The Rebirth of the 16 Gauge....


Dave McCracken
November 16, 2007, 08:55 PM
Back before WWII, the 16 gauge, oft in a SxS, was the darling of upland gunners. Usually more than half a lb lighter than a similar 12 gauge, it carried well and still was potent on stuff smaller than turkeys.

Browning's A5 in 16 gauge, whether it said "Sweet Sixteen" or not on the receiver, became a legend in the uplands and still is a very good choice.

I used a 16 gauge Single shot starting out in the 50s and accounted for 40 geese or so as well as lesser stuff before moving on to a 12.

But as time went on, the 16 faded from view.Improvements and fashion decreed the 20 gauge would fill the gap, and while the 20 is oft bad at launching an oz of shot, few folks then knew enough to pattern and test.

16 gauge ammo choices diminished, and the gauge seemed almost as dead as Diplodicus. Still, some folks kept their 16s, which still worked and worked and worked.

Things seem to be different now. Browning brought out some O/Us in 16 gauge and the few remaining are advertised in gun mags at markup prices. Remington re issued the 870 and 1100 in 16 gauge and Connecticut Shotguns are reporting sales of their high end Foxes and Model 21s in 16 are rising.

Divers makers in Europe and Turkey are turning out 16s that are imported here, oft modeled after classic British game guns.

Ithaca, rising Phoenix like, has a 16 gauge Model 37 in its lineup that should gladden many hearts like the old ones have. My guess is it runs about 6 lbs, perfect for the oz of shot the 16 throws.

And maybe this is a good time to talk about square loads. That's a load where the shot column is only as tall as it is wide.Supposedly, this magically conveys every pellet to its proper position in the pattern. And, supposedly the 16 has square loads with a 1 oz payload.

Be that as it may, I've not patterned a truly bad 1 oz 16 gauge load. Top ammo produces beautiful patterns and humanely harvested critters. A short shot string means more shot gets to the target at the same time.

Many 16 gauges handle very well. The SxS versions oft do so superbly, whether they are Parkers, 311s or a foreign make. The lessened weight and carry fatigue means we're more apt to make shots late in the day three ridges away from the truck.

An oz of hard lead works for stuff smaller than wild ringnecks and even then with close working dogs during the early season.

And the rising costs of ammo may see us needing to go to lighter loads anyway.

I'm not privy to the ammo companies plans, but a 2 3/4" 16 gauge has a hair more room to put non toxic pellets than a 3" 20 gauge does. If a 3" Hevishot 20 gauge load is effective, and it is, than a 16 gauge load should be at least as good.

How about 1 1/8 oz of Hevi 3s out of a 16? I think it'd work for everything within 45 yards, and few of us have any business shooting further on things that can suffer.

Caveat, non toxic loads aren't for shotguns made before 1980 and not all shotguns made since.

Some downsides exist.

Some companies took the easy way and put 16 gauge barrels on 12 gauge receivers. These save no weight and oft handle less than satisfactorily.

OTOH, Winchester did their 16 gauge Model 12s on 20 gauge frames, and produced a fine repeater thereby. "Carries like a 20, hits like a 12".

Another downside is ammo availability. Choices are few and supplies are spotty at times. Reloading for the 16 is an even better idea than for the 12.

I'd love to see what can be done if the newer barrel tweaks like overboring and long forcing cones were done to a competition grade O/U in 16 gauge. Stoked with ammo similar to the top target stuff in 12 gauge, betcha it'd raise a few eyebrows.

What's YOUR opinion on the 16?....

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November 16, 2007, 09:06 PM
Dave, awesome thread. When I was a kid I used to shoot my grandfather's old 16ga single barrel and still have a fondness for the round. If I ever win the Powerball lottery, one of the first things I'm going to buy is a James Purdey & Sons SxS in 16 bore.

My second choice would be a Browning Sweet 16. But, man, they're hard to find in good condition. And when you do find one, they cost an arm and a leg.

I've thought about an 870 Wingmaster in 16ga. But, unfortunately, Remington took the easy route and built them on a 12ga frame and barrel. Not good. Plus, I'd rather have a semi or double barrel for clay shooting.

