Shotgun question

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by beorning, May 11, 2006.

  1. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

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    I recently inherited a winchester model 12 in 20 gauge. Nice gun. I can immediately see it being employed to hunt pheasant and small game. I'm wondering if it's reasonable to hunt geese and ducks with a 20 gauge, and also if a 20 gauge slug will humanely take down a whitetail at 50 yards. I've got a 12 gauge that I've used for everything up to this point, but it sure would be nice to hunt at least the heavier birds with a gun that's a lot lighter, and less of a monster to shoot. Don't want to be wounding things though, if I can avoid it. Any advice?
     
  2. Rockin'B

    Rockin'B Well-Known Member

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    Geese and deer would be much better served with the 12 guage. I have shot geese with a 20 but I never thought that they were hit as hard.

    I love the twenty and think it's great for upland game. But I think that the 12 is the right tool for big birds and deer.
     

  3. Oxankle

    Oxankle Well-Known Member

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    a 20 guage shoots just as hard as a 12, given the same velocities, but it shoots a lot less lead. I hunted ducks and geese with a 20 as a kid, but would not shoot long range shots with the 20 that I would take with my 12. The difference was that at long range the 20 had a pattern that might put one or two pellets in a goose, but with a 12 it would hit him with a dozen.

    As for the slugs, yes, a 20 guage slug will kill a deer at 50 yards, but comparing it to a slug from a 12 is exactly like comparing a .22 rifle to a 30-30 at the same distances. It is all in the energy delived to the kill zone.

    If it were me, I'd use the 20 for upland game and ducks, using the 12 for geese and deer. I even like my .410 for quail and dove, and have used one for duck.

    One other consideration. If you are shooting migratory waterfowl you will be using steel shot. Will that ruin the barrel on your old Model l2?
     
  4. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the advice. I was leaning this way before I posted but hoping i might have been wrong. :) I'm going to run the gun to my gunsmith before I shoot anything but lead through it. I've heard yea's and nay's on steel shot in the model 12. I'm guessing I could use bismuth or tin if the verdict is no. Otherwise I'll just use the 12 for waterfowl.
     
  5. rwinsouthla

    rwinsouthla Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You'll find you have fewer kills later in the season with the geese. The geese are a bit higher later in the season and there won't be enough umph to knock them down. Similar velocities but less shot.

    I use the 20 for dove, squirrel, pheasant, quail, and rabbits but always use the 12 with a shorter barrel for ducks and geese.

    A lighter gun for deer hunting? Try a .22 magnum hollow point. A well-placed shot in open areas tears a nice hole with lots of blood for tracking. If it's wooded, a 12 or 30-06 or 7 mag would be nicer as the blood trail would likely be a bit thicker.
     
  6. baddogbad

    baddogbad Active Member

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    a skilled shooter with a 20 can do anything an ordinary shooter can do with a 12.

    work it. learn it. a 20 is a great gun.
     
  7. TxCloverAngel

    TxCloverAngel Happiness is Homemade

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    I LOVE my 20 guage... well, I did until it was stolen during Hurricane Rita. :( Was much easier to shoot/lug around/handle than my 12 . But I agree. Deer & such you should stick to 12 .
     
  8. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    Dont tear it up shooting slugs out of it. If you want to shoot slugs get a dedicated rifled slug gun. A good fully rifled slug gun shooting sabot slugs will almost act like a rifle. A smooth bore shotgun shooting slugs is an iffy proposition even at closer ranges. Probably responsible for hordes of wounded deer and probably keeps the slug production lines running non stop. I hated trying to hunt with the stupid things.

    As for other things you would be surprised what a 20 will do. You just have to be a bit more conservative. It will do nearly everything a 12 will. Now that they have developed the new heavier than lead non toxic shot it can hang right in there when you're out in the duck blind and out shooting geese. Just don't try those outrageous long distance shot that you probably should not be taking anyway. It's just not getting a lot of lead (or whatever that new concoction is) out there.

    Enjoy that fine old gun. Should do just fine for about everything within reason. Use to shoot a model 12 trap gun sometimes that was a fantastic gun. Wonderful action and pointed as well as any pump gun I've ever held. Should be deadly in the field.
     
  9. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Go shoot the gun and see if that's really true. Many times a 20 gauge kicks harder than a 12 gauge. Kick is basically a result of gun weight to powder charge, and with the 20 gauge many times the ratio is worse than with a 12 gauge.

