View Full Version : Are 20 gauge shotguns useless?

March 1, 2009, 12:21 PM
Why have a 20 gauge shotgun? When you can just use a 12 gauge with reduce recoil rounds, or load your own and use less powder.

12 gauges are more common in the gun store and in many cases cheaper than their 20 gauge counterpart.

You cannot make the same argument for 12 gauge vs. 10 gauge because
10's are much more expensive and not as nearly as common.

.300 Weatherby Mag
March 1, 2009, 12:34 PM
Easy, a 20 gauge is lighter and faster to manuever... So they are far from useless.. 20 gauges are extremely common here... Unless we're talking waterfowl, I take my 20 gauge more often that any of my 12's....

March 1, 2009, 12:38 PM
I like shooting my 20 ga gun. It's over a pound and a half lighter than my 12 ga and I like how it handles. 7/8 oz of lead breaks clays in both 12 and 20 ga guns.

March 1, 2009, 12:39 PM
Absolutely not useless... How much heavier is a 12 than a 20 in exactly similar models?
Reduced recoil is all fine and good but standard loads are far less dough allowing po' folks like me to shoot more. I don't know that RR loads will stick either. Like several "wild cat" rounds that "coulda been" are now "has beens" and the owners of these are customizing brass and reloading or have a new mantle piece.

March 1, 2009, 12:47 PM
They're good for squirrels and rabbits and bust clays pretty good too. While the 20 is lighter than a 12 the percieved recoil can be more because of it.

March 1, 2009, 12:54 PM
It depends...

You can make a 12ga perform balistically like a 20ga with 7/8 oz loads / and you can even make it balistically like a 28ga with 3/4oz loads ( especially if you reload ). So in that sense, a 12ga - means you don't need a 20 or 28ga ....especially since these days, with screw in chokes - with a 12ga you can go from a Full to a Skeet choke, and everything in between and pretty well do anything you want to do with a 12ga.

20ga guns can be loaded up to a 1 oz load / lots of loads around - and although I doubt you can get 1 1/8 oz of shot into a 20ga shell - being able to go to 1oz makes a 20ga pretty versatile too - and you can load it down to 3/4oz or even 1/2oz ( like a .410 ).

12ga guns used to be heavy and bulky / 20ga guns used to be a little lighter and swing a little faster - but all that is gone today too. There are some 8 1/2 lb guns made in 20 ga (just like a 12ga ) - 30" barrels are common on 20ga's , etc and with screw in chokes you can go from Full to Skeet and everything in between with a 20ga as well.

in the 50's and 60's - before screw in chokes - we all had a "waterfowl gun", we had a "pheasant" gun, a "grouse" gun ...etc . We bought guns with fixed chokes / different barrel lengths that suited the intended game we were shooting or hunting. So some of the nostalgia for 16ga, 20ga, 28ga etc is from those days. In the 50's and 60's there was not a large variety of shells - so we really couldn't get lighter ( 7/8 oz loads for a 12ga ) especially if we lived in rural areas.

Today that has changed - but personally, I'll never get rid of my 20ga, 28ga or .410 guns. I like shooting them all - and I like having them ... and there is something really specail about going out Quail hunting with a nice 28ga Over Under that just brings a smile to my face. Some guys feel the same about S X S's ...

I don't think the 20ga is going anywhere - and it will remain a very popular gun. It has nothing to do with cost / most Over Unders in 12 and 20ga are about the same price. I don't watch prices on Mossberg pumps, 870 pumps too much - so there may be a disparity in their prices on 12 vs 20ga guns / but the Browning BPS is the same price for a 12 and 20ga version - at about $550 list / and they charge about $40 more for a 16ga, 28ga or .410 version.

March 1, 2009, 01:04 PM
I think that 3 inch 20 gauge magnums went up to 1 1/4 oz, which overlaps into 12 gauge non-magnum loads.

