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 Post subject: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:42 pm 
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I had planned on setting up a semi-auto 20 (most likely 11-87) for a friend as a HD primary. Originally I thought (usually where I get into the most trouble!) the lighter frame would be easier and more enjoyable for his spousal unit to shoot. Thus they would both shoot more and become more proficient and confident. After some consideration, I am left wondering wether the lighter frame would be less helpful as it would add to the perceived recoil. I think the last 20 I shot was the H&R I cut down for a friend in high school. (It was all legal fellas). So I'm out in the wind here. Do I need heavy magnum shells for the 20 to be effective for HD? If so, how does the recoil compare to a reduced recoil HD load for the 12? Where can I look at ballistics for the 20? Overall, what would be the advantages of going with the 20 built on a lighter frame vs. the standard 12, and what would be the disadvantages?

Thanks,

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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:55 pm 
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It has been done and with success according to some on here. My advice would be to stick with the 12 simply because you can get lighter loads and all for the spouse and still have all the versatility of the 12 guage platform.

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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 9:47 pm 
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I looked into this awhile back and decided against it. I'm sure you know all this already, but I'll say it anyway. For perceived recoil a semi auto 12g has less than a pump 12g of equal weight because of the action. If the 20g is built on the same frame as the 12g it will have less felt recoil as well, same weight less load. But a lighter framed 20 may have the same felt recoil as the heavier 12g in the same model, less load but less weight as well.

I chose against it for my wife as I run a 12gauge and didn't want any confusion in ammo. Plus she doesn't want anything to do with either, she would rather operate a handgun. Don't worry I'll get her into it eventually.

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 Post subject: Re: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:45 pm 
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Jamas wrote:
....she would rather operate a handgun. Don't worry I'll get her into it eventually.


Funny thing, mine was just the opposite! My wife didn't care for handguns in the the house, rifles and shotguns were okay....until we had a forced entry while we were in the house asleep upstairs.

After that she wanted something that she could get to quick in case she couldn't make it to the SG. Gotta love 'em! :wink:

Mike :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sat Mar 15, 2008 10:56 pm 
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If I was going for a home defense shotgun, Id go with a mossy 500 pistol grip. Small, loud, and big.

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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 11:27 am 
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Gator:

You've seen what I did for the wife re: semi-auto shotguns, right? I'd go with a 12G, period, for all the reasons that Jamas stated above.

Now my normal inclination would be to tell you to go with an 1100 or 11-87, but after playing with a Mossy 9200 (? very similar to the 930) in Gander the other day:

Have your pal get her a 930 Home Security, and throw on the Choate extension.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd have done that for mywife (and may end up doing it for me). :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 4:22 pm 
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Thanks for the input guys. I'll plug all of this into my brain housing group and figure something out soon. If anybody down here has tried this, I'd really like to hear about what your findings were.

mountainman01 wrote:
If I was going for a home defense shotgun, Id go with a mossy 500 pistol grip. Small, loud, and big.


Seriously, I like big and loud just as much as anybody, but we're trying to go the other way on this one. Refer to my original post for clarification.

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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:07 pm 
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I would also realistically evaluate HER role in this. If she won't go shoot it anyway, then just build a gun for him. I'm not saying she won't, but you would be better off talking to her to find out HER opinions are and where SHE sees herself in regards to protecting the domicile.

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 Post subject: Re: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 5:16 pm 
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mountainman01 wrote:
If I was going for a home defense shotgun, Id go with a mossy 500 pisto1 grip. Small, loud, and big.

Not to mention hard to aim and difficult to control.
Not sure how loud plays into anything, and saying it is small and big seems to be contradictory.

As for the idea of the 20g, it beats a sharp stick or absolutely nothing. But a small 12 gauge with Fed Tac or other reduced recoil rounds will do much better. Trust me.
If you want to manage weight, like FMD said that 930 would be hard to beat. The SPX is silly light and still able to put 72 00 downrange in about 2 seconds without beating the crap out of you.
With the 20, you're going to end having to horse up the shells therby negating whatever perceived recoil reduction you might expect due to the heavier load and lighter frame.

