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Old January 23, 2010, 07:56 PM   #1
Bohica6284
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20ga for duck and turkey

I'm considering a new SG purchase for turkey and once in a while some ducks. I currently have a Browning Gold Hunter, but almost every other hunting SG I own is a 20ga. The Gold is unbeatable, but I'd like to have a do-all auto for turkey and fowl that is lighter in weight and can double as a great small gamer. I'm looking at semi-autos from different makers such as Browning, Franchi and Benelli. I haven't handled a Tristar yet so that's on the list as well. Does anyone have EXPERIENCE using a 20ga for these applications? I'd like to hear from those of you who have used a 20ga for turkey and waterfowl.
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Old January 23, 2010, 08:19 PM   #2
Morgoroth
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I don't have a lot of experience with shotguns, but it seems like a 3inch 20g shell would be pretty comparable to a 2.75 12g shell.
So you should be able to hunt the same stuff with it I would think.
Unfortunately I have no experience to back this up.
Which is something I hope to rectify next season.
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Old January 23, 2010, 08:23 PM   #3
grubbylabs
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I have a friend who hunts geese on a field with a 20 and does quite well. If you remember what your shooting you should do just fine.
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Old January 23, 2010, 09:52 PM   #4
bamaranger
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why a 20?

If you want a turkey gun, I'd get one that's chambered for a turkey shell, meaning 3" 12 ga. (for me, the 3.5's are overkill, and 10's too darn heavy, and turkey hunting IS walking) and all the turkey gun bells and whistles.
(X-F choke, cammo, etc)

Sure, you can hunt (and kill) turkeys w/ a 20, its been done plenty I'd guess, and the new space metal loads and spec chokes add some clout, but the same applies to the 12, so your shorting yourself of 15 yds or more of range I'd think. Course, maybe you want to hunt w/ that handicap. Some guys bowhunt turkeys.

When I hunted turkeys as a teen, w/ my hand-me-down 12ga pump (2.75 chamber, Savage model of 1921, full choke) I used , 1-1/4 oz of #6 shot ( it was recommended to me NOT to use short mags in the old girl) I figured my effective range was 30 yds., and 25 or less ideally. I'd say the same applies to a 20, even w/ tung shot. (3" 20 ='s 1-1/4 oz of shot, yes?)

Finally, in a fit of nostaglia, wanting to bust a turkey w/ her one more time like the old days, I dusted off the old Savage and patterned her again w/ 1-1/4 oz of #6 lead recently. I then compared those patterns to my real turkey gun using 3" 1-3/4 of #5 lead, which is a preferred load in it. I was putting twice, say again, twice, the amount of shot on a 9" pie plate at 30 long paces as I was w/ the vintage Savage. There really was no comparison.

All that translates into more killing power/cleaner kills. With the variables of uncentered patterns due to whatever, patterns spoiled by intervening brush, and misjudges in range, the 20 starts to look real iffy in my book. So does the 2.75-12, 1-1/4, lead and std full choke for that matter.

The turkey is such a grand bird, and so difficult to get on and in range (most times anyhow) that I want to use plenty of gun. And I do not want to get in a foot race w/ a cripple or have one glide off never to be found.
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Old January 24, 2010, 12:42 AM   #5
Bohica6284
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Well Bama i'm a nostalgia nut too. I hunt deer off and on with some vintage Marlin lever actions I have and in fact I have a Marlin 19 hammer pump 12ga that has specially modified for the big birds. I shortened the barrel to 26" from the original 30", had the forcing cone lengthened and reamed/threaded for screw in chokes. It had a nice original finish on the wood and metal so I left that alone. It's only good for 2 3/4" shells, but it shoots very good patterns out to about 30 yards using Remington Heavyshot (duck loads). I hunted it for the first time last year, but got skunked. I have the Browning Gold which isn't even fair to turkey hunt with! With the custom made choke tube I have for it and Heavyshot (again, the duck loads) this thing patterns so tight that you could easily miss if your not careful. In fact, I can safely shoot out to 40+ yards and do fine. I never shoot that far, but it ruins mounts if I shoot within 15 yards! I mean it's a downright closed casket funeral if big tom steps within 15. I guess what I'm looking for now is the next challenge, I've done everything you can do with a 12ga.
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Old January 24, 2010, 01:22 AM   #6
grubbylabs
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My friend's 20 is a semi auto Benelli. He shoots it because his shoulders are in rough shape after a life of construction work. I think if you want a 20 you should do it. You just have to think about what your using and just how far you can shoot with one. If my friend can take geese in a field then I don't see why you would have any problems with ducks over decoys, especially if you can bring them in close.
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Old January 24, 2010, 01:51 AM   #7
rc
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A 20 is a good shotgun guage but is not quite as good at knock down as a 12. If you are recoil sensitive or just want a 20, get the gun and enjoy it. A 20 is the most fun shotgun guage to me. It does wonderfully on smaller birds like dove and qual and can work for pheasant if you are good at shot discipline. I'm sure it will work on Turkey but at shorter rangers than a 12 guage. rc
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Old January 24, 2010, 02:10 AM   #8
Grandpatime
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if you look at the 20 ga's on the og forum u couldnt tell the them apart 12 the 20.also the 20 gauge 3" isnt close to a 12 ga 2.75 .
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Old January 24, 2010, 03:52 AM   #9
bamaranger
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10-9

