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 Post subject: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / gauge
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:02 pm 
Utility Grade

Joined: Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:08 pm
Posts: 1
I have seen a number of articles lately that seem to indicate a resurgence in popularity for 20 gauge guns for all kinds of uses. I have seen things on 20 gauge with appropriate loads as being go to guns for ducks, deer and turkey and not just upland game over dogs.

Now, I am not much more than a novice shotgunner, and I would say that I aspire to be a hunter more than I actually hunt. However, I have a Remington model 17 that was a graduation gift (fully restored with new wood, reblued, and screw in chokes) many moons ago that I enjoy shooting.

I had to get rid of my 12 gauge model 37 about a half dozen years ago to pay for an operation for my dog. So since then I have been shooting just 20 gauge. I have often wondered if I needed to re-invest in a new 12 gauge gun so that I would have a do it gun.

I know that honestly, its probably better to have a gun that was specialized to the activity you want to do but that is not going to be in the cards for me from a financial perspective.
Anyway, I don't have any issues with 12 gauge guns other than I like shooting 20 gauge more. So I would be happy to see a rise in popularity of 20 gauge guns.

Am I miss reading the situation or is 20 gauge popularity for do it all guns or as a do it all gauge on the rise?




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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:59 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Sun May 17, 2015 6:25 pm
Posts: 2672
Location: On the wrong side of the river, Austin TX
Nothing wrong with 20 gauge, but nothing "does it all" like a 12 gauge. There are so many wads and loadings available that you can load anything from 3/4 ounce to 2 ounce magnum loads. 12 gauge ammo loadings overlap 28 gauge, 20 gauge, 16 gauge, and 10 gauge loads. With the Aguila Mini Shells, it even overlaps the .410 bore.

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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2015 6:58 am
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Location: Omaha, NE
20 is plenty. Most of the time.

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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 8:54 am 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2019 3:03 pm
Posts: 184
You certainly can use a 20 gauge for most kinds of hunting. Guys that are into the 20 gauge for all kinds of hunting usually have different guns for different hunting. O/Us and SxSs for upland bird hunting. Pumps and semi-autos for waterfowl and turkeys. Specialized bolt actions are popular now for deer.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:08 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5133
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I have everything from 3.5" mag. 10 gauges to 20 ga.. The advent of different shot types has somewhat muddied the water but you can successfully hunt it all with a 20 ga.. My favorite gun is a 2 3/4" 20 ga. that has probably taken more game than all the rest combined. The main advantage of the 20 is it's light weight & if it is a 3" gun, it is at home with 7/8 oz. to 1 1/4 oz. lead. A 20 loaded with tungsten alloy shot will work great on even most of the more demanding waterfowl situations. As a student, you probably not going to buy any tungsten but I know people that use the 20 on ducks with steel. Should weight not be a big factor, a 12 ga. works well with everything from 3/4 oz. (if you reload) to almost 2 oz. with a 3.5" gun. Personally, I prefer the 12 for wild flushing pheasant & ducks. A lot depends on the individual gun. There are light fast handling 12's & there are heavy 12's. I would chose based on what I intend to hunt the most. You will not be a student forever & you can buy other guns later!


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 11:20 am 
Crown Grade

Joined: Thu Dec 05, 2013 7:11 am
Posts: 4080
Location: Western Tampa, FL
You already have one of the nicest pump shotguns ever made, the model 17. Just keep using it and you can't go wrong. You can get something else when you are more flush but that Remington is a very cool gun!


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 1:33 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5133
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
So, you have a model 17 Remington & you sold your model 37, if I am reading this correctly? I missed that the first time. Since you already have a 20 ga. that sort of simplifies things. Unless you hunt deer with buckshot, your 20 is capable of everything. The 20 ga. buckshot loads leave something to be desired but I understand the slugs work pretty well. If it were me, I would shoot the 20 unless or until I wasn't satisfied with it's performance for some application & then buy a 12. More or less what oyeme said.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sun Mar 29, 2020 4:33 pm 
Diamond Grade
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Joined: Mon May 27, 2013 7:19 pm
Posts: 1898
Location: Indian Head Country Wisconsin
Clay targets is still a 12 gage game and for waterfowl hunting the 3 in 12 gage is the better choice. For upland game the 20 is a winner.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 12:37 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 8:46 pm
Posts: 1710
Location: SW Missouri
I no longer own any 12 gauge guns but I have 3 20 gauge guns and the wife has 3 20 gauges as well. I don't waterfowl hunt and use my 20 gauges for everything including turkeys (with high density shot) and clay targets (I don't shoot competitively only recreationally). The 20 gauges do everything I need them to do and I don't feel the need to get a 12 gauge gun. So yes, the 20 gauge has become my do all shotgun gauge.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2020 5:38 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:36 pm
Posts: 864
Location: Endless Mountains of PA
Really?


