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Old April 27, 2024, 12:39 PM   #1
ligonierbill
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Old vs New 16s

I got these two out for the first time this week. Top is a 1924 vintage Parker "Trojan", below is a new CZ Sharptail, both 16 gauge. The CZ is heavier (feel, did not weigh them), has about an inch longer pull, and the barrels are set a little further apart. It is IC/Mod vs the Parker's Mod/Full. I was shooting RST 2 1/2" 7/8 oz #7 1/2 labeled 1,125 fps, light load in deference to the pre-1926 Parker. As you would expect, the new CZ feels a little chunky in comparison, but I really didn't notice it shouldering and firing at clay birds. Both pointed naturally and smoked birds. Should note that I was running a Champion Whirlybird for the first time, and it really sends those clays. So these weren't gimmes.

I do love those old doubles, but I was really pleased with the CZ. Guess which one cost less!
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Old April 27, 2024, 05:08 PM   #2
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16 ga

My Dad was a 16 ga man, and I've always had a soft spot for the shell. I own only one shotgun so chambered, a blue collar early 311A apparently built just after WWII.

I'm guessing the CZ is far cheaper than the Parker like by about 3X!
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Old April 27, 2024, 05:18 PM   #3
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i started off with a savage stevens 20 once barrel; it out shot anything i have had sense. now have 12's but have never owned a 16 the idea of one ounce per ball seems like a good size just never owned one. the winchester 1200 pump seems like a good shooter and is smooth enough if you hold on to it. don't want any 12 gage to get a run at you...
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Old April 27, 2024, 05:54 PM   #4
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I'd like a 16g Double someday to go along with my Ithaca 37 Ultralight.
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Old April 28, 2024, 11:37 AM   #5
The Verminator
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I started off as a child with a 1894 Remington 16 Gauge double.

Incredible gun that killed a lot of ruffed grouse on the wing because it pointed so naturally and balanced so well.......even for a kid.

It's the one outstanding gun from my childhood that I wish I could have now.

Memories.
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Old April 29, 2024, 09:34 PM   #6
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I live in an area of California where a lot of Danes settled and farm. The 16 gauge is quite popular with them and they all chorus at me “kills like a 12 but kicks like a 20”. I’ve always found it humorous. My first shotgun was a Winchester model 12 in 16 gauge.
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Old May 27, 2024, 01:10 PM   #7
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old double

I traveled to PA this spring for Mothers Day and to hunt spring gobblers later (honest Mom). My brother in law, a real serious shotgun guy, produced a vintage double for me to hunt with, despite the fact that I had dedicated turkey guns along.

Mike's old gun was a 12 gauge 30" SXS Hunter Arms "Fulton". Despite it's length, the old gun pointed and balanced well and was considerably more slender and svelte than any Savage 311 and a lot of affordable import SXS's as well. It locked up like the proverbial bank vault. I hunted it one morning, a load of 1-1/4 oz of #5 in the left barrel, a similar load of #7-1/2 in the right. Mike said the old gun was choked M/F, but I read that a lot of the Hunters, especially the 30" guns, were choked F/F. I honestly wouldn't mind of having one, and would indeed hunt gobblers with it, albeit I'd want a shorter version and choked M/F for sure.

I'll admit talking to the old gun the single morning I took it to the mountains. I wish it could have talked back. How many fences had it crossed, how much game had it taken. What would that look like if piled in one place? The ground was so rough and rock strewn I was scared to death I would fall and break the stock or forearm and returned the gun to Mike after one hunt. The weather was wet and miserable for the most part as well. But the single morning it went to the woods, a gobbler sounded off many times nearby, the first the Hunter had likely heard in many years!
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Old May 27, 2024, 03:35 PM   #8
ligonierbill
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Named, of course, for the hometown of Hunter Arms, the Fulton was their affordable box lock gun. My Dad always carried a Fulton 16 gauge, and I shot my first squirrel with that gun. My brother has it now, but I recently acquired a 12 gauge, 28" barrel, M/F Fulton. They are not rare, and can be found for (sometimes) reasonable cost. Good guns. In addition to the famous L. C. Smith, Hunter Arms also made a limited number of "Hunter Special" guns. These were box lock, but had the rotary bolt lockup of the Elsies. Basically, if it says "Hunter Arms" it's a good gun.
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Old May 28, 2024, 02:33 AM   #9
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CZ is a 12 ga frame, and 12 ga spacing.
Parker was built to be a 16 ga.

