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Old March 2, 2010, 12:30 PM   #1
pinetree
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Only One Guage? Sanity Check.

I have a 12g semi and a cheap 20g OU. The 12g is 14 years old and has been my primary gun for quail, dove, ducks, geese, trap, five-stand and sporting clays. Goose and duck hunting are hard on guns. The 20g is used sometimes in the dove field.

This past week, I went quail hunting and the old Beretta was having a lot of failures to fire - I was using cheap Remingtons. The guide thought I had a broken firing pin. So I used a Browning Citori White Lightning 20g - it was awesome. Once home I took the bolt apart. Everything was fine, just dirty. I had put a case of 3" and half a case of 2.75" through it in Canada and though I have cleaned it, I didn't do a deep clean.

Anyway, I just sold a couple ounces of gold and want a Beretta 686. I am torn 20 or 12. The 12 semi - pelts my buddies in 5 stand and trap. The 20g would put me at a disadvantage with clays. But boy the 20g was light in the field.

I am leaning towards a 12g. Retire the semi to ducks and geese (OU could be back-up) and use the OU for clays and upland.

My cheap 20g does fine in the dove field but I will probably sell it and go 12g only.

My usage:
clays - 12 times a year (more this year as Verizon retired me and I am out of work)
geese and ducks - 4 days a year
dove - 5 days a year
upland - 5 days a year

Sound like a good plan?

tjg
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Old March 2, 2010, 12:36 PM   #2
oneounceload
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Quote:
The 20g would put me at a disadvantage with clays. But boy the 20g was light in the field.
A TARGET 20 really doesn't cede much to a 12. 7/8 at 1200 will do everything 1oz at 1200 will do, just with a few less pellets.

That being said, a 12 DOES have a greater variety of ammo to choose from - from 7/8 to 1-1/8 for all target application.

Get a gun that FITS, first and foremost - try it out, or a similar model from a friend before you buy.

If the 12 gauge O/[U] works for you, then by all means get it and go have some fun
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Old March 2, 2010, 12:54 PM   #3
Tenshi
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I've never shot a 20g myself. I went with a 12 due to variety of ammo, price of ammo, and more pellets delivered to the target. If the 20g is more comfortable for you though, I'd say go with that. To me, comfort is one of the most important factors in choosing a firearm.
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Old March 2, 2010, 01:03 PM   #4
mpd61
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oh oh!

That's why I'm looking at the Browning BPS in 16 gauge!
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Old March 2, 2010, 01:29 PM   #5
oneounceload
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Quote:
That's why I'm looking at the Browning BPS in 16 gauge!
Nothing wrong with the 16 - that and the 28 are often overlooked by the one gun to do it all crowd.. If I didn't shoot targets as much, a 16 on a 20 frame for larger birds and a 28 on a scaled frame for little ones would be just the ticket!
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Old March 2, 2010, 04:24 PM   #6
Uncle Ben
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Quote:
I went with a 12 due to variety of ammo, price of ammo, and more pellets delivered to the target.
Same for me, and I doubt I will ever have the desire to buy a different gauge, especially since you can buy lighter 12ga rounds that feel like a 20ga, or 3" magnum rounds, or anything in between.
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Old March 2, 2010, 07:07 PM   #7
zippy13
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For your O/U get a 12-ga. You can always load a 12-ga down to 20-ga equivalent loads, but you can't load a 20 to mach a 12-ga. If I was going to have two field O/Us they'd be a 12-ga and a 28-ga. All of my O/Us are 12-ga, but I have Briley tube sets for them.
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Old March 2, 2010, 07:08 PM   #8
Jeremiah/Az
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16gauge shells are hard to find here & very expensive when you do. I use a 28 gauge Citori for sporting & keep up with the big boys, so you won't be undergunned with a 20. Like 1oz said, try the Beretta. They do not fit me well.
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Old March 3, 2010, 12:43 PM   #9
1911 Shooter
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for the 28, reloading is a must, cost wise.. I'm doomed, addicted to them all.
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Old March 3, 2010, 03:44 PM   #10
BigJimP
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Like most target shooters - I'd have a hard time giving up any of my 20ga, 28ga or .410 guns ...... but if I could only have one gun / in one gague...
it would be a 12ga. Like Zippy, OneOunce and others said ...you can load a 12ga up or down to get what you want.

