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Is there a more effective gauge? If shooting exactly the same load and same choke at the same velocity out of a 12, 16, 20 or 28 would one be better than the others for hunting? For example a 1 oz load of #6 at 1300 fps out of a modified choke.
 

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If the same shot load, I’d expect the 12 bore to throw a shorter shot string and therefore “may” pattern best and/or kill birds more cleanly. The topic of shot string and load efficiency is very deep rabbit hole though - with no short answers and no absolutes.

However, if the 12 was somehow confirmed as the “best” at throwing the pellets, a potential drawback is you’re carrying the weight of a 12. So if this hypothetical hunting scenario involves a lot of walking, it may be more desirable to give up some gun weight in trade for “maybe” a slight reduction in pattern efficiency?

I’m gonna grab some popcorn and hang around. lol
 

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The starting hole makes no difference. People have tested this. Anyways, the difference between throwing one oz of #6 is so radically different based on the SHOT MATERIAL {steel, bismuth,lead, tungsten} that any tiny difference in the starting hole size is irrelevant.

I will always say "12 gauge" because one can hunt ducks with steel or shoot half ounce loads at clay. But once you have a 12...
20.. because they are lighter and I don't hunt ducks.
28 is good because I don't have one yet and grouse hunting is a couple hours drive north for me while pheasants are 30 minutes away.
 

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I think the "pattern" is always better from the larger hole. In the Olympics they ALL use 12g even though they are restricted to a 6/7th oz load. They use 12 b/c it is BETTER.
 

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Gentlemen,
Sense the question was a hunting question and I have done a lot of Grouse, Woodcock, and Pheasant hunting during my life, my opinion is that you do not want to carry a big 12 gauge gun for more than 4 hours while hunting, unless you are a very large and strong man. My Grandfather was such a man and loved his 12 gauge L.C. Smith Pigeon Gun and carried it like I do my 16 or 20 gauge guns. If the average size upland hunter is carrying to much weight all day long, it will definitely effect his gunning ability, in the field or forest. I like the 16 gauge gun and 1 Oz of shot to hunt birds with.
The good gun will weigh around 6lbs, carry and swing nicely when a man or lady has walked miles while hunting. The 12 gauge gun will be mighty heavy after walking 8 miles in the average persons hands. I try to limit my upland hunting with a 12 gauge gun to 4 hours for this reason. Many of the modern young hunters have chosen to hunt with the lighter 20 gauge gun, now that the gun has 3" chambers. Although I like my 2 1/2" & 2 3/4" chambered 20 gauge guns, I use my 16 gauge guns most of all.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
 

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Gentlemen,
Sense the question was a hunting question and I have done a lot of Grouse, Woodcock, and Pheasant hunting during my life, my opinion is that you do not want to carry a big 12 gauge gun for more than 4 hours while hunting, uses you are a very large and strong man. My Grandfather was such a man and loved his 12 gauge L.C. Smith Pigeon gun and carried it like I do my 16 or 20 gauge guns. If the average size upland hunter is carrying to much weight all day long it will definitely effect his gunning ability, in the field or forest. I like the 16 gauge gun and 1 Oz of shot to hunt birds with.
The good gun will weigh around 6lbs, carry and swing nicely when a man or lady has walked miles while hunting. The 12 gauge gun will be mighty heavy after walking 8 miles in the average persons hands. I try to limit my upland hunting with a 12 gauge gun to 4 hours for this reason.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
Hi Dave

I kinda think that the OP wanted to know from the ballistic side, what is the most effective. Maybe a punt gun like the old market hunters used?

But I don't really agree about shotgun weight......I don't really care what it weighs, just as long as right after I pull the trigger my dog is picking up a dead bird. If the gun weighs 7 - 8 lbs. oh well.

I don't think that you and I will ever agree on gun weight as I am not a traditionalist, I am a realist. The shotguns I carry have to work for and with me. I have tried shotguns that were lighter, between the hands guns and that isn't what works for me......and I am not the only one that feels that way.

At 5' 10" 180 lbs. it's not because I am all that big.
 

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Is there a more effective gauge? If shooting exactly the same load and same choke at the same velocity out of a 12, 16, 20 or 28 would one be better than the others for hunting?
No. However, you certainly cannot shoot exactly the same load or even similar loads out of all gauges.
 

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I've hunted for years with a twenty gauge Browning auto. It would convert from three inch magnum to normal field loads. Used the magnum for pheasants. regular loads for duck, quail and dove. Great all around gun. You just have to learn to shoot it.

For geese I ordered a Bernardini ten gauge three and one-half inch magnum double barrel with a 31" barrel from Italy. Great gun. Anyone see any around?
 

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actually , shot placement is the only important thing. This requires the shooter to maximize his effort. But no one wants to do this and always hope for the latest gimmick to keep them from having to PRACTICE.

In shooting live pigeon tournaments , NO ONE shoots anything but a 12g. Seriously.
 

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Well I guess , like pitching Quarters I'll throw in my best shot too ! No matter , Pattern Density wins the debate !
The more you can launch at a target , the better luck you'll have at hitting it ! Like sera is saying , Flyers allow
1 1/4 oz for a reason and it's not because they can't be hit ! The money shoots I attend , most experienced
shooters load what works best and their shells are dang heavy !
 

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Gentlemen,
Some of you want to keep adding Clay type or Pigeon shooting into your posts, the post initiator wanted to know when hunting which is the most effective. This will definitely vary as to what kind of hunting is being done. When Duck or Goose hunting, sitting in one place, the 12 gauge is going to have an advantage, however after walking many miles the 16 gauge gun, can have a distinct advantage because it is a lighter gun, and less weight to carry and mount to the shoulder after many miles, while gunning upland birds. There are many variable in upland hunting, pattern density is only one of the variables.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
 

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Gentlemen,
Some of you want to keep adding Clay type or Pigeon shooting into your posts, the post initiator wanted to know when hunting which is the most effective. This will definitely vary as to what kind of hunting is being done. When Duck or Goose hunting, sitting in one place, the 12 gauge is going to have an advantage, however after walking many miles the 16 gauge gun, can have a distinct advantage because it is a lighter gun, and less weight to carry and mount to the shoulder after many miles, while gunning upland birds. There are many variable in upland hunting, pattern density is only one of the variables.

all the best,

Pine Creek/Dave
L.C. Smith Man
While that’s true to a point, Dave, there are some 12’s that are lighter than your SxS 16-gauge, too, if weight is that big of a factor.
 
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