View Full Version : 12 gauge or 20 gauge or ....?

July 19, 2008, 10:42 AM
I am planning on getting a shotgun in the next couple months or so.
Depending on the season overlap, walking down the trails I hunt I may encounter and have a chance to take, rabbit, dove, quail, raccoon, duck, grouse, coyote, and/or deer. Rabbit, raccoon and coyote overlap with all of them. Rabbit, duck, and dove will be the most popular. I want to get a shotgun that can handle everything. I dont want to tear up or fill a rabbit full of lead, but I dont want to be under gunned for deer or a longer range duck.
Just looking for opinions and I sill see where that leaves me.
Thank ya

July 19, 2008, 11:01 AM
I have 12, 16, 20, 28, 32 and .410 shotguns. Love them all.

For a single 'all around' shotgun get a 12 gauge, preferably in gas operated semi-auto action as it helps moderate the recoil when firing heavy loads.

July 19, 2008, 12:15 PM
For alll around general purpose use, I would opt for the 12 ga. More ammo choices at reasonable prices (well, none of it is reasonable anymore, but it will cost less than anything else).

With proper ammunition and choke selection the 12 ga will serve you well for any of the things you describe.

A agree with a gas operated semi auto, and a 3" chamber. If your budget won't stand the semi auto, then a good pump gun such as the Remington 870 would be an excellent choice.

July 19, 2008, 03:33 PM
Agree with suggestion to get a 12ga. A good used Remington Model 1100 semi auto with choke tubes would serve you well.

July 19, 2008, 04:24 PM
For all 'round use, the 12 ga is the best choice, because of the availability of more choices in ammo selection. The 20 is almost as good in variety of ammo available almost everywhere. From there, we get into which fits the shooter, better and which tweaks the mind of the shooter more.

Keep in mind that the 12, the 16 and the 20 each have a "standard" load of an ounce of shot at about 1250fps. The only difference, then, in a "standard" load from each is the length of the shot string when it leaves the muzzle.

July 19, 2008, 04:47 PM
Noise is a small factor, esp when Im after small game.
Also I want something that handles in the thick brush well.

July 19, 2008, 05:15 PM
I got a Remington 11-87SP turkey gun in 12GA in a trade, and I'm really happy with it. It has a shorter barrel, chokes, and can use rifled slugs for deer. Maybe that kind of set up would work for you. I've seen a few for sale around here in the past few months.

July 19, 2008, 07:56 PM
When I started hunting, most of us kids began with 20's. My first was an Ithaca single shot, then an 870 pump. The 870 served me well for several years, but I finally found a good deal on another one in 12 ga. 3" mag. I was frankly quite impressed with the killing power and range of the 12. For waterfoul, the 20 pretty much went by the wayside. As a matter of fact, I decided to lop the barrel to 24", had a new bead installed, and it became a great upland gun.
When Cabelas advertised Remington barrels in their catalog, I got a new 26", 12 ga., with interchangable Rem Chokes, and had all the bases covered. That 12 ga. 870 is just about unbeatable for anything ya might want to do.
Now however, I find myself doing more quail hunting, and have obtained a couple more 20's. No good reason, maybe just nastalgia. Oh yeah, I can stuff more 20 ga. bullits in my pockets.
The thing is, when ya get started on this shotgun thing, you'll wind up wanting more than one, and thats part of the fun. jd

July 19, 2008, 10:17 PM
12 ga. rem. express or wingmaster magnum 870 if pump, if semi-auto an 11-87 or a good used 1100 with a 26" or 28" vent rib barrel that uses choke tubes. they did make an 1100 magnum but they are probabaly tough to find.

nutty ned
July 20, 2008, 07:51 PM
Get a 12.

July 21, 2008, 03:10 PM
Since you threw in duck and deer, get the 12 - you can use lighter loads for your small game that won't tear them up too badly and have the ability to use the more powerful and steel as well.

July 21, 2008, 03:16 PM
sounds like you need a rem. 870 in 12ga

July 21, 2008, 04:07 PM
Hands down buy a 12ga - you can make a 12ga, by changing the loads, perform balistically like a 20ga or even a 28ga.

Picking a specific gun is a different issue - but a 28" barrel is probably a good overall choice. Nothing wrong with a semi-auto or a pump gun especially if its chambered in 3" and almost all of them are. Picking a gun is about fit - so it hits where you look - and shotguns don't come in one size fits all.
You'll have to spend some time at a trap or skeet range / and a pattern board to see what stock dimensions really fit you.

My personal choice on semi-autos are Benelli - with the comfort tech system in them / they are very quick to cycle and very clean shooting. For a pump gun I like the Browning BPS.