View Full Version : 20 gauge Duck Hunting?

July 26, 2000, 06:18 PM
I am looking to buy my fiance a shotgun that she can use duck hunting. It will be a Remington 870 magnum express. My question is will the 870 youth model in 20 gauge have enough reach for ducks? Or must she go with a 12 gauge?

Big Bunny
July 26, 2000, 10:12 PM
A semi-auto and 12Ga with milder 1 1\8oz loads tuned to a slower powder would be my guess as the best bet for your partner...IMHO.
I love the 20 gauge, especially in a double or U\O, but I believe it will wound more ducks than you kill ...except over decoys maybe at shorter ranges for ducks.

Congratulations and good and safe shooting to you both.

[Wish my partner could shoot with me ....!]

If we shooting sportspersons don't hang together... we will all hang separately !
Never knock another's different shooting interest or discipline...REMEMBER we are all but leaves on the same tree of freedom.

July 27, 2000, 01:12 AM
I would stronly recomend the 12. If she is new to shooting, I think you would be further handicaping her by giving her a gun that is going to require more practice to hit things with due to a smaller size hole in the barrell as well as less shot. I am average size (6', 190#) and have fired tens of thousands of shells through various 12 guages, to include an 870 express that still finds a fond place in my heart and have never been very discomforted from recoil when firing anything short of a case of shells in an afternoon. I would start with lighter loads, and save the 3" 1 1/2 oz loads for later though. The 20 is more of a crippler than a killer in my experience when it comes to ducks with a nice, thick coat of winter down. Good luck,


Dave McC
July 27, 2000, 07:31 AM
I've jumpshot Woodies and Mallards off farm ponds with a 20, but it's not the best choice.And heavy loads turn the Youth Express into a kicker.

Better choice for a hunting tyro would be a heavier 12 ga, since little toting is the rule weight will not be as much as a handicap as it would be in an upland gun. I would start out with lighter loads and stock the gun to fit the shooter.

July 28, 2000, 11:27 AM
Thanks guys. I'm taking her skeet/sporting clays shooting next weekend. She will get to try out at least 3 maybe 4 different types of 12 guages to see what see enjoys most. Thanks for the insight on the capabilities of the 20 gauge.

August 7, 2000, 01:51 PM
Well we went shooting this weekend and to a gunshow. The 12 guages were just too big and heavy for her. The kick of the 12 guage didn't bother her, but she cannot hold or swing it enough to be effective. Is there a 12 gauge that will fit her out there? She is 5'4" and 95 pounds. If there isn't a suitable 12 gauge then I will have to get her a 20 gauge 870 youth model and then cut the stock down to fit her.

BTW is there a difference other than stock length on the normal 20 gauge 870 and the youth model 870?

Dave McC
August 7, 2000, 02:22 PM
Kilgor, your lady is about the size of some of the rookies I trained with the 12 ga 870.

A standard 870 riot gun,18' bbl runs about 6 lbs, 10 oz. With a little work, one of these might be the best possible option,tho not ideal.

Let's say, hypothetically, your lady needs a stock with a 12 1/2" pull. Shortening a standard stock lightens same, and with the muzzle light feel offset by less weight in the rear,one could come up with a reasonably good handling 12 ga in a super light weight. That means it'll kick like Hades unless light loads and proper form are used. This is where one gets busy backboring,venting, lengthening the forcing cone,etc. This will not be cheap.

OTOH, the only difference I know of between the 20 gauges is the stock. The Youth Model comes with a 21" bbl and a single tube in Modified.Setting up the stock to fit her is more than just cutting it off at a predesignated point. And, recoil reduction stuff as I mentioned above with the 12 ga is still not a bad idea, if the cash is available.Starting off with a hard kicking gun has stopped many folks from being good shots...

You also might want to look over the thread I started on recoil pads.

August 7, 2000, 11:43 PM
Have you looked at the 1100 special field? Shorter barrell, english straight stock, and lighter weight. real sharp lookin too.

August 8, 2000, 09:19 AM
I'll look into the 1100. Are they still made? About how much should they go for?