Though all my shotguns are 12 gauge, there is nothing wrong with 20 gauge shotguns.
Why don't I get a 20 gauge? Because then I would have to convert my MEC progressive loading press to 20 gauge also.
Or buy factory ammo for it.:barf:

March 1, 2009, 01:20 PM
Useless may be a little harsh, but I see no need to have one. There are a lot of 12's that weigh 7 lbs or less. Any lighter and they are harder to shoot regardless of guage. I can easily get 12 guage loads that have virtually no recoil and behave just like 20's if I want a light weight low recoiling gun. The 12 is also versatile enough to handle heavy loads the 20 can never duplicate.

March 1, 2009, 01:29 PM
FWIW, I seldom use a 12 gauge anymore. As old age and bad health creeps up on me, I only use a 20 gauge now. Honestly, I can't tell a bit of difference afield with a 20 gauge. I wish I had gone to a 20 long ago.

A 20 gauge slug will put venison in the freezer. 20 gauge Walmart promos will do anything else I need a gun for. I have a 20 gauge pump at the head of my bed with Walmart #6s in case I get an uninvited guest.

Ain't nothing wrong with a 20 gauge. The only time I would use a 12 gauge is if I waterfowled. Since I don't waterfowl, the 20 gauge will serve me well.

March 1, 2009, 01:36 PM
I prefer a 20ga. 12ga doesn't really do anything for me.

March 1, 2009, 01:40 PM
I have put more game down with a 20 gauge than a 12. Deer, squirrels, doves by the bag limit, etc...a Beretta over under that my father gave me when i was 14, in imp cyl and modified. When he later caught the big C, he used it for the same, as the weight and recoil was more managable and he never failed to go home with a sack full.

March 1, 2009, 02:10 PM
Are 20 gauge shotguns useless?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------Why have a 20 gauge shotgun?

My God man, are you daft.:eek:

20's are sweet, sleek, and sexy. They handle like a quarter horse as opposed to a plow horse. It's like the difference between taking a spin in a Ford Mustang, or picking up the groceries in the old F-250.

And if ya want practical reasons,----well I'll get back to ya.:o jd

March 1, 2009, 02:37 PM
i think the better question should be "are 410ga useless?":p

March 1, 2009, 02:45 PM
Rethought... They are not only useless but junk too...
Send them all to me for proper disposal...

March 1, 2009, 02:46 PM
No the .410 isn't useless either .... see my notes above - same issues apply in my mind ( but I hope you weren't serious Troy ...)

roy reali
March 1, 2009, 03:45 PM
Any bird fired at with a shell marked "20 gauge" will show no ill effect even if struck with multiple pellets. A 20 gauge is in the same class as .30-30, useless. Nothing can be killed by a gun that doesn't kick the snot out of you.:confused:

March 1, 2009, 03:52 PM
I gave up waterfowling years and years ago. I didn't like early mornings and being cold and damp. :p But a 18-21" barrel on a 20 gauge loaded with #3 buckshot is a dandy home defense shotgun. Light, quick handling and fast recoil recovery make it nearly perfect. With the slug barrel installed, it'll take deer very well with saboted slugs and it's quite accurate out to about 150 yards.

I put the longer barrel on my 870 20ga for busting clays and found it much faster to pick up and lead than the 12 gauge. And I didn't go home with a sore shoulder either. :cool:

Niagara Shooter
March 1, 2009, 05:58 PM
My dad has a couple 20 ga BPS's, one has a deer barrel, is drilled and tapped and wears a scope. He loves it because the 20ga recoil doesn't knock you around like a 12 would and its alot easier to stay with the deer. Also its alot lighter than a 12 to drag around through the woods all day. The other is still sittin new in a box waiting for its day, his 20ga 1187 priemer is his go to rabbit gun and its fast swingin an a ton of fun to shoot. I love it for shooting skeet!

March 1, 2009, 06:02 PM
I find its very useless. A pound and ahalf of weight doesnt bother me, Im sure you can find 12 gages that way less than a 20 aswell...I have never had a sore shoulder from shooting any loads of shot for a 12 gage. The only neat thing of a 20 gage would be the slugs and why bother when the 12 is bigger,badder, and more accessible. I wouldnt MIND having a side by side 20 gage for ****s and giggles but the ammo is cheaper for the 12 oppose to the 20... A brick of 100 12 gage is 24.99 here and the 20 gage is 32.86. Not much of a difference but that pays for half my box of clay pidgons. to me the 20 gage is useless ur stuck with waterfowl, and apparenlty deer? Which I never would consdier becuase the deer on the mainland (Alberta, Sask etc) can reach up to easy 300 pounds (trophy)..the 12 waterfowl, deer, blackbear, and lower to medium size brown bear. camping/home defense. obvously I would perfer to use a rifle on the deer and bear but the shotgun is a possibility to make the hunt more interesting.

