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Old April 3, 2013, 09:34 AM   #1
barnettamb
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16 Gauge?

Why are 16 gauges becoming obsolete?
What is better about a 16 gauge?

im looking into getting a used 16 gauge side by side just because i dont have a 16 or a sxs..... any suggestions?
thanks
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Old April 3, 2013, 09:45 AM   #2
BigD_in_FL
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Why? Because most makers put them on a 12 gauge frame so they are unnecessarily heavy and can't do what a 12 can. When they put them on a 20, now you have something. The 20 has come a long ways with the 3" load as well. Since it got dropped from the original game of skeet, it has only been a hunting round - that hurts sales.

Want a nice 16 SxS?
Look to the Spanish - they build them on proper sized frames. AyA, Arrietta, Grulla, Ugartechea all build good guns. CSMC makes their RBL in a 16. On the lower end (but still decent) is the Dickinson from Turkey sold at Cabela's. This is the same factory that made the S&W Elite Gold in 20; now someone has them making them in all the gauges.

Personally, on a SxS for hunting, I want double triggers for instant choke choice, I want a straight English Grip for the best swing dynamics, and I want nice fixed chokes - either IC/M or - my favorite - IC/IM

You can find more about the guns I mentioned here
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Old April 3, 2013, 09:59 AM   #3
jmr40
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Nothing wrong with a 16 if you just want to be different. But it doesn't offer any advantages over 12 or 20.
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Old April 3, 2013, 10:27 AM   #4
PetahW
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.

FWIW, there's not many birdguns that handle better than a 16ga L.C.Smith LW (lightweight) - a 16ga on a 20ga frame.

(Look for an "LW" serial number suffix)




.
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Old April 3, 2013, 11:34 AM   #5
BigJimP
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Before we had changeable screw in chokes...( that started in early 1980's - Browning was one of the first to develop them in 1983) all shotguns had fixed chokes.

After changeable screw in chokes became common ...then mfg's started making a larger variety of shells ...so you could maximize the use of your changeable chokes.../ so in a 12ga ....we saw a lot more 1 oz loads in shells being available ...and then a lot of 7/8 oz loads..../ as reloaders - we also saw a lot more components available now to even take a 12ga down to 3/4 oz loads....

Where in the old days.../ we were stuck with this:

12ga was 1 1/8 oz loads or heavier
16ga was a 1 oz load
20ga was a 7/8 oz load
28ga was a 3/4 oz load
.410 was a 1/2 oz load...

So today, with retail shells, you can easily make a 12ga ...balistically operate with 1oz shells like a 16ga, or with 7/8 oz like a 20ga....etc...../ and use one gun for everything from Waterfowl, to Quail - to Skeet and Trap and sporting Clays..../ with a wide variety of shells retail.
--------
16ga got cut out of the mix..../ and it was never a "competition gague" in Skeet, etc....( where 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410 were)...so that hurt it too.
--------
The cost of shells for a 16ga today ...make it pretty expensive to shoot -- unless you reload for the gague.
-----
Rather than a 16ga ....I'd suggest you consider a 28ga.../ great patterns, easy recoil, nice guns...--- and you might have more fun with it, than a 16ga...( but reloading will almost be mandatory for the 28ga as well ).

I still have a 16ga ...but I haven't shot that gun in over 10 yrs.../ where I shoot my 12ga in 1 oz loads all the time ...or my 28ga in 3/4 oz loads a lot as well....
-------
But having said that ...everyone should buy and shoot whatever they want. If a SXS fits you - and you like the style then go for it / if you just want a 16ga for the nostalgia - then go for that.../ but personally I prefer an O/U with 30" barrels...for clays or for feathers...and personally I like my 20ga, 28ga and .410 in that configuration at around 7.5 lbs....still pretty easy to carry in the field...and it works for clays too ( or I add a lb to them - to get them up around my 12ga weight ...for clays)...