My search for a high quality 16ga that doesn't completely break the bank continues...

November 16, 2007, 09:16 PM
I frequent this shotgun forum infrequently, but I could not resist reading about the "sweet 16". I have never had the opportunity to fire one, but this situation may change when I move to a new residence next year. Please keep us informed about the progress of the 16 gauge on the market.


November 16, 2007, 09:19 PM
I learned to appreciate and respect the 16 gauge later in life.

The 16 gauge simply was not used around my parts much growing up.
Skeet also played a factor in the 16 having hard times as well, since for those that don't know, 12 20, 28 and .410 are events in Skeet.

Dave is correct in regard to the square load, easy to tote, still easy to fell what needs felling catagories, and built on 16 ga frames, these are some good looking guns!

I've shared this link before, and this picture says a lot to me at least.


November 16, 2007, 09:25 PM
Good thread Dave !

Will add this ...

The 16 did not "fall out of favor with shooters" after WWII. It fell out of favor with the big ammo producers. Why? Because it was the only gauge NOT supported by any clay target game - which meant sales to hunters only - which meant carrying a high amount of inventory for a (comparatively) low level of sales.
So the big companies - with the gun writers' help - strangled the 16 by cutting off the ammo, dropiing it from the line-ups, and touting the 20 ga. "Magnum".

and I'll add this...

Reloading for the 16, right now, is hampered by the scarcity of good wads and good reloadable hulls. You can find 'em but be prepared to pay.


November 16, 2007, 10:02 PM
The 16 gauge was popular in my area of Michigan for years.
That meant that a well-used Winchester Model 12 in 16 gauge was available for my father to buy and give me as a high school graduation present.
I used it on grouse, geese, squirrels, and one three-point buck that I walked up on on a ridge next to a thick swamp years ago.

I had semi-retired it because of a 20 gauge over and under that weighs a about a pound less and fits me well. This year, however, I spent most of the first grouse season carrying the old Winchester.

Along the way I also got my paws on a Marlin Model 90 over and under in 16 gauge. I haven't hunted with it yet this year but a few years ago it was the gun of choice. I tried to buy one at an auction, quite a while ago, and was beat out by my old high school wood shop teacher who was long retired by then. I didn't know the old gent could still move that fast.

I have looked at Ithaca 37s, Browning over and unders, and Remington 870s in 16 gauge in the last few years. Couldn't afford any, but liked the way most of them looked.

There's a group called The 16 Gauge Society that's trying to keep 16 gauge ammo loaded and available. Their website has a lot of interesting info.

November 16, 2007, 10:51 PM
First gun I ever shot was my grandpa's 16 gauge single-shot. A 16 will be my next shotgun for sure, probably an A5. I was delighted to discover that Dick's sells a light game load in 16 that is ok for ranges (I think it was #7-1/2 shot; my range allows no larger than #7-1/2).

November 16, 2007, 11:07 PM
I love 16ga. I use my Great Grandfather's Model 21 in 16. It was great for quail and dove, and I still use it for sporting clays. As for ammo, I use RIO its fairly inexpencive and it kicks much more than the old ammo i used to use. I dont know the name of the old ammo I used but the shels were purple. That was my favorite ammo. Hardly kicked and seemed to have plenty of power and pelets.

November 16, 2007, 11:14 PM
I love my 16s. I have the Model 12 I have lusted after for so many years, a Belgian under-lever double and a Wards "Browning Patent" pump action. All are old and only the Model 12 has the 2 3/4 chamber, and its ejection port was cut for paper (roll crimped) shells. So, I reload in brass.


November 16, 2007, 11:15 PM
There is actually a 16 gauge society.

November 16, 2007, 11:19 PM
My first gun was a AYA Matador SxS in 16 gauge, which I still have. It's been restocked and it is still a great gun to take out for dove on opening day. I had a Winchester Model 12, 16 gauge skeet with a Simmons rib, but I sold it on Gunbroker a couple years ago. It was a safe queen; just too nice to take out and shoot in the field.

