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Old March 29, 2012, 11:57 PM   #1
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12 Gauge or 20 Gauge?

Im planning on getting a new shotgun for deer hunting. Ill be getting a rifled slug barrel shooting Hornady SST slugs. Which is more accurate? The 12 gauge or 20 gauge? Thanks.
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Old March 30, 2012, 11:21 AM   #2
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The jury is still out on this one. I suspect the conses is that it depends more on the individual gun.

As with many firearms and shooters, accuracy seems to decrease as recoil increases. With shotguns, a lighter weight 20-ga with hot loads may kick harder than a 12-ga with moderate loads.
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Old March 30, 2012, 11:52 AM   #3
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Savage has a bolt action shotgun available in 20 gauge (maybe 12 gauge now). They are supposed to be pretty accurate. I have no experience, but if you are looking for accuracy in a slug gun, it might be worth a look.
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Old March 30, 2012, 12:05 PM   #4
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I have a mossburg bantom 20guage..i love this gun,,it is a youth model which makes it short in lenght,,the gun came with a shot barrel with different chokes and a rifled slug barrel,,this little fairly inexpensive gun is very accurate with the rifled barrel out to 50 yards,,i say fifty becuz i live in northeast pa,,,the woods are thick and the terrain is very hilly so fifty yards is usually about all your gonna get as far as a shooting lane,,i use winchester superX three inch mags,,like the above post said the kick depends on the load and these little babies kick pretty good,,the. First round i fired put my trigger hand up into my nose a little ouch there,,but readjusting and being ready helped control the next shot,,,so if you want an inexpensive gun with all around capabilities go with the mossburg bantom 20guage...good luck,,,
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Old March 30, 2012, 03:40 PM   #5
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12 ga, You can pretty much get any load cheaper in 12 than the identical in 20.
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Old March 30, 2012, 08:20 PM   #6
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You can pretty much get any load cheaper in 12 than the identical in 20.
In the case of the SSTs, the 20-ga and the 12-ga have the same MSRP; but, the 12-ga slugs deliver almost 50% more energy than the 20s. You get more bang for your buck with the 12s.
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Old March 30, 2012, 08:34 PM   #7
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I have a Mossberg 695 bolt action in the 12ga. It is my "go to" deer gun. My son has an H&R single shot in 20ga. and it is a nice gun. When shooting at a deer, I really don't notice a kick with either.

As for the hornady sst, I don't like them. The accuracy is terrible. Some of the shells have the writing a different color, (on the shell itself), and the two do not hit even close to each other. I have tried them on a few different guns, and had friends say the same. Just my .02

After rereading your original post, I would put more into the shooter and shells for accuracy than I would gauge.

Last edited by roadrunnr72; March 30, 2012 at 09:14 PM.
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Old March 31, 2012, 11:21 AM   #8
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Why would you think there would be a difference between the two bore sizes as to accuracy?
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Old March 31, 2012, 07:04 PM   #9
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The actual difference in accuracy should be the same, but if the 12 recoil is causing a flinch and the 20 does not he may shoot the 20 better. Normally with shotguns I advise 12 over 20 because you can almost always get 12 loads that are loaded down to 20 ga recoil and performance if recoil is an issue. Slugs shooting is not an area where I'm particularly experienced. This may be one of those times where a 20 may be adviseable.
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Old April 4, 2012, 09:07 AM   #10
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I'm not a "senior member," so for those who are, please don't take this the wrong way. But, there wasn't a mention at all about recoil being an issue of caliber. The question was regarding accuracy. With that said, I would go with the 12 ga. With ballistics being similar, it is a bigger slug. So, I'd rather shoot something with a big projectile, and hope it hits something vital with its size, than, rely purely on accuracy. When adrenaline is pumping, recoil isn't an issue. But nerves are.
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Old April 4, 2012, 11:20 AM   #11
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I'm not a "senior member," so for those who are, please don't take this the wrong way. But, there wasn't a mention at all about recoil being an issue of caliber.
Did you read post #2?
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Old April 4, 2012, 12:10 PM   #12
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I did read post two. I was referring to the original post #1. I understand the concept of lighter guns having more kick than the heavier guns with similar loads. However, that's basic 101 of shooting. Still not effecting accuracy. Its like a light car, with a huge engine. My point simply was, post one didn't ask about recoil and how it affected there shooting. It was which was more accurate.
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Old April 8, 2012, 04:16 PM   #13
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I've never been a fan of shotguns. My background is in long-range shooting in the Army. Naturally, when I got out, I preferred rifles. Last fall, my buddy and I were at the range zeroing our weapons for deer season. After completing our zeroes, we swapped weapons for a few rounds. I was had my Model 700 in .30-06 and he had his Savage 220F. Three rounds touching at 100 yd the first time I touched the gun. I bought it from him that day and dropped 5 deer and a black bear with it last fall, all dropped where they stood. I'll most likely never hunt with the 700 again, as most areas around here at SG only. I've shot 12ga weapons back-to-back with this 220F with the 220 coming out on top every time. Recoil is half that of a 12ga and the accuracy is better due to the low recoil.
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Old April 8, 2012, 04:37 PM   #14
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In my testing of different ammo, both in 12 and 20, one thing that becomes clear is that there is no one gauge that is more accurate than the other. I've had cases where both gauges were right in there or all over the place. I can say this for deer hunting: I've settled on that bolt action 20 gauge mentioned. With a scope, that baby lays the SST's right in there at distance. For up close, in the dense brush and woods, I also do have a 12 gauge. And at shorter distances like 30, 40, or 60 yards, That guy nails the small target circle spot on. One is much longer, with a scope, used in open areas where we have a 200 yard field of view. The other is much shorter, with iron sights. Both are dead nuts accurate. And after much buying, trying, selling, and testing- I'm well pleased with the 12 and the 20 gauge that I have ended up with for deer hunting.
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Old April 8, 2012, 05:09 PM   #15
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I have a 20 gauge mossburg and my son in law has a 12 gauge mossburg. Last season I shot a doe at 30 yards clean shot through her taking both lungs. She Walked around 40 yards then dropped. My son in law shot a nice buck at a full run 65 yards away, he too shot clear through taking both lungs out. His deer dropped in his tracks. We both use Winchester rifled slugs. When he asked me to hold his gun when he gutted his deer I said, crap is your gun heavy! I'll take my 20! Both are synthetic stocks rifled barrels.

As far as accuracy, just hold steady either will work.
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