Last edited by BigJimP; April 3, 2013 at 11:44 AM.
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Old April 3, 2013, 12:03 PM   #6
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The 16 ga was supposed to cover the gap between 20 ga and 12 ga. It was considered a good light weight field gun because many were built on a 20 ga frame, and packed almost as much payload as a 12 ga. It overlapped the performance of the two gauges on either side of it. This was a big selling point 75-100 years ago. But you can't deny physics, so the 16 ga guns tended to kick more than either a 20 ga or a 12 ga, light weight and heavier payload mean more felt recoil. But many, many people liked the light weight and pointability of the 16 ga guns.

Fast forward several decades. When the 20 ga 3" magnum was introduced, the 16 ga was doomed. The 3" 20 could launch a heavier payload than the 16 ga, as heavy as many 12 ga field loads. WW2 and post-WW2 manufacturing standardizing designs and simplifying manufacturing meant something had to go, that meant the overlapping 16 ga was out. Since 12 ga and 20 ga were competition gauges, gas-operated semiautos became available for them, and not for the 16 ga. When replacable chokes were introduced in 1983, the 16 was left out again due to limited numbers of guns made for it. After about 1986, the 16 ga got another nail in the coffin, steel shot was required for waterfowl in many areas and was not available for the 16 ga, and older guns with thinner barrels could not shoot it anyway. So now the 16 is a relic of days gone by, barely hanging on but not totally gone like the 14 gauge and the 24 gauge. Every now and then some gun rag writer will rediscover the magical qualities of the 16 ga and excite a few people, but it happens less and less frequently.
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Old April 3, 2013, 12:26 PM   #7
BigD_in_FL
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Quote:
16ga got cut out of the mix..../ and it was never a "competition gague" in Skeet, etc....( where 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410 were)...so that hurt it too.
Actually, Jim, my friend, and according to some 80 + year old shooters skeet was originally a 5 gauge sport and included the 16 in its early days. But it didn't last long from the official aspect. These old timers remember shooting "around the clock" or whatever the original name was back when you shot in a full circle, so I am going to take their word about the 16
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Old April 3, 2013, 01:08 PM   #8
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Like everyone has stated, the 16ga is becoming obsolete, But I love shooting my sweet 16 A-5 at least once a week, because like jmr40 says I just want to be different.
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Old April 3, 2013, 01:42 PM   #9
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I did not know that BigDin..../ we'll have to wait for our old buddy Zippy to show up ...and educate us on the days of 16ga competition...( I'm only 62..) ....he's the only skeet shooter I know that's as old as dirt....

-----------
Not to confuse what I said earlier ....but as an example, Browning does still make at least one shotgun in a 16ga ...the BPS Hunter model pump gun - in both a 26" and 28" barrel - both 2 3/4" chambers I believe - and they have the older style Invector screw in chokes....and until recently they made a Citori O/U in the Lightning/Hunter series in a 16ga as well...and while there may not be a lot of them out there...they are still around.
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Old April 3, 2013, 07:44 PM   #10
drcook
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I prefer a 16ga over the others. I carry an Ithaca 37 16ga for small game hunting. The first couple trips out this year, I hauled my 12ga Ithaca 37, which is quite a bit lighter than most other 12's and it was heavy after humping through the briars and such, waiting for the dogs to drive out a rabbit.

Fast forward to the pawn shop and a 1956 Ithaca 37 16ga with a MOD choked barrel. It started a journey that has ended up with 6 of the Ithaca 37's in 16ga residing at the house. 1 of them has 2 barrels, the original FULL choked, solid rib barrel, and a later one, with vent rib and choke tubes that was fitted to the action.

2 are choked MOD, one is choked FULL.

The latest is choked FULL but is getting a new production vent rib barrel with choke tubes.

One of them turned out to have a youth/lady sized stock after the junk recoil pad was pulled and is being turned into a turkey gun for my wife.