November 17, 2007, 12:03 AM
I still use my grandpas fox sterlingworth sxs 16 for dove and squirrel

November 17, 2007, 12:30 AM
My 16 is a splendid Bill Hanus "Birdgun" :)

November 17, 2007, 09:23 AM
I think that this "rebirth of the 16 gauge" was actually a "still birth" since the mommy was in labor for so long. For at least 20 years, I've been reading/hearing those who decry the demise of the 16 gauge, yet the 16 gauge is no more likely to become common in usage than I am to start growing hair on my bald spot.

The 16 will continue to exist on life support for another decade or two due to nostalgia only. Afterward it will exist in museums and private collections. As many have pointed out before, those guns which allege to have all-around usefullness for everything seldom are good at anything. For medium to heavy loads, it can't match the versatility of the wide assortment of 12 gauge guns or shells. For moderate to light loads, it can't match a good 20 or 28 gauge gun or shell.

If a person were limited to only one shotgun, then perhaps the 16 gauge might have a chance of survival, but, happily, that is not the case and it hasn't been the case for the past 40 or 50 years.

November 17, 2007, 09:55 AM
I grew up duck and goose hunting. I had a 20 gauge 870 that worked fine with lead number 5s in its 2 3/4" chamber, but for geese, I needed more. I borrowed my uncle's 16 Ithaca and brought it home a bit dirty, once. He got on my case about it and gave me an old single shot 16 to use, said "Here, boy, you have a goose gun, now." So, I actually killed my first geese with that old gun, 30" full choked barrel shooting 2s. I still have that old gun and it's tight and plenty usable, but I never shoot it. I think I might use it for duck hunting now and then if it weren't for the steel shot laws.

I might, someday, pick up another Ithaca 16 just out of nostalgia, but truth be told, for waterfowl, the 16 just ain't up to the 12. The 12 is THE waterfowl gauge. The 10, actually, has a place in goose hunting what with steel shot and all, though hevi shot 12 gauge 3" does a good job. Weight of the gun is not a consideration except that a gun that is too light in 12 will kick a bit much for my tastes.

For upland hunting, I can certainly see the 16s advantages. However, I've never hunted pheasant, we don't have 'em. I have hunted quail on rare occasion. I have a fine old light weight 12 gauge side by side if I ever do get to hunt pheasant or I could use my 20 gauge side by side. I don't feel the 16 would do all that much for me even if I moved to South Dakota. LOL I don't need the gauge in my collection, really. But, I may get one anyway some day. Not much huntin' they can't cover plenty well. There will always be those that prefer the odd bores like 28 and 16, but really, they waned in popularity for a pretty good reason. A 16 just really can't do anything a good 12 can't and in some cases much better and that's why the 12 is king and the 20 is there for those that want something lighter and quicker and easier on the shoulder. But, as with the 28, I do hope the 16 never dies. I have fond memories of hunting with one

Dave McCracken
November 17, 2007, 10:36 AM
Thanks for the responses, folks. 16s turn up in our personal histories, but there's also some utility in this old gauge.

I just don't see the 16 as an all around tool. A 12 gauge will always have the advantage when it comes to stuffing big non tox pellets in a hull. However, when one has the big load bases covered there's still lots of room for game that doesn't require a teacup of 2s to fold. Or an 11 lb shotgun.

And, consider all those German and Austrian hunters back then with their Drillings. These combination guns were used on everything, and usually consisted of two 16 gauge smoothbore barrels over a centerfire rifle barrel. When these folks went after wild boar, they used slugs in the shotgun barrels.

Otto Brenekke developed his now famous slug for just that.

And Pete, in days of yore well heeled shotgunners oft owned 8,10 or heavy 12 gauge shotguns for waterfowl and buckshot duty. They also owned a lighter, more portable and user friendlier shotgun, most often a 16.

I see the same thing here. Like the interest in the 28 gauge, the 16 provides "Something DIfferent" and has the advantages I listed above.

