View Full Version : Sub-guage Inserts?

October 29, 2011, 06:16 PM
I see the inserts to use 20 guage shells in a 12 - anyone use these? If so, how do they perform? Do they use the chokes the same as your "normal" 12? Patterns?


October 29, 2011, 06:52 PM
I have a set of 20 ga inserts for use in a 12 gauge but haven't ever gotten around to trying them.

I got them thinking that they would be nice to have on hand and I could do upland bird hunting with them but the time and opportunity just never came around...

Ideal Tool
October 29, 2011, 07:17 PM
Hello, Savage used to make what they called the Four-Tenner.. a steel and aluminum short barreled insert for various gages that took .410 shotshells.
I have an old hammerless Ithaca 16ga. double, with beautiful damascus barrels. Was planning on shooting black..when I spied two of these on a fellows table at G.S... I had never seen these in 16ga. before..what were the odds of finding two..so I bought e'm both.
These do tend to change the ballance point a bit. I am no shotgun shooter..reflex too slow..but I was dusting hand thrown clays with regularity.
I believe the original choke does control pattern.

October 29, 2011, 07:23 PM
I have tried the GaugeMate Silvers. They are inexpensive, but you have to remove them and push out the hull, and they get everything dirty. I also had a 12/20 split. They are not very thick. I think the 12 gauge chamber was a little large. You are probably better off just shooting light 12 gauge shells. The Gold version of the GaugeMate lets the ejectors work, but they are more expensive. A guy at the range had a set of these in 20/410, and they seemed to work well. Mark

October 29, 2011, 07:45 PM
Ideal Tool must be a gray beard, like me, to remember the Savage Four-Tenners. A had a set of these for my first 12-ga O/U in late '60s. They supposedly used the 12-ga's chokes. My Four-Tenners' extractors had a habit of malfunctioning. Short inserts are okay as an occasional novelty, but their patterns are erratic.

At the other end of the spectrum are full length sub-gauge tubes. I have several guns with Briley tube sets and they have shot tens of thousands of targets in practice and competition. These have their own chokes (fixed or screw-in) and pattern as well as standard barrels.

October 30, 2011, 09:26 AM
I don't mean to hyjack, but do those Browning Subgauge inserts work at all? My LGS carries them for 40$ a piece in all gauges. They look like an aluminum shotshell with a hole the size of the subgauge shell, they have the same OAL as a 3" shell.

October 30, 2011, 11:53 AM
Like zippy said ....a few of us, at my gun club, have tried those short inserts from Browning ...and the ones that are about 12" from Briley ...and neigher one of them work very well based on what we saw at the pattern board.

The full length inserts are what you want - if performance is the key issue !! - and if you don't want stand alone guns in 20ga, 28ga and .410 ....( but I like having stand alone guns myself).

October 30, 2011, 12:25 PM
don't waste your money...

October 30, 2011, 02:03 PM
Yeah, those are the ones I was looking at - pretty lousy, huh?


November 1, 2011, 03:04 AM
Z, I actually had a set of 4-Tenners that became a set for a single shot after the move. To this day I don't know the whereabouts of the stray. On the otherhand I do own a set of Chambermates. At 35 yards one would be hard pressed to tell the differnce in a modified pattern of a gun chambered for that round in 20 or 28. The 410 though is a different story. As far as rounds sticking, one needs to read the instructions. AA and STS are the prefered hulls mentioned due to the sticking problem. Something else I might mention is that if the insert for the twenty guage is 3 inchs then the chamber for the gun also must be three inchs due to wall thickness of the insert. 28 guage and 410 is not an issue. I spoke with the good folks at Seminole and they gladly turned my 3 inch down to 2.75 inch at no charge on the 20 insert.

November 1, 2011, 08:14 AM
jaughtman...i think you are talking about the really short adapters that look like a 12 gauge shell that you stuff a 20 gauge into and shoot through a 12....mine are called Little Skeeters. The 12 to 20 were fine and 12 to 28 were just OK, ...never tried the 12 to 410

I have some that I used early on to shoot the 20 events in Skeet. The targets that did not break were my fault. That is about the most positive thing I can say about them. Other than that, they are a PITA and nasty to use, you get burnt powder all over your hands. You need to carry some kind of poker to push out the old shells. They get old pretty fast. If you just want to fool around they are kinda OK.

IMO, none of the short tubes really work well. If you have a high quality O/U, a fitted tube set at around 1800-2000 bucks is a great investment. They are really like having a 20, 28, and a 410 that look exactly like your O/U.

November 1, 2011, 11:24 AM
Olddrum1, my friend, my Four-Tenner problems weren't with stuck cases. I was using Federal plastic shells and they were okay. The bother was with the extractors: My club had night shooting and the shooting stations weren't well lit (the lights were on the target path). The extractors on the Four-Tenners were on the long side and they were a little wobbly, too. If you weren't careful, you could slip the brass below the extractor and get it stuck. Another problem was the the wobbly Four-Tenner extractors would get under the gun's extractors, and that took a little longer to fix. I don't know how many times I had to delay the squad while I went into a well lit area to mess with the Four-Tenners' extractors. My squad mates were happy when I got a real .410 O/U.

November 1, 2011, 10:10 PM
Z, my friend, that was for oregunner, He mentioned he was having to push them out with a stick and I was not sure if he had seen any instructions as to recomended ammunition type that worked well with the newer tubes.

November 1, 2011, 10:34 PM
Oops… sorry, we old pharts are easily confused. The only .410 hulls I've used for years are WW Double-As.

November 4, 2011, 01:49 PM
The full length briley tubes are what most competitors use around here.

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November 5, 2011, 09:29 AM
Even more info that I thought. I don't compete at all in trap/skeet so really what I was interested in them for was to pack along on a hunting trip instead of taking a whole nother' shotgun. It appears the shorties would be OK for occasional/emergency use?


November 5, 2011, 08:44 PM
One guy at our club had the short Briley inserts, I never saw much success with them. I have a full set of Briley fitted tubes for my Browning O/U, kind of expensive but cheaper than Kolars. I got a .20ga set last year thinking I really didn't have any interest in shooting .28 or .410, I was wrong. I just got the .28 and .410 about 3 weeks ago and the first round of .410 was 25 straight. I got Skeet and Lt Skeet chokes and use the Lt Skeet most of the time. So I can't say much negative about them. But I would only use them for skeet, not hunting. When I hunt with my Browning O/U I use my 1oz skeet loads for dove.