View Full Version : 20 gauge for whitetail deer AND turkey hunting??

Southern Shooter
January 12, 2006, 01:58 PM
My 11 year old son is not very large physically...about 80 lbs soaking wet. He currently has a single shot 20 gauge that he shots fairly well. I was looking at picking him up a 12 gauge pump but the recoil seems fairly intense for him. The primary purpose was for hunting whitetail deer and turkey.

Anyway, I am now considering a 20 gauge pump shotgun for him. But, I am concerned that the 20 gauge may not have what it takes to hunt these two animals.

Question: Will this gun with the right chokes and ammunition comfortably take these animals? And, if so, what would be the right combination of choke and ammunition for a 20 gauge in each situation?


Wild Bill Bucks
January 12, 2006, 02:20 PM
20 guage is plenty of gun for both considering RANGES.
I would shot a good Magnum rifled slug for deer, and practice with him until he can put it inside a 6" pie plate at 80 yards.(Preferably 3" at 50) and hold his ranges to close in shots.
For Turkey,I would shoot as heavy a charge as he can shoot and load with #4 shot.
Keep Range at under 40 yards with full choke and practice on a Turkey head target for pattern.
I hunted everything under the sun from Field mice to goose with a 20 gauge when I was a kid, Their not the most powerful out there but they will teach you disipline and make you take the best shot.
IF he likes to hunt,He may surprise you with what he can do with it after a little practice.
The last thing you want to do to a young hunter, is make him leary to pull the trigger when he gets the chance. He needs to concentrate on the shot at hand and not be thinking how hard his gun is going to kick.
Raised Three hunters myself so I hope this helps.

Southern Shooter
January 13, 2006, 01:01 PM
Thank you Wild Bill for your input.

On the rifled slug, so it is your opinion that with practice he could put 20 gauge rifled slugs through a smooth bore in a 6" plate at 80 yards? I got flack from folks when I said that was possible. They say I am crazy to try that distance without using a rifled barrel with sabot slugs.

Would the 20 gauge with a full choke be at all effective with #2 buckshot on whitetail deer? Is there a larger 20 gauge buckshot out there? Or, for deer would he be limited to slugs?

With turkey, would I be wise to locate an extra-full choke in place of just a full choke for the 20 gauge? Do companies even make an extra-full choke for that gauge? The #4 shot you recommend, would that be steel or lead and why?


January 13, 2006, 01:14 PM
Is buckshot legal in your state for whitetail hunting. Personally, I use a 12 guage rifled barrel shotgun, shooting a Remington sabot round. I'd feel very comfortable using the same setup in a 20 guage. In fact, I wish I had a 20 guage. Lighter and less kick.

Wild Bill Bucks
January 13, 2006, 01:47 PM
Slugs only in My state (OKLAHOMA)
Lead shot is fine for Turkey and as long as distance is 40 yds and in #4 will do fine thru full choke if it patterns OK. If pattern is to big you might want to go to extra full.
80 yards is a long way to shot a shotgun with a smooth bore (Although with a good shooter and some practice it is well within the realm of 20 guage)
Rifled barrel would definitley be better for deer hunting, but limits what you can hunt with the shotgun. Back when I was your boys age we could not afford more than one gun, and there weren't the switch barrels that are available today so we had to hunt everything with one gun.
Sorry if I mis-led you any, sometimes I forget that there is a multitude of improvements out there today that I'm getting to old to think about.
I would probably go with a rifled barrel with some good sights on it, as I remember how hard it is to hit with a slug over a shotgun barrel.

Wild Bill Bucks
January 13, 2006, 01:58 PM
Click on shotgun on the main page, click onto thread 20Guage.
Lot's of good stuff on them that may answer some of your questions.
Some of it looks pretty knowledgable, as long as you read in between the stupid stuff.

January 13, 2006, 03:10 PM
*0 yards is not unreasonable for a smoothbore....if...you are practiced and understand the ballistics of your projectile. My Slug gun was sited at 70 yards to be dead on....I actually killed my deer this year at about 90-95 yards. Normally I would not take such a shot, but it was clear and I had time to concentrate...the animal wasn't moving, jsut standing.

As to 20 ga's...I have limited experience with actually using them...but I hunt with several at different times (SE Ohio) that swear by them. You don't need a howitzer to kill a whitetail (even a big one around here)....just a good solid hit in the vitals....and that is why they like the 20....it is generally supposed to be more accurate then a comparitive 12 ga. I don't know from experience, but I know an awful lot of successful 20 ga hunters....

January 14, 2006, 10:57 AM
Killed my first deer this year with a 20 gauge, hit it at 60 to 70 yards, sabot blew right thru it. Only went 50 yards before it died. Plan on killing my first turkey this year with the same gun. Which with the same choke as my brother has, patterns at the same distance, he has a 12 guage. Yes they do make turkey chokes for the 20 guage mine this year is a trulock. So the answer is yes it will work just fine.

January 14, 2006, 11:09 AM
20ga is more then enough for dear and turkey. My grandfather took many deer with his .410. Haha, he swore by the thing! He also took his share of turkey with the same gun... a winchester single shot .410. You can take a deer with a 20ga no problem. I have no idea what is going on these days. Are deer harder to kill now?? Why the need for such huge magnums these days??