View Full Version : 20 GA verus 12 GA (not what you think)

March 7, 2008, 10:33 AM
I was just wondering if a full size 12 GA with a 18" barrel and decent factory recoil pad would have less recoil than a youth 20 GA? I bought a Rem. 870 20 GA youth with a 21" barrel and although it has proven reliable and decent for home defense, the stock pad sucks. I put a slip on recoil pad (Pachmayr), but the recoil is still pretty heavy. I heard from others on a different forum that a regular 12 ga shoots with less recoil than a youth 20 GA with the terrible stock pad -- do you think thats true?

I shoot #3 buck and #6 and #9 shot for practice.

March 7, 2008, 11:22 AM
A lot of percieved recoil depends on how well the gun fits you. I've got several 12 guage pumps and SXS's and one 20 SXS. Some of the 12's have more recoil than the 20, some less. The easiest on recoil I have is a 12 guage repro of a Winchester 97 pump with a 20" barrel. My 16 year old daughter says it kicks too hard. I have a 12 guage SXS that will stomp a mudhole in your butt but she's been shooting clays with it for three years and routinely fires both barrels at once. :eek: None of my guns have recoil pads.

March 7, 2008, 02:34 PM
In an actual home defense situation recoil will be the last thing on your mind. Now if you were a clay shooter, that would be something to concern yourself with.

March 7, 2008, 04:16 PM
Recoil is primarily a combination of 3 things:

Weight of the gun
Weight of the load ( 1 1/8 oz, etc ) ( not the size of the shot like 4's, 2's )
The velocity of the load

Generally speaking, a 12ga will probably be about 1 lb heavier than a 20ga - so for the same load, it will give you about 20% less recoil. If the gun beats you up - its because it doesn't fit you - length of pull, drop at the comb, drop at the hell those are all important.

March 7, 2008, 05:31 PM
Just got my new Rem 870 20ga. jr with 18 1/2" barrel and it came with the rem. recoil pad for wussies like me. It shoots great and recoil is not a problem. I am going to do a real pattern job next week-will let you know how it turns out. biggest problem I have is finding the turkey loads I want locally and i am in Atlanta, Ga.. By the way I put a limbsaver on my 12 ga rem 870 and it make a world of differece- eyes bad from op. so excuse typing

chris in va
March 7, 2008, 08:49 PM
I can verify my Pardner 20ga single shot hit harder than my Mossberg 500 12ga with Limbsaver.

In an actual home defence situation recoil will be the last thing on your mind.

That's fine, but to get proficient with a firearm it helps to practice with it...a lot. Shooting at clays is a great way to do that. I have an acquaintance friend that bought this 12ga Benelli Super Nova for HD use. Problem is, his wife A) can't even hold it up and B) has no idea how to use it. I showed her, but she still couldn't figure it out.

March 8, 2008, 09:26 AM
Recoil is the result of a law of physics. the heavier the load the more the recoil. The Heavier the gun the less recoil. The higher the velocity the higher the recoil. Most shotshells have a velocity close to 1200 fps. Any noticeable change in recoil will be due to change in weight.
A 20 gauge with 1 5/8 ounce load has the same raw potential for recoil as a 12 gauge with 1 5/8 ounce load. A two ounce load has 33% more recoil than an 1 1/2 ounce load. And a 9 pound gun kicks 33% less than a 6 pound gun.

The trick is to "cheat" the law of physics. The first way is a proper stance and grip. If the gun gets a running start before it hits you it is going to hurt.
A proper fitting gun helps.

Another "trick" is to spread the recoil out over time. this is what a recoil pad does.

March 10, 2008, 04:22 PM
Just got my new Rem 870 20ga. jr with 18 1/2" barrel

The Gander Mountain one? Nice looking shotgun(the Gray laminate, not pink, I mean).

Youth and Bantam 20 gauges make great HD guns, as is. I understand getting buck and slugs in 20 is getting tougher however, compared to the full range of 12 ga ammo, anywhere ammo is sold.

March 10, 2008, 08:30 PM
"A lot of percieved recoil depends on how well the gun fits you."

I couldn't agree with you more. On one of my 12-gauge SKB doubles, I took it to a smithy and had him install a recoil pad and increase the length-of-pull by 1/2". What a world of difference! Now, 200rds/day at the trap range is enjoyable.

The other one is standard, with a hard butt-plate. That one is for hunting, and I rarely shoot more than 10rds in a day. Still, I often get a bruise on my shoulder with it.