Lightness, swing, balance, feel of the gun are all important -- but its different for all of us. In my primary/general purpose guns I like an O/U in the 8 1/2 lb range and 30" barrels ( 12, 20, 28ga or .410 ) it doesn't really matter. The 30" barrels help me smooth out my swing / let me keep my follow-thru clean ....and a shorter gun has a tendancy to be "whippy" in my hands - and I "swat" at birds vs staying smooth ... but that's me .....

My primary guns are all O/U's ( and I like Brownings ) - specifically the XS Skeet models wtih adj combs so I can dial the point of impact in on a gun. Nothing wrong with the Lightning series Brownings or a semi-auto either. In semi autos I like the Benelli ( shoots clean ) - like the Super Sport models in 12 or 20ga...

I use my "general purpose" guns for bird hunting, Skeet and Sporting Clays ... but for Trap, I go to a longer and heavier gun ( 32" barrels and around 10 lbs ) - longer sight plane / heavier gun keeps my swing moving ... but that Trap gun ( like a Browning XT ) is too heavy and clumsy for Skeet, bird hunting or Sporting Clays ....not that it can't be used there ....I think there are better options.

I'd recommend you try as many guns as you can before you invest in a new gun. I went thru a lot of guns before I settled on the XS-Skeet models ...and it was a pretty expensive lesson.
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Old March 4, 2010, 08:20 PM   #11
Dave McC
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Lots of good stuff here. A couple things....

First, like many shotgunners old enough to recall the Kennedy Administration, I prefer lighter loads now than in days of yesteryear.

My standard target load also works on birds up to Grouse size. It's 7/8 oz of good shot. That's 20 gauge territory though I load and shoot it in divers 12s.

The sole 20 here is an 870 Express with 21" barrel. It's a delightful little bird gun and certain death on squirrels.

Weighing 6 lbs, 2 oz, it carries like a walking stick after all these 7 lb plus 12s.

But, Beretta's Ultra Light O/U is on the same action as the other 680s, and weighs about the same in 12 gauge as that sweet little pump. The alloy receiver makes the difference.

One of my "When I win the Lottery" shotguns is that UL with 28" barrels. It'll come in close to 2 lbs less than my 686 White Onyx with 32" barrels and steel action. That one's oneheckuva shotgun but a bit much for walking up game.

Check it out....
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Old March 9, 2010, 01:48 AM   #12
gak
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Deleted--duplicate post

Last edited by gak; March 9, 2010 at 01:59 AM.
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Old March 9, 2010, 01:53 AM   #13
gak
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QUOTE:
16gauge shells are hard to find here & very expensive when you do...
Jeremiah
------
I don't know where you are in Az, but in the Phoenix area most--ok, many--stores (except the likes of Wallyworld last I checked) have 16, sometimes even when they don't have or have been low on others. Big 5 "always" has 16 on hand. I'll grant you, like the other stores typically (?) not much if any variety, just Remington game loads, but all I usually need anyway. Yes, when Big 5 has these game loads on sale, it usually is a buck or two more per box than 20 ga; I don't recall the 12 comparison.


Love the 16 and +1 the theoretical top choice here for the 1 gun battery someone posed the question on. Unfortunately, the gun world over the years often has not been driven by logic, or .44 Special and .32 Mag(s) would have been much bigger hits early on, 7-30 Waters would have flourished, and 7mm-08 would adorn the shelves as much as 30-06 and .30-30. That said, I'll admit to being a card carrying member of MA (Masochists Anonymous).
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Old March 9, 2010, 09:00 PM   #14
PJR
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How much work would it take to get your current 20 gauge fixed? If all it needs is a new firing pin and you are happy with it I'd do that work and get the 12 gauge o/u.

If it's beyond recovery than get the 20 gauge 686 and shoot it for skeet and sporting clays, upland and dove. Keep the 12 gauge semi for trap and waterfowl. Put a shell catcher on the semi.
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