BT Justice wrote: Modern 16 ga guns that can handle steel shot are deadly for decoying birds.
Yes, they are. So are modern 12 gauge guns, 20 gauge guns, 10 gauge guns, etc. I wouldn't consider 16 gauge guns above about #4 in a field of the four most deadly waterfowl gauges.
Very true, the point being however if the 16 had the advantages given the 20 ga or even the 12 ga such as 3" load capability, modern components and the amount of guns available to the shooter, I seriously think in this catch all world we live in today it would have outpaced the 20 ga and given shooters quite the option from the 12 ga.
The reason the 16 is where it is today wasn't from the lack of people who used them, anyone can see that by the amount of older 16 ga guns out there, it was the factories making life easier for themselves. The BS stories about the 12 ga being more popular because GI's used them in WWII really makes one think, in reality I believe just as many if not more shotguns were used in WWI as trench guns yet after WWI the 16 ga was just as popular with the general public as it was before the war.