Hunting & Fishing  12ga vs 20ga on pheasant and chukar

1911fan

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Mrs1911fan thinks I should get a Silver Pigeon to replace my beloved Citori Gran Lightning. I've carried that gun since about 1992 and it's killed a lot of birds. Fits me well. But it is heavy.
I made the mistake of borrowing a friend's Silver Pigeon for a couple weeks. Wow. Everything my old Citori is, but lighter. First time out I doubled on quail, bangbang, on hard crossing shots. It went like that as long as I had the Pigeon.
So, the Citori is heavier. But since I'm looking at lightening my load, why not go to a 20 gauge Silver Pigeon? I have a couple of questions for the pheasant and chukar hunters that have switched from a 12 to a 20 gauge. Did you notice any difference in hits/collected birds? Would you do it again?
Those of you who switched from 20 to 12 gauge, same questions.


1911fan

PS: The first local I mentioned this to immediately wanted my Citori. It's the Gran Lightning, upgraded to French walnut, with chokes. I mentioned an outrageous amount, and he said "Ok!" but I still haven't decided. I really like my Citori.
 

thebolt

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The 20 is much nicer to carry in the field.

The differences are gauged by shooter skills/ability and the lower pellet number are insignificant for most shots. The 20 has plenty of authority to bring down birds if you do your part.
 

TommyAtkins

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For many years I used a 20ga for pen-raised birds but a 12 ga for wild birds. The wild birds don't hold as long and will run on the dogs and my shots were longer. Pen-raised birds would hold and my shots were often 30 yards or less. If you are hunting in heavy cover the result might be the same. I suppose I am compensating a larger, denser pattern for poor marksmanship but it works for me.
 

1911fan

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Yeah, I know it's pellet count. My exwife hunted with a 20, and when she actually got her shit together she hit one once in a while. It was funny; she had a semi Beretta and it was usually bangbangbang, after which I would shoot the bird. She got a bit pissy about that more than once, and all I said was usually, "Well, you had three chances!"
I'm just wondering if anybody switched and kept track.... man I like the Pigeon though.



1911fan
 

Jig Stick

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20g for sure. the 12 just does way too much damage to them. especially if you have good dogs. If the dogs do their job, shots won't be far. and the 20g has plenty to knock em down.
 

krw

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Well I am a cut and dry 20ga man. First time I went pheasant hunting I was told not to bring a 20ga. I am not hard headed so I carried 2 20's. Wind was blowing hard and pheasants flushing a little wild, I did not carry enough gun. Since then I have carried my Beretta 12ga and shoot Rem Long Range #5's with a Mod choke. Lots better Pheasant medicine. But besides Turkey and Pheasants I love a 20 for everything.
 

ollie

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I prefer the 20. Ive used a beretta 686 in 20 for the past 8 or so years. I havnt missed my 12 except for turkey.
 

Engine 22

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    I have found that the 20 is a bit light for the wild pheasants I hunt in KS. I perfer to run a 12, no substitute for pellets and powder. Also, a pen raised bird's toughness can't hold a candle to wild roosters.
     
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    kurt

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    from my experience of being a pheasant hunting guide here in sodak if you can shoot the 20 gauge really well it kills but i like most clients to shoot a 12 as it saves alot of time looking for runners amazing how tough our wild pheasants are. I know people love the over unders but i always chuckle as the guy has it broke open while the guy with the old beat up wingmaster is shooting his birds for him while he reloads. Personally when we go on a fun hunt i got the 12 gauge wingmaster with a 28"bbl full choke my dad got in 79 when i was born.
     

    1911fan

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    I went to an OU (my Citori) in the early 90's, haven't looked back. Don't recall triples often on any of my pumps, and only one by a hunting partner on chukar. Seemed to me then, and now, that unless you've got lots of birds in the air at one time, two shots is enough. IMHO, the third shot is usually a parting salute or FU shot.
    I've doubled often enough with my Citori that I don't feel the lack of a third shot. I've also decided to go with a 12 gauge Pigeon. I've got five or six other shotguns, all 12 gauge, and having one shotgun that takes a different round is sure to leave me standing in a field saying "Dammit" as I reach in my vest.



    1911fan
     

    Mark williams

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    20 guage for quail and a 12 guage for pheasants. I e killed thousands of quail with a 20 guage, wild and pen. First pheasant trip I carried it and exploded numerous roosters that flew off. Didn't have enough shell so at lunch I changed to the three inch number 5 shot and the birds started falling. Every trip afterword I carried my twelve with high brass 2 3/4 loads with better success.. As mentioned above, wild birds are much tougher than pen raised. I also think you would love the feel, balance and lightweight of the silver pidgeon. I've had a couple. When I hunt wild birds I stick with my auto.
     

    kurt

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    I went to an OU (my Citori) in the early 90's, haven't looked back. Don't recall triples often on any of my pumps, and only one by a hunting partner on chukar. Seemed to me then, and now, that unless you've got lots of birds in the air at one time, two shots is enough. IMHO, the third shot is usually a parting salute or FU shot.
    I've doubled often enough with my Citori that I don't feel the lack of a third shot. I've also decided to go with a 12 gauge Pigeon. I've got five or six other shotguns, all 12 gauge, and having one shotgun that takes a different round is sure to leave me standing in a field saying "Dammit" as I reach in my vest.





    1911fan

    Ya here standing at the end of the field blocking in december having 200 to 300 birds coming over your head is not uncommon and having five in the tube at that time is where it really shines.
     

    MtnCreek

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    ^ I shoot from kneeled position when things get that hot.

    I shot wild pheasant with a 28ga citori loaded w/ #6 shot, mod/full. It worked for close shots, but the next field I went back to a 391 12ga / #5. If I lived where pheasants did I'd be more inclined to use a 20ga, but traveling 1,000+ miles I want more gun.
     

