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I used to think a 20 ga was the way to go. I have Three 20 ga guns and almost bought a Browning 725 in 20ga to go with my 725 12ga. That would have been a huge mistake for me. Since loading 7/8oz 12 ga the 20's are rarely used now.
Am I missing something? What will a 20ga do better when compared to the 7/8oz 12ga shells? I am mainly a target shooter.
 

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Nothing. You'll have a shorter shot column with the 12 meaning less setback and shot deformation and that equals better patterns. Besides a one 28ga, all I shoot [ clays ] is the 12ga [ 10 different SxS's ] with 3/4oz of shot. The load breaks birds just fine.
 

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To me it sure seems like the 7/8 oz 12 ga loads break targets harder and farther away than 20 ga loads do.

The shorter 7/8 oz shot column in the 12ga may pattern better than the longer 7/8 oz shot column in the 20 ga.

I had two boys about 10 and 12 years old shoot my 870 12 ga with a short stock with 7/8 oz loads and they liked that much more than shooting 7/8 oz 20 ga loads in their youth model 870 20 ga guns. Those light 20 ga guns with hard recoil pads kicked pretty hard.
 

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My wife is 5'3" shoots a CG Syren 20 ga w/ 7/8 @ 1200 fps and she never complains about kick and I have seen her break 60 yd targets. 12 or 20 make your decision on the gun not the gauge when talking about 7/8 oz loads.
 

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For target shooting I do not think there are any disadvantages to a 12 gauge shooting 7/8 oz loads vs. a 20 gauge and there is the argument for superior ballistics with what should be a shorter shot column, and in most instances the added weight will help with recoil.

Now, if you are talking about hunting upland game, give me a light 20 gauge in lieu of the heavier 12 gauge for most situations.
 

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Some of the 12 gauges are pretty light. I have a CZ Huglu Upland Ultralight that's supposed to go 6 lbs. I do have one of the really light Citori 20 gauges that I think is even less than 6 lbs.

So far I've ran about 500 shells downrange with the Upland Ultralight shooting skeet and this last week participated in our state's senior pheasant hunt. I've hunted with Kent Fasteel Upland 1 ounce loads at 1450 fps and also dug out an old box of lead pheasant loads from 30 years ago. Those were 1 1/4 oz of #5's at 1330 fps.

I'm 68 and don't mind carrying the 6 lb 12 gauge. Last year I was whining about one that's a tad more than 8 lbs by the end of the day.
 

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Lexusclays said:
I've dropped down to 3/4 oz in 20 gauge, with green dot. I feel the same way you do about its performance in 20, as I do 7/8s ounce in 12 gauge. Better patterns and lighter recoil, what's not to like!
I started shooting this same load for skeet in a Remington 1100 lt-20 (with weight added to feel like my 1100 12 gauge). The recoil is nice and light, been shooting 15/16 oz in the 12 gauge. They are both light shooters. I have my Cynergy 12 gauge at Briley right now for subgauge tube set, I can't wait to shoot the 20 gauge 3/4oz load in that. :D
 

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wrfish said:
Am I missing something? What will a 20ga do better when compared to the 7/8oz 12ga shells? I am mainly a target shooter.
Mostly, a 20 will be more pleasant to carry when hunting where you carry the gun a lot but shoot only a few times, and a 20 is legal to use in the 20 gauge class in skeet, a 12 shooting 7/8 ounce loads is not, although you may compete in the 12 gauge class with a 20.
 

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A 20ga definitely will make you look more refined; not so refined as a 16ga, or even a 28ga, but still, a pretty smoove looking guy. ;)

I have this issue all the time, trying to decide if I want to shoot 28, 20, 16, or 12... they all work equally well on ducks with HW13 shot. For target shooting, where I pretty much use my 20ga 725, I'd guess the 12ga heavier gun would win for recoil and swing, as well as stack and pattern likely.

It's kind of like trying to decide if you're a Chevy or a Ford guy... you're not REALLY using the gun to their optimal max capability, so whichever one you shoot better and patterns better, well that's the better gun for you.

I just absolutely don't want to be a 12ga O/U skeet shooter guy. No idea why, everyone else has one and it's clearly working for them better than my own skills, I'd probably do better with one. But I can't get myself to do it... almost pulled the trigger on a camo 12ga O/U Cynergy the other day, that's about as far as I can go though... Nope, Fantasy Football, Facebook, and 12ga O/U are all linked together in my mind as "guy I don't want to be" items. But last weekend I was out looking at Honda Odyssey and started thinking the Ridgeline looked OK as a truck, so maybe I'm ready finally to bite the bullet and go buy that Cynergy or 686 12ga...

Sorry, had to share that existential issue with someone... ;)
 

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If you plan to carry it five miles and shoot it a dozen times a day (hunting) then a 6 pound 20 gauge makes a lot of sense. If you plan to carry it 50 yards and shoot it 200-300 times a day (clay targets) then a 9 pound 12 gauge is the way to go. With 7/8 in 12 gauge you can choose from a big range of velocity. Choices are a bit less in 20.
 

