12 gauge or 20 gauge ?

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12 gauge or 20 gauge ?

Postby Rookie » Sat Apr 09, 2005 4:01 am

In asking some people I know, some say that a 20 gauge is more than enough for ducks and geese if I work the birds and get them a little closer. Is there a big difference between a 20 gauge shell and a 2 3/4" 12 gauge shell ? If not, I would go with the 12 gauge so I have the option of more power if needed.
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Postby DUKHTR » Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:19 am

I use 12's and 20's....but it all depends on the target species and the expected shot ranges......I would strongly suggest a 12 if you have only one gun to pull off the rack.....you really need the versatility afforded with a 12.....if you have options and know you're getting puddlers in less than 30 yards, by all means you can go with the 20, but remember, you need to be proficient with the 20, because there is little margin........In my experience a 20 should only be for close in shooting and a very solid gunner. I have a friend wanting to shoot geese this season with his new 20....and I am discouraging it since a body shot at any range greater than 25 yards is questionable on a Giant...... keep the 20 for the woodies, teal and puddlers over the blocks early in the season IMO
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Postby vacuum6 » Sat Apr 09, 2005 6:32 am

the name of the game is pellet count and down range pellet energy. in the back of the winchester and federal ammo catalogs-available at the sporting goods stores- will be the number of pellets in each load for specific pellet sizes. for steel shot, a 1 ounce load of number 2 steel (max load for a factory 20 guage 3 inch shell is 125 pellets. a 1 1/4 ounce load of number 2's has 156 pellets. you can do the math ...more pellets mean denser patterns. it is your call, i shoot 3 inch 20 gauge...a 1 ounce load of 4 shot steel (192 pellets)..over decoys for ducks...i don't recommend that for geese or 40 yard pass shooting)...but i like the 20 gauge and, even though i am in therepy for it, i am not changing. i do have a 12 on the wall, but i am not a goose hunter ( the limit here is only 1 per day ). for grouse and pheasants, we can shoot lead shot...a 3 inch 20 guage load of #6 lead has 281 pellets (1 1/4 ounce load). more than enough. i am not interested in carrying a 7 1/2 pound 12 gauge for 4 hours in the woods. good luck.
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Postby gsphunter » Sat Apr 09, 2005 8:25 am

Pellet count is definitely the key. You can make twenty gauge rounds fly just as fast as a 12, but the gunner just has to be more accurate to get the fewer pellets where they need to go. Saying that though I would agree with DUKHTR that if you only have the option of one gun then go with the 12. A lot more versatile.
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Postby tengoose1 » Sat Apr 09, 2005 9:13 am

The 20gauge is not the most ideal gun for duck or goose hunting but if you were to keep the birds close you would be alright. As far as patterns go you will most likely not get exceptional patterns with larger size steel shot. If you were to shoot hevishot you might extend your range a little bit. The 12 gauge will outdo the 20 hands down day in and out but if you are looking for a challenge then go with the 20. The 20 was more designed for lead shot and upland hunting because of how lightweight and quick handling it is.(most kids start out with one too)
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Postby Swamp Puppy » Sat Apr 09, 2005 9:18 am

only one gun?

12ga... no thought required.
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Postby Ducksbeus » Sat Apr 09, 2005 9:42 am

12...far more versatile for any hunting conditions or game. Back in the day, I used ta kill the crap outa dux with my old Rossi 20 sxs. Used the cheapest dang dove loads we could find also...Times have changed...Get the 12 :thumbsup:
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Postby JWG » Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:12 pm

12 for sure. If you hunt you need one. I don't think I know too many waterfowlers who just have a 20. But if ya have a 12, get the 20. If ya can, which is probably not the case, get both. I'm still thinkin about gettin' a Stoeger S/S in an Uplander combo. You get a 12 and a 20 for around $500. Not the most fancy gun but atleast I can take it out hunting. good luck
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Postby Rookie » Sat Apr 09, 2005 12:45 pm

Good advice from all ! Thanks !
I think I will stick with the 12 gauge for now. Maybe in a year or two pick up a 20 when I get a little better at my shots ! I do plan on making this a sport and only shooting when the birds are in close enough. My belief is that if it is a little harder to get them, they taste that much better (thought process comes from hiking the streams looking for that perfect brook trout hole) !
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Postby Swamp Puppy » Sat Apr 09, 2005 1:32 pm

Rookie wrote: My belief is that if it is a little harder to get them, they taste that much better


lord knows ducks need all the help they can get... :laughing:
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Postby duck hunter cam » Sat Apr 09, 2005 3:39 pm

12 ga only way to go.
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Postby AlaskaRedneK » Sun Apr 10, 2005 2:46 am

I hunt with both.

The 20 guage is plenty enough for most duck hunting senerios.

However, the 12 guage does offer a little more distance with a better pattern (2 3/4 in.).

But the 20 guage is more fun because it makes it more of a "challenge" to hit the ducks. It is a fun little cartrige that has less recoil (if that is an issue).

If you do go with the 12 guage, why only the 2 3/4 in., almoast all new and shotguns manufactured in the last 30 years are chambered in ATLEAST 3 in. So why wouldnt you just use the 3 in. if you were trying to gain extra power?

Hope you make a good choice for you.

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Postby Rookie » Sun Apr 10, 2005 5:01 am

Thanks Rednek, I do plan on using the 12 gauge 3". I was just curious if the larger 20 gauge shells were comparable to a small 12 gauge shell. I am new to hunting and asking around about what gun would be best for me. Most people agree that a 12 gauge is the most versatile but one guy I know feels a 20 gauge is all I need for ducks and geese, just need to watch my range closely. All that said, I think being a rookie hunter I will stick to the 12 gauge for now and maybe get a 20 gauge in the future.
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Postby DUKHTR » Sun Apr 10, 2005 7:50 am

Rookie, I am no ballistics expert by any means.....so IMO and MY common sense perspective let's consider a few things when comparing the 12 and the 20......payload (the 12 will have a larger payload of shot usually even if a 2 3/4" compared to a 3" 20).....bore (the 12, especially if overbored, will usually pattern better at almost any range......drams of powder (usually the 12 will propel the shot charge at a faster muzzel velocity which has been proven to provide impact foot pounds of energy to make killing shots with steel)........other - weight of gun/sleekeness/feel (a 20 will many times increase shooting ability just because of the weight factor and the inherent abilitly for most shooters to swing the gun better and to get a better fit - of course depends on your size too).....if a 20g shooter is able to pick-n-choose optimal shots, he/she can be very effective and be 'competitive' with any 12g gunner...restraint and discipline is important....lastly, unfortunately there are not as many options of shot shell in the 20g offerings as there are in the 12, and the large shot many times does not produce the pattern even at close ranges to be effective day in and day out.....so a great option these days is Hevi (too bad it is so darn expensive!)
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Postby Greg Wile » Sun Apr 10, 2005 8:29 pm

!2 ga all the way. If you were to only do a bit of waterfowl hunting and most of the time you hunted upland game then if you don't mind the extra cost of 20 ga shells I would go with the lighter weight of a twenty ga gun.
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Postby Rookie » Mon Apr 11, 2005 2:19 pm

There is not a lot of upland game in my area, so I think most of the hunting will be for duck and goose. Also, this area does not allow deer hunting with rifles so the 12 gauge is the size I will buy.
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