March 1, 2009, 07:25 PM
My favorite uplands gun is a Franchi Black Magic 20 gauge. It weighs less than 6 lbs and it can be carried all day and you don't even know it is there. I have carried seven lb guns in the uplands. Not in over 40 years. When I discovered the Franchi 48, it grew on me. I recently replaced the extractor. It was worn to a nub from thousands of rounds. No other part has been replaced.

When the Black Magic came on the market, I had to have one. It is a sexy little shotgun that is remarkably light and doesn't have a lot of recoil. It is a sweet shooting gun.

BTW, 12s and 20s are the same price at Walmart. I use nothing except promos and they do me a good job.

March 1, 2009, 07:40 PM
Around here, 20 ga. and 12 ga. shells are the same price. Of course, there is more variety in 12 ga loadings but I reload both so it really doesn't affect me on way or the other. In fact, reloading the 20ga is a little cheaper.

I inherited my love for the 20 ga. from my father and grandfather. They both hunted everything from doves to ducks and never saw a need for a 12 ga. (pre-steel days) When I started hunting, a 20 ga. was the natural choice since I was young and we wanted to be able to share ammo. They have both since passed and I have inherited both of those guns.

Like many young men before me, I grew up and bought a 12 ga. I've been happy with the switch but I often go back to the 20 ga for doves, rabbits and squirrels. When my own son is old enough to hunt, he will go afield with a 20ga. and I'll probably be carrying one too. There is an 1100 LT-20 in my safe just for him.

This past dove season, I was promised a seat on a really hot field. Just minutes before the hunt, I was cleaning the gas rings on my 11-87 and I dropped one. It hit the concrete floor in my shop and broke! I thought about it for a minute and picked up my Dad's Winchester pump. I got a decent spot on the field and proceeded to put on a clinic. I killed a 16 bird limit in under two hours with 27 shells. This year, it will be the gun I reach for first.

March 1, 2009, 07:40 PM
A 20 gauge is useless only if you think it is. Yeah, they don't pack the absolute 'power' of a 12 ga. but in the right hands they're quite effective.

March 1, 2009, 07:42 PM
20's are great for those who don't want to carry the excess amount of weight when doing a bunch of walking on their hunts. The rounds are lighter (weight) and the guns generally are lighter. I have a few 20's and take them out on occassion but really prefer hunting small game and bird (excluding waterfowl and turkey with my 410's. Of my Saiga's the 20 is the only one I converted, just could not see myself using a converted 12 in an early morning/middle of the night wake up call.

March 1, 2009, 07:56 PM
I'm afraid the only thing useless is this thread. :)

March 1, 2009, 08:13 PM
all my shotguns are and will be 12 gauge only. i personally dont have a use for a 20 gauge. if i want 1oz loads, i'll buy them in 12 gauge...factory loaded. and if i want a light, quick shooting/pointing gun, i'll use my H&R single shot, 12 gauge.

many tout the lack of recoil from the 20 gauge, which isn't really true most of the time. due to a (usually) lighter overall weight and about the same payload, at the same speed as a 12 gauge (field loads). infact, technically many times the recoil is more.

The only advantage i see of a 20 gauge, is one that is BUILT on a real 20 gauge frame. that makes it a bit lighter and trimmer, and more 'snappy' to put into action. however there are a good number of 20 gauges that are built on a 12 gauge frame, which to me makes that whole setup totally pointless.

So to me the gauge isn't so much about the gauge itself but more about the size/weight gun they are usually put in. So if you are looking for something that is smaller/lighter/faster, check out some 20 gauges.

Personally i stay with the 12 gauge for cost/availability/versatility and that for MY OWN use, when i want a light/fast gun, my single shot is plenty.

