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Old March 10, 2013, 11:46 AM   #1
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12 gauge, 20 gauge, or 28 gauge?

hey guys,
what is your opinion about the 28 gauge? ive heard that it is a great skeet shooting gun and i am considering getting into skeet shooting pretty seriously. ive been shooting just for fun for a while with an 870 12 and 20 gauge. if the price of shells wasn't a factor (due to reloading), do you think a 28 gauge would be a smart buy?
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Old March 10, 2013, 11:49 AM   #2
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Hulls, wads and even to a certain extent, wads which work well will be hard to find for 28 gauge.
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Old March 10, 2013, 12:53 PM   #3
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The trend seems to be light loads for 12 gauge that aren't all that much different in effect than the smaller gauges.
Especially factoring in the full sized weight of the 12s.
If you're reloading, check the reloading data for the 12 or the 20 that might duplicate the 28.
Not to discourage you from buying another gun, of course.
Walt Kelly, alias Pogo, sez:
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Old March 10, 2013, 04:38 PM   #4
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I love the 28 gauge, but it is no where near as flexible as a 12 or even a 20. For Skeet, doves, quail, farm pheasants and chuckar, it's great. The joy of a 28 to me is the guns. Unless you get a clunker, they are nice and responsive. Even the 28 gauge 1100 and 870 are fun. But, as noted you do need to reload. Hulls and wads are light, so ordering them thru the mail is no big issue. Heck, unless you live near a really big reloading supply joint, it's hard to find exactly what you want for a 12 or a 20 these days.
A svelt 28 SxS is the berries.
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Old March 10, 2013, 05:51 PM   #5
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Barnettamb, if you're really "considering getting into skeet pretty seriously," then a stand alone 28-ga is not for you, nor a "smart buy." While a light 28-ga is a joy to shoot if you have to hump it all day while pursuing game birds, for Skeet it's way too light. For serious Skeet you'll want the stability and smooth swing from a tubed O/U, and a smooth swing is a prerequisite for high scores. It's been 30+ years since I've seen a stick (pump or auto) gun used in competitive 28-ga or .410-bore events.

There's also the question of ammo. Many skeeters reload their 28-ga hulls until there's almost nothing left to crimp. Nasty looking loads that will work in an O/U will jamb in pumps or autos. (In my last 28-ga NSSA event, I shot a 100-straight with far from new hulls.) In competition there are a limited number of do-overs, and no one wants to lose an event because of jambs in a stick gun.

Last edited by zippy13; March 10, 2013 at 10:53 PM. Reason: kan't spell for ship
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Old March 10, 2013, 05:54 PM   #6
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As much as I like the 28ga, I skipped over it as I have a couple 20 ga guns. It is easy to load 3/4 oz loads in a 20 and the hulls are much more available for free.

If you want some fun, pick up a .410 bore. You will have to reload, but they are great fun to shoot.
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Old March 10, 2013, 08:15 PM   #7
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thanks for the replies. they were very helpful. ive been thinking about getting a new 870 wingmaster. or a franchi. they are both good looking guns
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:56 PM   #8
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I like the 28ga a lot...and for casual shooting, sure a stand alone 28ga could be a nice gun. But like you said, shells are expensive...

For serious our friend Zippy, no makes more sense to invest in a good gun, with a full tube set - and not stand alone guns in each gague.

But shooting for fun is a whole different thing - than shooting competition...and if you really just want to shoot 3/4 oz loads, then just reload a 3/4 oz shell in a 12ga or a 20ga ...( there are lots of new recipes out there ...for guys looking to save some money on shot ) - companies like claybuster have developed a number of new wads for 3/4 oz loads.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:17 PM   #9
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I agree that a stand-alone 28 gauge is probably not a good idea as anybody's only gun. This is just my opinion--if an adult does not own a shotgun already, they seriously need to get a 12, 16, or 20 gauge. For example, you may think that the only thing you'll ever do is shoot skeet, but hobbies and interests change as people go along in life. Who knows--your buddy may get you hooked on turkey hunting in the future, for example. If you have a bigger gauge shotgun, you'll be ready to go. After you have acquired a good all-around utility gun that can be used for lots of different things, then you can branch out and buy different ones.
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:18 PM   #10
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Remember --- we're all shotgun guys ....none of us are going to tell you not to buy another shotgun.

