20 Gauge Cylinder for Small Game?

Discussion in 'Hunting' started by JCooperfan1911, May 15, 2021.

  1. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    I have a cut back NEF single shot that no longer has the factory choke and is straight cylinder bored now. Barrel is 18 1/2” and has a normal bead sight.

    Do you think the gun can still be effectively used for squirrel and rabbit? That’s about all I’d hunt with it. It is light handy and durable so fits on an ATV well and I keep it in the woods for walking around and snakes. Thinking about trying to hunt with it come fall.
     
  2. ericuda

    ericuda Member

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    I'd shoot a big piece of cardboard with high brass 6's and see what it looks like. I'd try 25 yards first but I bet it opens up very quick.
     
  3. Patocazador

    Patocazador Member

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    Make sure they are close and it will work fine.
     
  4. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    Your best bet is to find another barrel for it, but if you just want to try it then go for it. I would start with a pizza box at 10 yards. Keep backing up a couple yards until you start having shot hitting off of the box. That’s realistically about the end of rabbit range, and I wouldn’t push it much further for anything else.
     
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  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Experimenting with different ammo could make a huge difference too.
     
  6. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    Thank you for the replies, gentleman.
     
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  7. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    The gun I have shot the most rabbits with was a 12 ga Remington 870 smoothbore slug gun. Cyl choke. The pellets spread fast so you didnt have to take a careful shot. Was pretty good when I was young dumb. I still love jump shooting rabbits but I have a Bernadelli SxS 20ga and it has fixed Imp/Imp chokes. Pretty perfect for my uses.

    I think that gun will be perfect for rabbits just the way it is for rabbit. Squirrels you will need to be close.
     
  8. Captcurt

    Captcurt Member

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    If you shoot like I do you will need the biggest pattern you can get. It will work fine.
     
  9. DocRock

    DocRock member

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    You can get that barrel threaded for screw in chokes. $65 from Mike Orlen. If not, Federal Premium ammo with Flight Control Wads will probably take useful patterns out another 10 yards.
     
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  10. frogfurr

    frogfurr Member

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    If I had a choice cylinder wouldn't be what I would pick.
     
  11. George P

    George P member

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    You won't be finding barrels for a gun that has been discontinued for quite some time.
     
  12. entropy

    entropy Member

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    Then there's fitting to consider. They rarely just pop right on.

    That 20 ga. cyl. bore shoud be good on rabbits and squirrels out to 30 yards, but I'd pattern it at 15 and 30 so you know what your shooting.
     
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  13. Loyalist Dave

    Loyalist Dave Member

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    You've defaulted into the the Black Powder world (well sort of...)
    20 gauge fusils and fowlers in the 18th century were smoothbore, and had no choke, and ..., took a lot of small game.

    Look more for large shot loads. Remington makes a heavy load that is 2¾" https://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/remington-nitro-mag-20-gauge-2-3-4-1-1-8-oz-lead-shot-shells-25-rounds?a=336286 I have no idea when these will be available again, but they are the idea.

    Actually..., If it was me I'd handload, and lower the powder a bit, and shoot 1½ ounces of #6. You're talking probably 20 to 25 yards max, so there would still be enough umph behind the pellets.;)

    You do have, however, a gun that will also shoot slugs, buckshot, and punkin ball loads. A punkin ball shell is a very old "slug" type shell. Prior to Foster or Brenneke slugs, folks simply used shells with a single lead round ball loaded. Just as had been done with muzzleloaders. The round ball weighs around ¾ of an ounce of shot, so it was easy to simply load a shell with the single ball (or to open a shotshell, remove the shot, and drop in a ball). No adjustments to the powder needed. Good to about 50 yards on deer or even moose. :thumbup:

    LD
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
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  14. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    At appropriate distances for the pattern it creates with a given load, absolutely.
     
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  15. GooseGestapo

    GooseGestapo Member

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    My younger brother went the choke tube route. He also got an adjustable choke tube.
    He’s shot most everything with it. Grouse, dove, squirrel, turkeys, pigs and deer.
    He also had a set of rifle sights installed. It’s sighted for 50yds with a rifled slug.
    Even though he’s got more in it than it’s worth. He’s happy with it. And, it works!
     
  16. T.R.

    T.R. Member

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    I started out with a cut down 20 gauge shotgun back in the 1960's. The original full choke shot patterns that were so tight I couldn't hit running rabbits or flying game. About 4 inches of barrel was removed and the bead remounted. I started hitting upland game with great enthusiasm and confidence! As I recall, high brass #6 shells were used for all my hunts.

    Good hunting to you!
    TR
     
  17. tactikel

    tactikel Member

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    Pattern it with field and magnum loads, 6,5,4 shot. A coke can with 7+ hits tell you your sweet spot.
     
  18. red rick

    red rick Member

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    If you don’t get a good pattern see if a gunsmith can tread the barrel for chokes .
     
  19. Thomasss

    Thomasss Member

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    It may surprise you to know I shot a squirrel with a #4 shot Federal pheasant load using a full choke. I was well aware of my pattern size and while fall turkey hunting and a pesty squirrel kept coming up a few yards ahead and scolding me. After the second time, I figured to aim high and just catch him with the edge of my pattern; and I did with three pellets in the head. If you know your pattern with a given load, it shouldn't be any trouble at all.
     
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