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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:36 pm 
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pistol grip = Hollywood

pistol grip as part of a grip/stock ie. Speedfeed IV-S

that gets my vote for the best of both worlds...

echo above... go for the 12... and someday that 930 is gonna follow me home from Dick's

:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:59 pm 
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870pilot wrote:
...that 930 is gonna follow me home from Dick's...


:shock:

What's next; Dogs and cats living together?


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 Post subject: Re: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:44 pm 
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FMD wrote:
What's next; Dogs and cats living together?


That's already happened. I got a cat that thinks our chiuahuas are self-propelled cat toys. :lol:

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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 6:47 am 
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FMD...

i know, bro... look at my av'tar... all green... and am considering Mossy blue. it's all good, i am green to the core but i see some cyan in my future. it's a righteous ride for the money.

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 Post subject: Re: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2008 7:05 am 
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soonerpgh wrote:
FMD wrote:
What's next; Dogs and cats living together?


That's already happened. I got a cat that thinks our chiuahuas are self-propelled cat toys. :lol:


Bah, you should see my Rottweiler getting his but kicked by the local Tom...

What I was referring to (start watching at 2:00):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w91-GMc3j7I


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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:13 am 
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Anyone who thinks that the 20 gauge is wimpy simply has not seen what a 20 gauge slug (or 0 buck) can do to a target. You do not have to go to a 3" mag for the 20 to be effective. #4, #1 or 0 buck will get the job done out of a regular length chamber. The 3" mag loads are for hunters who want a lightweight gun for carry and near 12 gauge performance when they get there. I have a 20 gauge Ithaca Auto-Burglar Gun (all legal). It is a 20 gauge double, factory built with pistol grip stock. The pistol grip is for the birds (or Hollywood) IMHO, but the 20 gauge is no slouch at putting out lead.
If I was to have a bad shoulder or hand, I would not feel under armed (no pun) if I were to have a 20 gauge repeater for defense.
I have a couple of 20 gauge hunting guns, a Browning SXS, a Remington 1100, and an 870. All are very effective with buck or slugs. On the 1100 I have mounted the removable rifle sights on the vent rib, and it is very accurate, better in fact than my 12 gauge smoothbores with slugs. Recoil is substantially less than with a 12. In short, don't sell the 20 gauge short(pun intended).

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 Post subject: Re: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:40 am 
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Jack2427 wrote:
I would not feel under armed (no pun) if I were to have a 20 gauge repeater for defense. ... In short, don't sell the 20 gauge short(pun intended).


Jack,

I don't think many of us are "selling the 20 short", rather we're just saying that there are options out there for the 12 that 1) aren't offered in a 20 gun-wise, and 2) with modern, low-recoil "tactical" ammo loadings in 12G, the difference between 12 and 20 recoil has shrunk considerably. Those two would add up to make a 12G a better choice all around.


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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:10 am 
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+1

my last hunk of advice to a 20 ga owner was trade it in for a 12, not based totally on ballistics, but like FMD typed, options to tailor the payload to the need.

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 Post subject: re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:42 am 
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I used my wife as an excuse to pick up a Rem870 Jr. in 20 gauge. My 12 gauge with 28" barrel was just too long and heavy for her to handle properly. The 20 ga 870 jr is MUCH shorter, much lighter, (it DOES have a smaller frame), and much easier for her to mount and hold properly. I don't think the 20 ga. makes much difference in actual recoil force generated. But, if a 12 ga is too long and heavy to hold properly, and you CAN mount and hold a 20 ga properly, the ability to have the proper stance/mount with the lighter gun should make the same recoil force much more tolerable.

So, anyway, I think there is ample justification for using a 20 ga. for home defense. Unfortunately, I still can't get my wife interested in the shotgun. In an emergency I'm sure she would pick up the .38 revolver before she reached for the 20 ga. Whick is okay. She's a pretty decent shot with it.

I don't believe for a second that even light loads in a 20 ga shotgun aren't plenty stout and powerful enough for short range home defense use. A standard 2 3/4" load of #3 buck is over an ounce of .25 cal lead pellets at 1200 fps. That's slightly more lead and the same velocity as the 12 ga. managed recoil 00 shells that are so popular around here. If you can't defend your home, with authority, using a 20 ga., then a 10 gauge isn't going to serve you any better.