Being an avid NRA life time member I believe each individual should own as many different guns as he can afford. That being said I own 5 different 20 gauge guns from L.C.Smith to Browning Combo guns to modern SR 28/20 Combo guns, built on 20 gauge frames.

Popularity of a gun should have nothing to due with your personal preferences, I have more 16 gauge double guns than any other kind, popularity be damned. I know what I like to hunt with, and do not care how many other men own that particular gauge gun.

If you happen to like 20 gauge guns best, purchase as many as you can afford. The shells are definitely cost effective.

A Best 16 gauge double gun carries like 20 and hits like a 12, depending on the shells you use.
A 3" 20 gets the job done also, it all depends on what you like to carry most while you are hunting. Choose wisely!

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

2nd from the top is a #2 L.C. Smith 20 gauge, sleeved by Briley for 28.
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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 9:30 pm 
Diamond Grade

Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2004 6:08 pm
Posts: 1787
Location: Minnesota
EricB wrote:
20 is plenty. Most of the time.


I agree.
But the 12 ga is plenty, all the time that a shotgun can be used.
I have several of both gauges and like the 20, but if ranges are a bit longer, or birds a bit tough, I’ll take a 12 over the 20 every day.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Thu Apr 02, 2020 4:12 pm 
Tournament Grade

Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:51 pm
Posts: 102
I own several 20s, 12s, and a 16 gauge in pump and semiauto.

The one issue I haven't seen mentioned yet, (which I have run up against) is that your older 2 3/4" may not be suitable for the more common and less expensive non-toxic loads (i.e. steel). Or maybenit is, since it has tubes?

This is a requirement at all of the waterfowl areas and some of the upland area I hunt. I hunted mostly with a newer 20 gauge last season. I harvested lots of the larger dabbling ducks and geese (cacklers, lessers, and snows) with 3" 20 gauge steel loads. That being said, I generally only hunt over decoys and shoot within my limited capabilities. If I knew I was going on a hunt that was targeting greaters, I would definitely give the 20 gauge the day off and bring a 12 gauge.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:45 am 
Presentation Grade
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Joined: Tue May 22, 2012 3:12 pm
Posts: 512
Location: Central Texas
IMHO - Life is too short to own no less than a golf bag full of shotguns and 22 rifles... but if I had to choose 1 shotgun it would be an A400 12ga. This would be painful because I’m an OU guy all the way for clays and shooting doves and pigeons. I have 3 20ga guns that all get used each year and have very specific jobs. As well as the others in the golf bag. For the 22s they are just fun to shoot.

DL


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:43 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5133
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
My favorite gun is my 20 ga. Elsey without a doubt. It is only rarely not enough, although I usually use a 12 for ducks & wild flushing pheasant. This is not an exact quote & I don't recall the author but a writer once wrote something like, " When the range is long, the weather is rough & the sky is full of ten pound birds, nothing but nothing is like a ten gauge". I often shoot 12 ga. equivalent loads in my 8 lb. 13 +/- oz., 10ga. Uggie (3.5") & my 8 lb. 10+/-oz., 2 7/8" 10 ga. Elsie. I could shoot the same load in my 3" 12 but I like the handling qualities of the 10's. This is when I'm hunting out of a boat or shooting from a blind. I reserve the heavier loads for my 10.5 lb. Beretta 410. My 12 ga. Merkel 47sl comes in at 7 lb. 10 oz. & my standard weight 12 ga. Elsies run about 6oz. heavier. So to sum up, the 20, & I mean the standard 2 3/4" gun, will do it all in most cases but when conditions get extreme, sometimes you have to beef up the artillery. Also, there are times you need a gun tailored for a special purpose.
Almost forgot, I am down to 1, .22. It is a match grade, very accurate left hand bolt gun & is my preferred squirrel gun when conditions permit & winged game is not in the picture. Also, I love to pick crows off with it & general .22 type stuff!























)


Last edited by geometric on Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:58 pm 
Shotgun Expert
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Location: Plainfield, IL
Really? wrote:
I have seen a number of articles lately that seem to indicate a resurgence in popularity for 20 gauge guns for all kinds of uses. I have seen things on 20 gauge with appropriate loads as being go to guns for ducks, deer and turkey and not just upland game over dogs. -snip-

Am I miss reading the situation or is 20 gauge popularity for do it all guns or as a do it all gauge on the rise?


Happy first post and instant vanish. :s

The 12 gauge is the only do it all gauge and that hasn't changed in a century. However, though the 20 gauge has about a 0% chance of ever displacing the 12 gauge, it can be considered ideal for a lot of things. It is better today for turkey and deer (Savage 220) than ever, due to the advances in shot materials.

It is a bit of both-- no 20 gauge is a do-it-all, but it is more desirable today for a number of hunting applications than ever before.

