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Old October 26, 2008, 03:05 PM   #1
Deegle
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20 gauge or 12 gauge

I'm think of adding a short barrel shot gun to the collection, likely a Remington 870. I own two 12 gauge guns, a Browning and a Winchester. II am very comfortable with them, and prefer a 12 gauge. However, this new gun will be for home defense only. I can't see myself shooting trap or turkey with an 18 inch barrel. If it were just me, I wouldn't give it a second thought; I'd buy the 12. However, my wife may be using it in an emergency as well. The recoil may be a bit much for her. I have no experience with 20 gauge guns. How much less is the recoil, and would it be sufficient for home defense? Also, are there low recoil shells available for the 12 gauge that would be similarly to the 20 with respect to recoil. Thanks!
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Old October 26, 2008, 03:09 PM   #2
ecd1211
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I have an 870 with the 18" barrel and six-round mag for home defense. However, I believe that for the kind of distances that you'd deal with in a home invasion, a 20 gauge would be fine -- and if the recoil of a 12 ga might be a problem for your wife, I'd say that's even more good reason to go with a 20. Some people even recommend a .410 as a home defense shotgun -- particularly if the user is small or doesn't shoot much...
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Old October 26, 2008, 03:26 PM   #3
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I have both 20 (Win 1300) & 12. (Rem 870). I find the 12 with low recoil shells is about equal to the 20 with normal shells. I prefer my 20 just mainly due to size and handling. Either will work. A 20ga. at close range is about as devastating as a 12ga.

Then, If I go with 3" in my 20ga it's about like the 12ga...or more. But I still like the handling of the 20ga better. I don't do 3" in my 12ga. It will handle, but recoil is too much.
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Old October 26, 2008, 03:45 PM   #4
freakshow10mm
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The only difference between the gauges is the weight of the projectile group being fired and recoil.
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Old October 26, 2008, 03:52 PM   #5
dalecooper51
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I don't think that the 20ga will recoil any less than the 12 ga. The 870 12ga is 7.5 lbs and the 20ga is 6.5 lbs. Most 20's i've used are nice and light for carrying, but the recoil isn't any lighter than the 12ga guns.
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Old October 26, 2008, 04:03 PM   #6
madmag
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Bottom line. Your wife will handle the 20ga. better. Sufficient for defense is not an issue.... If she hits at close range with a 20ga. the BG's will stop.
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Old October 26, 2008, 04:06 PM   #7
Deegle
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Thanks guys. Let me throw this into the mix. This may also be a camping gun. Would the 20 gauge be sufficient to drop a black bear?
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Old October 26, 2008, 04:25 PM   #8
zippy13
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Deegle

Twelve or twenty?... This may be a decision best left to your wife. How about having her shoot both gauges and offer her opinion? My wife is most proficient and comfortable with a revolver, so that's our home protection firearm of choice. She continues to accrue range time with rim-fire pistols and .357 Mag, and larger, wheel guns. But, she's not interested in rifles, shotguns nor center-fire pistols.
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Old October 26, 2008, 06:52 PM   #9
madmag
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Quote:
Would the 20 gauge be sufficient to drop a black bear?
I have not shot a black bear with a 20ga. But you can add a rifled choke and shoot 3" sabot slug. I would think that would do the trick. Maybe someone has more direct experience.
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Old October 26, 2008, 11:45 PM   #10
dchi
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Im faced with the exact same problem. I have and HD 12ga 870 but must buy a 20 GA for the wife. Since she's at home all day when Im at work it makes sense to get some thing she can use well. I fell confident that the 20ga loaded with #3 buck at close range will take down the largest man without problem. It certainly will be more effect than any 9mm, .357, .45 or even .223. The 12GA now just stays locked up in the safe.
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Old October 27, 2008, 12:19 AM   #11
jammin1237
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just got back from a pre gun deer season scouting trip in upper Wis... went to an open shooting range, and sighted in the rifles... a buddy pulls out a 20ga Stoeger side by side and we start hittin targets, what a blast- never shot a 20 ga before... definetly less kick then 12 guage and it had good patterns..

test test test, let your wife shoot both if you can and decide after that--- as for hd power, having control over of the weapon you choose is tops....they will both do the job
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Old October 27, 2008, 01:45 PM   #12
New_Pollution1086
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My girlfriend is 5'2 she does not enjoy shooting my 12ga mossberg but loves my friends 20ga 870. i dont think brand has anything to do with it.

again the best thing you could do is borrow a buddys 20 and let her try.

T
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Old October 27, 2008, 01:55 PM   #13
BigJimP
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A 7/8 oz 12ga shell is basically the same as a 20ga shell / and if its 1200 fps - then the recoil ( from the shell ) is identical. A big factor in recoil is the weight of the gun / with most 12ga's being heavier - shooting a lighter shell 7/8 oz in a 12ga will often give less recoil than a 20ga.

Recoil is also about fit - and funamentals - proper grip, in shoulder properly, the right contact on the face ..... and dimension on stocks, combs, etc are often different from brand to brand - so sometimes it makes a difference from one gun to the other.

I would stay with a 12ga / if you like the 870 then go with that.
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