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 Post subject: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Tue Nov 24, 2009 11:44 pm 
Field Grade

Joined: Thu Aug 07, 2003 2:16 am
Posts: 54
Location: oregon
I want to take my daughter duck hunting in a year or two after I discovered how much fun it was again. I was wondering if it would be better to get her a 20 gauge shotgun using 3 in. mag shells or a 12 gauge using 2 3/4 inch shells. I would want the shotgun to be effective without exessive recoil for her.




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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 12:12 am 
Presentation Grade
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Joined: Mon Jan 16, 2006 12:56 am
Posts: 539
Location: Virginia
Boy, that's a "loaded" question!

There are many factors involved. Some 20 ga guns have more perceived recoil than a 12 ga, so it really depends on what type of shotguns are involved, and how they may fit your daughter.

My 12 year old son is now goose hunting with me for the 3rd year. For the 1st year, he shot his Charles Daly 20 ga autoloader. I had filled the butt stock with some lead, and had a custom weight made for the fore end, and replaced the factory recoil pad with a Limbsaver. Together, these things really tamed the recoil of that little beast.

Last year, he hunted with his Charles Daly in inclimate weather, and used his Franchi O/U in nice weather.

This year, he's shooting my old Mossberg 500 with 3" shells.

The biggest factor has been for my boy to shoot what he's comfortable shooting, AND what I'm comfortable with him shooting. I don't want to deal with overcoming a flinch, so we stayed with "soft" recoiling 20's for a couple of years.

- Jimmy

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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Wed Nov 25, 2009 6:42 pm 
Presentation Grade
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Joined: Fri Nov 14, 2008 8:49 pm
Posts: 666
Location: Moncks Corner, SC
My son is very thin but had no problem shooting 3" 20 gauge Kent Fasteels in a 870 Youth Model starting when he was 12. The loads/gun are deadly too so she won't be giving up a thing to the short 12 gauge loads.


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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Sun Nov 29, 2009 8:57 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 12:31 pm
Posts: 1228
Location: 20" from my computer screen
Go with the 20 if there is any doubt about recoil. I hunted earlier this year with a 20...3" 1 oz of #3. Did not feel at that much of a disadvantage vs the 12.


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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:28 am 
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Buy her what ever fits, and start taking her to the range, use managed recoil loads, then start slipping in a "regular" load after about 4 or 5 trips and gauge her reaction. Did this with my daughter and she is now shooting 3" in her Silver Micro with a cut down stock with not one complaint.

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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 12:49 pm 
Shooting Instructor
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 8:11 am
Posts: 3998
Location: Manhattan Kansas
Light loads in a short stocked 20 gauge are the way to start a kid. Gradually introduce her to shooting clay targets. Girls and women often have gun fit issues and need a higher comb than on most youth guns.

For ducks over decoys a 20 gauge with steel shot is up to the task, but if you start her now on a 20 she may want a 12 in a year.

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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 7:31 pm 
Diamond Grade
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Joined: Mon Jul 11, 2005 6:15 am
Posts: 1307
Location: Western Minnesota
Beware of the assumption that any 20 gauge will automatically recoil less than your 12 gauge. My brother owned a youth model 20 gauge that kicked like a rabbid mule. :shock:

We adults invest a lot of time in finding a gun that fits us well, and has the ideal balance and sight picture, and we dress 'em up with special recoil pads and combs, etc. Felt recoil from our favorite 12 may be a lot less than from a given "youth model" 20 gauge. In particular watch out for those light, cheap single shot starter guns. I've owned a couple of them and I call them "shoulder breakers."

