View Full Version : Please help newbie choose, 11-87 12ga or 20ga?

White Rabbit
August 12, 2000, 11:35 PM
Hi again,

First thanks to all who have gotten me this far. I've settled on the 11-87 autoloader by Remington. Fits me to a tee. My wife's gun is on hold for the time being due to "extreme business". She said to go ahead and get mine and we'd get hers in the spring when things settle down.

My question is about guage. I can't decide which to get 20 or 12. It seems that for my purposes the 20ga will do what I need... mostly for informal clay busting and upland game. However, I've been told that the 20ga shotguns are used for "intermediate" skill levels. Although I'm not new to guns (big BR rifleman and pistolero) I'm green at shotgunning.

Although I realize the 12ga is the most "versatile" guage you can get (and I like the idea of versatility), I REALLY hate recoil. So here's what I need to know... How does the recoil of a a 12ga 1-oz. target load compare to a 20ga 7/8-oz. target load? These seem to be the most common loads available in my area (still trying to find a 7/8-oz. target load in 12ga).

Is there a big difference?

Thanks to all,


--"We need guns... lots of guns."--

Oleg Volk
August 13, 2000, 12:24 AM
I bring my 20ga 1300 to shoot trap. I let others try it and also try other people's guns, mostly 12ga pumps and autoloaders. I'd have to say that 12ga birdshots are a little more recoil but not by much. With slugs and buckshot, I see big burly guys get bruised and they develop a flinch. Every time I shoot a 12ga I decide that more variety in ammo and accessories are not worth the extra recoil. YMMV.

PS: Good deals on 20ga ammo can be had. Promo loads (pretty bad 3/4oz #8) run $2.89/25 here. Cheapo but good 7/8oz #7 run $3.89/25. Unplated #3 buck is $2.19/5, plated is around $4/5. However, today I got ten boxes of premium Federal buckshot at $1.25/5 (Walmart) so 20 doesn't have to be all that costly. The standard behavior of 12ga users here is to plan on using cheap S&B buckshot, find out the recoil levels, then pay much more for a reduced load.

I *want* a 12ga shotgun (Ithaca 37 and/or Benelli M1) but I recognize the fact that I will start missing and likely bruising myself. The advice on proper shooting stance and recoil pads help but still...

Oleg "peacemonger" Volk


Dave McC
August 13, 2000, 06:04 AM
20 gauges do not necessarily feel like they kick less than 12 gauges. Read the thread I started a few days back about the Rule of 96.
Light 20 ga guns with heavy loads will tear you a new one, normal 20s with normal loads, like 3/4 or 7/8 oz are quite comfortable to shoot.But if that 20 runs much more than 6 3/4 lbs, you're toting too much weight for the payload...

The only upland game I'd want more than a 20 for(properly loaded of course) would be late season, big spooky pheasants or turkey.

And whoever told you that 20s were for "intermediate" skill levels was right in a way. The smaller shot load and thinner patterns needs better placement to be effective.

August 13, 2000, 09:40 PM
The only way to tell whether the recoil will bother you is to shoot the gun with your chosen load. For me a 12 with a one ounce load is not a problem for the first couple of hundred rounds providing the gun fits. You may be different. I don't think any of us can tell you how you will respond to recoil.

I like the 12 because it is a lot easier to load down a 12 than it is to load a 20 up.

[This message has been edited by PJR (edited August 13, 2000).]

August 13, 2000, 11:29 PM
I went thru the samething as you very recently. I ended up buying a used Remington 1100, which is very similar to your gun. The gas recoil system sucks up a lot of recoil. If you mount the gun correctly and you are over 150 pounds, it should be completely unnoticable. I shoot a box a week at tactical targets, usually in one string of 22-25 rounds in 60-90 seconds.

I never notice the recoil, and after the first week have never had even a slight red spot on my shoulder. I will admit to having a slightly red shoulder the first week, but we shot close to 70 rounds at an all-shotgun tac-nite (vs. pistol/shotgun combo) that night. It was also my first week, and I don;t think I had a good mount/firing position.

12 gauge saves you money and you have MANY more ammo options, as well as more stopping power .

Speak Out on the Net http://www.netcitizen.org

August 14, 2000, 11:53 AM
Get the 12 gauge for its versatility alone.

One gun, almost any animal or clay target. ;)

I plan to got some grouse and some rabbit with my Rem 870 this season.

The Seattle SharpShooter - TFL/GT/UGW/PCT/KTOG

[This message has been edited by jtduncan (edited August 14, 2000).]

White Rabbit
August 14, 2000, 02:13 PM
Thanks for the help guys.

I decided on the the 20 just for the fact that it mounted so fast. I didn't really want a turkey or waterfowl gun for my first venture. However, I'm already hooked on clays so when it comes time I'm sure I'll add a 12 to the menu. The 20 is doing great now that I've got the "big" problem solved (see 11-87 woes Part II thread). It's about 1/2" too long in the pull for my wife but she's shooting it better than I am right now. She always does that.


--"We need guns... lots of guns."--

Dave McC
August 14, 2000, 09:11 PM
WR, if she's outshooting you, maybe the stock isn't too long for her, but may be a little short for you(G).

Congrats, sounds like you're blessed....