View Full Version : after years of shooting 12's...

November 8, 2011, 10:42 PM
I'm now shooting 20's 75% of the time. Sporting Clays and Skeet with a 20, and 12 gauge for trap. I like carrying a gun that weighs at least 1 pound less, but still is as deadly as any 8 pound 12 gauge. Browning target grade Citoris are my cup of tea... :)

November 9, 2011, 12:01 AM
IIRC, I made AAA with the 20-ga before I did with the 12-ga, but I still use the 12-ga in all-gauge and doubles events. I confess, one NSSA season I finished with a higher 20-ga average than I did with my 12-ga. I shoot P-guns with Briley tubes.

mr kablammo
November 9, 2011, 12:34 AM
20 ga guns are well balanced and elegant.

November 9, 2011, 04:54 AM
I agree with the above, which is why I think the NSCA should accept a 3" target 20ga load whose maximum loading is no more than that of the 1300fps 1 1/8oz 12ga load. The only reason for the switch is the slimming down and better patterns with the same load of shot. Kinda like the 3" european trap shells which the 391s carrier was designed for.

November 9, 2011, 09:20 AM
except that 3" 20 gauge loads tend to pattern lousy compared to their 2.75" cousins

Bunker uses 24 gram loads and FITASC uses 28 gram loads - and those targets are harder and faster than the typical American sporting variety. And when they switched, their scores went UP.

Shoot a 7/8 oz 20 at 1200-1250 for sporting and, properly chokes for the target, you are not handicapped

November 9, 2011, 09:25 AM
I devoloped a condition where I couldn't shoot a 12 without devoloping clots in my shoulder. Thought I was done shooting clays at all until I found a .410 1100. I could shoot it, but I wasn't hitting much with it. The 20 with light loads didn't seem to cause any trouble but then I started loading a 3/4oz load in the 12. Very light on the shoulder and although I haven't run 25 yet I run 22-24 pretty regualr and it's kept me in the game for now.

November 9, 2011, 01:45 PM
I don't like the swing characteristics on a real light gun ....

and I like shooting different guns - week to week / just for the heck of it.

Sporting Clays - primary gun is a 12ga Citori 8.5 lbs ( XS skeet model )O/U with 30" barrels. I like shooting a 1 oz load of 8's at 1225 fps .... My backup gun - will continue to be a Benelli Super Sport 12ga with 30" barrel as well - for a light ( 7.2 lb gun ) and for rainy days.

Skeet - I will stay with Citori XS Skeet models 8.5 lbs & 30" barrels - and I do shoot a lot of 20ga, some 28ga and some .410 ...each with stand alone guns ( built on the XS Skeet 20ga receiver ) ...

Trap - I just like a heavier and longer gun. So I go to a Citori XT with 32" barrels and around 10 lbs with a gra-coil etc....

Field shooting ....whatever gague I want ( but the 20ga and 28ga get the call a lot / although I haven't hunted in awhile ) - but I'd be hard pressed to give up the 20ga or the 28ga. I'd like to be able to say I shoot the .410 with confidence / but I don't. I may hunt with it for part of a day ---but I will always have a 20ga or 28ga with me as a crutch.

But I just can't bring myself to just shoot one shotgun ....or one handgun / I went to my indoor handgun range on Sunday with 3 revolvers in .357 mag and a 1911 in 9mm ...and went back yesterday with 2 different revolvers in .44 mag and a different 1911..in .45 acp ....( maybe I'm ADD ...):D....but it was all fun :D.

November 9, 2011, 02:37 PM
I rotate three target grade Brownings and an SKB. Two 12's and two 20's... :)

November 9, 2011, 03:43 PM
Okie - when I was experimenting with 3/4oz loads, I found them to work great when I tightened my choke another constriction - for skeet, I went from SK/SK to IC/IC; for sporting, I went from IC/IC to LM/LM or even M/M.

I had to be on my game a little better - no room for sloppy chips, but the recoil reduction is amazing, especially if you keep the speed at 1200 or less

November 9, 2011, 04:03 PM
I read all these posts about loads and patterning and "felt recoil", etc. Maybe I'm just a simpleton (you don't have to agree!!) but, I just buy whatever factory target loads are on sale, and go shoot. I have NEVER even patterned a gun, ever. I have fun rotating guns and enjoying the shooting sports. If I have to convert it to a science, I'll just stay home with a jug of hooch...

November 9, 2011, 04:13 PM
I'm shooting more 20 gauge these days. My Beretta 391 in 20 gauge is a more nimble and better balanced gun than the same model in 12 gauge.

But if you like the 20 gauge you will LOVE the 28. ;)

November 9, 2011, 04:52 PM
Come on Slugo .....patterning those guns ...is just like taking the stock off an O/U a couple times a year....its soothing to the soul...../ and makes you appreciate them more !!! :D ....and check all the springs, firing pins, etc -- lube em up a little ...and put them back together and shoot them some more....