March 1, 2009, 08:49 PM
however there are a good number of 20 gauges that are built on a 12 gauge frame, which to me makes that whole setup totally pointless.

Have never seen that myself. I have seen 20, 28 and 410 all on the same size frame.

I guess it depends on what you use it for. Chukar hunting out West means LOTS of uphill hiking - every extra ounce gets to you after a while - carrying a 20 in lieu of a 12 makes sense. Shooting preserve quail with a 12 is a tad overkill, if you want to eat them.

For targets, I haven't found a 5-stand, sporting clays, or FITASC target that can't be broken by a 20.

March 1, 2009, 09:19 PM
a big ol LOL for anyone who thinks a .410 0r .20 gauge are useless. get hit with one and you'll be screaming in agony for hours - if you do not die. that covers the defense side of it.

they are both very adept at taking certain game and offer less recoil doing it.

they are not useless. would i rather have a .12? of course. would i feel like i had a useless toy if i had only a .410 or .20? lol no

roy reali
March 1, 2009, 09:30 PM
Lets say someone is pointing a shotgun at you. It is a 28 gauge with a load of eight shot. The distance to you is such that the pellets will hit you but won't even penetrate your clothes. If one hits flesh it won't be hardly felt. Then the person switches over to a 12 gauge with eight shot. Do you realize the effect on you will be exactly the same as with the 28 gauge?

March 1, 2009, 09:33 PM
Useless?.....Hardly, by any stretch. While I love my 12 gauges, there will always be a place for the 20 gauge in my gun lineup. Loaded properly, the 20 does just about everything I ask my 12 to do, while doing so in a much more friendly package. At the end of the day I can definitely tell the difference between carrying one of my 12's or one of my 20's.

While I don't find the recoil of the 12 to be too much, some loads can still be a bit on the heavy side (Turkey magnums anyone?). I sustained an injury to my shooting shoulder many years ago, and I gladly welcome any reduced recoil. Add to that the lighter weight of the gun itself, and I've found myself picking a 20 more often than I thought I would. The first deer I ever killed was with a 20 gauge, and the last deer I shot (with a shotgun) was with a 20 gauge......so no, for me at least, the 20 gauge is not anywhere near useless. As these things go, YMMV. :)

March 1, 2009, 09:40 PM
I Love 20 ga. the only time I have had one close to useless was an LT 20 that ONLY functions with 3 inch shells. Even it is not useless. Just a specialty tool.

March 1, 2009, 11:20 PM
This is a troll thread, right?
over a pound and a half lighter than my 12 ga
Right there a 20 ga. is worth owning. Walk all day on an upland hunt - over, under, and through the thick stuff where the ruffs are and you'll soon appreciate just that difference.
As for power, every single pellet fired from a 20 ga. has exactly the same amount of energy as the same pellets fired from a 12 ga. Same choke - same size pattern. Yes, there are some what fewer shot but at typical PA grouse distance, you'll never notice.

March 2, 2009, 08:42 AM
Useless for what? Apparently bigger and cheaper makes something inherently more useful in the OP's eyes, but I reiterate, useless for what?

March 2, 2009, 05:18 PM
Love my 20, especially at the end of a long day in the uplands and a late pointed grouse is about to take flight. Or when its time to point shoot at a woodcock coming up in the alders. Or at the end of the day and my shorthair has a pheasant pinned in a ditch 200 yards away.
I have a couple 12s and a wonderful old 16 gauge too, but for my do it all hunting and skeet shooting gun I always reach for my 20.

March 2, 2009, 07:07 PM
Useless for what? Apparently bigger and cheaper makes something inherently more useful in the OP's eyes, but I reiterate, useless for what?

Maybe some think it is useless for being a tacticool gun

March 3, 2009, 03:04 PM
I have a M88 12ga and im so use to its weght it feels like 2 pounds when it is close to 8 pounds.20ga shotguns are not useless they are made for small people and youth shooters also people that are scared of 12ga recoil.20ga are good for hours of shooting.so are 12ga's if you are useing the right ammo that you like.
so their good for fun and combat.i like 12ga and 20ga the same.They both have great knockdown power and are easy to find ammo for,it matters where you live...strong ammo laws and not so strong ammo laws because due to theft of firearms increasing,sellers have to keep the ammo out of reach of criminals thats all.