    If you want a real softie with a good bit of power, go look at 16 gauge shotguns.

    As for effectiveness, the gun is quit capable, just more demanding of you the shooter with regards to accuracy and shot placement. A 50 yard slug into a deer with one will be quite lethal, if properly placed.
     
  10. brosil

    brosil Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Congratulations on the model 12! What a fine firearmit is. Your barrel is probably choked and as such, should not be used with slugs. There are slug or cylinder barrels available for them for use with slugs but they tend to be hard to find.
    20 guage is a little light for geese. You'll have to call them close. I personally prefer bismuth shot over lead. I seem to get better patterns. Your gunsmith can test your barrell to see if it's hardened for steel shot. It's my understanding that some of the later ones were. Take care of it. I've never met a finer shotgun.
     
  11. mink

    mink Well-Known Member

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    ive shot as many deer with my 20 as i have with a 12 and i ve tried some 16 too..... all i can tell you is they all killed them dead.....so whats size got to do ith anything? id take my 20 deer hunting any day...mink
     
  12. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    My 2 cents.
    As I recall, the barrels on a the loder model 12 do not interchange as easy as the 870. Non interchanging chokes?


    I would use it as a pheasent/rabbit/dove/lead shot only/ hang on the wall,"look what I recently inherited", gun.

    And you will hear, "Well I shoot elephants with mine!" and people probably do, and you can cross the Alantic in a row boat too, but why would you want to?
    It's too good of a gun, and you do have the option of the 12.

    The correct tool for the job.
     
  13. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

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    I've got a browning 30-06 I use for deer where it's allowed. Most of Eastern Wisconsin is shotgun only, though, and I mostly hunt here. This year, I have permission to to hunt 300 acres in the western part of the state. It'll be nice to use the rifle again. I've got a slug barrel for the 870. That gun was a gift as well, and the slug barrel isn't rifled. Haven't had any problems with it in the field though. My brother in law has a rifled barrel and it improves his longer range shots, but I try really hard not to shoot at anything that's further than 30 yards out. At least as far as whitetails are concerned.

    I'll likely not use the model 12 for anything but upland game. The 870 is pretty reliable, if a bit heavy and ornery to shoot, and I can buy parts for it all day long. I looked for a slug barrel for the Model 12 for a couple of weeks online, and couldn't find anything, and replacement parts were all pretty steep. The model 12 isn't my only gun, either, so I'm lucky to not have to use it or not hunt bigger game.

    I'm leaning very strongly to erring on the side of caution. No sense ruining a good and antiquated gun or running the risk of wounding a critter and not being able to find it and finish the job.

    Thanks again, everyone for all the input. I really appreciate it. I might have to go out and pick up a 16 gauge, just to give it a whirl. Or wait to inherit one :)
     
  14. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    Beorning, where in Wi are you?
    I'm in SE Wi w/a place in S.W wi.
     
  15. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

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    Evansville, half an hour south of Madison
     
  16. hunter63

    hunter63 Well-Known Member

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    O.K. I know where your at, used to go up hwy 14 on my way to "The Place".
    Go thru Stoughton, lately.
    I had a model 12 /16ga from my father, but passed it on to my nephew.
    Great old guns. Father kidded just about everything with it, but only had one gun, so not much choice.
     
  17. beorning

    beorning Well-Known Member

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    It's a nice area. We lived in Madison for a couple of years but were priced out of buying a house there. Something which I'm eternally grateful for every time I come home to Evansville. :) Of course, we're saving and waiting to buy something much more rural in five years. I can't have livestock here, and half an acre is a bit restrictive...

    I have a 7 year old daughter that I'll be teaching to shoot in the next few years. The wife wants to learn too. I'm guessing that the 20 ga will be a nice gun for them to start out on. The place I found to hunt belongs to a friends grandfather and is near Dodgeville. Smack in the middle of the DEZ. I'm a little worried about CWD, but given the number of deer I can take there in a season, I'm sure I can get a couple that will test ok. I can't wait for early goose. I haven't grabbed the DNR regs yet for this year, but my brother in law tells me we're allowed six geese per day. My freezer will be bursting, with a little luck. He's up near Appleton, so we'll be doing that near him.


    Stoughton is a great town too. You ever make it to syttende mai? Pretty fun stuff, if you like lefse :)