With the same size barrel, it actually weighs less than a youth/lady sized Remington 1100 20ga.
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Old April 3, 2013, 08:06 PM   #11
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No axe to grind on this subject, I just have one to round out my collection of gauges, the only one I don't have between .410 and 10 gauge is 28. I like them all but my go to gun just happens to be my 20 because it fits me best and I shoot better with it. I would have no problem heading to the woods with my 16 or using it for guarding the home front.
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Old April 4, 2013, 07:15 PM   #12
barnettamb
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thanks for the replies. they were helpful.
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Old April 5, 2013, 04:34 PM   #13
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To be honest, the 16ga has been "going obsolete" for about 40 years now. danged thing just won't stay in the grave.
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Old April 5, 2013, 05:30 PM   #14
jaguarxk120
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Once people hunt/shoot with a 16 gauge gun, here's the kicker, built on a 16 gauge frame, they tend to like the 16 ga.

The guns are smaller, handle better, and recoil is not as bad as a 12ga. Hunting birds with a 12ga on a full size frame is like hauling around a tank.

Many say the 20 will do just as good or better but it has it's draw backs, 3 inch magnum Ouch.
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Old April 5, 2013, 06:06 PM   #15
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There is no "universal truth" in this conversation...at least from my point of view...../ we all have our preferences, and have given the OP our input...

But a couple of things are true:

a. We can reduce recoil about 20% if we add 1 lb of weight to a gun. Yes, it makes it heavier to carry....but not all terrain is the same...a pound might be a big deal climbing along brushy steep sidehills, not so big a deal on a dusty logging road chasing grouse, or in a farmers field after Quail..../ so it just depends.

b. 1 oz payload at 1200 fps out of a 12ga hits just as hard as a 1 oz payload out of a 20ga....or 1 oz out of a 16ga .../ has the same number of pellets / hits with exactly the same amount of force at whatever range you choose to shoot it at...( we can debate shot column length but that's too deep for a general conversation). 1oz of shot is 1 oz of shot...at 1200 fps ...is the same / regardless of the size of the bore it comes out of.

c. Every shotgun ...lets say its an O/U with 28" barrels which is very common on a variety of field guns...and it weighs 8 lbs....whether its a 12ga, 16ga or a 20ga .....will have the same swing characteristics...when the weight and length of the gun are identical.

d. Any shotgun that weighs 8 lbs....( regardless of the gague ) and if you shoot a 1 oz shell out of it at 1200 fps....will give you the same recoil ...and it doesn't matter if its a 12ga, 16ga or a 20ga... recoil from all 3 guns will be the same.....( and it won't matter if its a 3" shell, or a 2 3/4" shell ) ...what matters is the payload, the velocity and the weight of the gun.
--------
Bottom line ....everyone should buy and shoot whatever they want. If you just want a 16ga....then go for it ....but don't fool yourself in the process of thinking there is something magic in it...

Chamber length and magnum shells ...are confusing the issue / all of the primary guns I shoot for clays and upland birds ...( in 12ga, 20ga, 28ga ) are all 2 3/4" chambers...and they're all O/U's with 30" barrels. Without any adjustments ...the 12ga version is about 8.5 lbs ....and the 20ga and 28ga versions are 7.5 lbs...( so I add about 8 oz under the forend and 8oz in the stock on the 20ga and 28ga)...but I could take the extra weight out, if I wanted to. I like all 3 of my primary guns to feel the same...( and on the .410 as well ) it has 30" barrels and I weight it to 8.5 lbs as well ...(it has 2 1/2" chambers). I do that - because its what I like ....

I have a couple of shotguns with 3" chambers...but for Clays and Upland birds I've never needed 3" shells.

Waterfowling is where 3" and 3 1/2" shells start becoming a bigger factor with steel shot.