My point is 12ga and 20ga are both beasts.

March 3, 2009, 03:27 PM
I started my hunting with a 410, graduated to a 20, then to a 12 now I'm back with the 20 and on occasion the 410. The 20 will do 95% of what I need done and is much nicer to carry and I shoot it better than my 12s. The last 2 years I have hunted almost exclusively with the 20 and killed more waterfowl and upland game than I have for years. The 20 has it's limitations but if you understand them it's generally not an issue.

March 3, 2009, 03:37 PM
A lot of discussion about the different gauges, but I see no mention of a 16 GA. I shoot my 12's the most, but I also have a 20 and a 16 (both been in the family a long time). Any argument for the uselessness of a 16? I like to shoot it once in a while, but I don't use it for hunting (steel shot is hard on the older barrel) and shells are harder to find with less variety than a 12.

March 3, 2009, 10:38 PM
correct me if i'm wrong but doesn't the 3" 20 gauge shoot the same payload as the 2 3/4" 16 gauge? there isn't a 3" 16 gauge... i think. so that would be one reason...

March 3, 2009, 10:47 PM
Using the same type of loads the 20 has a lower pellet count than the 12 so it takes more skill to hit the targets with a 20. Just think of the 20 as a slill builder. Anyone can hit with a 12 a lot of things you may not with a 20. Try doves with low base 8's.

March 3, 2009, 10:47 PM
In a gun built on a proper 20ga frame like my old Sears branded High Standard Flite King, the 20ga loaded with 3" shells will do most of what a non-magnum 2 3/4" 12ga will in a lighter, handier package. If the 20ga is built on the same reciever as the 12ga, then no there isn't much point.

March 4, 2009, 12:40 AM
I own about 10 shotguns ---- 9 of them are 12ga.
I don't reload for the one 20ga. that I do own , I mostly use it as a "trainer" for younger , older ,or more recoil shy people that I loan it to.
So it is not "useless" to me but I do like the 12ga. more.

March 4, 2009, 12:45 AM
"20ga shotguns................ are made for small people and youth shooters also people that are scared of 12ga recoil."
That is just wrong. It is true that the 20 may serve the purposes that you mention but to say that the 20 gauge is designed for those purposes is patently untrue.

mr kablammo
March 5, 2009, 12:11 AM
I too like the elegance of the 20 ga guns. The proportion and weight just seems to be just right. In fact, I am now thinking of getting a Browning A5 in 20 ga. Just gotta get the right lotto ticket first...

Dave McC
March 5, 2009, 05:45 PM

March 6, 2009, 01:43 AM
A 20 guage is a great guage for MOST shotgunning needs. It is not a tool for all shotgunning like a 12 guage. A 20 however is lighter given the same action, the shells are lighter allowing you to carry more or at least a lighter load. Lethality on small game and upland birds is about equal to a 12 guage within reasonable range limits. Skeet shooting is more comfortable after 100 rounds due to less recoil and patterns are excellent at those ranges. Trap is a 12 guage game. I took my 20 auto quail hunting in the mountains a year ago and stumbled back down to my truck 5 hours later with a couple of hard earned birds. I was glad I brought the 20 guage and WATER!!! A 12 guage is generally much heavier and it's not the best choice for all hunting trips. If you want to perpetuate the myth that a 20 is useless, that's fine for me. Makes used ones cheaper to enjoy:)

March 6, 2009, 07:16 PM
For me, a 20 gauge is the only gun I need. If I waterfowled, I'd go for a 12 gauge. On my farm, I have plenty of turkey and deer. I know what a 20 gauge will do.

I quit using the 12 gauges in my safe after I had a backset in my health. I found out that the 20 is sufficient for my hunting needs. I won't quit using the 12s, but I won't use them as much. They are heavy and bulky compared to the 20 gauges.

My Franchi 48 Black Magic is a hunter's dream.

