View Full Version : 16g rebound?

November 1, 2000, 09:15 AM
I know that the 16 fills a non-existant gap between the 20g (2.75"&3.00") and the 12g. I believe the US manufacturors dropped production of 16g shells, components, and reloaders. Last time I checked the blue books I saw things like "deduct 20% for 16g". People picked 'em up off gun show tables and put 'em down as soon as they realized they were 16s. obsolete, dead, all but forgotten.
Then how come.... the latest G&A reviews a new english version mod 37 Ithica 12g and says also available in 16g? Then, I get a catalog from Mack's Prairie Wings and lo and behold.... Non-tox shot in 16g shells!!!! (2 different mfgs)
BTW, I ordered 2 boxes non-tox so I can take my late father's 1954 "sweet 16" Browning out hunting again.
I know we don't "need" the 16, but I'm all for it.
Is the 16 coming back from the grave, a rebound in popularity?

November 1, 2000, 10:24 AM
I doubt it. They are one of those things that are neat to tell people you have, but hardly anyone uses them. 20 years ago I saw a quite a few of them on dove fields, but by now, all the 16 shooters I know have replaced them with 12s. I like the 16 ga. premise: more punch than a 20 without getting punched by a 12, but with so many soft shooting gas operated 12s out there, along with inexpensive 12 ammo at the wal mart, most people don't even consider getting a 16 anymore.

Dave McC
November 1, 2000, 12:37 PM
Regrettably, the best days of the 16 are past, in most folks' eyes. And that's a shame.

The standard 16 load of 1 oz of shot works great on upland game, the only upland stuff I'd prefer a 12 for would be turkey,vermin, and spooky, late season ringnecks. For everything else, the 16 more than suffices. And a properly built 16 weighs significantly less than a similiar 12, many run around 6 1/4-1/2 lbs, easy carry for long day afield.

In a classic upland hunting book, Steve Smith mentions how one can buy a 16 of high quality for much less than it's 12 or 20 ga counterparts.I still keep an eye open for a classic Fox,NID Ithaca, or Parker,tho hope fades for one at a price I can justify.

November 1, 2000, 01:25 PM
I've always loved the 16. My stepmother had a Sweet 16 that I lusted after for years. Nothing is sweeter than those old scatterguns. There was something about that old gun that made a person almost be able to hear John Moses Browning whisper in your ear each time you shot it.

But, sadly, I to think the 16 is all but dead. As JWR said, with the soft shooting 12's available today given modern technology they (the 16) no longer have a place....except in the hearts of enthusiast. Some times that is enough to keep a gun, caliber and/or gauge alive.

November 1, 2000, 10:30 PM
Greetings from Texas. I must beg to differ with the others posting to your question. For the record, the 16 was never dead or even near the grave, it just took a backseat to some other gauges with a broader popularity. In some parts of the Old South, the 16 is and has always been favored as the quail gun of choice. I have several 16 bore doubles, and like them more than their 12 bore brothers. Nothing patterns an ounce of lead like a 16, flat patterns with no stringing. And they carry like a 20, hit like a 12....
Among the world of bespoke doubles, currently there are more orders for 16's than 12's. Offerings from Rizzini and other best-grade makers has helped to introduce another generation to the venerable 16, but there are those of us that just never gave up on a good thing. Wal-Marts stock pallets of 16 shells, and several companies are re-introducing components for reloading. The 16 is gaining in popularity, not dropping.
Do a little search of double guns in the auction forums and gun dealers, and you'll find the 16's are bringing a premium over the 12's. A decent Sterlingworth Fox in 12 may be had for $500-750, a similiar 16 for $950-1100. This is in part due to the relative rarity of the 16's, 12's being the most common guns found.
My favorite field guns are 16's, from a rainy-day Lefever Nitro to an O-framed Parker GH. An Elsie Ideal Grade featherweight with very tightly choked barrels has surprised many a magnum 12 shooter when applied to a long-range rooster. At a hair over 6 pounds, it's a joy to carry all day. And I plan on carrying several of them very soon, quail opens the 4th, and then the Top of Texas Chicken Chase in mid-December. The 16 gauge is a great gun, try one sometime. Thanks, OL

This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration! Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future! - Adolf Hitler, 1935

November 1, 2000, 11:28 PM
The 16 dead ? far from it, just drop in on gunshop.com you'd think the 16 is the top of the pile eh OL.It was cool to carry a 16 double in the grouse woods 20 years ago but now everybody seems to have one,and the price is going up on them.They a great upland gun when like dave says you can get one that weights in 6 to 6-3/4lb range.

Cause he liked the quiet clean country livin
and 20 more years slipped away.-JB.

November 2, 2000, 07:45 AM
My perception was that the 16 was gasping for breath. But when I see a US mfg offer a new model in 16 and then see new loadings of non-tox shot, I begin to question my original perception. If it is true the 16 is as strong as ever, then personally I am thrilled. I have only my father's old auto 5 in the sweet 16. I haven't had any problem getting lead shot and I do carry it occaisionally but our central Illinois bird numbers are way down and sometimes the only shooting is on state land non-tox only. I've got a selection of 12s and 20s but only a couple of newer steel shot models. I'm spending $$ on bismuth and tungston/poly shot so I can carry my old favorites.
I say, Long live the "16"