November 17, 2007, 11:22 AM
"And Pete, in days of yore well heeled shotgunners oft owned 8,10 or heavy 12 gauge shotguns for waterfowl and buckshot duty. They also owned a lighter, more portable and user friendlier shotgun, most often a 16."

Yeah, but that was then and this is now. The 16 gauge is not experiencing a "rebirth". It's on life support. I never read of any "young" guys waxing nostalgic about the 16 gauge. It's always the old greybeards who remember shooting their daddy's or granddaddy's 16 gauge many moons ago.

In a decade or two, those greybeards will be gone or eating mushy pablum in a nursing home. Who will miss or want the 16 gauge then? No one!

Not trying to rain on your parade. Just presenting an opposing (and I believe more realistic) view of the status of the 16 gauge. I enjoyed the discussion. Take care. :)

November 17, 2007, 12:24 PM
My Father owned a 311 in the mid 50's, used it for many years upland hunting. It was one of the first shotguns I've ever fired.

Dad made the mistake of leaving it in a wet soft case at our trailer, and when we tore the rusted Savage out of the case he was ready to saw the chambers. I convinced him we should restore it, which we did and it came out gorgeous, except the hot-tank bluing warped the 28" barrels badly.

So it was relegated to a wall-hanger for many years, till I decided to chop the warped barrels and make it a useful coach gun.

The purist will hate me, but today the 311 lives on as one of my HD guns. A dozen #1's can be very convincing, and it patterns extremely well. She'll live another 50 years easy.

November 17, 2007, 12:44 PM
I don't hate ya, but all that comes to mind is "redneck mall ninja"....sorry....ROFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!:D You have revived an old gun to usefulness, not a bad thing. And, you could still hunt with it you had it converted to screw in chokes ala Briley. However, that can run into money. I hunt with such a coach gun, bought that way. It kills 'em dead just as far out there with it's 20" barrels as any 28" gun.

In a decade or two, those greybeards will be gone or eating mushy pablum in a nursing home. Who will miss or want the 16 gauge then? No one!

Don't know about anyone else here, but this is one "grey beard" (I have a razor) that's goin' down shootin'. I ain't even close to done, yet.

And, Dave, well said. There is room in my collection for another 16, eventually. Of course, I still have that single barrel. I still like the gauge, used to be a rabid nut about it. But, steel shot sorta killed some of my energy about it. Yeah, the 12 is THE versatile gauge, but it ain't the ONLY gauge.

November 17, 2007, 12:55 PM
If you bring the 16, at least when you show up at the range, you don't normally need to worry about the range "leach" wanting to "borrow" a box of shells from you.:D

Dave McCracken
November 17, 2007, 01:00 PM
Pete, I don't have a dog in this fight. There's a messa 12 gauges here and one 20. I was noting the fact that lots of folks are finding 16 gauge fills a need/want for them again.

As for messy pablum, I'm only 61. Based on how long most of my forebearers survived, I'm good for a couple decades yet.

Greyeyezz, 1 buck is certainly effective. While your coach gun is nto state of the art, you are probably well equipped.

MC,Steel amd the 16 aren't a marriage made in Heaven, but the high density non toxics may do better. Time will tell.

November 17, 2007, 01:06 PM
For upland hunting, there is something special about a 16-gauge double on a 20-gauge frame. Put 29-inch barrels on it . . . .


November 17, 2007, 01:13 PM
So my Belgian Sweet 16 is cool again? Since I shoot it better than anything else I've ever had, I'll always think it's cool. Wish I had the same confidence in my M2. And I wish I wasn't getting afraid to carry it in the field. One less thing to think about when you're jumping out of a quail buggy with something plastic.

November 17, 2007, 01:16 PM
Excellent thread Dave.
I too am a big fan of the 16b.I use mine for walked up birds and pigeon shooting.I have never put anything other than lead through mine,I would love to find a later gun to use on ducks.
Mine is a 1930s W.Richards non ejector,damascus barrels,with some decent engraving.

Dave McCracken
November 17, 2007, 04:54 PM
Tom, truly sweet. Friend of mine has a tough decision to make. Connecticut Shotguns is offering 16 gauge barrels for the O Frame Parker Repro. Said friend has one of them in 20 gauge. While pricey, a 16/20 combo is hard to turn down and will add value as time goes on.

