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Old December 28, 2004, 07:26 PM   #1
Guy B. Meredith
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16 Ga?

I didn't want to hijack the 20 GA thread, though I see all numbers being thrown about except 16 GA. I know it was on the wane some 30 years ago during my first period of firearms involvement, but do not know the history in between.
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Old December 28, 2004, 08:36 PM   #2
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In his Shotgunner's Notebook the late Gene Hill had this to say of the 16-gauge:

"There's no really valid argument in the 20 vs. the 16 from a pure balistic standpoint. You can wave almosts around all you want, but it makes no difference to the quail or grouse whether he's centered by an ounce of 8's from a 16 or a 20.
"The 16 being a bit larger in bore diameter (.670) than the 20 (.615) and likely a shade heavier would certainly have less felt recoil, but not that much less, especially to the gunner swinging on a fast-moving blur of brown feathers. There really isn't much logic to the 16, but I find that there's still a lot of love.
"Where the 16 excels, and again this is purely in the eyes of the beholder, is in its almost perfect lines. Where the run-of-the-mill 12 tends to be bulkier and heavier than it has to be, and the ordinary 20 is as often too light as it is too coarse, the true 16 is a fine example of the creed, 'form follows function.'"

By "true 16" Gene meant a gun with a 16-gauge barrel on a 16-gauge frame, e.g., the Browning Sweet-Sixteen or Francotte, both manufactured in Belgium; the Ulm from Germany, or various products of Britain and France. Unfortunately back in the day many of the 16-gauge guns manufactured here in the U.S. were hybrids: 16-gauge barrels mounted to 12-gauge frames, and accordingly were heavier than a true 16. As a result, they were disadvantaged against the lighter 20-gauge whose manufacturers said that anything the 16 could do, the 20 could do just as well, and be more comfortable to carry.

However, as Gene went on to say, "When we insist on lightness and speed, we have to be fully conscious of the fact that we are likely to overswing the bird, then check a bit, and then either do it over or risk missing behind. The light, fast shotgun is a very hard taskmaster, but the momentum of the heavier gun tends to help us erase a little mistake here and there."

My Browning Sweet-Sixteen (manufactured in 1926) is a joy to carry and to shoot, and I believe that there is no finer shotgun (in gauge or make) for use on upland birds. To me it is the ideal balance of form v. function. So long as manufacturers continue to make ammuniton for me to feed it, and so long as God allows me, I'll be afield with it each Fall.

Last edited by HunterTRW; December 29, 2004 at 08:21 AM.
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Old December 28, 2004, 08:45 PM   #3
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The 16 is making a comeback. Remington is making the 870 in 16 again. Some of the high end double gun makers are producing 16's ($$$)

The gauge is not dead, and there is more variety in ammo than a few years ago.
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Old December 29, 2004, 02:27 AM   #4
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Hmmm... I feel my contrary streak raising it's head. If defense configuration components were available...
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Old December 29, 2004, 08:44 AM   #5
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Saw a Browning Citori 16 Ga at the local gunshop yesterday that a customer had purchased from out of state and was picking up.

Can't be absolutely sure, but think it was a smaller frame then the 12. Was a joy to mount and swing. Had 28" bbl, lightning stock, and had a subtle difference in how it handled. Not bad mind you, just different. (balance point perhaps?)

I'm not what you would call an expert, but I was impressed.
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Old December 29, 2004, 10:32 AM   #6
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I've shot many a 16, from an old Sears/Roebuck single, to a slightly older Sears/Roebuck pump, a Westernfield pump of the same design(the current pump in my collection), and a Savage double. They've all been sweet guns. I wish I could find a Browning A-5 in the gauge, but the only one I've seen was chambered for 2&9/16ths shells and I let it slide by though the price was excellent.

They'll do a number on just about everything. Doves, Quail, Pheasant, Prairie Chicken, they'll all fall just as easily to the 16 as they will to a 12, a 20 or even some of those pop-gun guages (love a single .410 for dove).

Then again some of the reason why I carry a 16 is nostalgia, and not any sort of 'its better'. My grandpa carried one afield, only gauge he ever owned. I still remember (I was quite young at the time, 8 maybe 9) walking cover with him, my dad, and my uncle, all of us carrying the same guage, though in different configurations.
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Old December 29, 2004, 10:52 AM   #7
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Taralon:

A competent gunsmith might have been able to lengthen the chamber to 2.75". Please keep this in mind as you remain on the lookout for your own Sweet-Sixteen.

