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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking for some experienced opinions on a 16 purchase. I want to make my primary hunting gun a 16 gauge. Ducks and geese primarily, although maybe some upland might get thrown in there.

Normally I would just research the crap out of it and come to a conclusion - but this isn't about the best gun - it's about finding a good gun that will last until it is eventually be sacrificed to the "beaten to death" gods. Would love to buy a beautiful SxS, but I hunt difficult, salty, or selenium-laden grounds, and a season out in those areas would melt the paint off a battleship.

It would be enlightening for me to read some opinions on a 16 gauge, that can take a beating, and that no one would cry over after 20 years of hard use/abuse.

Thanks!
 

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For non-tox applications, the 16 gauge is not a fabulous choice-- it actually isn't a good choice.

However, if you really want a 16 gauge regardless, you can consider 16 gauges like the 870 Wingmaster (out of production, but still around) or the Browning BPS . . . and have them dipped and sealed as you prefer. You might eventually cry, but you won't cry all that much.
 

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Browning has the BPS NEW in 16 gauge, steel shot, and changeable chokes. I don't know the price but around a Grand I suppose.

Ithaca has some Model 37 pump 16 gauges NEW (well maybe not new, but never used). They can be had with changeable chokes but I am not certain they are certified for steel shot. You could ask. They are priced in the $900 range.

For a beater GB has M31's ($300-$500) and Model 12's ($700-$1000+) some times. These are also pump guns and many are in decent shape but all are fixed chokes and non steel.

Browning also has made a run of Citoris in 16 gauge in recent years, notably the "White Lightning". I don't know if any can be found NEW anymore. They also have the changeable chokes. Used ones run in the $1400-$1600 range that I have seen.

I almost forgot that Browning is also bringing back the A5 "Sweet Sixteen". It is highly anticipated and desired but delivery dates keep being pushed back.

The 16 gauge 870 is out there but it's not a "True" 16 gauge because they took a 12 gauge and fitted a 16 gauge barrel to it.

To us 16 gauge purists the True 16 gauge has either a scaled frame or a frame that was also designed for 20 gauge work.

Go over to 16ga.com and post your specific needs and wants. They will be more than glad to give you all the knowledge they have, free of charge. They might even have a gun to sell you over there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Why is non tox an issue? Is it pattern related or is it just cost? I can roll my own 16 ga shells at home if needed - and probably would anyway just to get better patterns.

I've shot a 20 for waterfowl and results have remained the same as when I used my 12. The only difference is the requirement to hold off on some shots - but it doesn't impact the strap at the end of the day - it just makes the day about an hour longer.

If it's a concern regarding the ethics of using a lighter load... Every year I track number of birds vs shells shot. The average hovers around 1.2 shells per bird. Also, I keep my target plug in all season long. So I only run 2 out of my 391 at a time, I'm too lazy to pull the plug so to speak.

Have to admit though, I'm listening and wondering if my plan is all that good an idea considering the comments.
 

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slowshooter said:
Why is non tox an issue?
Room for payload; 15/16 oz, is all Federal (for example) offers, while 1 oz. is offered in 20 gauge. Both are decidedly very weak choices for geese. Like it or not, if you are going to shoot steel, it is 12 gauge territory.
 

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I saw a synthetic 16 gauge Remington 1100 at a gun show yesterday that would make a pretty durable waterfowl, dove, or pheasant tower shoot gun. With its 12 gauge contour barrel, it wouldn't be as comfortable to carry very far, but you wouldn't have to worry about banging it up. As noted though, the very limited selection of non-tox ammunition in 16 gauge makes it a questionable choice for waterfowl. That said, I enjoy my LC Smith, Citori VI, and Remington 1100 16s for just about everything else.
 

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Oh and one other thing. If you find an old beater in 16 gauge that suits you I wouldn't worry too much about putting steel shot through it, if you can find any. All it could possibly do is erode the barrel and or choke, it would not blow up in your face, and that erosion would probably take many hundreds of rounds to become significant.

In lead shot & 2 3/4" shells the only advantage a 12 has is to carry 1/8 more oz of shot down range. Not an big advantage for the trade off of weight and handling to me.

Non tox is a whole different world that I admit I have not explored. But I would never subject my shoulder to some of the loads they are pushing out nowadays anyway. I'm a wuss when it comes to recoil.
 

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As Randy pointed out though, although there are 1 1/8 ounce loads listed for the 16 gauge, they are for the more dense Lead Shot. The Lyman Shotgun Reloading Manual only lists 3/4 and 7/8 ounce loads when using steel shot in the 16 gauge.

Bob
 

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The time to get a 16-gauge for waterfowl has probably come and gone in regard to ammunition. I still use my Sweet Sixteens for ducks, but the fixed choke gun gets Kent Tungsten Matrix (1-1/4 oz No. 5 at 1265 fps) while the Poly-Choke is stuck with the steel shot. Unfortunately, it appears that Kent no longer offers it in 16. I laid in a stock when it first came out, but I'm very sparing of using it now. I hope they bring it back.

Dan
 

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The last time I used the 16 gauge for waterfowl, lead was still legal. I used the 2 3/4" "baby magnums", #2 for geese and #4 for ducks. I haven't used it since lead became illegal.

However, I still like my 16 gauge Model 37 Ithaca for upland hunting, and last year killed a bunch of pheasants using the Fiocchi Golden Pheasant loads.
 

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Kent Bismuth 1 oz of #5 shot patterns just like lead out of my Ithaca 37. The price is decent from Cabela's at $15.99 a box. I stocked up so I could kill some ducks with it this year. 12 gauge will still be my main gun though.
 
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