March 6, 2009, 10:22 PM
"Why have a 20 gauge shotgun?"

Why have a shotgun, just go to the grocery store. A good 20 is a great gun. So is a 28. I don't much experience with 16s. The only thing I really need a 12 for is non-toxic shot for ducks and geese on big water.

I know what a 20 can do and I'm learning about the 28.

If you can shoot almost anything will work. :)

Ill Bill
March 9, 2009, 11:23 PM
DISCLAIMER: The following opinion was formed from tons of magazine articles and even-handed forum posts. I have no first hand experience. My only shotgun is a 12ga pump.

So far I've only read remarks about hunting applications, but I 've heard that a 20ga is adequate and almost preferable as a strictly anti-intruder gun. For an adult human at 10ft-25ft distance it is reasonable to say that a 12guage is overkill. The reduced recoil, quicker follow-up, and overall "handiness" of a 20ga will help in a situation where you may be shooting barefoot and you may be shooting for your life. It is also more shootable for smaller-statured members of the family(teens, elderly, dainty wives) that may also need this tool to desperately defend themselves. However, this is no reason to buy new shotguns. This should only be a consideration for non "gun-guys" in the market for their first and only shotgun. The 20ga is not as good as an apocalyptic defense weapon because the ammo is less common and harder to scavenge, but now I'm just getting silly :P

Disagree? How many people carry 44mag for personal defense?

I've also read that #4 buckshot is better balanced than 00 buckshot in terms of power/wall-penetration ratio. This a an important factor in home defense situations. This begs the question: Is a 20ga pump loaded with #4 buckshot a great home defense setup? Or is it too weak? Should you use 2-3/4" or 3" shells?

March 10, 2009, 10:09 AM
I'm down to one shotgun--a 20ga Browning Silver---lightweight and fast handling----the comparable 12ga Silver feels like an overgrown lead slug.

I'm only looking for a 12ga as an after thought mainly for HD---a 870 Express costs as much as a Silver barrel.

March 10, 2009, 10:19 AM
I have shotguns in three flavors....12, 20, and 28. The 12 is for targets only; the 20's - some for targets, some for birds, the 28's - again, some for targets and some for birds. The more I shoot my 28, the more fun I have....and I still don't have a 5.5# 28 double.....yet.......

March 10, 2009, 11:12 AM
There seems to be some confusion about gagues vs ounces of shot - and power( knockdown power, I guess ..).

Its traditional for a 12 ga to shoot 1 1/8 oz of shot - but by dropping a 12ga down to 1 oz (balistically its the same as a traditional 16ga load) - and if you drop the 12ga down to 7/8 oz then balistically its the same as a 20ga - to 3/4 oz same as a 28ga ...

7/8 oz of shot at 1200 fps coming out of a 12ga / performs and hits exactly as hard as 7/8 oz of shot at 1200 fps out of a 20ga. There is no difference in Ft-Lbs of energy / number of pellets, etc.

Personally, I like all of my hunting, sporting clays or skeet guns - in Over Unders, semi-autos - to be around 8 1/2 lbs ( even the .410 ) / so I add weight to all of my guns to get them to around the same point. The heavier the gun - for a given shell - the less recoil you get - so a little heavier gun is a good thing (if you can handle it). Yes, traditionally, most 20ga, or 28 ga etc ( were built on smaller receivers ) and were a little lighter, had shorter length of pulls, etc - but these days, gun mfg's are doing all kinds of things a little different.

I shoot a fair amount of 12ga - but I really like the 20, 28ga and the .410 as well .

March 10, 2009, 11:58 AM
For an adult human at 10ft-25ft distance it is reasonable to say that a 12guage is overkill

I didn't know there was such a thing as "overkill" in a home defense situation.

Over-penetration, maybe, but not overkill

I think 20 gauges are good starting places for many adult women and a lot of young people who have never fired a shotgun previously.