Even though I can't get my wife interested in becoming familiar with the little 20 ga., I have grown particularly attached to it. It can't keep up with the 12 ga. if shooting foster slugs or hunting waterfowl, turkeys, or coyotes at long range. But for nearly everything else, the little 20 has all the same power as the 12 ga. in a shorter, lighter, more convenient package.

If I had ONLY one shotgun that had to do everything, you can bet it would be a 12 gauge. But for 75% of my needs, including home defense, the little 20 can do everything the 12 can do.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:18 pm 
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Parden my "first post" here going long-winded, but I have been following the board and enjoy reading (and learning). I have a little 20 gauge Mossy tactical for HD and love it, so I thought I should post on my experience with it. I have shot 12 gauge many times, but grew up shooting with my other little 20 mossberg 500 given to me when I was 12 for hunting rabbits and birds, (I have dropped pheasants while the guys with 12's missed a few), so when it came time to pick a gun for the HD "house gun" I went with the Mossberg 50145 20 Gauge.

For HD use, I love the little 50145 with a mounted light. We have been practicing and patterning with all kinds of different rounds to see what they do at different ranges that would be typical in the house, plus shooting some slugs which hit their mark easily at 50 yds. Although slugs at 50 yds does not typically come into play in a HD scenario, but perhaps for a stand off or defending the house situation. But it was sure "eye-opening" to see what the pattern does at different distances.

Things I notice about it and some of my comments are...
(the point in the general direction theory should not apply in HD...A gun needs to be aimed and at close ranges the pattern is tight
You are still responsible for the pellets that miss the target and go beyond to potentially injure others
Try different ammo, there is a difference in pattern spread
Ammo is not as available as in 12 gauge, but there are some good choices
The gun is lighter and very easy to swing on target
Less flash / less noise /less recoil = less disorientation in a closed inside the house situation
Its a lot of fun to shoot and practice with at the range.
my wife (and boys) are not afraid to shoot it and in fact she loves it
I realize 12 gauge has more stopping power, but since when is the equivalent of 2 .44 mags not enough? I read an article on Chuckhawks that made me feel pretty comfortable with my own choice (it references Massab Ayoob recommendations, shown below).

I specifically recommend the 20 gauge for women and recoil-sensitive men who dislike the blast and recoil of the 12 gauge. "Delivering roughly the ballistic force of two .44 Magnum rounds at once," comments the knowledgeable Ayoob, the 20 "delivers 75% of the lead for only 50-60% of the recoil". Many police departments have found their officers shoot much more accurately in realistic training exercises with the lighter-kicking but still potent 20 gauge.

I would add, that it is all about what you feel comfortable with and personally for me that little gun just feels like an extension of me. Most would probably love and feel comfortable with their 12 gauges, but the 20 is not underpowered. (Even though my brother teases me about it needing a pink stock). Real men aren't worried about having a 20 gauge :)

I guess I am not so concerned with 12 vs 20...the main thing is that you have something and you practice with it. It needs to be stored where you can get to it, but obviously away from where kids can find it. And a security system that beeps to warn you of someone poking around outside the house is a good idea to eliminate the "late night surprise wake up factor" before they ever come in.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge for Home Defense
PostPosted: Sat Feb 26, 2011 10:54 am 
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My 20 gauge 1187 shoots like a charm with buckshot. The semi-action auto takes the pain out of shooting. Haven't yet made the decision to cut down the barrel, but it will probably happen. Or i may just shoot slugs out of the slug barrel. At household distances, slugs pattern about the same as buck--hit your target or accept second-place winner status.

boxoftruth.com has an example of poor performance from a 20 gauge slug, but different brands of slug have different hardnesses. A rifled barrel shotgun is made for sabot slugs. I need to experiment a little with this.

Both the 1187 and the sabot slugs are pricey, but at least you are paying for quality in both.

Incidently, one of my reasons for looking at 20 gauge is for multiple assailants, based on an example of somebody I heard about who was attacked in his house by 3 masked men, alcohol powered, with machetes. Think of 3 quick accurate shoots, one for each assailant, just for starters. Will a 12 gauge do it? You betcha. But a 20 gauge auto might do it just a tad quicker.



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