    MikeeBooshay

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    Get both!!!

    I can't believe I am the 15th post on this, and not one of you gave the obvious answer - BOTH!!!! GET THEM BOTH!

    Seriously, this topic has been much discussed around our group. I used to have a business partner with a ranch in Montana, and we had access to MUCH bigger places all around Livingston MT. I pretty much spent October up there, hunting with our best clients, in groups, playing host and bouncer. I had a couple local girls cleaning house, I cooked, and John Haney the dog guy ( we owned half his dogs ) did most of the actual hunting, so it was not that hard, other than the ten mile death marches John liked to send us on.

    I carried a 20 SxS exclusively up there, I shoot it pretty well, it's very tightly choked, and that I think helps a lot. A lot, A LOT of our guests also brought 20's with much less success. We kept a couple 12's around, both a Beretta and an old Superposed, both O/U, and they did knock more birds down. No one liked carrying them as much as the 20's, but they worked better for the less accurate shooters. Many an Oban or Jonny Black fueled fire side chat, debated the merits of the two gauges.

    One thing I never tried, but wish I had, was to buy an old Parker 16 guage, they built a lot of those on the 20 frame. I think that would have been the ticket, light enough to not hate by sundown, but a little more punch than the 20. Of course, finding decent 16 gauge shells may have been pointless, but I think that's a decent compromise.

    The other thing, is to try some of the newer waterfowl shells, in 20 gauge, like heavi-shot or Blackcloud. Again, those may be tough to find, but when you do, order a case. It's not like you shoot shells like a dove shoot for walking type hunting, pass shooting maybe, but even so, that might be something to try. I keep a few boxes of 20 Blackcloud at the duck camp, for when kids show up, and I want to see them successful. I've used the heavi-shot before, it's good, but only comes 10 to the box. I like mine 25 to the box, and by the case if you please!
     

    doshei

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    Pheasant
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    12 guage

    Quail
    Huns
    Partridge
    Grouse
    long walks in the field

    20 gauge
     

    Drstrangelove

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    I hunt a local nontoxic shot release area over a wrecking crew of Brittanies. I have lots of shotguns but always choose a 20ga because it’s just so much nicer to carry. I reload 2.75” 1oz #5/6 hevishot and there are days I go home with a limit and only two empty hulls. It’s that effective. 45 birds last season, no cripples. Helps to have a young athletic type A dog who wants to retrieve. A164B756-23CF-45EC-A14A-D1FB3CD1C923.jpeg
     

    rth1800

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    3” 20 gauge loads now carry 1 1/4 or even 1 5/16 oz #5 copper plated lead D6DE73C6-2213-4DDB-B449-694D5D845FA8.jpegshot and will kill well to 45 yards or a bit beyond with a proper choke.

    In a light fixed breach gun Recoil can be a bit tough if you shoot a lot in light clothing.

    Benelli 20 will work very well.

    No comparison in wild and pen raised birds as to difficulty to get shot at, difficulty to hit or difficulty to kill.
     
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    264win

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    Wild pheasants in some areas are hard with a 20ga, but for everything else it’s perfect.
    Using premium ammo such as hevi shot is a great idea too, it would definitely give the 20 longer legs
     

    yakstone

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    Variety.
    I use a 12 for wild birds; 20 for pen raise pheasant.
    Often I’ll break out the 28 for chuckar, quail and dove.
    Over / Unders are my choice.
     

    aslrookie

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    What is the shortest ideal barrel length for a 12ga in this application? Being 5’5” and all my rifles are SBR or under 20”, the idea of carrying around a 28” barrel shotgun is already annoying.
     

    264win

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    If you are looking at a semi auto, you would likely want something like a 24-26” barrel

    If at all possible, go to a shop and handle a few Different lengths and see what balances well for you.
     
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    aslrookie

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    If you are looking at a semi auto, you would likely want something like a 24-26” barrel

    If at all possible, go to a shop and handle a few Different lengths and see what balances well for you.

    Yeah, semi auto. The 22” I had before was perfect, so going over 24” would just be a pain in the butt.
     

    h4everything

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    20 ga. Unless you want to get fancy and go 28 gauge. I picked one up and won't go back. My little red label is deadly and a joy to carry. 12 ga is good for sporting clays and maybe late season pheasant
     

    Scottie15

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    22” barrel 12 ga is super handy for doves and fast fliers. I have been known to plug the long tube on the Versamax tactical instead of changing out the end cap...
     
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    Charlie112

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    22” barrel 12 ga is super handy for doves and fast fliers. I have been known to plug the long tube on the Versamax tactical instead of changing out the end cap...
    Which ever set up you go with, doesn’t promise you a limit of Birds. I would recommend after choosing your shotgun, go shoot some clay birds. Finding a trap and shooting from different angles and different yardage will help you a lot. The art of shooting a shotgun takes practice, then, when you go to the field, you shoot where your eyes are looking and drop your birds.
    I hunted birds for over 30 years and I still hunt doves and pigeons, my shotgun for upland birds, regardless of pen birds or wild birds was and still is Browning Sweet 16, with a Cutts, spreader tube installed.
    I use o/u”s a lot on the clay range and am a firm believer to practicing with a tight choke. The tight choke will show you exactly where you and your shotgun are shooting. I am not talking shooting paper, shoot moving targets;
    At some point what you wear for hunting clothes comes into play.. I recommend a strap vest, they are easy to move around in. I did not use any type of recoil pad, still don’t... length of pull on a upland gun tends to the short side as it mounts quick!!!
    Sorry for the long post, but I was not considered by my hunting partners as a “Bird Hunter”, me and my dogs were Bird Killers, there is a difference...,