Ski, it never was uncool. The Browning 16 is a classic.

Mac, thanks for that. Nice gun, I wonder where the other half of the pair is...

November 17, 2007, 05:30 PM
Dang near brought one home today. I'm in Gander Mountain buying some clay targets and of course have to peruse the shotgun racks. I see a standard 870, 28" barrel. As I'm walking past the price tage catches my eye. $199 with a rebate tag ($30?). I do a double take thinking it's mismarked then notice several others. Pick it up, yeah looks new, looks like any other 870 Express.....oh its a 16 gauge. Would have been hard to walk away from a 12 at $169 and even considered the 16 but have no idea what these normally go for.

November 17, 2007, 05:35 PM
Dave..I thought forum members may help on tracking the other 1,there will be a finders fee.

November 17, 2007, 05:53 PM
Friend of mine has a tough decision to make. Connecticut Shotguns is offering 16 gauge barrels for the O Frame Parker Repro. Said friend has one of them in 20 gauge. While pricey, a 16/20 combo is hard to turn down and will add value as time goes on.

Yep, yep, yep..... Gotta thank you for that one, Dave :p

I'm definitely considering it, but I would need to move some stuff out before plonking down the dollars on that bbl set. I certainly see buying the 16-ga set as adding value in the long run, not to mention that I really enjoy shooting the 16's I have on hand now.

Both "Sarah Jessica" and "Mary Louise" also have the Parker Repro leather cases with the canvas outer covers and the interior goodies (the oil bottles and the snap-caps...) whicj also add serious value.

Dollar-in/dollar-out, buying that bbl set for $1895 would help to alleviate some of the guilt that I carry around regarding what I paid for this pair of guns....


almost :evil:

November 17, 2007, 06:25 PM
Yeah, I saw that offer of 16-gauge barrels for the Parker repro 20 gauge. That would make a nice package.

Also, they have 28-inch 16-gauge barrels for the Model 21.

Somehow, I ended up with two very nice doubles in 16.

The strange thing is that I'm not really a big fan of the 16 gauge, as a gauge. The guns in 16, though, are just so sweet.

Navy joe
November 17, 2007, 06:29 PM

Got one, a beauty, just need the time to learn to be a shotgunner. Never shot at a bird in my life, I need to change that. :(

November 17, 2007, 06:41 PM
To learn to be a shotgunner, TAKE LESSONS!

I'm amazed at people who would never think of taking up golf without taking lessons, but they just assume they can learn to shoot a shotgun without help.

Do yourself a favor. Buy a half-dozen lessons with a good wingshooting instructor. It'll pay off for a long time.

November 17, 2007, 06:46 PM
A 16 gauge was the first shotgun I ever fired. It was over 40 years before I shot another 16. I didn't miss it in the interim.

I don't see the 16 gauge going through a rebirth. I agree with Pete. It's on life support IMO and is being kept alive by nostalgia and a desire to march to a different drummer.

Shells are not as easy to find. Loading components most often require mail order and I cannot recall ever seeing a 16 gauge loader at a local gunstore.

There is nothing a 16 gauge can do that a light 12 can't do as well if not better. I understand however the appeal of the lighter frame and when I ordered a custom sxs in Spain I specified a 12 gauge on a 16 gauge frame. That is the best of both worlds.

I appreciate my views will be denounced as heresy among the 16 gauge aficionados some of whom are in steady rapture over their favorite gauge and can be moved almost to fisticuffs if their views are challenged.

There is nothing wrong with marching to a different drummer or nostalgia but there is nothing magical about the 16 gauge.

November 17, 2007, 07:01 PM
PJR, I agree. When I had a Grulla made, I had it done in 12 gauge. 29-inch barrels. 6 pounds 6 ounces.

I would not buy a NEW gun in 16 gauge, but there are some great old 16s out there that will provide decades of great gunning.

I have two 16-gauge SxS doubles which are nothing short of wonderful.