I do have stand alone guns in 12ga, 20ga, 28ga and .410 ...( so I'm sure not telling you not to )....

From the top - in photo - my 12ga, then 20ga, 28ga and .410...

These are my primary target guns...all Browning Citori, XS skeet model O/U's all 30" barrels ( and the 20ga, 28ga and .410's were all built by Browning on the 20ga receiver ) so the 20ga, 28ga and .410 are virtually identical. Its fun to have guns in different gagues...and I've used the 28ga for some quail hunting, etc in the field - as well as for Skeet and Sporting clays...

reloading components for 28ga in my area ...are easy to find .../ the hulls are not as strong as the 12ga and 20ga versions...but that's a different issue. I'd probably recommend you stay with Win hulls if you want to load 28ga ( Rem STS hulls - tend to crack at the brass cup ...and then stick in the barrel ) ...while they're ok on an O/U , I'd sure never shoot them in a pump gun or a semi-auto 28ga.

Last edited by BigJimP; March 11, 2013 at 05:26 PM.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:15 PM   #11
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Nothing wrong with owning a 28ga gun. If your looking for something that is just fun to shoot or hunt with, they're great.
I have one for hunting and one for shooting clays. It's more the gun than the than the guage.
There is considerably cost if your not reloading for them.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:34 PM   #12
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You will end up with a 12, so start with it.
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Old March 11, 2013, 08:54 PM   #13
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As for small game i love the 28ga. ammo is no problem both gunshops , wal-mart and rual king have plenty of it . and is no more expensive than 12 or20 ga . in the same shot size . The 870 is a joy to carry all day .
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Old March 11, 2013, 10:53 PM   #14
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12 gauge

I just got a stroeger m3500 and I'm looking foward to taking it skeet shooting next week. I bought #8 1 oz birdshot for it. I know the recommend load is 3 dram but I read it you don't put the recoil reducer in it the light loads will be good.
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Old March 11, 2013, 11:12 PM   #15
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I wouldn't buy a 28 unless you reload, ammo is too expensive compared to 12/20.
There is no such thing as a stupid question, only stupid people.
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Old March 13, 2013, 12:15 AM   #16
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would make it a point to buy a 28 and a 410.
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Old March 16, 2013, 04:13 PM   #17
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The 28 gauge is a great bore size for fun shooting, subgauge sporting clays, 28 gauge skeet competition, and upland bird hunting. Upland and fun are best done with a gun scaled to size, whereas the sporting and skeet shooting is best done with a gun on a 20 gauge or heavier frame.

Ammo IS expensive, so reloading is a must unless you have the money, or you are planning on shooting maybe a flat per year.
Components are readily available everywhere on the internet, from light target loads to 1oz heavy hunting loads.
Personally, a Remington 1100 in 28 is about the ideal gun to introduce new shooters - it is heavy enough to minimize recoil, and it has 50% more pellets to ensure success (and fun) shooting targets.

As to stand alone and only, that all depends on you and your needs/wants. I shoot clays with a gent who ONLY shoots 28 gauge guns (he has several) - they are used for clay targets on skeet, five stand, and sporting clays as well as his forays after quail - he has no need for anything else
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Old March 16, 2013, 04:21 PM   #18
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Last edited by BigD_in_FL; March 16, 2013 at 04:22 PM. Reason: dupe post
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Old March 17, 2013, 10:32 PM   #19
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Ammo isn't horribly expensive for a 28ga. For target loads I end up paying about $9 a box, compared to $6-7 for 12/20. Still cheaper than the $12-15 for my .410.
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