Last edited by BigJimP; April 5, 2013 at 06:13 PM.
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Old April 5, 2013, 07:39 PM   #16
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Not dead yet

The 16 hangs on and there is every kind of load for it; Buckshot/slugs for large game, Steel for waterfowl, and that famous 1oz load for upland game. Try all that with a 28 gauge? Heck my buddy shoots trap fine with his. It will certainly do anything the other gauges will. Makes one wonder what the heck our fathers/grandfathers did before 3" magnums
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Old April 5, 2013, 07:50 PM   #17
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Of all the folks I know, the ones who do nothing but upland hunt, have two bore sizes - the 16 for pheasant/grouse and the 28 for dove/quail - and every one of them swears by those two bore sizes as the epitome of perfection
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Old April 5, 2013, 07:59 PM   #18
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I just can't decide what ga I like best, so I shoot a 20ga, 16ga, and a 12ga., just makes no sense to pick one when you like them all.
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Old April 6, 2013, 09:03 PM   #19
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For the record, the 20ga 3" was developed ny .

Winchester and they dropped the 16ga. Heck, they ahve the dies for the compresion hulls and wads and won't sell those to keep the 3" 20 going.

At the last Grand American in VAdalia, the winchester rep laughed in my face when I asked about the 16.

For more information try: www.16ga.com

I ahve three 16's anad I enjoy upland hunting with them, it's a light carrying shotgun, except for my Std. A5 in 16.

"Arouind the clock" was first name for skeet, due to the field being a circle but changed when a neighbor put new farm building up, the family that developed skeet, cur the file to the present day half-circle and the wife suggested "skeet" as her Swedish heritage used the word "skeet" whick means "to shoot".
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Old April 7, 2013, 10:06 AM   #20
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Similar To 12 Gauge!

If you get it and you have a 12 gauge too, make sure to not mix them up, because they look very similar!!
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Old April 8, 2013, 06:13 AM   #21
drcook
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Quote:
If you get it and you have a 12 gauge too, make sure to not mix them up, because they look very similar!!
I fully support making sure ! [and not picking an internet fight ] You make a very good point about shotgun shells, well any cartridges that look similar.

If you are going to mix up 2 shell gauges, at least the 16 and 12 mixup won't possibly cost you your fingers or hand. I just tried sticking a 16ga shell into one of my 12ga Ithaca barrels and it hangs up. It stops with the rim about 1/2" into the chamber. Too far to fire, not far enough to let another shell chamber.

They definitely won't slide down into the barrel like a 20ga will.

I will need to check the other 12ga barrels I have here at the house.

My dentist shoots sporting clays and he tells the story of the guy that dropped a 20ga into a 12ga. I think he said he lost most of his fingers or his hand. They were at a sporting clays competition and in the heat of the moment he must of thought he didn't drop a shell in and when he did then 20ga caused a bore obstruction.

While I have Remington 16's, I like Federals simply because they are purple in color. If you stay within one brand (if possible) it is easy to get used to the color coordination.

Of course, I do a lot of double checking if I want to be sure, but I know for an iron clad fact, I don't have any purple 12ga shells and since my wife goes hunting with me (she uses a 20ga) the visual helps ensure we don't have a mixup.

Now I am going to have to check how a 20ga goes into a 16ga barrel.
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Old April 8, 2013, 09:59 PM   #22
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I have a 16ga. youth model rem 870 , 24" barrel that i use as a truck /defense gun , have federal buckshot shells and slugs for it along with bird shot for muliti uses .
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Old April 8, 2013, 11:39 PM   #23
Dreaming100Straight
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Some contend that while a 1 ounce load in a 12 is similar to a 16, there exists a difference in the shot column.
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Old April 11, 2013, 12:59 AM   #24
birdshot
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sixteen is more ecomical

Not because of the shell price, but because your hunting buddies with 12 or 20 gauges won't be stealing your shells.
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Old April 11, 2013, 02:41 AM   #25
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Because some people love them, but most people don't.
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