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12 gauge or 20 gauge, that is the question.


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Howdy folks,

I'm new to SASS and considering a shotgun purchase.  I'm leaning towards a SxS, 12 gauge or 20 gauge is the question.  I noticed that 20 gauge guns are legal according to the handbook and I think the reduced recoil might be a positive, but knock down power may be a problem.  Please help me make a sound decision by sharing your insight and opinions.

 

Thanks,

Dynamite

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12 minutes ago, Hillbilly Drifter said:

12 gauge all the way. Ammo more available and cheaper. Lots of other reasons

Yup.  12 gauge.  Back when I started shooting and was shooting actively, that is the criteria I used for my decision.  Never had a problem and never looked back.  Added:  I forgot, cooler guns to choose from also!

Edited by portugeejn
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12 gauge for sure.  One tiny additional positive is others will have ammo if you run short.  If buying try to get Winchester low noise, low recoil at 980ft per second rather than stronger stuff.

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26 minutes ago, The Dynamite Kid said:

Howdy folks,

I'm new to SASS and considering a shotgun purchase.  I'm leaning towards a SxS, 12 gauge or 20 gauge is the question.  I noticed that 20 gauge guns are legal according to the handbook and I think the reduced recoil might be a positive, but knock down power may be a problem.  Please help me make a sound decision by sharing your insight and opinions.

 

Thanks,

Dynamite

Haven’t been at this long, but 12 ga, and then you can load up lighter rounds that won’t leave you bashed and bruised.  

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At my first big match in 2000, there were some tough knockdowns.  None of the 12ga guns on my posse knocked them over, but a guy's 20ga did.  It had full choke.  So knockdowns are not a problem.  However, 20ga will recoil more unless you load your own light loads.  Low Noise Low Recoil AA's are available for 20 ga but are much harder to find than the 12ga version.  12Ga outnumber 20ga with CAS shooters by 10 or 20 to 1 for a reason.

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Light 20 ga load is 7/8 oz of shot. Same as 12 ga. However a 12 will weigh a little more than a 20 so felt recoil is less. 

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Just now, Warden Callaway said:

Just my observation but it seems like it's hard to get 20 gauge to shucks hulls.  I don't know if it's the higher pressures or lighter hulls?  

 

Lighter hulls

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If you are shooting factory ammo and not reloading, The Winchester Low Noise Low Recoil 12 Gauge rounds are probably lighter recoil than most 20g shells on the market. If you are reloading you can go all the way down to a 1/2 ounce shot loads for 12 Gauge loads that are ridiculously low recoil and my daughter started shooting those at 10 years old with no problems. Either way 12 gauge would be my advice.

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If you are a reloader, you'll be able to find 12 gauge hulls easily.  Usually,  cowboys that don't reload will give you hulls. (Or do range clean-up and go through the discarded hulls.)

 

I reload black powder loads that I cut and roll crimp.  I load once and toss. I've collected several life time supplies of Winchester AA and Remington, Nitro and STS hulls

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I don’t shoot any shotguns that start with more than a 1 and no pistols that start with less than a 4.  :ph34r:  Seriously 12 gauge is the way to go.

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If you're looking for an even lighter 12ga load, you can get Federal Top Gun Subsonic/Reduced Recoil @ 900fps.  But, the Winchesters are easier to find and shuck better.

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All things being equal (shot load and velocity), a 12g will have noticeably less recoil, as the pressure is spread over a larger area - basic principle of hydraulics and pressure. A 20g is about 3/4 the area of a 12g.

 

My daughter used to shoot a 20g when she was shooting with me. After she moved out, got married, etc., I bought a Baikal Bounty Hunter II 20g to use up all the shells I'd loaded, and... dang, that thing kicks! Although Winchester makes a "Featherlite" 20g factory load @ 980 fps, I have never found a published 20g featherlite load that produces a similar velocity.

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I love my 1897 in 16 gauge!  With no 12 or 20 gauge shells on the shelves it's been easy to find 16!

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Good info guys, thanks!  I do have 4 or 500 12ga dove / target loads on hand so that’s a plus.  I don’t have shotgun reloading gear so I’ll be using factory ammo for starters anyway.  
 

any opinions on the Stoeger supreme coach gun in nickel.  Local gun shop has a new one ($550) ???
 

D

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50 minutes ago, McCandless said:

If you're looking for an even lighter 12ga load, you can get Federal Top Gun Subsonic/Reduced Recoil @ 900fps.  But, the Winchesters are easier to find and shuck better.

