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Which 20 gauge for small game?

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  • Which 20 gauge for small game?

    Ok so i decided i wanted to get a 20 gauge shotgun both for small game and possibly some waterfowl/ bird hunting. Is there any recommendations that any one has? thanks in advance!

  • #2
    ruger red label

    I love mine. It has been with me for everything from Geese to Grouse and even a few hares. Even the 3" loads out of it do not kick much. The only time I use a 12 ga normally is late season waterfowl or if I concentrate on geese. I would use the RL 20ga for geese all the time if I could get heavier loads for it.
    It is one of the few guns I have that is not for sale, that is how much I like it.


    • #3
      Ithaca model 37 featherlight....
      pull my finger....


      • #4
        Double barrels are sexy, can't see getting a pump or semi auto 20 ever.
        I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.


        • #5
          I like my Browning Citori 20ga over/under it is really light to swing side to side with and hike around with.


          • #6
            Originally posted by 808Alaska View Post
            Ok so i decided i wanted to get a 20 gauge shotgun both for small game and possibly some waterfowl/ bird hunting. Is there any recommendations that any one has? thanks in advance!
            I use an assortment of 20's and use them lots. For the versatility you're after, you'll want 3" chambers and interchangeable chokes, whatever other details and models you settle on. If you want even more versatility, trade in the third shot of a pump or auto for the second choke in a double. I've got Mossberg 500, a Remington 870, an Ithica Ultra Featherweight (which is 2 3/4" rather than three, though) pumps in 20, plus a Benelli semi. Each is excellent, though details vary in weight and finish. You can adjust through that range for your budget.

            In 20 gauge doubles I've got a Winnie 96 O/U (cheaper version of the 101), Savage 310 SxS, a Ruger Red Label O/U, and a cheap Remington Spartan SxS. The first two have fixed chokes and get less use because of it. The later pair have interchangeable chokes and see a lot more field time. If you're on a budget the Savage and the Spartan are cheaper, but function really well. You'll spend a little more for a 96 if you can find one, but gain a bunch in fit and finish. If you can afford it though, I'd go with the Red Label, over and above any of the other doubles or the pumps and autos I've listed. Yeah, it's that much better.

            Obviously I like 20's and use them a lot for ducks (more than my 12's, as a matter of fact), as well as small game. Adjust your choice for your budget and the features you need, and I bet you'll be real happy you own a 20.
            "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
            Merle Haggard


            • #7
              Ithaca 37

              I would have to vote for the Ithaca. I have a 870 that is nice to carry but its hard to beat the weight of the model 37 when you are carrying it around all day. Another nice thing is the Ithaca is a good gun for both right and left handers as it ejects out the bottom. Now all I need to do is just go steal my brothers Ithaca and swap it with the Remington.


              • #8
                Remington 870

                I use a remington 870 and that seems to work just fine on bunnies.
                Ryan from Wasilla


                • #9

                  Ok well im looking at spending under 300 dollars so i was looking at the mossberg 500 with the blue wood stock. can anyone tell me about this gun? goods/bads? and possibly some other guns under 300 taht are good? thanks for all the help so far.


                  • #10
                    Another cheap shotgun would be a pardner either in the single shot or the pump it's another idea also if you've looked at the benelli's, there is a copy of their gun by stoeger that last time I looked were really cheap compared to the benelli's, and remingtons.


                    • #11
                      At a price of $300 you are going to have a hard time finding a good new gun. You may be able to find a good used one at that price.

                      3 inch chambers, choke tubes, and a vent rib.

                      Depending on where you are at you should be able to find an 870 express for that price. This is not the Wingmaster 870, but the "joe six pack" steel receiver gun which weighs quite a bit more. If you are going for a pump go for the 870. It is a much better gun than the 500. Easier to take apart and clean.

                      In your search you may find an old Wingmaster 870 youth model 20 gauge from the late 1970s or early 1980s. It does not have a vent rib on the barrel. What this gun actually is is a partially machined 12 gauge receiver with a goofy tapered barrel stuck in it. Hard to learn to shoot it but once you do you will have a hard time using any other shot gun. It still sits in my gun safe waiting to prey on some other young shooter's soul. If my pops would have sprung for the model with the vent rib I could have avoided a lot of ribbing in my early days of learning to shoot.


                      • #12
                        no singles

                        Sorry, I am not a fan of single barrel break open shotguns. Never have been, never will be. For $300 a guy can do a whole lot better than that. For that kind of money look for one of the pumps mentioned in the M-37 or M-870. They are both great. Benelli's Nova is a great gun too, but you might have a harder time finding it for the price range you have limited yourself to.
                        I would not focus too hard on screw in chokes. I would look more for the action, weight, barrel length, condition, that I wanted. A guy will always do well with modified choke on about everything using steel or lead. Sure, different chokes are nice, but not necessary. That Ruger I was telling about is modified over improved cylinder and I have killed a fair share of grouse in the woods with it.
                        You might luck into an 1100 or a Beretta semi auto too. Both are great choices.
                        Look on line for feedback on the odd make of shotguns. Some just don't seem worth the money. CZ American is importing guns made in Turkey by Huglu. Some reports are pretty good. Seems many of those SXS and O/U have hand checkering and engraving. Metal may be a bit soft, and parts harder to come by if you have a failure.
                        The Mossberg seems to be ok all in all. My experience is that the one I had never failed to fire or eject the shell. It was a 12ga, and on heavier loads would open up the bolt when fired. At the time I just figured I was that much faster for follow up shots. Fit and finish is lacking. The action may not be as smooth as the others. The 500, in my opinion, is a better shotgun than the Maverick. The last Maverick I handled was stiff and rough. Took a lot to make it pump.
                        I like the Winchester pumps better than the Mossberg by a bit. They seem to hold up well, but for the money would still lean toward the m-870 or m-37.
                        Think about resale also. Good quality shotguns will always sell easier at a higher price than an el cheapo. That is another reason to stay away from the single break opens.


                        • #13
                          another question.

                          What is the difference with barrel length? does longer perform batter then the shorter? what the deal with that?


                          • #14
                            Shorter barrels are easier to swing, so they'd be better for ubland/small game. Something in the 24-26 inch range. I really like my winchester model 1300 in 20ga. Light weight, shoots really nice.


                            • #15
                              Hey Dog boy, how is the volcano

                              Lab Man is pretty right. As I recall, most shotgun powders burn up in about 22" or so. Longer barrels don't mean anything in terms of speed of shot. They are heavier normally, and harder to stop the swing, which is a big reason people miss. They simply stop swinging.
                              A 26" pump or auto loader will be similar to a 28" break open in total length. For me, a 26" is plenty long. I could go shorter too. Some of the youth models if I recall correctly have 24" barrels. They are short and light. Easy to get swinging, a bit easier to stop. Adult stocks are not too hard to find.
                              I do like the 3" option in a longer chamber, but if you are not going after big H2O fowl or late season birds you really don't need it. I passed up a sweet 1100 w/ 2 3/4" chambers and now kick myself. That would have been a sweet little gun. And it was about the price you are looking at.


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