. Every 16 gauge I've owned and shot birds with, was a real "killer". By that I mean the bird was "dead in the air". No bang and flopping on the ground for the dog to chase. I've shot well over a thousand birds on Preserves/Shooting Lodges using every gauge and a lot of shotguns. In my opinion nothing kills birds like a 16 gauge. I have a research paper some where around the house that "proves" that a 16 gauge is such a square load with such a short shot string. That a 12 gauge need 1/4 oz. more shot to equal the 16 gauge. I know you can "prove" anything. However, I believe it is so, from the birds I've killed. I feel that it is also vastly superior to the 20 gauge. Plus they also "look" right, and they also "carry" right. I honestly believe the 16 gauge is a better idea from my experience.