Makes a big difference.
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Old May 29, 2024, 11:47 AM   #10
ligonierbill
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It does. The CZ works for me, but you can't touch the elegance of those old guns without spending a lot of money. A different time.
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Old May 29, 2024, 09:06 PM   #11
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I had a ~1912 WW Greener 20 ga for a couple weeks.
Absolutely the best-handling, best-fitting shotgun I've ever put my hands on.
Modern doubles just don't get scaled and fitted like they did 100+ years ago.
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Old May 29, 2024, 11:18 PM   #12
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The 16s built on the 20 frame would be a much more practical gun than a 16 built on a 12 frame. The difference between 16 and 20 is very small but the power difference is considerable if you look at the velocity the 16s deliver with the same shot like 1 1/8 or 1 1/4 loads where 20s really get slowed down compared with 12s. The drawback of the 16s seems to be in the limited availability and cost of ammo. They never got the 3 inch stretch like the 12s, 20s and 410s. I think guys selecting a youth gun for their kids preferred the recoil of a 3/4 oz 20 to the 1 oz 16 and the power and ammo selection advantage has favored 12 which goes down to 1 oz and up to 2 oz with 3 inch loads. Once the 3 inch 20 came on the market it more or less bridges the performance gap between 1 oz 20 and 1 1/4 oz 12 but those of us who have used both know the 12 hits harder and patterns better. The 16 is the perfect between choice to fill a gap that really hasn't existed since the 3 inch 20 came out. When you have a 12 and a 20 you really don't need a 16. The 20s offer good dove and qual performance while the 12s have the advantage for waterfowl. I think when you have and shoot a 16, you just want to shoot something different.
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Old May 30, 2024, 10:32 AM   #13
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16's

Seems I read somewhere that the drop in popularity of the 16ga had something to do with clay bird shooting. Not being a trap/skeet guy, I can't say for sure, something about classes/divisions.......I dunno, but I bet someone does. As a hunting shell, the 16 is as good as it ever was for general small game and wing shooting.

I bought a Savage 311A off a fella at church a while back, his grandad's gun, much carried and shot. (I'd never sell a family gun, but some folks do). Not being a wing or small game hunter, I thought I might try to take a gobbler with it. At 26" and choked M/IC it's not really a turkey gun. I was hopeful some older 2-3/4" short mags with 1-1/4 oz of shot might pattern well from the modified barrel........they did not. Even the 1-1/8 oz field loads were pretty thin. Tightest patterns from the Mod barrel were 1 oz of 7-1/2's, a game load, at a modest velocity. The IC barrel was.....shall we say........very forgiving. The old Savage would be a splendid "bird" gun, and around here, that means quail, and that's exactly how it was employed before ending up in my safe.

At that point, I had enough money sunk into patterning assorted 16ga loads with the old double that I admitted that there was little point trying to turn the old gun into something it was not. What I did find a fair amount of while searching about for 16 ga loads was buckshot, ...5rd packs of Federal #1B. They turned up in a number of places and I always bought some, just because. I have a feeling that the dog/hog and dog/deer hunters may still shoot a bit of 16ga.

For me the Savage will rest in the safe 'till I get an invite to a dove or quail hunt.
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Old May 30, 2024, 11:18 AM   #14
Jim Watson
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There is no division in any of the clay pigeon sports for 16 gauge. It would be in with the 12s. Which is not a disadvantage at US Skeet, there are people who shoot their 20 in the 12 ga race.
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Old May 30, 2024, 05:07 PM   #15
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maybe

Maybe that was it, as there is "no division" for 16 gauge, one must shoot with the 12's? Theoretically, wouldn't a 12, with it's larger bore, pattern more evenly with a specified shot charge? Dunno
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Old May 30, 2024, 09:27 PM   #16
rc
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When shooting clay birds, the 12 had the definite advantage for trap but 20s keep right up with 12s for skeet. I've seen guys shoot excellent scores at skeet with 410s but those are real experts.
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Old May 31, 2024, 09:41 AM   #17
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Opinion: the 3" Magnum 20 gauge was a blow to 16 gauge."Hits like a 12 and it IS a 20."

My usual 20 gauge pheasant load is 3" shell, 1 1/4 oz of #5 lead at 1220 to 1330 fps. Exactly the same as my 12 gauge pheasant load, except in a 2 3/4" shell.

My Bobwhite G2 20 gauge weighs 6 3/4 pounds. For a 12 gauge, that would be a reasonably trim side-by-side.

But a nice old 16 gauge doesn't have choke tubes.
The barrels are not thick and flared at the bore for threading. They are not extra strong for steel shot, and not designed to throw howitzer payloads down-range.

An ounce of shot will work just fine for the prince of the prairie or king of the north woods.

You can still get beautiful Italian semi-custom side by sides in 16 gauge for under $2,000. Nice ones. Fixed choke, and don't be shooting cannon shells in them, and they are lively and light. Not so light they beat up your shoulder.

As for screw in chokes... open/IC for your grouse gun and IC/Mod for your pheasant gun. What sort of fella only owns one shotgun these days???

To me, there is some magic about an Ithaca Model 37 16 gauge. The balance, weight, swing, and feel in the hands is perfection for me. And you can buy them for less than four bags of dog food, if you keep your eyes open. An ounce load works pretty darned good on everything.
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Old June 4, 2024, 03:38 PM   #18
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I never really understood the allure of the 16 gauge until I bought my Remington Model 11. Handling it side-by-side with my dad's Savage 720 12 gauge (same Browning Auto 5 design), my 16 gauge was noticeably lighter and more "lively" for lack of a better term.
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Old June 4, 2024, 09:48 PM   #19
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My favorite pheasant gun is a century+ old LC Smith 16 gauge. When I got this one, I decided it was time to start loading shotgun shells because the options for factory ammo are just so limited. I shoot 7/8th ounce of #6, in deference to the age of this old LC. It turns out that the light load kills way out of proportion for what you would normally expect.
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