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Thread: 12 versus 20

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
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    central california
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    The shots taken over flushing dogs aren't a whole lot longer on average I don't think, especially for people who can really read their dogs. Anything marginal I let fly unless it already has a dropped leg or something.
    "The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship"

    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. #22
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    Oct 2009
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    Minnetonka/Minneapolis
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    I agree with the previous; this assumes the dog is in range!

    Question: If shooting a 20 ga., assuming a longer "shot string" - can one push the lead even farther out than one would with a 12 ga.?

    My best score ever on a sporting clay range was with my 20 ga...

    OK boy's, weigh in on this one!

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
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    Janesville Wisconsin
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    How fast would bird have to be flying for a shot string to make a difference when the shot is going 1,000 fps?

    If a 7/8 ounce load is square wouldn't you still have that square with a 1 1/4 load just with a lot of extra help outside the square?

    But seriously paper only does so much with something as random as a shotgun ,in the field research is where you learn what work FOR YOU. For me 1 1/4 ounce 20 gauge loads are great.

  4. #24

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    I read some information over the weekend about shot strings. The general consensus seemed to be that at far as hitting the bird it really makes no difference if the shot string is longer. Most studies showed a bird traveling 35mph would move an inconsequential distance for a longer shot string to have any impact; however, what can be a problem is that because the string is longer and all the pellets are spread out there can likely be large holes in the three dimensional pattern that may prohibit a mortal wound versus a killing shot. Not sure if I understand all that.

    Then again, you have the Pattern master style chokes that claim that because they grab the wad the shot string is less affected and thereby shorter. I had a good buddy that swore his Patternmaster really made a difference on both ducks and doves and that he felt like he put much more killing shot on the bird. I have never tried one so don't know.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Washington State
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    A lot of people think the Pattermaster is just a marketing tool to sell their chokes by shorter shot strings. I use a Patternmaster Code Black Duck choke in my Remington 870 for waterfowl. It is a full constriction with up to 3' and modified in 3.5" ammo. Shooting on water you diffidently see the shot string is shorter then a factory or other choke tubes without the studs to grab wad momentarily that produces the shorter shot string. My next upland shotgun is going to be a 20ga. and planning on getting the Patternmaster Code Black upland /timber choke which is an improve cylinder choke constriction.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    2,975

    Default margin of error

    A 12 gauge gets you a better margin in the dispersal of shot. Modern loads have made the twenty better than a paper hulled factory ammo in the 1960's. I personally do not use 3" shells in 12 or 20. I am mostly a snap shooter, all with dogs. I normally would assume all of my shots are well inside 40 yards. Days when it's windy, birds are jumpy, and exit quick....you know the pheasant who gets pointed and jumps turned into the gale force wind, gone in seconds! A margin of a 12 might help, that would be the velocity advantage over a 20, the dispersal in the fringe of the pattern, and in my case lower reflexes at my age. Mostly I shoot a 20 high velocity lead loads for pheasants and regular low base 20's for quail and dove, I have shot a lot of surprise pheasants with low base 20's as well. I guess I am not the Robert Roark, or Elmer Keith of firearms. I will add flame to the fire, I think that targets are great, getting familiarity to a gun and repetition, but the similarity between targets and actual hunting are diminished in actual fact. Birds fly faster than a target, they increase in speed, targets get slower, fast! With no predictable terrain the ability to get to the target, both in distance and the up, down, under a limb or sighting through corn stalks or prairie grass, possibly in a snow storm, wind, rain, are difficult to replicate at the skeet or trap range. My theory is stamina, boot leather and legs are the greatest asset of an upland bird hunter, understand habitat, and develop great dogs. Gun and loads are inconsequential.

  7. #27
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    Jun 2010
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    central california
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldandnew View Post
    My theory is stamina, boot leather and legs are the greatest asset of an upland bird hunter, understand habitat, and develop great dogs. Gun and loads are inconsequential.
    Inconsequential and mostly a matter of personal preference. As long as you shoot it well and enjoy carrying it is perfect.
    "The happiest man is he who learns from nature the lesson of worship"

    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    From Kansas, Stuck in Texas
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    I go back and fourth on the 12 or 20. I have taken a fair number of roosters with my 28. I hunt with pointing dogs and really only shoot pointed birds. When I take the 12 I usually end up with more pellets to pick out. When I take my 20 I have had a bird here and there crippled. I hate lost birds as we all do. I will say the 12 with a 1 3/8th ounce load is good for longer shots, but when most every shot you take is inside 35 yards a 20 is plenty of gun 90% of the time. Plus the 20 auto is shoot is sure nice on those long days.

    As far as 3" 20 gauge I think they are great, but the 2 3/4 get it done 90% of the time.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Salina kansas
    Posts
    2

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    Alot of good thoughts. I have found a couple things help on those long days afield. All of my hunting is done on public land....sometimes away from the truck 4 to 5 hours. I too started feeling the gun was getting a lil heavy in my older days. So...years ago I put a sling on the shotgun.....it's old and of no value except to me so I did it. Alot of time spent walking back to the truck, or following a good pointer....I just have it on my shoulder...I find my arms don't get as tired. Another idea is a Pella Bird n lite vest....it takes the weight off your shoulders....It helps reduce the overall fatigue of the arms/shoulders. Funny I have spent more on that vest, good light shoes, and good dogs than I ever did on my gun.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    Chouteau, OK
    Posts
    68

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    I have both a 12 and 20 in the Citori and unless I'm hunting geese the 20 usually gets the nod. I even prefer it for early season ducks. I think it comes down to what feels the best.

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