All around shotgun

Discussion in 'Shotguns' started by sarduy, Jan 23, 2022.

  1. sarduy

    sarduy Member

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    Hello guys,

    im seeking the wisdom of THR members.

    when it comes to shotguns all my experience is with 12ga. I have a owned a few tor home defense, patrol, and very limited hunting but that’s about it. All with a 12ga.

    im looking for something smaller to be used as an all around shooting, not much for home defense but more for those small games and critter control where a center fire or a 22lr rifle is not allowed.

    i know my options are the 20, 28 and 410 but I don’t really know much about those gauges in terms of overall performance. The application of the shotgun is for a range toy shooting cans, critters control, small games like rabbits, squirrels and some migratory birds.
     
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  2. hso

    hso Moderator Staff Member

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    Don't forget the venerable 16.

    28 gauge is a well liked small game gun, but you'll have a limited selection in semi or pump. Benelli makes a very nice array of upland bird guns and they have a 28 gauge semi. The Remington 1100 has come in 28 gauge for quite a while.
     
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  3. Armored farmer

    Armored farmer Member

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    The 28ga is a wonderful sportsman's choice. Ammo is not as easy to find sometimes.
    If you're not a reloader, you might be wise to stick to a 20ga.
    A 3inch magnum gun will keep you in the game when bigger payloads are nice for turkey or waterfowl.
    A 870 wingmaster is my go-to.
     
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  4. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    Going to 20ga made a huge difference for the better in terms of blast, concussion, recoil and does most every thing a 12ga will. Ammo takes up considerably less space which is kind of nice.

    I say that comparing Mav88 12ga vs identical Mav88 20ga.
     
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  5. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    Overall a 12 is still best. You can buy shells that duplicate 20 ga performance and recoil. You can shoot heavier loads if the need arises, but the 12 does everything the 20 does, and does it better. Plus ammo is a lot more readily available and priced the same as 20. I have nothing against 16 or 28 ga, but try finding shells in normal times.

    A pump or semi-auto with no more than a 26" barrel covers a lot of bases. I have no idea of your budget, shotguns can cost $300 to $3000 or more. And then there is finding something. The only shotguns I see on shelves are cheap imported guns. I can't even find anything decent online right now.

    You could go to 20 ga. Ammo is usually just as easy to find as 12, but not with as much selection. The only real advantage a 20 ga offers is a lighter, possibly more compact package to carry around. All things being equal most 20's are about 1 lb lighter than a 12. That means that you'll actually get MORE recoil with a 20 ga firing comparable loads. One ounce of shot fired from a 20 and one ounce of shot fired from a 12 will recoil the same in equal weight guns. Take a pound off the guns weight and you get more recoil. The 12 only recoils more when loaded with heavy loads, which aren't needed most of the time.
     
  6. Cvans

    Cvans Member

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    I've been shooting 20ga. for 50 years and have never felt the need to go any larger. Owned a couple .410's and they are nice but the shells are expensive and the shot count is pretty low making cripples much more likely. No experience with the 28ga. Bought three more guns last year and they were 20's also.
    If your going waterfowling then I'd go 12ga.
     
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  7. Barnfixer

    Barnfixer Member

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    I like older wing master 870’s in 20ga. With a 20ga you’ll have a better chance of finding shells at a better price. If there’s no limit on cash, browning and beretta make some sweet over/unders in 20ga. I do like 16ga’s but then you have the shell availability thing.
     
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  8. WestKentucky

    WestKentucky Member

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    I grew up using a Mossberg 20ga. Still have it. Currently own 4 shotguns, 16 single, 16 double, 410 for the kids, and that old Mossberg 600CT. For all my purposes, and all practical hunting purposes I can think of, a 16 or 20ga is enough gun. Only thing I would give 12 ga the edge on is dove. Dove are small and fast so every pellet of shot is important. 12ga generally throws more shot, but get good with any shotgun and your good enough for even the fastest dove.
     
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  9. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

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    Sounds like what you're describing is the perfect application for a 16ga shotgun. 20 is fine, don't get me wrong, but with 2¾" shells, it just doesn't throw as much downrange as 12 or 16. Which is why many folks opt for 3" shells for game loads. Personally, I found 3" shells from a 20 somewhat uncomfortable to shoot. 2¾ 16ga #6 does quite a number on squirrels and similar game without tearing them all up. I've never had a problem finding ammo for it. Now #8 target loads, sure...they're gettable, a bit expensive, and availability is a little sketchy, but my local BPS had 8 boxes of them on the shelf this morning. And, you can usually pick up a used 16ga for a song. Anyway...I just like 16ga. A 20 would do you fine, no experience with 28, and I found 410 rather anemic for....anything really. No offense to the 410 crowd...just wasn't my cup of tea
     
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  10. toivo

    toivo Member

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    Armored Farmer has it right: 28-gauge is great, but ammo availability and price are a deal-breaker. If you're not a reloader, don't do it. Stick with 20-gauge.
     
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  11. Roverguy

    Roverguy Member

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    If I were going to have one shotvun, Heaven forbid, and clays weren't in it, I would be after a classic 870 Wingmaster in 12 ga. As noted above, there are 7/8 oz and 1oz 12 ga loads that will be light recoiling indeed, but if a !oad of #00 Buck is required, it'll do quite well. Versatility, reliability, availability.
     
