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I'm just starting to get into bird hunting and hopefully my wife will be purchasing me a shotgun before Christmas. I'll be doing mostly quail and dove hunts and I may try my hand at ducks but there's always a chance of a friend asking me to go deer or turkey hunting. My question is should I stick with my original plan of getting a 20ga. or should I move up to a 12? I posted a similar question on another site and almost everyone recommended that I get a 12. I don't have anything against a 12 (other than one kicking the snot out of me when I was about 8) I have just been thinking about getting a 20 the whole time. What do y'all think?
 

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Big Dawg,
I do almost all of my hunting with 20 gauge. It's generally enough when loaded with the proper ammunition.

I shoot 1oz #7.5 lead shot for dove, quail and clays
1 1/4oz 3" in #5 and #6 Hevi-Shot mags for Duck and Turkey.
Just shoot it alot, pattern it and learn your gun and you'll be fine.

Breneke Slugs will kill deer out to about 60 yards and depending on what you buy you can get a combo gun with rifled slug barrel (Remington Combo's) and there are some incredible 20 gauge sabot slugs out there that extend your deer range out to 150 yards (with a scope).

Here is a link to a review of Hevi-Shot and what it can do on ducks. http://www.remington.com/magazine/previ ... vishot.asp
 

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The 20 gauge will likely do everything you want (hevi-shot). Keep in mind that a light 20 ga will smack you around pretty well too. The gun's weight is as important as the weight of the payload and the velocity of the round.

That being said, a 12 gauge with a decent recoil pad on it will be very manageable and the added weight will keep recoil very light in light loads. I'd get the 12 and load it down if you feel the need to prevent "over"killing something. If you are shooting at turkeys or deer, you won't be shooting a lot and you can handle a couple big blasts.

my $.02
 

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20 is pretty much all I like to shoot. Quail, dove, and pheasant have been pretty much my only game, but they do the trick on all of them.

I would imagine some Magnum shells in a 4 with a full choke would take down a gobbler as well... at least that is what I am going to attempt to use... :D

I don't know about deer, I am looking for a deer rifle, but that is another topic for another thread.... :lol:
 

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I do most of my shooting with a Rem 1100 20 ga. I also have a 1100 in 12. I have a Baikal MP-153 that'll shoot 3"and 3.5" magnums.
The only reason I am keeping the Baikal is because I have 5 boxes of 3.5" magnum shells and it wasn't that pricey of a gun to begin with.
I get taunted about the 20 ga. by people who don't know how well I shoot. They are always saying, " When are ya' gonna grow up and shoot a mans' gun ?..." :shock:
I really get a kick when I get in a crowd of people at the range, and I am beating the pants off the guys with $5-10K 12 ga. guns an the 27 yard line at clays. You can hear'em cussing under their breath. :shock: :D 8)
Yeah... The 20 ga. is light in weight and hard to beat.... :D
 

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I have shot alot of 12s that kick alot less than some 20s.

I say get a 12 because it can do every thing a 20 can without the snot getting kicked out of you. If you get a PAST recoil pad you won't feel anything from ether a 12 or 20.

It is very possible though to do it all with a 20.

Good luck :) .
 

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I agree with others, there is not necessarily less kick with a 20. Recently we took my son's girlfriend out with us to shoot some trap. She shot the 12 and said it kicked too much so we moved her to the exact same gun in a 20 (Beretta SP O/U). Her opinion was that the kick was worse.

A 20 GENERALLY is enough gun. I shoot a 12 but could easily shoot a 20 for the vast majority of my shooting. Most of my hunting buddies shoot 20's. That actually makes a really nice combination since a 20 gauge shooter can shoot a little closer without blowing the bird in half and I can generally shoot a little farther out.

The only time I question a 20 is for wild pheasant hunting. These birds have the tendency to run and flush farther out so extended range can be valuable. You could overcome most of that advantage by shooting stronger loads in the 20 but I do the same with my 12 and still reach further.
 

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Buy a 12 gauge. It will do anything that the 20 gauge will do, and then some. With proper load selection, it won't kick any more (and perhaps less) than a 20 gauge. Also, shells are available in a greater variety of sizes and often for less money in the 12 gauge (supply and demand theory). The only disadvange of the 12 gauge is that it's usually about 3/4 pound heavier than the 20 gauge and this can make a difference if you have to carry the gun all day.... but surely a guy with a handle like "BigDawgBarkin" wouldn't wimp out over carrying an extra 12 ounces around. :lol: As for recoil, I know some rather petite ladies who shoot sporting clays with 12 gauge guns and they handle the recoil and shoot the guns very well.
 

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Ulysses is right: A twelve is still our most versital *****. I own about a dozen different shotguns in every ***** from .410 thru 12 and have been hunting for over 30 years, and if I had to cut back to only one gun I'd keep one of my twelves. If you're going to do some duck hunting and/or live in a shotgun deer State a twenty is too light to be used in all circumstances.
Jim
 
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Is this a trick question ...everybody who has been around awhile understands that one cannot live with only one gun. :lol: That being said, I would recommend getting the 12 for the first gun, and then buy a 20 later. The 12 should be light enough to carry all day (like the Beretta 391 Urika).
 

