12 GA vs. 20 GA -- educate me on whys
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Old 08-11-2013, 04:54 AM   #1
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Default 12 GA vs. 20 GA -- educate me on whys

We want to get a shotgun for home defense and target shooting. We aren't hunters so no need for that aspect to be covered. I know the 12GA is more powerful and cheaper shells etc. but I have some neck/shoulder issues so I can't just go out and shoot a 12GA all day. We have a single shot H&K 12GA shotgun, and it is accurate and destroys anything in it's path. however I want something a little lighter recoil that is comfortable for me and our kids (16 & 13) to shoot repeatedly. I have seen a few different models, and am interested on hearing opinions of y'all on the different options out there. Prefer a shorter barrel, 5 or more rounds, pistol grip + traditional stock is preferred but not required. I like the option of adding a flashlight so a small rail is good, and ghost rings and/ or at least a fiber optic sight is a plus!

We also looked at some .410 with the intention of getting a S&W Governor at some point in time but after looking at the shotguns, it seems it may be a waste of money because my kids have been shooting rifles and shotguns since they were 6-7 years old and I think they will not enjoy the .410 as much as a 20 GA.

I look forward to seeing the opinions on models/options/preferences out there. Budget is below 400-500 dollars.

Thanks!
QG

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Old 08-11-2013, 05:12 AM   #2
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Short barrel and light recoil don't always mix well on a shotgun.

For example. I have two guns that are pretty much the same (Mossbergs) . One has a 28" barrel, the other an 18" barrel. Both are 12 ga. The one with the 18" barrel kicks like a mule on steroids. The one with a 28" barrel kicks like a rabbit (well, to me).

The main difference between the 12 ga and the 20 ga is the amount of shot each shell holds. 12 ga holds a lot more than 20 ga.

If your wanting light recoil, go with the 20 ga. Shells can be had for pretty much the same price at wallyworld (Federal bulk packs).

Another option would be to put a nice recoil pad (I like Pachmayr) on a 12 ga. They can make a HUGE difference.

As for the accessories you listed (pistol grip, rail, sights, ect) you MAY find a shotgun with all of that, or you may have to buy a shotgun and put that stuff on it yourself.

Now for the gun. You can either get a new pump action, or possibly a used autoloader in that price range.

For the pump, you can't go wrong with a Mossberg 500 or a Remington 870. I've also heard a lot of good about the cheaper Maverick 88 (made by Mossberg) and the H&R Pardner. If you go to gun shops or pawn shops, you should have no problem finding one. I'd suggest looking at some of the used ones too. There are a lot of them out there in really good condition that are pretty cheap. I bought an old New Haven (Mossberg 500 sold under a different name) 12 ga for under $190. It needed a new ejector ($15) and a good cleaning/tuneup but now it works great.

As for the autoloaders, you'll just have to look around. Some may get that cheap, or they may not. (I've seen a few).

BTW, the Mossberg 500 hold 5 shells. Not sure about the Remington, but I think it probably does too.

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Old 08-11-2013, 05:53 AM   #3
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You have much more range of ammo with a 12 ga. Super light sub-1 oz loads that barely recoil at all to firebreathing 3" or 3 1/2" buckshot and slugs.

The main difference is gun weight/size. Most 20's are built on smaller frames and are easier to handle that a 12.

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Old 08-11-2013, 07:40 AM   #4
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The way i've always looked at it is 20 gauge is good for kids and light framed people, also makes a pretty nice rabbit gun. Where the 12 gauge is good for anything really because you can get light loads for rabbits and squirrel but then you can get a nice heavy slug for deer and larger game but on the same end you can get 3 1/2' magnums for turkey and geese and what not.

The 20 gauge does hold less shot but there usually lighter guns which makes them pretty good camp guns or hiking guns. Me personally I'm a 12 gauge guy has more range more shot it's just a plus from a 20 gauge.

Don't get me wrong 20 gauges are effective and nice shotguns I just prefer the 12.