Never ---- ever patterning a gun ??? ...that's just not right ...( are you drinking cheap hooch too ) ...my word man ...get a grip ! ....:D

I mean its bad enough you don't reload ...( don't make me start talking about different wads, and primers, and shot hardness ...and powder options...) ...you're not living a full life ....you have some big parts left out ...:D

November 9, 2011, 04:57 PM
As a wise sage of a friend once told me - "take the gun out and shoot it - if you are centering the targets, then there is no need to pattern or change a thing"

If it works, don't screw your mind up with chokes, patterning, trying 1000 loads, etc. - just shoot it.......:cool:

November 9, 2011, 04:57 PM
Well I have no choice in my chokes, it's full/notquiteasfull unless I want to shoot skeet with the 870. At this stage I wish I could just buy whatever is on sale, last time I figured it out I think I'm running about $3.15 a box on my loads. But I'm flirting with trouble now as it is, I figure I may have another year before that .410 becomes the only alternative.

November 9, 2011, 05:02 PM
sure you do - you can have someone open them up for under 100 and still be fixed - something around .010 and .018 should do nicely

November 9, 2011, 06:24 PM
I'm shooting more 20 gauge these days. My Beretta 391 in 20 gauge is a more nimble and better balanced gun than the same model in 12 gauge.

But if you like the 20 gauge you will LOVE the 28.
I'm killing more birds on the first shot with my 20 than I ever did with my 12.
I agree, much nicer to carry, too.

November 9, 2011, 07:30 PM
You know, the 311 I'm using right now was bought because it has a bit more meat to the barrels and I was planning on having tubes put in, but other things keep getting in the way. Now that I've stopped buying every Contender I find getting tubes in this one is on the top of the list.

Dave McC
November 9, 2011, 09:53 PM
There's two 20s here, an SKB and an 870 Express. Since I shoot 7/8 oz reloads in my 12s, there's not much difference between them.

The SKB has redefined the term, "Dove Gun".

That little 870 would be a fine Quail gun, but wild quail here are history.

Outside of waterfowl, there's not much I couldn't do with them.

November 9, 2011, 11:21 PM
I sure miss quail.:(

November 10, 2011, 02:05 AM
"I sure miss quail."

I had that problem at one time also.

November 10, 2011, 02:10 AM
I see a trend: older shooters setting aside the 12 ga for the 20 with is nice handling and kinder recoil. Arthritis has crippled me and wasted both shoulders. Now I shoot a 28 ga Rem 1100, which has allowed me to continue shooting.

November 10, 2011, 02:29 AM
Yep, this getting old is hell, but it sure beats the alternative!

November 10, 2011, 12:13 PM
I'm just a "pup" - at 61 - compared to some of you old goats....

...but seriously, I'm not giving up any of my 12ga's .....and if you shoot a heavier gun, which I like ..( around 8 1/2 lbs in an Over Under with 30" barrels ) and shoot 1 oz loads in it ( I like them at 1225 fps ) with a load of 8's ... - arthritis in my hands comes and goes with good days and bad days / and a shoulder and bicep that has been completely rebuilt on my shooting shoulder ....a 12ga is still just fine.

When my hands or shoulder are really acting up ....I'll turn to a Benelli semi-auto - in 12ga when I want to shoot sporting ...for a little less recoil even though its an inertia gun .../ and while I have guns in 20ga - the recoil isn't much less because the only difference is I'm shooting 7/8oz loads instead of 1oz loads ....and a lot of shooters like our buddy oneounce on here are shooting a lot of 3/4oz loads in a 12ga ....which is basically a 28ga load.

So getting away from a 12ga ...is not necessarily the way to go. If you go to a lighter gun in a 20ga ( like around 7 lbs ) you will end up with about 20% more recoil out of the 20ga - than shooting the same load in a 12ga that weighs 8 lbs...

Recoil is all about - weight of the gun, how many ounces of shot you shoot and the velocity of the shot cloud.

I understand guys that say they want to carry a 6.5 lb gun vs an 8lb gun in the field all day ...but that's a different issue / that's not about recoil. If I'm going to shoot a lot of shells...( say 250 a day ) ....I sure don't want to shoot a 6.5 lb gun all day long - even with light loads in a 28ga. Besides the swing characteristics on a light gun ...make it real "whippy" ...and the recoil will beat the stuffing out of me.

I have more 12ga O/U's in my safe than any other gague ( I guess there are about 9 of them ) ...and I like my 20ga, my 28ga ...and sometimes even my .410 ( although I swear at it a lot !! ) ...but giving up the 12ga ...with the options you have in commercial shells these days - let alone what you can reload ...makes no sense to me.

I'll stick with a 12ga ....and my 1oz loads ....or drop them down to 7/8oz at 1200 fps ...or try my buddy OneOunces recipe for 3/4 oz loads one of these days...( even if he does put cheerios in them to fill up some space..??? ) ...../ going to a 20ga is not the answer for me .

November 10, 2011, 02:14 PM
Recoil is all about - weight of the gun, how many ounces of shot you shoot and the velocity of the shot cloud.