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1. Started with a 20 ga.as a young lad, killed snipe, dove quail, rabbits, squirrel, everything up to and including the large ducks, no prob,
2. Switched to a 12 when I got into 4-H trap shooting,
3. Same hunting success but after awhile got sick of wrecking quail and dove with my 1 1/8 oz. trap loads,
4. Switched to 7/8 or 1 oz. 12 ga. shells, no more wrecked birds, but,
5. Asked myself why I was carrying an 8.5+ pound 12 ga. and shooting 20 ga. equivalent shells,
6. Switched back to a 20 ga. and have been happy ever since.(See picture of lovely 20 ga. under my user name)

I've never hunted deer with a shotgun so I can't say, but I've been calling turkey for years and though I normally use my 12, the last one was killed at around 20 yds. with a 1 1/8 oz. 16 ga. load and likely could've been killed with a .410 (and most certainly could've been killed with a 20ga.) as could most of the Tom's I've called up in my life. (Hint: The key is good calling, not a bigger shotgun)
Honestly, after having shot skeet and clays all summer with my little SxS .410 then having a VERY successful dove hunt with the same gun, even the 20 will probably see alot less use this fall.
Yeah, the 12 ga. is FAR more versatile, blah, blah, blah,.... but to me 12's are too big, too bulky, too ugly, too loud and most of all every Tom, Dick, and Harry at the range and in the field carries one.... and I like originality. :wink:
 

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Uggie guy said:
my little SxS .410 then having a VERY successful dove hunt with the same gun, even the 20 will probably see alot less use this fall.

12's are too big, too bulky, too ugly, too loud and most of all every Tom, Dick, and Harry at the range and in the field carries one.... and I like originality. :wink:
I would luv to shoot like that with my lil' .410 SxS, but shells are twice the price of the 20 ga. :cry:
I found that a kid and I were the only one's with a 20, while there were about 50 hunters in the area.
 

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Yes Sir a 20 is more than enough given your parameters.A 12 gauge properly loaded will do alot and by that I mean loaded to meet the task of the day.However dove and quail gunning the gun I favor most is the 28 gauge.Regardless of the ballistic edge one gauge may have over another the key is how well you shoot with it....period.A dove centered in a 3/4 ounce of 7 1/2's is dead while one missed by an 1 1/4 ounce charge ...isn't.Clays,clays and more clays is the best place to start.That means ammo costs become a major consideration which the 20 and 12 are the cheapest to shoot.Our beloved 16's,.410's and 28's are pretty pricey.So for your uses the 20 is the hands down winner!
 

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cordite said:
I would luv to shoot like that with my lil' .410 SxS, but shells are twice the price of the 20 ga. :cry:
I found that a kid and I were the only one's with a 20, while there were about 50 hunters in the area.
I handload my .410's for a savings of about $5.00 per box!! That'll pay for a MEC loader real quick considering when I shoot skeet I shoot 4 boxes a day.
--Greg
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thanks guys! I love this board and all the information you can get from it! I will say y'all haven't made my decision any easier :) I do agree somewhat with Uggie Guy in that originality counts for something. The turkey and deer hunting are not likely, but like I said there's always a chance. I'm still leaning towards the 20 since I'll be doing mostly dove and quail with the occasional duck.
 

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Well, here is my opinion.

If I had to have one shotgun it would be a 20 gauge. People say they are not powerful enough but the reason they think that is because they have less shot, and instead of putting 30 pellets in a duck with a 12, you might get 10 or 15 with a 20.

It is alot easier to hit targets with a 12 because of the extra shot. I will usuall take a 20 when I am walking and carrying it, and a 12 when I am sitting all day.

I also don't see the sense in cutting a 12 gauge load down to 7/8 or 1 oz so it won't kick as bad, why not shoot a light 20 with the same amount of shot that kicks slightly less.

I turkey hunt with a 20 gauge, I killed a turkey at 55-60 yards with my win. 1300 black shadow 20. Counted 6 holes in his head and I killed it with a 3" federal magnum turkey shell in #5 shot.

I dove hunt with my 20 gauge, don't take much to knock them little things down.

I have duck hunted with it. (Mallards, wood ducks and teal with #3 steel.

I killed a goose with it one time when a flock flew over the duck blind.

I used it on a dog deer hunt with Federal 3" mag #2 buckshot.
Federal Rifled slugs out to 75 yards on deer.
Get you some Win. Partition Gold slugs and a rifled barrel with scope and it will kill deer past 200. I would take those slugs to Africa on Cape buffalo if I could. (If people kill them things with bows, why wouldnt a 20ga)

The only 20 gauge that can kick harder than my 12ga BPS is my single shot NEF that weighs about 4 or 5lbs, and it takes a 3" turkey shell to make it kick as hard as my 12 with a 1 1/8 or 1 1/4 oz load.
 
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If you're gonna shoot at turks from 55 yds. {or deer at 200} with a 20 ga., you'd better be a prayin' man shootin' at a critter with a mighty sinful past.
 
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