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Old June 6, 2005, 05:46 PM   #1
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20 gauge or 12

Hi everyone,

Im just getting into the shotgun sports, trap and 5 stand. I also plan to do some bird hunting.

I am leaning toward getting a 20 gauge o/u for this, for no other reason than I like the idea of the 20 gauge. ( I also like fishing with 3 and 4 weight flyrods for you flyfishing types)

Is there any reason why I should get a 12 gauge and leave the 20 for later?

Thanks for the input.
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Old June 6, 2005, 05:48 PM   #2
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Heres my reasoning for getting a 12 guage:

1) having universal ammo.. I have a bit of a budget when it comes to ammo, and I prefer not to have several guns for the same job

2) the other uses that a 12 guage will have

Now, if you had only a 20 guage, I would say go for it

If I had the extra money to blow on another shotgun(a good one) and could spare the ammo cost, I wouldn't mind a 20.

Part of it is personal preference.. and shooting clays it won't really matter..
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Old June 6, 2005, 06:00 PM   #3
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The 12 ga. is more versatile in that you can run light loads that are about the same as 20ga loads through it, but you can also run full-power 12ga. loads through it.

Most competitors shoot 12's so they can have more lead in their patterns than a 20 would allow. Most hunters use a 12 for the same reason.

The 20 ga, on the other hand, should be lighter. If you are hunting upland burds, where you'll be walking long distances, you may enjoy the lighter weight. But some 20's are the same weight as 12's, so you gain nothing. If you get a 20, watch the weight.
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Old June 6, 2005, 06:05 PM   #4
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Just get a 28 gauge and be done with it.

Actually the 12ga will be much more versatile, going from 7/8oz loads equal to a 20ga, to full blown power hunting shells. If weight matters a lot to you go with a 20ga light framed gun, recoil will be more than a heavier 12ga more than likely. about the 28gauge...
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Old June 6, 2005, 06:24 PM   #5
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For Skeet a 20 guage will work fine, for Trap and probably Sporting Clays a 12 guage is simply a better choice. It is not that a 20 won't break birds on Trap or Clays, it is that you are somewhat handicapping yourself. When you get back to the 27 yard line you will be happy for every peice of shot you can stuff into a shell.
I love the 20 and especially the 28 guage, but for Trap especially, I never use anything other than a 12 guage. Go to the clubs and see what most are shooting,, it most likely will be a 12 guage for all the clay shooting. (other than those of us that like to shoot 28 and 410 in skeet)
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Old June 6, 2005, 06:41 PM   #6
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I would watch the weight on the 20 if I were you. Some of the lighter 20's kick more than some ofthe 12's out there. I bought my wife an 870 in 20 ga figuring the lighter gun and the smaller loads were more suited to her. Boy was I wrong.
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Old June 6, 2005, 09:13 PM   #7
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Did someone mention the 28 ga.?

I learned on a 12 ga. More versatile as others have said. More payload if need for Trap, some 5 stand, and Sporting clays.

I have taught using and recommended a LOT of folks get a 1100 in 20 , one of the best kept secrets. Beretta had the 303 , they still have the 1100s, The Berettas in 390/ 301 work too.

Me, hey I believe in collecting the whole set. Understand this is from a guy that used the 28 ga to fell ducks/ geese [ I'm old , we used to use lead shot legally], Skeet,5 stand, Sporting clays. Sometimes the Trap guys would let a heathen skeeter play trap.

My old pard used a Beretta 303 and shot a 100 straight in Trap. Me, I went to check out the cute blonde who needed skeet lessons...I did run 48/50 with 28 ga first shooting that day some trap...before my services were needed on another field. Yeah well just being a typical Southern Gent I was.

Yep a fella can run a 100 in Trap with a 28 ga. Some of the fellas set up 28 ga for Trap only dealie. Detached retinas, back, shoulder and such concerns. These fellas did not call me a heathen skeet shooter ( I had other names tho)

Kinda neat to have us 4 guys run straights with the 28 ga. The 78 y/o fella "Okay all we needs now is some quail to bust, we be ready boys".
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Old June 6, 2005, 09:30 PM   #8
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I would say get a heavy 12 gauge first, or an autoloader like the Beretta 390/391 or an 1100. Shoot the SNOT out of it, burn up your wallet and then some. Being a heavy 12 it won't beat you up, ammo is cheap, and you have enough pellets to hit some of the targets right away. As you learn and progress you can tighten the choke and refine your shooting, a tight choke in a 12 will let you read the target break, by that I mean you can see which way the pieces of the target are thrown and know if you were a hair behind, forward, low or high. That information will let you HAMMER targets, and grind them into dust. When you can hit most anything presented with the 12 a 20 won't be a handicap at all.

I am a BIG fan of the 20, and use mine for just about everything you can do with a shotgun except waterfowl hunting. If I could affort Hevi Shot or something like it I might give up 12 all together. Being a poor working stiff I still shoot steel on waterfowl, for that I use a 3.5" 12 ga and it works very well but I would trade it for a 20 with lead shot in a heartbeat.
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Old June 7, 2005, 07:33 AM   #9
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Analogous to the pistol caliber debates, I've heard it said about shotgun that "It's not how much lead you put up there, but where you put it!".
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Old June 17, 2005, 02:36 PM   #10
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If you are comptent at the sport you wont have any problem hitting with a 20ga. I do better with my 20ga guns than I do with my 12ga guns. Even in trap with a full choke it wont matter that much. IMO trap is much easier because you put the bead over the bird and BOOM.
Mental prep for skeet
1 Look for the Bird
2 Gun speed to target speed
3 Head on the gun
4 Follow Through
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Old June 17, 2005, 03:25 PM   #11
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Im just getting into the shotgun sports, trap and 5 stand...

Is there any reason why I should get a 12 gauge and leave the 20 for later?
As far as your strict question as stated above, you are gonna' miss more clay's with the 20 than the 12 - that's a gimme'...
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