Good luck, and good shooting!
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Old December 29, 2004, 12:01 PM   #8
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I recently rebuilt a 1956 Wingmaster in 16 ga. for Mrs. 9mmMike. This gun is built on the full-size 870 frame. For whatever reason, it is a fantastic to shoulder and shoot. The way the barrel tapers after the receiver makes for very nice lines. It was a pain to find ammo until Remington started to push their "new" 16 gauge line. Now ammo purchases have become easier.
This is the only 870 that we own which rings when you close the action, a beautiful sound.
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Old December 30, 2004, 12:31 PM   #9
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I have my grandfather's Winchester Model 12 - 16 gauge (1953) & carry it for phesent every chance I get. I saw a Model 12 - 12 gauge of a similar year in a gun shop the other day & it was a bigger frame than my 16 - no question about it.

I wish, however, that I could find a larger shot for it. So far I have been limited to 4 & 5, which IMHO is a little small for phesent - especially if you miss the first shot. Any ideas on where I can find 2 or 3 shot for my 16 gauge online?
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Old December 30, 2004, 08:32 PM   #10
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Spencer:

The Shotshell Guide in my Winchester Ammunition Product Guide recommends shot no larger than size 4 for pheasant. Their recommendations include sizes 4, 5, 6, and 7.5 (all of which they show being available in 12, 16, and 20 gauge).

As you think about using smaller shot, consider this: would you rather put fewer, larger shot in the air, or increase your chances of a clean kill by firing more, smaller shot? I favor the latter for two reasons. First, is the multiple shock effect of small shot. Richard Alden Knight put it this way in his book, Mastering the Shotgun, "The tremendous slamming shock to the bird's nervous system is far greater when he is hit by many small pellets rather than by a few large pellets." Second, you stand a better chance of scoring leathal hits with more shot in the air, particularly since most of the birds we flush are flying away from us, presenting a less vulnerable target area.

Your best bet might be a load with 1.125 ounces of 5's or 6's over a 3.25 dram powder charge, e.g., Winchester's Super-X High Brass Game Load. Give this, or a comparable load, a try this and see if it doesn't give you the results you are looking for.

Good luck, and good shooting!
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Old January 3, 2005, 01:47 AM   #11
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Great feedback Hunter; thank you. I just ordered 3 different brands of shot in 2 sizes each (i.e. 3 brands of 4 & 6 shot = 6 boxes) online. The Win Super-X is in the order & I plan to tear up some paper between now & my next pheasant hunt in 2 weeks.

I have just hooked up with this group that I hunt birds with the season & they are all carrying 12-gauges w/ bbb shot because many of the birds they shoot with smaller shot hit the ground and run. The dogs love it; however a handful get away & that isn't good for a lot of reasons. The feel like the bigger shot will result in a better kill, but I hear what you are saying about the smaller shot. This sounds like an issue with the shooter, not the ammo.

My Dad has has always told me to shoot 6-shot with that gun, but I'm too stupid to listen to him. Thanks again for the feedback; I'm going to try my hand with 6-shot on the next hunt - at least for the first shot. Maybe some practice would do me some good too....
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Old January 3, 2005, 04:03 PM   #12
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Hunter,

I should have listened to the little devil on my shoulder, instead of the Angel. The conscious was asking 'Why do you need a new gun' and the devil was saying 'Heck you reload shells anyways, what's the difference in crimping them to a OAL of 2&9/16 instead of 2&3/4? Plus you could just always buy 2&1/2s.' I kicked myself when I went back there later and found they already sold the gun, while I was out shopping for 'christmas' for myself (that's what bonuses are for right?).
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Old January 3, 2005, 08:55 PM   #13
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Spencer: To paraphrase the late author Robert Ruark, I hope that you find a big, fat, sassy, green-headed pheasant with your name on his tail!

Taralon: Keep looking. Another Sweet-Sixteen will find you.