November 17, 2007, 07:41 PM
Something comes to mind, to me. When all of us gray beards go to the great hunting lodge in the sky and we're all sitting around chatting about hunts of the past, our 16s are going to be down here with our sons and daughters. Do you think they might pick 'em up to hunt with once in a while? When they do, do you think they might figure out for themselves what fine tools they really are?

November 17, 2007, 07:46 PM
Maybe for a while at least, there will be a bunch of 20 ga inserts for the old 16 SxSs. I have a friend with a nice 12 that I don't think he has ever shot 12ga shells in -- only 28 using inserts.

November 17, 2007, 07:57 PM
I love 16 first pheasant gun was a hand me down Ward Hercules SXS 16 gauge. What a POS, but I loved it

November 17, 2007, 09:32 PM
Hercules? That's what my single shot has on its receiver. Was it sold by Montgomery Ward???? I was told by a response from NRA to an inquiry about my gun that it was made by Iver Johnson and sold "as a branded product from a hardware store or chain store". They didn't mention Montgomery Wards and I've always wondered what chain sold it.

Yeah, I thought that old thing was gold when I was 15. :D I was danged proud to own it.

Navy joe
November 17, 2007, 10:01 PM
Guntalk, I know re. lessons. I am a technical type and a pistol shooter to boot. I need to be hit repeatedly with a blunt object to stop looking for the front sight. :D I can tear things up with a shotgun as long as it is a three gun type of gig(not movin!) I want to learn to do things that don't involve nifty loading tricks and 40 round courses of fire.

Dave McCracken
November 18, 2007, 09:49 AM
Ringer, a 12 for $169 is a great deal. 16 gauge 870s weigh the same as 12 gauges and do less.

Mac, hope you find it. You may want to try the BB over at Shooting Some serious doublegun fans there that are into British doubles.

SR, glad to help, heh,heh,heh.And I guess you haven't checked prices on those Repros lately. Asking price on the last 20 I saw setup like yours was close to $5K.

Tom, that's part of it. While the 16 gauge is OK in itself, it has been chambered in some really nice shotguns. Grandad's Elsie is a 16. For a long while folks wanting a good uplander at a decent price went for the 16s. They were often MUCH cheaper than the same make and model in 12 or 20 gauge.

Navy Joe, your pic gave me a case of the covets. After you add to the wear marks, you'll know why. Do get lessons.

Paul, I'm not trading in my shotguns for 16 gauges. I find the resurgence interesting and a little gratifying in that fine old guns are getting used and that something old is now new again.

November 18, 2007, 12:05 PM
I've been shooting shotguns for 46 years, but I consider myself an average wingshot. Now, give me a rifle and I can knock the tick off a deer's back at 200 yards, but I always spent most of my shooting as a youth with a .22 and got to be a better than average shot with a rifle, but never spent any real time other than hunting with a shotgun. When I shoot country doubles with the club, I get outshot. With rifle or handgun, I'm usually winning or top three and I've done okay in other shoots and expert qualified in IDPA when I was doing that.

Most of my hunting, though, has been with the shotgun, and I don't think I'm too old to learn a little better how to use it. There's this guy in Houston that teaches what he calls "shoot where you look". He peppers aspirins he tosses up in the air with a Daizy BB gun that has the sights removed and claims he can teach that in one class. I've often thought I'd like to see if he could teach me how to do that. :D I wonder if I have too many bad habits he'd have to teach around to get it done in one weekend class, but you never know until you try. Besides, I bet it's a fun deal.

November 20, 2007, 11:09 AM
First shotgun I shot was my grandfathers 1953 belgium browning Auto-5 in 16. He used it for deer, turkey, ducks and just about everything else. The shotguns mine now and I use it for trap, skeet and wobble trap. When I go out for turkey in the late season it will be my gun of choice.

