View Full Version : Need help picking a shotgun

August 9, 2002, 09:19 AM
Hi all...

I'm just about to buy a shotgun to shoot mostly skeet and maybe dove/quail hunt. I'm thinking of a descent quality o/u that will last.

The first question is should I get in the 12ga or 20ga? One of my good buddies shoots a 20 and swears by it and says I should get one too but, I have lots of friends that shoot 12s?

Secondly, I've been thinking of maybe a Beretta 686 onyx or 686 Silver Pigeon... Are there any other shotguns in this range that I should be looking at also?

Thanks in advance,


August 9, 2002, 12:11 PM
hey joe, lots of opinions on this subject and I got one too. IMHO get yerself a 12GA! I've been bustin' clays with my Rem autoloader for years and just love it. That said, you can certainly bust clays with 20GA, 16GA, and heck, a buddy of mine does it with a 410!:eek::D Just make sure that the fit is right before you buy.:cool:

August 9, 2002, 07:43 PM
Fit is the number one priority. I have quite a few shotguns. Over the last few years I have noticed that with the exception of windy days hunting pheasant and when steel shot is needed I grab the 20 gauge. When I need large pellets to really reach out I grab a 12. The 20 covers 97% of my upland hunting. You sacrifice about 25% of your overall pattern size given equal density by shooting hunting loads in the 20 instead of a 12 (1oz vs 1 1/4oz). Shoot well and the 20 is EVERY BIT as effective as the 12. Personally I would buy a 20 if I was only upland hunting and target shooting, they are lighter and carry well with great performance. If ducks and geese might be on the menu I would get a 12.

August 11, 2002, 01:02 AM
As an owner of both gauges, I'd go with a 12 gauge for your purposes. You will shoot a lot more targets than live birds and there is a greater variety and price range of 12 gauge ammo.

Depending on your price range I'd take a look at the Browning Citori XS or their new 525 series and then the Beretta 687 to start. They are good guns that will last a life time. If finances permit, buy a Perazzi.


August 13, 2002, 11:16 PM
For sweet swinging and ease of carrying around I would go with the 20 ga. I've got 20s and I've got 12s but my favorites are still the 20 guages for all the reasons listed in the post above. It will do almost everything you will ever need a shotgun to do unless it is larger game at longer yardage. I just bought a 12ga Ruger Red Label and I love it but I really think I will have to have one in a 20 soon.:D

August 13, 2002, 11:44 PM
For the reasons you listed, either gauge will do as good as the other. You [I]may[/I} get an extra 5 or so yards out of the 12 just due to the "overspray" 'cause of the bit extra shot payload. & betcha you can get around that by patterning w/specic chokes & picked loadings.

Fit first, AND what you just like. Sometimes one shooter will say, "take me home." Get that one.

A 12 may kick a tad less due to its likely bit extra weight (some 20s are vicious with the heavier loads) & even that can be done away with by choosing loads that'll do all you'd want without "going magnum."

We've 20s & 12s (870s) & I'd just as soon tote the 20 for dove/quail. Lighter weight & with some decent AA-like 1 oz loads & a modified, I can do doves "just about" as far away as with the 12. For quail, the 20's ideal & I go with an improved & the promotional shells - they have less hard shot & spread a bit more anyway.

August 14, 2002, 10:57 AM
Go with a 12. It's more versatile.

I have a couple of Browning Citori shotguns which are very nice. Remington, Ruger, and Weatherby also sell decent O/U's.

There are a couple of cheap Italian and Spanish shotguns around selling for about a third to a half of the brands mentioned. They sometimes work for a while, but I'd be inclined to avoid them.

I'd suggest you get the one that fits YOU. Once you choose a reasonable quality shotgun, how well it fits you is FAR more important than brand or gauge.

August 14, 2002, 01:07 PM
ditto on the 12g. You might want to ad a 20g later but a 12 is more versatile.
You might also want to try handling/shooting an auto. I'm a big fan of the Beretta 390/391 for busting clay.
Don't get me wrong, I love doubles and I like the 20g. I own a passle of shotguns- O/Us, SXSs, autos, and pumps by Rem, Browning, Ithica, Win, and Beretta in both 12 and 20 guages.
Another wierd thing is the cost factor on shells. 12s are usually cheaper and the smaller you go, the more you pay.:confused:
That said: buy what you like!:D

August 14, 2002, 01:44 PM
I would agree with going with the 12 GA.

The Beretta 686 is a fine double to start off with. Well made and with good balance. I personally prefer Beretta's action to the Browning and Ruger actions.