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Old 08-11-2013, 08:19 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenGlamis
We want to get a shotgun for home defense and target shooting. We aren't hunters so no need for that aspect to be covered. I know the 12GA is more powerful and cheaper shells etc. but I have some neck/shoulder issues so I can't just go out and shoot a 12GA all day. We have a single shot H&K 12GA shotgun, and it is accurate and destroys anything in it's path. however I want something a little lighter recoil that is comfortable for me and our kids (16 & 13) to shoot repeatedly. I have seen a few different models, and am interested on hearing opinions of y'all on the different options out there. Prefer a shorter barrel, 5 or more rounds, pistol grip + traditional stock is preferred but not required. I like the option of adding a flashlight so a small rail is good, and ghost rings and/ or at least a fiber optic sight is a plus!

We also looked at some .410 with the intention of getting a S&W Governor at some point in time but after looking at the shotguns, it seems it may be a waste of money because my kids have been shooting rifles and shotguns since they were 6-7 years old and I think they will not enjoy the .410 as much as a 20 GA.

I look forward to seeing the opinions on models/options/preferences out there. Budget is below 400-500 dollars.

Thanks!
QG
The 20 gauge does have some recoil as well I compare the 12 gauge to a 45 acp and a 20 to a snappy .40 s&w. I think the snappy 20 gauge has its uses but I prefer the 12. IMO only go to academy and buy the semi auto Tristar raptor atac. There are so many great choices for a shotgun though. The best semi auto for around 500 or so is the browning a5. Wow you will be amazed.
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Old 08-11-2013, 09:44 AM   #6
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Applaud your decision to skip the .410.

Oh, I have a few, but frankly that is more of a gun for the expert than the novice. and ammo is double the price of 12 g.

You will not find a lot of folks that can shoot Sporting Clays with a .410. And there is a reason for that.

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Old 08-11-2013, 09:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QueenGlamis
We want to get a shotgun for home defense and target shooting. We aren't hunters so no need for that aspect to be covered. I know the 12GA is more powerful and cheaper shells etc. but I have some neck/shoulder issues so I can't just go out and shoot a 12GA all day. We have a single shot H&K 12GA shotgun, and it is accurate and destroys anything in it's path. however I want something a little lighter recoil that is comfortable for me and our kids (16 & 13) to shoot repeatedly. I have seen a few different models, and am interested on hearing opinions of y'all on the different options out there. Prefer a shorter barrel, 5 or more rounds, pistol grip + traditional stock is preferred but not required. I like the option of adding a flashlight so a small rail is good, and ghost rings and/ or at least a fiber optic sight is a plus!

We also looked at some .410 with the intention of getting a S&W Governor at some point in time but after looking at the shotguns, it seems it may be a waste of money because my kids have been shooting rifles and shotguns since they were 6-7 years old and I think they will not enjoy the .410 as much as a 20 GA.

I look forward to seeing the opinions on models/options/preferences out there. Budget is below 400-500 dollars.

Thanks!
QG
+1 on the 20Ga. For you. The Wife and I both have bad backs and broken shoulders. We have the Mossberg SA-20 bantam W pistol grip. Looking into a +1 or+2 mag extension. Also recently got a new semi12 as well..the Catamount Fury II..a good pad does make a big difference.
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Old 08-11-2013, 10:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclebear View Post
The way i've always looked at it is 20 gauge is good for kids and light framed people, also makes a pretty nice rabbit gun.
That is just not right.....What have you got against kids?
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Old 08-11-2013, 11:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chainfire View Post
That is just not right.....What have you got against kids?
Wow, once again Chain & I find common ground. I have evolved to the point that I now prefer a 20 ga when pheasant hunting due to lower weight of the gun and the ammo. Granted I use 3 inch shells, but you can knock down pheasant out to 40-45 yards with the right choke.

The velocity of factory field load shells is about the same in both 12 & 20 ga, therefore the impact of a single pellet of say #6 shot is roughly the same when it strikes the target whether 20 or 12 gauge. But the 12 has more shot, which in theory increases the odds of impact with the target.

I too used to think I had to have 12 for everything, but age and experience have taught me there are other effective options.

I started shooting a 12 ga at 12 years old, granted is was a gas operated Remington 1100.

As Robo stated, there are more 12 ga ammo options, and gun configurations, "on the shelf".
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Old 08-11-2013, 01:18 PM   #10
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Gator- you'd better read Chain's post again.








He is referring to USING a 20 g on kids- and light framed people.

Myself, find a slingshot and a marble usually works to get their attention.

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