15 replies [Last post]
Location: Fort Collins, CO
Joined: 07/24/2006
Posts: 34
16guage or 20guage?
BunnySlayer wrote:
Due to it's being popular mainly in europe the 16 is expensive and sometimes hard to find. It's a great choice but probably not for a beginner.

Again, I'm not sure where the notion of expense comes into play, at least for pump action. Check out the manufacturers' sites. 16 gauge guns have the same MSRP as their 20 gauge counterparts (12s are sometimes ~$50 cheaper). The gun shops I've been to don't discount the 20 any more than the 16 -- so the street prices seem to be the same.

Similarly, go to Cabelas.com or Bassproshops.com and look at ammo prices. A box of 16 gauge shells cost the same as 20. At my local Sportsman's warehouse, 16 gauge shells are the same as 20 and 12.

I just don't see where $$ comes into play at all. It sounds plausible -- much lower volume of 16 gauge made and sold would seem to indicate a higher price. Logical. That's not how it plays out, though.

The real issue is availability of loads. This is the big one. There is an infinite choice of 12 gauge loads. Probably 50-75% of these are also available for 20 ga. But, a scant few are available for the 16. As mentioned by others, you won't be able to get shells in a bind -- probably no one you're hunting with will be using a 16 gauge, so forget borrowing shells. Smaller shops probably won't carry any 16 gauge ammo. Etc.

Other than ammo availability, I don't see any reason to select 20 over 16 -- though that is certainly a good reason. Don't see any reason why a 16 is less suited to a beginner than a 20, other than recoil. Perhaps a .410 or 28 ga is a better youth shotgun for recoil reasons. Granted, you're right back into the ammo availability issue that plagues the 16.

Good luck.

Location: California
Joined: 09/06/2008
Posts: 1066
16guage or 20guage?

When i spoke of expense I was talking about ammo. Not the guns themselves. In my local gun stores 20 AND 16 are somewhat more expensive than 12 and there is less variety in both but especialy in the 16. I'm not being critical of your chioce, the 16 is a fine gauge. Just one guys opinion.

Don Fischer's picture
Location: Antelope, Ore
Joined: 03/24/2005
Posts: 3206
16guage or 20guage?

I love a 16ga but would not recommend it here. Not a big selection in moderately priced guns and ammo can be real hard to find. If you decide to reload for it, plan on getting wads thru the mail, finding them can be a bear.

The alturnative to the 16ga is a 12ga with target loads to start out, 11/8oz. When I was shooting lots of 12's, training dogs and hunting, everything was a 1 1/8 oz target load. I simply adjusted the shot size. The difference in recoil between that and a field load 1 1/4oz is like night and day. But I wouldn't bet the farm on the difference in ability!

Location: Tehachapi, Ca
Joined: 10/10/2008
Posts: 51
16guage or 20guage?

410's are getting more and more popularity, but I have been shooting a Mossberg 500 c since I was 9 and I still use it to this day. Look it up. Cheap, and more than reliable

Joined: 12/13/2008
Posts: 17
16guage or 20guage?

a good 20 gauge would be a great starter gun, hardly any recoil. Shells are very inexpensive, and are easy to find.

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