Grandpa, I could not follow your post.

Bohic, sounds like you know what your doing. I did not wish to over educate or insult. Just never thought of a 20 as a dedicated turkey gun. A true 20 should be lighter, which is a plus. I've thought about a lighter turkey gun, maybe a Nova, or some type of double, if I could find one that both bbls would be guaranteed to shoot to point of aim and give dense enough pattern to suit. A savage 311 choked full and full might be the ticket. A single bbl, well.....I'm gonna have to have a back-up shot.

My Rem 870 3" is an older gun, w/ a rem superfull tube (or whatever they call their tightest one) on a 20 bbl, slug tube w/ remchoke and rifle sights. I am ashamed to tell you how far I've killed turkeys w/ it 'cause I've misjudged the range in bad light or uneven ground etc, and walked out and KEPT walking, then got to the bird and looked back at the tree and said,....... darn!

BTW I heard birds gobbling this year before Christmas, while deer hunting.
I am going to revisit that hollow!
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Old January 24, 2010, 09:44 AM   #10
Grandpatime
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oldgobbler.com has a dedicated turkey section for the 20 gauge .patterns deadly enough at 40-50 yards
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Old January 24, 2010, 10:58 AM   #11
Bohica6284
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Bama thanks for your input and there is no such thing as over educating! I've seen a bunch of videos of turkey being flattened by a 20ga so I'm not quite as unsure as I am with the waterfowl. There are plenty of waterfowl shells made for 20ga so the ammo makers obviously condone the use of them. I guess I'm going to have to get some shells and hit up a duck buddy of mine.
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Old January 24, 2010, 01:11 PM   #12
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I can't speak for turkey, but a 20ga will do fine for duck.
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Old January 24, 2010, 05:44 PM   #13
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My turkey gun is a scoped 20 gauge shotgun and I only use 2 3/4" #4's. Dead is dead as long as you have the right choke and shoot at reasonable ranges it is enough gun. Field artillery not necessary unless your turkeys are extraordinarily tough and you like getting thumped.
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Old January 24, 2010, 09:22 PM   #14
John Peddie
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20 ga on waterfowl

I use mine for everything, including Canada geese, but stick within 30 yards over decoys using #3 or #4 steel.

With Hevi shot, I'd go as far as 40 yds.

Beyond that, too easy to wound / cripple or get a sailer that falls a couple of hundred yds away-hard to find / retrieve in tall grass, even with a good dog.

Last edited by John Peddie; January 24, 2010 at 09:30 PM.
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Old January 25, 2010, 04:56 AM   #15
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I agree with Old Grump. I use my 20 for turkey hunting every spring and have never had one get away in 22 years. I reload #5 in 2 3/4 and for fall I will use #4.

For duck and geese, I've used 3" #1 steel and was never impressed with steel, my 12ga using steel did just as crappy as the 20ga, which is why I quit waterfowling about 15 yrs ago and still have a case of #1 20ga left.
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Old January 27, 2010, 07:52 PM   #16
Bohica6284
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Well I'm gonna give it a go. Turkey season is coming up so I have time to get a choke made and play with some loads. I think it's time for that Benelli Montefeltro or maybe the Franchi 720, I just don't think I want the weight of the Browning or the gas system from the 1100 for this adventure.
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