Take care to make sure the gun fits your daughter correctly. Find one that mounts and swings naturally for her. Then, take her to the range and make sure she's competent to hit clays with the gun, and feels good about shooting the gun generally. When in the field don't over-choke it the way adults tend to with their own guns. Your young shooter should exclusively be taking close range shots to start out with. IMHO, for a novice hunter you want a 70% pattern at 30 yards, instead of at 40 - unless you're willing to let her water swat, then the tighter the better for "turkey shooting" the sitting ducks in the head and neck. :wink:

Also, at 30 yards you don't need the big pellets we've learned to use at pass shooting distances. Just about any size pellet will kill ducks at that distance, which gives you the luxury of using a smaller shot size to deliver a denser pellet distribution and better chances of a clean kill with less choke than you'd normally use. Early season Blue Wing Teal are awesome for providing a youngster their first hunting success, but their vital cross section is less than half as big as a Mallard's. If 90 - 100 pellets in a 30" circle is required for clean kills on Mallards, you should have at least double that pellet hit count for BWTs.

Note: Kent just came out with some really nice 2 3/4" 20 gauge "Upland Fasteel" shells. At 1500 fps, the 7/8 oz load of #6 steel should perform quite well out to at least 30 yards and probably more - if you can find the shells!

If I had an unlimited budget my kids would have started out with 28 gauge 0/Us and Bismuth rounds for duck hunting. I did invest in some 28 gauge chamber inserts to let them shoot the little 2 dram 28 gauge target loads out of 12, 16 and 20 gauge guns. But even at 10 years old my petite daughter found the noise and recoil of 28 gauge target loads intimidating, and she has quit shotgunning for now. If I had it to do over again I'd have made her wait a year or two to start shooting anything heavier than her .22 rimfire (which she loves and is very accurate with).

Of course, her twin brother let nothing deter him and pretended not to feel any recoil even from loads I knew were a bit heavy for him. Now he's 13 and shoots a youth model Remington 870 in 20 gauge with a special recoil pad. Last time we shot clays together he beat me! For ducks this year he used 1 1/8 oz Hevi-Shot loads. Last year it was 1 oz 16 gauge Bismuths out of a classic single shot model. Between the two years he has taken about a dozen waterfowl and fired perhaps 20 rounds. Thus, it has been quite economical to shoot the denser shot types, which can put the sub-gauges on par with steel out of a 12.

These have been my experiences.



-Dave

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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 8:02 pm 
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I started out two daughters, and my buddy started one, all with Remington 1100 LT20 youth models. (Actually, mine were using my LT20 Magnum with a youth stock and a different barrel - same result.) The Kent tungsten matrix were effective in 2-3/4", and I assume the Remington HD and other newer stuff would be too. Get her to let them get close and it works. Person opinion is steel is not that effective until you get to 3" in a 20. Mine have moved on to "family" pursuits, but his still duck hunts, and she's a pretty fair shot.

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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Mon Nov 30, 2009 10:02 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2004 12:01 am
Posts: 1267
I would have to vote for the 20ga. My Dad started me out with a 28ga, of course that was more than a 1/2 a century ago before anyone ever heard of steel shot. My kids and grand kids started with that same 28 and then moved into a 20ga lwt 1100.


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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:41 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 3709
Location: BRANCHVILLE, s.c.
Reloading greatly improves your options. A 20 ga. with 7/8 oz. of most of the exotic types of nontoxic shot will kill ducks over decoys fine with much less recoil than a high velocity steel load. You might have trouble getting it to cycle in an auto., but light loads of these same nontoxic shot types will work fine in a 12 ga. also. Some, like Nice Shot, are as good or better than lead & some like ITX & bismuth are slightly less dense but still a big improvement over steel. Shooting lighter loads makes it more afordable. I think Hevishot Classic Doubles & some others are available in 20 ga.


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 Post subject: Re: 12 gauge or 20 gauge for young girl waterfowl hunting
PostPosted: Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:14 am 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 12:43 pm
Posts: 595
Location: Tennessee
Researcher wrote:
Beware of the assumption that any 20 gauge will automatically recoil less than your 12 gauge. My brother owned a youth model 20 gauge that kicked like a rabbid mule. :shock:

-Dave


I found this to be true the hard way. I'll also second everything else Dave said. Very good information.



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