I'm so close to buying a semi in 20 gauge because it's available while the 12 isn't due for another 4-6 weeks.


roy reali
March 10, 2009, 08:04 PM
First off, I am not an expert shotgunner by any stretch of the imagination. I do know and have hunted with several guys that are very good wing shots. One guy in particualr rarely misses. He is good at hitting small flying birds to the point of being disgusting. All these good bird shooters I know use shotguns smaller then 12 gauge. In fact, that really good shot uses a 28 gauge over and under. Guys that I have hunted with that miss often like me seem to favor 12 gauge shotguns.

I know some of you will claim to know great 12 gauge hunters and lousy 20 gauge hunters. You might even claim that you never miss with a 12. I just wanted to state my observations.

One more point. If you can't hit flying objects with a smaller gauge shotgun, no 12 gauge will magically turn you into a Bob Knapp-like shooter.

ford pu
July 15, 2009, 12:38 PM
Any info or directions for the above will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

July 15, 2009, 01:58 PM
If I am going to carry a gun in the field, I am going to get my 20 gauge. Although a pound or so doesn't sound like much, it makes a big difference when you are carrying it for a few hours.

When I am shooting skeet, I am going to get my 20 gauge. It's smaller frame just seems to point and swing effortlessly for me. By the way I load my skeet loads down to 3/4oz of shot for less recoil and cost effectiveness. I have even used these 3/4oz loads for 16yd trap with good results.

For home defense or to hunt turkeys, I am going to get my 12 gauge. And even then I am going to use a 2 3/4 inch shell.

July 15, 2009, 02:48 PM
Why have a 20 gauge shotgun?

I bought my 13 year old daughter a 20 gauge because its a lot easier for her to shoot then a 12. If I were to have her shoot a 12, she may never pick up another shotgun ever again.

Even though I said "I bought my 13 year old daughter a 20 gauge" - it stays locked in my room and she does not have access to it. All of ym children have been taught gun safety and that starts with not touching a firearm unless an adult is present.

20 gauges have a lot of uses, especially for small framed people - including men and women. And recoil is a major factor in that decision.

July 15, 2009, 02:54 PM
Why have a 20 gauge shotgun? When you can just use a 12 gauge with reduce recoil rounds, or load your own and use less powder.

12 gauges are more common in the gun store and in many cases cheaper than their 20 gauge counterpart.

You cannot make the same argument for 12 gauge vs. 10 gauge because
10's are much more expensive and not as nearly as common.

Super Dave,

I am with you on this one. If you can handle the recoil of the 20 gauge
you can most certainly handle a 12 gauge.

July 15, 2009, 03:02 PM
If you can handle the recoil of the 20 gauge you can most certainly handle a 12 gauge.

Tell that to my 13 year old daughter. She might have a few choice words for you.

She shot my 12 gauge and she said never again. But she can shoot the 20 gauge just fine.

I personally find the 20 gauge more comfortable to shoot then a 12.

People can not be lumped into a group. Just because you can shoot a 20, does not mean you can shoot a 12.

July 15, 2009, 03:09 PM
Have you tried the "light" target loads? and a good recoil pad?

July 15, 2009, 03:51 PM
I can't believe some of you people! Are some of you for real? Have you ever hunted all day lugging around a 12ga by the end of a day what little bit lighter 20ga feels a lot better. Have shot lots of different birds and deer with a 20ga. I have used a 410 for HD. Now if you want to say 16ga is useless maybe I could say so. But never 20ga I own three but also own four 12ga all have there use.

July 15, 2009, 05:17 PM
Recoil is recoil, and it can hurt. To insinuate that anyone should be able to handle the recoil of a 12 is juvenile. Recoil pads don't mean squat if the gun doesn't fit. Fit is first and foremost. Light loads help. While weight is great to tame recoil, when you're hiking up and down mountains all day chasing grouse, chukar and the like, every ounce counts. a 5.5# to 6# 28 or 20 will get the birds, and you'll be able to make a full day out of it. I've seen way too many folks with their 12's, that by the end of the day, are barely able to get their gun on the game, resulting in misses.......

For targets, make it heavy, for miles of walking, make it as light as possible......

July 15, 2009, 05:30 PM
"Why have a 20 gauge shotgun? When you can just use a 12 gauge with reduce recoil rounds, or load your own and use less powder."

That's one of those "If you have to ask, you ain't gonna understand the answer" questions.