12 versus 20

slidellkid

New member
I thought I posted this question earlier today but I guess I did not hit the submit button. I will try again.

I want a 20 gauge for doves and would like to also use it on pheasant. I carried a 7.5 pound 12 gauge this year and it was fine but I certainly noticed the weight a lot more than I did when I was younger.

If I shot a 20 gauge with 1 1/4 ounce of #5 shot wouldn't that basically be the same as a 1 1/4 ounce #5 load out of a 12? I'd have to shoot 3 inch shells in a 20 to shoot 1 1/4 ounce loads but since it's not high volume shooting I think that would be ok. On the other hand I could probably find some one ounce loads that pattern well and use those too.

For those of you that shoot a 20 do you feel handicapped by the smaller gauge?

Thanks,

Dan
 

Kismet

UPH Guru
In fact, as a practical matter, I've completely gone back to 2 3/4" shells in my 20 and 12.

If I were a goose, turkey, or blind-based duck hunter, I'd probably keep some 3 inchers around.

Other folks may have different, and better, opinions.

Best wishes.
 

sockeye

New member
In fact, as a practical matter, I've completely gone back to 2 3/4" shells in my 20 and 12.

If I were a goose, turkey, or blind-based duck hunter, I'd probably keep some 3 inchers around.

Other folks may have different, and better, opinions.

Best wishes.
fully agree i do you the 3"late in season
 

Dakotazeb

Active member
While a standard 12 gauge load of 1 1/4 oz. has a velocity of of 1,330 fps the 20 ga. 3" Mag. with 1 1/4 oz. is 1,300. So in those terms they are quite comparable. I think where the 3" 20 ga. suffer most is in patterning. With it's long shot string the 3" 20 ga. loads generally do not throw the best patterns. Thus, the 12 ga. would probably do a better job. There are light weight 12's out there. Or maybe even a 16 ga. with 1 1/8 oz. loads at around 1,300 fps would throw more pellets in the killing zone than the 3" 20 ga.
 

slidellkid

New member
I was wondering about that Zeb. I had heard the same, but having never owned a 20 I have no experience with 3" patterns.
 

Bob M

New member
No matter how much it is discussed a 12 bore is always gonna be bigger than a 20 and can be made to do more, however, the point is how much gun do you need for your desired application.
I think you will find that a 1oz load in a properly choked 20 will be quite sufficient on most pheasant hunting. I have used a 2 3\4" 1oz load of either 5s or 6s with good success on several pheasant and a lot of crows. And in a proper gun they are a joy to carry!
Bob
 

wisturkeyhunter

New member
While a standard 12 gauge load of 1 1/4 oz. has a velocity of of 1,330 fps the 20 ga. 3" Mag. with 1 1/4 oz. is 1,300. So in those terms they are quite comparable. I think where the 3" 20 ga. suffer most is in patterning. With it's long shot string the 3" 20 ga. loads generally do not throw the best patterns. Thus, the 12 ga. would probably do a better job. There are light weight 12's out there. Or maybe even a 16 ga. with 1 1/8 oz. loads at around 1,300 fps would throw more pellets in the killing zone than the 3" 20 ga.
Have you used a 20 gauge with quality 3 inch loads for a season or 2 and noticed a difference in killing range verse a 12 or 16 with 2 3/4 loads?

There is scenarios where more than a 20 gauge is needed but a 2 3/4 inch 12 ain't a big enough jump to make any tangible difference in my opinion.
 

tript2009

New member
I have hunted with both 12 and 20, and with the same gun in both gauges. I noticed very little differences inside 30 yards. However, when I got beyond that, my "dead on impact" percentage went way down. I consider myself a fairly decent wingshooter, but noticed that my percentage of kills in birds that flushed 10-20yds off my dog's nose went way down when switching to 20 gauge. My shells were practically the same. In 12ga, I used 2 3/4", 1 1/4oz 1330fps #6 Remington express long range which patterned best on paper. For the 20ga, I used 3" 1 1/4 oz 1300 fps praire storm loads, afain patterning the best on paper. Similar in all aspects, but performance greatly changed. The only thing I can attribute it to is the shot string length.
 

slidellkid

New member
tript2009,

I spent some time researching last night on this issue and I keep hearing this same story over and over. The number of cripples while pheasant hunting is already a concern and considering I only take one SD trip a year I don't want to handicap myself. I shot several birds at 40-45 yards last trip so I would expect the same in the future.

Maybe a Benelli Ultra Light in 12 gauge is in my future after all. Or, maybe a nice O/U 12 gauge to split the difference! Decisions, decisions.
 

Frangler

Member
I have been shooting a sxs 20 exclusively for seven years now and I don't think I'll ever take a 12 pheasant hunting again. I got sick of picking pellets out of the meat when I was younger and overall enjoy shooting my 20 much more. You don't have the knock down power of a 12 with longer range shots but it has taught me what are good shots on pheasants and what shots are better not taken even with a 12 to minimize running down cripples. Hunting with pointing dogs there is really no need to use a 12. In fact most pheasants I harvest each year are shots under 25 yards and killed with 2 3/4" 7.5 shot out of an improved cylinder. In my other barrel I use a 3" 5 if I need more killing power on a longer shot. Being comfortable and confident with whatever gun you use is probably more important than what gauge you use but if you were thinking about getting a 20 and have friends that have one it wouldn't be a bad idea to borrow one for a day and see if you like it. Many areas I hunt pheasants have quail and that was the main reason I started shooting a 20. All of my friends have now switched to 20 gauges also :D
 

quail hound

Moderator
Yes, an 1 1/4oz load in a 20ga has a much longer shot string than a 1 1/14oz out of a 12ga meaning that less of the shot will impact the target at a given range. I like shooting my 20ga's and never feel under gunned with them but the physics of shot string are real and the 20ga is notorious for throwing a long shot string.
 

SDJIM

New member
QH it's a little off subject but I know you have extensive experience with a 28 ga.--is there a shot string problem with a 28?
 

quail hound

Moderator
QH it's a little off subject but I know you have extensive experience with a 28 ga.--is there a shot string problem with a 28?
No the 28ga throws a very short shot string, that's why you will hear that they "punch above their weight".
 

jonnyB

Active member
Using a 20 ga., 1 1/4, 3" gives my shoulder a substantial kick. I usually drop down to 1 1/8 in both 12 and 20 guns due to the recoil.

Bear in mind I have about 40% of my right shoulder left -there's not much meat in that area!

Love the 7.5 - 1/18 shell at close range....
 

BleuBijou

New member
Buy a 12 now and then you will buy a 20 later and maybe a few other sub 12's. Aim small miss small... with pointing dogs a 12 feels like to much gun even choked correctly. Feel like I am wasting pellets and I surely don't want to use a 12 with modified or full with pointing dogs.. 20 and 28 for me until the conditions change or I go out with flushing pups...Beauty of bird hunting or hunting in general is you get to choose what you want to shoot for the most part...:10sign:
 
I shoot both 12 and 20 in the uplands . There are very few birds that can't be taken cleanly with an ounce of shot 40 yds and in . I really like carrying a lively double trigger twenty gauge all season long .

If I get invited on a group hunt where there is a bunch of blocking and driving I will some times take a 12 if I need to shoot birds at distance .
 

SetterNut

New member
I agree with Blue, over pointing dogs a 20 is more than enough.
Most all of the shots are well inside 25 yards.
 
Top