November 20, 2007, 11:33 AM
I've never shot a 16. All my life I've shot 12's and just recently bought a Beneli M1 in 20ga to use for teaching kids and shooting doves. I have seen some nice Browning "Sweet 16" Auto fives on the used gun racks. The only issue that I see with the 16ga is the availability of ammo. I don't think I've seen the stuff sold at walmart. The only shotgun ammo you can find at Wallyworld is 12,20 and .410 every once in a while. There also seems to be a lack of popularity with this round. This is the "Jan Brady" of shotgun guages. These days the only rounds people seem to like are the 12 "Marcia Brady" and the 20 "Cindy Brady". The 16 sits somewhere in between the two and just doesn't seem to get noticed much. This is probably a strange analogy but I just got off a night shift and this is all I can think of right now.

November 20, 2007, 12:56 PM
I have an old Ithaca in 16 and even if it is on life support and I'm a dying breed, we are going to go to our demise with a smile on our face.:evil:

Sportsman's Warehouse sells it if you have one close by.

November 20, 2007, 01:34 PM
To me at least part of the appeal is the (foolishly incorrect) perception some of acquaintances have that the 12 gauge is a real Man's Gun, hard-kicking and brutish.

I show up with a 12 and they all think I'm trying to prove something.

I'm not a big fan of the 20. Had one for a while. My first gun, in fact. Seemed a little anemic. Although my Benelli is a great field gun, I'd be more inclined to keep that one for the range and get a 16 gauge A5 for a field gun.

So, yeah, my inclination towards the 16 is partly an emotional reaction, not only to go against the grain, but also to not be perceived as trying to prove something by toting a 12 around. Silly of me. When I can afford the shells, I put 300+ rounds/week through my 12. Getting a 16 to have a slightly milder load *is* silly. Partly it is general nostalgia. I want an A5. 16 just seems like the right gauge for such a historically important shotgun. And partly it is more specific nostalgia: my grandpa shot a 16.

As for ammo, well, I'm picking up a MEC single-stage press to learn on and get started with 12. When I find the funds for a MEC 9000, I'll also get the kit to convert the single-stage over to 16.

And this may be silly, but I jsut like the feel of 16 gauge shells. 12 seem kinda' fat and oversized. 20s seem kinda' small and wimpy. 16 gauge high-brass shells are just the most aesthetically pleasing shotshell it hase ever been my pleasure to handle. Weird? Maybe. Ask me if I care. :D

I think it'll stay around enough that I'll always be able to find some hulls to load. Of course, I'm talking a big show for someone who has yet to actualy reload a single shotshell, but ya know how that goes. I've been thinking like a reloader for months now, with the saving and the sorting and the prepping, it's just a matter of getting the gear.

November 22, 2007, 01:17 AM
I also am a fan of the 16 guage. I have a Belgium Browning auto 3 with two barrels, a Stevens sbl and an Ithaca 37 pump with a 18.5 inch barrel I keep next to my bed.
I find that the 16 guage points very well and still throws out enough shot to do the job.

dirty dave
November 25, 2007, 12:02 AM
I to have a Ithaca 37 pump ultra light in 16 gauge.It was my grandfathers .He ordered it from the sears catalog.still had the box and brown paper it was wraped in.But he had shot it.Probally just a couple hundred rounds he said.He gave it to me and said he wantedto know somebody would use it and enjoy it .It is now my rabbit gun and a good one at it.sold the box on ebay couple years ago for almost $60.00.I have never takin it apart since I have had it.Great gun.

Mr. 16 gauge
November 25, 2007, 08:25 AM
What's YOUR opinion on the 16?....

Your asking ME?!?!?

I never knew that the 16 gauge was dead and needed a "rebirth":)

November 25, 2007, 10:13 AM
To me at least part of the appeal is the (foolishly incorrect) perception some of acquaintances have that the 12 gauge is a real Man's Gun, hard-kicking and brutish.

I show up with a 12 and they all think I'm trying to prove something.
I know people like that too. One fellow in particular was riding me a bit for using my great big 12 gauge on a preserve pheasant hunt. He declared himself to be much more "sporting" with his 20 gauge.

After he'd downed a bird I picked up one of his hulls. He was definitely shooting 20 gauge -- 1-1/4 ounce 3" magnum 20 gauge. :what:

I was shooting 1 ounce loads in my 12. I took down more birds than him too. :D

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