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Old January 2, 2002, 01:02 PM   #1
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Join Date: January 2, 2002
Location: Tennessee
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20 ga. and My sanity

I recently purchased a Rem. 870 20ga. youth model. Im not a small guy but it was the most comfortable to shoulder and has a smaller bbl. 21" which doesnt seen as unwieldy. The persons I hunt with use 12's and feel that I wont be able to hit the broad side of a barn much less a squirrel at distance with this gun. I havent had the chance to hunt with it yet , but I have run a couple of boxes though it and its a joy to shoot.

So am I sane or will I run into problems with this gun down the road?

Thank you for you time.
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Old January 2, 2002, 03:15 PM   #2
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If the gun is comfortable and shoots where you look, then you will do just fine. A 20 gauge will run with a 12 for small game with the right load and choke at hunting distances. The squirrels will never know the difference.
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Old January 2, 2002, 04:19 PM   #3
Dave McC
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Some very good squirrel hunters use 20 gauges, and in the days when I did lots of squirreling, I brought in a messa bushytails with one.

My 12s get shot a lot, at lots of different things. Outside of waterfowl, turkey, and trap, I could do just as much with a 20.

You're sane, near as I can tell, and that little 20 will serve you very well for upland game and the range...
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Old January 2, 2002, 04:55 PM   #4
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I shoot a 20 gauge over/under that I bought for my wife when she showed some interest in shooting. She has since decided not to take the hobby up. For skeet and sporting clays I've not found the 20 to be a handicap.

The gun acquitted itself well on pheasants at a recent preserve hunt and again I noted no significant difference between its ability to knock the birds down from my 12.

As far as the short barrel is concerned, I wouldn't worry about that either. Get out and practice and if the gun fits it will serve you well.
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Old January 2, 2002, 05:36 PM   #5
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You're fine with a 20. Tell them I said they probably need a 3.5" 12 ga. if they're that bad a shot

They're just wasting lead with a 12 unless these are those seldom seen giant armored flying squirrels I've been told about. I used a .410 some on squirrels as a kid, but preferred a .22lr. Easier on the teeth.

I'd tell you the story about my father shooting 2 large turkeys, on the wing, with 2 shots of high-brass #6 from his Model 12 20ga. - but you wouldn't believe it True story. What a day.

Then there was the day three of them killed an irate black bear with number 6s at point blank range. My grandfather and uncle with 12 ga. guns(a Wingmaster and an old hammered double), and my dad with his 20.

You just don't get as many pellets in a 20 ga. shell as in a 12. But they are the same pellets and they're going just as fast.

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Old January 2, 2002, 06:26 PM   #6
Al Thompson
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RCG, the folks here are kidding you. Face it, the 870 in 20 Ga. is almost a blank gun for effectiveness. Please send me a $50.00 dollar bill and I'll meet you in Ashville to rid you of that useless shotgun. (I do have gas expenses)

I've killed many German Hares (think jackrabbits) with a 20 and it will roll'em if you hit'em. I've also had the pleasure of cleaning several deer killed with 20ga buckshot. Works fine IMHO!

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Old January 2, 2002, 10:48 PM   #7
Dave R
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The twenty will do it.

I carried a double 20 dove hunting this year. Ran into some Hungarian Partridge, which are somewhat equivalent to squirrel. Got one at 40 yards (witnessed). You will probably need to be a tad more accurate than they need to with their 12's, because you will not be throwing as many pellets, but you should do just as well if you aim well.
I am Pro-Rights (on gun issues).
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Old January 2, 2002, 11:24 PM   #8
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Thank you everyone for you input. I have every intention of showing my friend how its done.
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Old January 3, 2002, 12:06 AM   #9
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The 20ga is the best upland gauge there is. Why would anyone need a 12ga to hunt squirrel? I've got a 870 Youth like yours and it's perfect for rabbits, squirrels, quail, and pheasants. The short stock makes for a good fit when I'm wearing a heavy winter coat. Barrel length has got nothin' to do with how it patterns. Get yourself and full-choke, some 7/8oz #6 shells, and aim for the eye. -- Kernel
"You can shoot down every MiG the Soviets employ, but if you return to base and the lead Soviet tank commander is eating breakfast in your snack bar, Jack, you've lost the war."

— Anonymous A-10 Pilot, USAF
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Old January 5, 2002, 02:06 AM   #10
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I agree with everyone here. A few years ago, more than I'd like to admit, I was in the Air Force stationed in North Dakota. It was a duck hunter's paradise. Several of my buddies wanted me to take up the sport so I did. They all had 12's. I purchased a Ithica/SKB Model 900XL in 20 gauge. You'd have thought I committed the ultimate sin. Well, with 3 inch magnums in it, I got my limit (5) every day we went out. Much more consistant than my buddies and their superior 12's.

Now I have a Super Black Eagle in 12 gauge, and a Franchi O/U in 20 gauge. The Eagle is capable of taking anything you'd ever want to shoot with it. It's my "turkey gun". For everything else, I'll use the Franchi. It's such a pleasure to carry and shoot. It'll be my number one gun for everything from Pheasants to Bunnies.
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Old January 7, 2002, 09:42 PM   #11
Lethal Farce
Join Date: December 14, 2000
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All good advice RGCJR. But, the youth model is probably too small for you. Check out the fit, I bet your nose is riding up on the back of your hand. Pull length is pretty important for repeatable shotgun shooting. Plus that short barrel and light gun, lacks in swing weight. You will tend to stop your swing while firing and your target will be gone. That is if you are shooting moving targets. I think its a great gun, My 12 yr old shoots one well. But the only reason I have him shooting such a small gun are his limitations. I will put him into a heaver gun, when he can handle it. Also, like they all said 20 ga. is fine for all but high flyin ducks/geese .
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