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Being a registered Skeet shooter since 1986 and having shot 10s of thousands (70,150 and counting) of 12 & 20 GA loads with 7/8 ozs of shot, I opine that there is virtually no difference between the two with regard to breaking clay targets at Skeet ranges (roughly 22 yards). The main difference to me is the PERCEIVED recall. Now don't misunderstand me; I'm not talking about ACTUAL recoil because in my case the actual recoil is pretty much the same with either gauge. However, the burning rate difference of the powder in 12 vs. 20 is different enough that I can perceive a snappier (harder) recoil with the 20 GA over the 12 GA. Others may not, but I can using the components I use. Your mileage may vary. I very much prefer to use the 12 GA 7/8 oz loads over the 20.
 

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You need the 20 gauge gun to participate in a 20 gauge event. I also shoot 7/8 oz loads in my 12 gauge. I like the size and feel of the gun for target shooting. I think my 7/8 oz 12 gauge loads are a little better than the 20. I drilled the bar so I do get the full 7/8. Most of the load data is for 1200 or more fps with the 12 gauge. I rarely shoot 7/8 in the 20. Mostly 3/4 oz now in the 20. My 20's are field guns and fairly light weight. I do not have a 28 gauge so I shoot the light loads in the 20.
 

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dubob said:
Being a registered Skeet shooter since 1986 and having shot 10s of thousands (70,150 and counting) of 12 & 20 GA loads with 7/8 ozs of shot, I opine that there is virtually no difference between the two with regard to breaking clay targets at Skeet ranges (roughly 22 yards). The main difference to me is the PERCEIVED recall. Now don't misunderstand me; I'm not talking about ACTUAL recoil because in my case the actual recoil is pretty much the same with either gauge. However, the burning rate difference of the powder in 12 vs. 20 is different enough that I can perceive a snappier (harder) recoil with the 20 GA over the 12 GA. Others may not, but I can using the components I use. Your mileage may vary. I very much prefer to use the 12 GA 7/8 oz loads over the 20.
So if I understand this correctly. you are saying slower burning powders are giving you a "more snappy" recoil, albeit very slight. Hmmmm, always thought it was the other way around.
 

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dubob said:
Being a registered Skeet shooter since 1986 and having shot 10s of thousands (70,150 and counting) of 12 & 20 GA loads with 7/8 ozs of shot, I opine that there is virtually no difference between the two with regard to breaking clay targets at Skeet ranges (roughly 22 yards). The main difference to me is the PERCEIVED recall. Now don't misunderstand me; I'm not talking about ACTUAL recoil because in my case the actual recoil is pretty much the same with either gauge. However, the burning rate difference of the powder in 12 vs. 20 is different enough that I can perceive a snappier (harder) recoil with the 20 GA over the 12 GA. Others may not, but I can using the components I use. Your mileage may vary. I very much prefer to use the 12 GA 7/8 oz loads over the 20.
Placebo effect
 

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Okay guys, poor choice of words; apologies to one and all. When I said burn rate, I was thinking in terms of a pressure vs. time graph for both the 12 gauge and the 20 gauge. Now while it is true that Hodgdon Clays is a faster burning powder than Hodgdon International Clays, the pressure vs. time graph of Clays in the 12 gauge with 7/8 ozs of shot moving at 1200 fps will show that the time it takes to reach peak pressure is longer than I Clays in the 20 gauge with 7/8 ozs also moving at 1200 fps. The time difference is miniscule - measured in milliseconds?

It's been 10 years or more since I looked at one of those graphs, but as I recall, it took a longer time to reach peak pressure in the 12 gauge. I can't tell you why that was the case, but would guess it has to do with the smaller/tighter space of the 20 gauge combustion chamber vs. the larger combustion chamber of the 12 gauge. It doesn't really matter why to me.

But I shot both when the 12 gauge 7/8 oz loads became popular back in the 1990s and knew immediately that the 12 gauge loads seemed to have less recoil - to me. So I started looking into it and found some pressure vs. time graphs for Clays in 12 and I Clays in 20 and the 20 graph definitely showed the peak pressure was reached faster than in the 12. To me, that would suggest that the slower I Clays powder was being burned up faster in the 20 gauge load than the faster Clays powder was being burned up in the 12 gauge. I would think that loading both powders in the same gauge with the same load/velocity would show just the opposite to be true. The faster Clays would indeed reach peak pressure faster than I Clays. But I have no data to support that.

I just know that for ME, the 12 load of 7/8 ozs at 1200 fps kicks ME less than does the 20. If you want to say that is a placebo effect in action, have at it. I'll not lose any sleep over it. I know what I feel when I shoot, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

:D {hs#
 

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Dave in AZ said:
A 20ga definitely will make you look more refined; not so refined as a 16ga, or even a 28ga, but still, a pretty smoove looking guy. ;)
Ah yes, snob appeal. And then there's reverse snob appeal too, like the guy who cleans everybody's clock in trap using Remington 870 pump.
 
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