I like those Federals for use in my '97 pump even better than the low noise low recoil AA's because they are slightly ribbed, which makes them less likely to fall out of my hand, and I can't tell any difference in the felt recoil.  Those ribs might make them problematic for shucking with a sxs though.

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11 minutes ago, The Dynamite Kid said:

Good info guys, thanks!  I do have 4 or 500 12ga dove / target loads on hand so that’s a plus.  I don’t have shotgun reloading gear so I’ll be using factory ammo for starters anyway.  
 

any opinions on the Stoeger supreme coach gun in nickel.  Local gun shop has a new one ($550) ???
 

D

Stay with factory shotgun shells.  Unless you shoot blackpowder there is little money to be saved reloading shotgun shells.  I'd buy the Stoeger at that price.  Gunbroker merchants want $100 more in today's market.  It will need some work to be competitive.

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I have a base Stoeger 12 Gauge and it runs just fine for me but I am always in the fight for last place!

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When I use to shoot the SxS, I owned both a 20 ga and a 12 ga.  

Recoil is subjective based on the type of SG and type (or strength) of the ammo you shoot in it.

 

I would go with the 12 ga and use featherlite ammo.

 

..........Widder

 

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I use a 2 trigger Stoeger and haven’t had an issue.  I’ve been told that the 2 trigger model is better than the 1 trigger but that’s just what I’ve been told YMMV.  $550 NIB, especially in today’s market is good.  You’ll probably have to slick it up some but it’s easy enough to do.

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1 hour ago, Hellbender said:

Those ribs might make them problematic for shucking with a sxs though.

 

The ribs are not the issue. It is the empty weight of the hulls.  Weigh an empty AA, STS, Gun Club, and Federal hull. The difference in weight is a real eye opener.

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Big misconception that 20 ga. has less recoil than 12 ga.  12 ga. lite loads plus extra weight on the 12 ga. equal less felt recoil. 

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Not to buck the crowd here, but I like my 20 gauge just fine.  If you're at Walmart and want to get the cheap target loads, the 20 gauge is going to come standard with less shot and less recoil.  You're going to have to shop around for the light recoil 12 gauge and I don't think you can get it as cheap as the $20/100 bulk target loads from Walmart. I've not played around with the low recoil stuff because I haven't had a need, I can get 3 rounds of trap or skeet with my double 20 gauge without too much discomfort,  don't really enjoy 1 round with any of the 12 gauge. Guns/ammo combos I've tried. If you ever want to take your double hunting, a 20 gauge built on a 20 gauge frame is going to be easier to hike around with.   Again like people have said above it comes down to gun and load combo, but if you're just going to buy the cheapest target loads from Walmart I'd go with the 20, but that's just me.

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Only one thing to add, make sure whatever load you plan to use is lead not steel, steel is not permitted, some of the bulk stuff comes in steel shot so watch out for that.

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In my opinion, there is really one reason to go with a 20  gauge; you found a really cool one at a gunshop and decided you wanted to have it.   And that's the best reason to use any gun.

 

As of this typing, the only 20 gauge I have is my grandfather's Montgomery Ward pump that he bought during WWII.   It's not a SASS legal gun, but I have shot a Zoot match with it.   I load Magtech all brass shells for it, as that was easier and less expensive that tooling up to get everything needed to load 20 gauge plastic.  Yes, smokeless.

I keep thinking I'd like to get SxS 20, just for the variation, but I have not found one I like.   No 97s or 87s in this gauge.

Edited by H. K. Uriah, SASS #74619
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I have both.  I bought the 20 ga Stoeger for blackpowder loads so I could keep my reloads separate by gauge.

12 gauge is easier to find factory light loads and easier to download.  Components like hulls and wads are easier to find in 12.  Shell belts are easier to find in 12 gauge.

The surface area versus weight ratio makes the 12 fall out of the chamber easier.

 

 

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That is a useless question. The fun is a TEN GAUGE!

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10 minutes ago, Mud Marine,SASS#54686 Life said:

That is a useless question. The fun is a TEN GAUGE!

 

That's right, I forgot about Shotgun Gibbs and his 10 gauge Greener... 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cXSl3eFi648

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I am biased. I love the gouts of flame, bursts of smoke and thunderous booms emitted from the warthog loads of Holy black from my AyA ten gauge magnum double. That is one of my favourite thrills of SASS.

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