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  12. Frostbite

    Frostbite Member

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    Sounds like .410 bore in the beginning, then come migratory birds: twelve gauge, even if only for the ammunition choice. I'd opt for a pump with a 26" barrel and interchangeable chokes.
     
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  13. welldoya

    welldoya Member

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    20 gauge in a Remington 1100 or 870 with a 26” barrel and REM-chokes.
    They aren’t easy to find. I looked for a few years before an 1100 popped up on a local forum.
     
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  14. Boattale

    Boattale Member

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    If you want to use the smaller gauge shotgun for critter control, small game hunting and waterfowling the logical choice is a 20 Gauge with 3" chambers and a barrel threaded for interchangable choke tubes.
     
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  15. Weflyfast

    Weflyfast Member

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    I have found quite the opposite.....not many people shoot the 28....and often there are 28s on the shelf and the 12s and 20s are gone.....crazy world out there right now.
     
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  16. Boattale

    Boattale Member

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    Same here. Almost always 28 on the shelves. Often all by itself. 16 was more available than 20 until fairly recently. 12 came back first and is still easiest to find here in SWMO.
     
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  17. entropy

    entropy Member

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    I recommend a 20ga., chambered 3" (nice to have options) with changeable choke tubes. It's very versatile as is with factory ammo, and even more so when you reload and can tailor your loads to your exact needs.
    In a pump, an older 870 or Mossberg 500 would be my first recommendations. In a semi, a Beretta A3xx series, or one of the better Turkish copies of them, would be a good choice. As welldoya says, I love Remington 1100's, but the 20 ga. (especially the Lightweight 20's) are a tough find right now. (And they are heavier than the Beretta. Fine for Ducks or Turkey, where you'd use 3" Mags, but even the LW-20 feels like a boat anchor compared to a 20 ga. Beretta A303.)
     
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  18. Seedy Character

    Seedy Character Member

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    ANY of the gauges will do. Lots of overlap in the loadings.

    28 is awesome, a much better choice than .410
    Better patterns. 28 Ga can be found on 870 and 1100. Plus SxS and O/U. A trip afield with a 28 SxS and you will be hooked.

    20 Ga, especially 3", will expand your options up to a 12 field loads. All actions available

    16 Ga is loaded to 20 ga dove loads equivalent and to heavy field 12 Ga. No 3" magnums.
    Fewer gun selections, but all actions are available.

    I have pump, semi-auto, SxS and single shot.
    Every size, from 3 1/2" 12ga down to .410.
    Goose, duck, turkey and CAS see the 12. Otherwise, I grab what suits me that day, but the 28ga is getting the majority.
     
  19. toivo

    toivo Member

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    I don't think I've ever seen 28-gauge in my local Wal-Mart. A sporting goods or gun store might have it when they're out of 12 and 20, but they'll probably have only one loading, and it will be at least twice the price of 12 and 20. At least that's what I've seen.
     
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  20. 243winxb

    243winxb Member

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    Mossberg 500 Combo, In 12 or 20 ga covers most anything with the 2 barrels.
     
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  21. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    i have this early rem 870 with a 28" barrel fixed md choke in 12ga 2/34 that had sat in my gun room with little use for a long time and over the years i bought a exra 28" barrel rem choke vent rib and a extra 20" barrel fixed imp choke with rifle sights pretty cheap at a few gun shows. i have since been useing it for small game and a corner gun for house defence with the 20" barrel and 2-3/4 nine pellet 00 buck shot. i was planning on useing it for close range deer with the 20" barrel and slugs, but have not got to it yet. that shotgun covers a lot of ground for me, i don,t think i have over 400.00 in it with the extra barrels.
     

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  22. Micro

    Micro Member

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    If I ived in North America, and I do, and was limited to only one gun for life, I'd pick a 12 gauge pump with a 26" vent rib barrel and interchangable chokes. That gun would be ideal for so much, and at least adequate for everything else. And you'll always find ammo.
     
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  23. somethingbenign

    somethingbenign Member

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    If I had to pick one shotgun and it had to be smaller than a 12 it would be a 16. The only reason is if goose is on the list of available game I can still find BB steel loads which is not the case for smaller gauges. 20 maxs out at 2 shot and while it can take down geese I'd rather a bit larger shot size. Problem with 16 is to find the majority of possible loads you'll probably have to order it in and good luck finding replacement chokes. 20 would definitely be a better choice if you are the kind of guy that likes to pick up a box of ammo on the way to the field instead of planning ahead though.
     
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  24. Barnfixer

    Barnfixer Member

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    Nothing said you have to stop at one. Left to right 16ga, 12ga, 20ga & 20ga. Missing in the picture is a 870 12ga that I swap barrels on, skeet or mod trap. 671800E9-07F7-4B4F-94CA-164114B9DBAD.png
     
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  25. danez71

    danez71 Member

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    To THR members,

    The OP specifically said he's looking for smaller than 12ga.

    Recommending 12ga is not helping the OP at all.



     
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