I have seen this statement made many times and I feel it leaves out an important element....Time.
The time it takes for the payload to reach it's terminal velocity and the burn rate of the powder you use, I BELIEVE, influences felt recoil.(I was wrong once, so I include disclaimers!)
To illustrate the point, think being a passenger in a high performance car and getting to experience 0-60mph in 3 seconds....pretty dramatic...'I could feel my body being pushed back!'

Now get out and get in a car only capable of 0-60 in 12 seconds....same body weight, same terminal velocity.....sensation?....<yawn>

I have been experimenting with different powders in 45acp...some slow, some fast.
Results inconclusive but I believe I'm on to something.
Stock shape and recoil pad dimension will also account for FELT recoil (note: I'm not arguing actual energy generated)

November 10, 2011, 02:44 PM
Yes, many folks neglect to consider the event duration when considering the resolution of recoil. After spending spent some time trying loads with the lowest pressures published, IMHO, slower powders result in a slight reduction in "kick" while delivering the same velocity to the payload.

Of course, with slower powders it typically takes more powder to achieve the desired velocity, and powder is sold by weight. It's no wonder that most commercial loads use faster burning powders.

A classic example of a lower kicking shell is the Federal paper target load. With its large capacity hull, slow burning powder, 2-piece wad and low pressure, it delivered a hard hitting load that was a pleasure to shoot. (they smell good, too)

November 10, 2011, 02:46 PM
for me it has absolutely nothing to do with recoil, age, illness, or whatever. The enjoyment of shooting a 20 as opposed to a 12 is what I'm all about. The guns are sleeker and more regal than their larger counterparts. The smaller ammo doesn't cost a dime more. Everything about the 20 is better, at least for me. Plus, I love dusting off my shooting buds with a sub-gauge gun. Oh, I'll still shoot my 12's, but not often... :rolleyes:

20 gauge Browning Citori White Lightning. The almost perfect Citori...


November 10, 2011, 02:58 PM
20 gauge Browning Citori White Lightning. The almost perfect Citori...

Don't you have a Superposed in 20? THAT would be the "ultimate" Browning in 20 gauge..........;)

November 10, 2011, 03:31 PM
Sure, I suppose a time element - for acceleration has an academic place in the discussion on recoil ...but I still maintain that a person can't really tell an incremental difference between the recoil of a slower burning powder vs a faster burning powder - so I'm not convinced they are incrementally different enough to make a difference in the calculation - or in felt recoil.

I know people do believe its a factor ....but I just don't buy into it.

While there is a big difference - based on the weight of the gun, the weight of the shot charge - and the velocity as best we can measure it / or take it from the reloading tables.

Many people grow up - being assured that a 20ga will inherently have less recoil than a 12ga....and it just is not necessarily true if you run the numbers. All the experts will tell you the effects of recoil are cumulative as well ...and in a tournament where you might fire 100 to 200 shells a day for 4 or 5 days in a row ...plus the mental concentration it takes to watch and shoot all those targets...I'm physically tired at the end of the week ...and shooting heavier, or hotter loads, or a lighter gun ...would make it way worse.

Dave McC
November 10, 2011, 08:08 PM
I'm a little skeptical about the slow powder thing, the difference is measured in microseconds and we're not geared for discerning that.

I could use the 20s here more, and may, but they're more bird guns than clays destroyers. I like my SKB, but a few years of heavy use would hurt it badly. And heavy use in that little 6 lb, 2 oz 870 would hurt me.

At the same time, I could get a long barreled 20 gauge O/U with choke tubes and do all of my clay stuff and most of my hunting.

And I may.....

November 11, 2011, 04:39 AM
I know skeet shooters who have put thousands of rounds through their 20 gauge skeet guns, and they're still ticking as well as any 12 bore. I'm sure you do too...

Dave McC
November 11, 2011, 03:11 PM
So do I, Slugo. The SKB 600 was made as a field gun, and since SKB is not making guns at the moment, parts and service are chancy. That's the only reason.

There's no reason,IMO, that a 20 gauge 686 for, instance, would break down sooner than a 12 gauge 686. Apples to apples.

November 11, 2011, 03:16 PM
And while that is absolutely true, skeeters will typically go for the 12 and sub tubes to keep the gun exactly the same - same trigger and stock fit, same balance point and swing dynamics, same weight and handling.

But I also see a lot of folks shooting sporting with a 20 -they aren't the serious competitor types - and since they use 20's for bird hunting, it makes sense from an ammo and logistics aspect. There aren't too many targets the 20 can't stay with

mr kablammo
November 11, 2011, 11:49 PM
Who can give us an informed opinion on the Browning A5 or Franchi AL48 in 20 ga? That is my 'someday' shotgun. The BPS in 20 ga usually gets compliments on the skeet range. It just looks and feels right.

Dave McC
November 12, 2011, 07:28 PM
I've hunted with folks with AL48s for 40 years, and they seem quite happy with them. Most have been 20s.

Fair amount of kick, they run less than 6 lbs, maybe less than 5.5.