Good luck, and good shooting to you both!
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Old January 4, 2005, 01:23 PM   #14
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Is it hard to come by 16 ga shells, I just have never looked for them.
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Old January 4, 2005, 03:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Is it hard to come by 16 ga shells, I just have never looked for them.
Cabela's (in PA) has them and that's where I buy them now. Dick's Sporting Goods (in PA) also carries them but the selection is much smaller.
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Old January 4, 2005, 06:42 PM   #16
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The 16 is a great gauge and just refuses to quit. In the States it may be a bit
uncommon, but in Europe and other places it has always been considered the
all round gauge. Remington's success in re-introducing it to the product line,
first in pump then autoloader, is proof of this, while European makers still offer
it in their line-up. If you have trouble finding ammo, ask your dealer to stock
Eley ammunition, and you will have no regrets. Just remember that the British
shot sizes are named differently.
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Old January 10, 2005, 07:52 PM   #17
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I picked up a 16ga Ithaca M37. It's the smoothest action I've felt, lighter than it's 12 ga big brother I have, and ammo is not hard to find, around here anyway. It's so light and comfortable to carry all day, it's what I take out pheasant hunting.
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Old January 11, 2005, 08:40 PM   #18
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I just got my first shipment of 16-g shells from these guys:

http://www.outdoorsuperstore.com/sto...ryID~50403.htm

Fast delivery & shipping wasn't too bad...
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Old January 12, 2005, 05:07 PM   #19
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Spencer (and others)...

I prefer copper plated shot when pheasant hunting, it penetrates much better and doesn't drag as many feathers or down into the bird...also, 6's are usually fine early in the year when it's warmer, I switch to 4's after it gets cold and the birds have more fat on them.

I've shot a 16 ga. Mod. 12 for the last 20+ years and won't use anything else when it matters! Had mine choked, re-blued, stock refinished, etc. and it's absolutely the best shotgun I've ever owned...and yes, it is a smaller frame than the 12. Sure wish I could find an old beater (Mod. 12) in 20 ga. that I could redo the same way!
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Old January 12, 2005, 05:22 PM   #20
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>>I just got my first shipment of 16-g shells from these guys<<

At those prices however, I wouldn't want to be shooting skeet with it.
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Old January 12, 2005, 05:32 PM   #21
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Forgot to add...

For the price difference between a case (full case) of 16's vs a case of 12's or 20's a person can pick up a used loader. Most shops still carry 16 ga. wads or can/will get them for you quickly. All other componants remain the same (except shell of course). Save bunches down the road!
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Old January 12, 2005, 05:51 PM   #22
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Yes, that would seem to be the way to go. Then again, perhaps Estate will jump on the 16ga. bandwagon one of these days.
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Old January 12, 2005, 06:12 PM   #23
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When I go pheasant hunting, I just pick up the cheapest #6 loads I can find. My local shop has Remington #6's (same "economy" loads that Wal-Mart sells in 12 & 20ga) for $3.50/box. It knocks them down just as well as anything else I've used.

I've been thinking about having my Ithaca choked. I like the modified choke for field use, but it is fairly limiting when clays shooting. It's OK for sporting clays, but it's too tight for skeet and too open for trap. A friend of mine from the club has a business restoring old shotgun barrels and installing choke tubes. He's done an old Franchi 48AL I have now with Colonial Arms "Thinwall" tubes.
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Results of the 1998 Massachusetts gun laws:

It is important to keep in mind the ISP reports show that firearm related homicides decreased 56% from 1994 to 1998.

From 1998 to 2002, firearm related homicides increased 48%. During the same time, firearm related accidental deaths have increased 200%.

Will work for ammo.
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Old January 12, 2005, 07:47 PM   #24
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By "true 16" Gene meant a gun with a 16-gauge barrel on a 16-gauge frame, e.g., the Browning Sweet-Sixteen or Francotte, both manufactured in Belgium[QUOTE]

I sure enjoy shooting my Sweet Sixteen.
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Old January 12, 2005, 10:41 PM   #25
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I only have one 16ga, I only have one high grade shotgun. They are both the same gun; a pre 1980 (prolly 1968) Darne Pheasant Hunter . This 27.5" straight gripped sliding breech gun weighs 6lbs 3 oz and is choked 1/2 & 3/4 (which is about a loose modified and a tight modified) . It is DEADLY on pheasants with #5 or #6 shot, depending on season ect. It has been used on chukars too with #7.5 shot. Allways 1 oz loads as that is what my fixed charge bar drops! This gun (to me) is too pretty, with marbled French Walnut(no pad) and modestly engraved coin finish recieve, engine turned water table on the sliding breech,r and a swamped rib, and I only use it to impress snooty people when they invite me where I cannot go on my own. Other wise I use a Browning BSS for the same purpose-in 20 gauge.
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