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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 1:54 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5133
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
"The 12 ga. is the only do it all gauge------" No doubt the 20 will never surpass the 12 ga. in popularity but there are exceptions as always. There is almost as much variation within a gauge as there is between gauges. A 3" 20 will handle everything from 7/8 oz. to 1 1/4 oz. loads but not as efficiently as the 12 IMHO. 1 1/4 oz. was once a standard 10 ga. load & I use it very often. The 12 ga. 3.5" is loaded to almost as much shot weight as a 10. I think that was brought on by steel shot & an attempt to make the 12 ga. a 10. Many folks that bought 3.5" 12's have gone back to their 3" guns due to improvement in the ammo. This isn't going to impact the market & the folks that buy their shells at Walmart but for folks that reload & tailor their shells, what is the difference between a 8 1/2 lb. 12 ga. & a 8 1/2 lb. 10 ga. shooting the same weight of shot?? I would have to say, not much. The point is that a 20 will never be a 12 ga. but there is crossover! Also, what about the 16? The only thing wrong with a 16 is it has been neglected. With quality handloads, a 16 with 1 1/4 oz. of shot is not likely to take a back seat to a 12 with the same load.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 5:06 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Mon Jul 05, 2010 7:16 pm
Posts: 3369
Location: New England
EricB wrote:
20 is plenty. Most of the time.


Yep - in 1985 I ditched all my 12ga shotguns for the 20ga. (I also shoot 28ga & .410).

The only real change has been less recoil...……………...

I'm primarily a hunter, and the switch to 20ga has not effected my game bag - small game & deer.

I only hunt small game & game birds with the 28ga & 410.

I don't hunt Turkey...……….

.

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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / guage
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 6:50 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:11 am
Posts: 917
I could get by with 20 gauge until it comes to pass shooting geese. Note, I said get by.
20 gauge is perfect for Upland hunting.
I prefer 12 gauge for waterfowl.
Others may differ.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / gauge
PostPosted: Tue Apr 07, 2020 8:25 pm 
Crown Grade

Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:55 am
Posts: 5133
Location: Hemingway, S.C. 29554
I shoot a Featherweight LC Smith 12ga. that happens to be the gun I killed my first bird on the wing with, in Taiwan in the 50's (a Brown Back dove). I am shooting 1 oz. of #8 or 8.5's which for all practical purposes means I am shooting a 16 ga.. I can also shoot the same load in any of my 20s but my score is higher with the 12 ga.! That is my dove gun. I haven't hunted quail in years but when I did it was mostly with a 20 ga., but again, my shooting average improves with the 12 ga., which has fixed IC & Mod. chokes. Have any of you ever heard of a Bamboo Chicken? I killed one of those with it also! I don't think I score better because it is a 12 ga.. I think it is because of how it fits & handles.


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 Post subject: Re: 20 Gauge "do it all" gun / gauge
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 2:27 pm 
Presentation Grade

Joined: Fri Mar 01, 2019 1:36 pm
Posts: 864
Location: Endless Mountains of PA
geometric,

I have some very nice 20 gauge guns both SXS and stack barrel, and have done some great shooting with them especially my L.C. Smith and H&R Hammer Gun. However my Grouse shooting percentage goes up when I use my 16 and my 12 gauge guns. For a long time I thought this was just a mental thing with me until I took a good look at my percentage gunning Grouse with my 28 gauge guns. The percentage went way up, not to as much as with my 16 and 12 gauge guns but a lot better than my 20 gauge guns.

I attribute this to only hunting with the 28 gauge when the leaves are for the most part down off the trees. I use the 20 gauge guns when there are more leaves, so the foliage is different, changing my kill percentage greatly. Knowing the 28 will not push the foliage and kill both Grouse and Woodcock I use the gun in a different manner, then I do the 16 or the 12. The 20 gauge shooting percentage, especially in the Beech Tree stands is no where near as good as the the 16 gauge or 12 gauge gun. There are tie that even the 12 gauge will not penetrate the Beech Trees and kill the birds out right. I had some incredible retrieving dogs, like my Small Munsterlander who found and retrieved these winged birds to hand. The 20 gauge with some pretty decent shells did not put the birds down in this kind of cover.

To me the 1 and 1/4 oz coming out of the 16 or the 12 is different than the 3" 20 gauge patterns. All I know is that the 16 and the 12 gauge double guns kill the Grouse or at least put the Grouse down for the dogs to retrieve, where the 20 in heavy foliage does not. I love to carry my light 20 gauge guns, however my shooting percentage drops seriously until the leaves are mostly down, and then I like to use my 28 gauge guns. However in all fairness I have a pre 13 L.C. Smith 20 gauge, lighter than all my 28's, carrying it is a pure joy in the Grouse woods.

Pie Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man

Because I was raised using the 16 gauge, to me it's the ultimate Grouse & Woodcock Gun.

Image



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