20 Gauge for HD?

This is a discussion on 20 Gauge for HD? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Iíve been toying with the idea of a 20 gauge instead of the more traditional 12 gauge. My girlfriend spends a lot of time at ...

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Thread: 20 Gauge for HD?

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    Senior Member Array CEW58's Avatar
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    20 Gauge for HD?

    Iíve been toying with the idea of a 20 gauge instead of the more traditional 12 gauge. My girlfriend spends a lot of time at my place, so I was thinking it might be easier to teach her to shoot a 20 gauge than a 12. The shotgun I have in mind is the Remington Model 870 Express Synthetic 7-round.

    Thoughts or suggestions?
    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein

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    It will certainly get the job done, just get an appropriate buckshot load.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    It'll do just fine for defense, and your lady won't know what she's missing. The bad guy won't care.
    Smitty
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    Why a 20? It will certainly do the job, but it does limit you ammo selection among other things. The ever slight difference in recoil is canceled out because of the thinner, lighter receiver that the 20 guages are built on. Go with the 12, they are not as big and scary as people make them out to be. (Assuming you are on the correct end of things.)
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Senior Member Array deafdave3's Avatar
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    In home defense, no difference between 12 and 20 gauge, I assure you.
    A CCW is like a parachute; if you need one, and don't have one, you'll probably never need one again.

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    Senior Member Array CEW58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Why a 20? It will certainly do the job, but it does limit you ammo selection among other things. The ever slight difference in recoil is canceled out because of the thinner, lighter receiver that the 20 guages are built on. Go with the 12, they are not as big and scary as people make them out to be. (Assuming you are on the correct end of things.)
    Ammo selection for buckshot rounds for the 20 gauge is rather thin now that I've looked at several sites like Hornady and Federal.
    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. ~ Albert Einstein

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    You can certainly get the job done with a 20 gauge, and if you already own a 20 gauge, that's fine.

    However, I have to agree with SIXTO regarding limitations of the 20 gauge.

    If you get a 12 gauge with an appropriate length stock, with the proper length of pull to fit your girlfriend, and use some of the excellent reduced recoil tactical loads specifically designed for defensive use, even the most diminutive person of small stature should be able to handle it just fine.

    One of the biggest problems a lot of women find with the 12 gauge is the stock is just too long for their size. Fix that one problem and most women handle the 12 gauge just fine. Proper loadings, and they manage it even better.
    -Bark'n
    Semper Fi


    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Distinguished Member Array LanceORYGUN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEW58 View Post
    I’ve been toying with the idea of a 20 gauge instead of the more traditional 12 gauge. My girlfriend spends a lot of time at my place, so I was thinking it might be easier to teach her to shoot a 20 gauge than a 12.
    Since your girlfriend will also be shooting the gun, you are very wise to get a 20 gauge. 12 gauge buckshot recoil is very brutal in a pump action shotgun. Way too much for you to expect of her, especially if she is petite.

    There are many excellent buckshot loads for the 20 gauge which will do a very good job. I would recommend using Federal ammo with either #3 or #4 size Buckshot. Of the two, the Federal #4 Buckshot load holds 18 .24 caliber Buckshot in it, and I think that it would be the best.

    A recent test done a few days ago on 20 gauge #4 Buckshot ammo showed that it performed very well in penetration, with the Buckshot penetrating anywhere from 10 to 13 inches into ballistic gelatine. The huge wound channel that it produced was massive in size, as you can see in this photo of it:





    An even better shotgun would the the CZ Model 720. It is only $443, from Bud's Gun Shop.com. It has a great gas operated action that will do a lot to absorb the recoil of the shotgun, and make it much softer to shoot than the 870. Definitely worth the extra money, if you can afford it. Here is a link to it:

    http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...ducts_id/11862



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    Distinguished Member Array LanceORYGUN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CEW58 View Post
    Ammo selection for buckshot rounds for the 20 gauge is rather thin now that I've looked at several sites like Hornady and Federal.
    Define "thin" ????

    Federal makes no less than 5 loads: 3 in 2 3/4" shells and 2 in 3" inch shells. Any one of those five will do a fantastic job. Both Winchester and Remington also makes a 20 gauge Buckshot load too.

    Although I would rate the Federal load with #4 Buckshot as being the best, with any of the #3 Buckshot loads after that.

    Don't expect your girlfriend to necessarily want to shoot the shotgun if you get a 12 gauge. Especially if it is a pump action that delivers the full force of the recoil to her.

    Not every petite woman is a Sarah Palin. Is she pretty big and tall?

    Don't forget that the recoil from a Remington 870 shooting full power 12 gauge Buckshot ammo will be greater than that of an African Bolt Action Hunting rifle chambered in .375 H&H magnum. It is a real challenge even for an experienced shooter to deal with, much less a woman with no experience at all in shooting.

    .

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    Senior Member Array CEW58's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LanceORYGUN View Post
    Define "thin" ????

    Federal makes no less than 5 loads: 3 in 2 3/4" shells and 2 in 3" inch shells. Any one of those five will do a fantastic job. Both Winchester and Remington also makes a 20 gauge Buckshot load too.

    Although I would rate the Federal load with #4 Buckshot as being the best, with any of the #3 Buckshot loads after that.

    Don't expect your girlfriend to necessarily want to shoot the shotgun if you get a 12 gauge. Especially if it is a pump action that delivers the full force of the recoil to her.

    Not every petite woman is a Sarah Palin. Is she pretty big and tall?

    Don't forget that the recoil from a Remington 870 shooting full power 12 gauge Buckshot ammo will be greater than that of an African Bolt Action Hunting rifle chambered in .375 H&H magnum. It is a real challenge even for an experienced shooter to deal with, much less a woman with no experience at all in shooting.

    .
    Thin as compared to the number of 12 ga buckshot loads available. I'm still in the process of weighing all the pros and cons of 20 v 12 gauge.

    She's not a very big girl, which is why I'm tinkering with the idea of a 20 gauge rather than a 12.

    The odds of her having to use it at my place isn't very great, but in the event someone does break in and I'm disabled I don't want her to be defenseless.

    I'm also hoping that if she gets used to the shotgun, I can convince her to get one for her place which is in a high crime area of town.

    After during some more reading on the subject, I might opt for a Mossberg 500 rather than the Remington 870.
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    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    An alternative to this would be a Beretta Storm.

    Light recoil, low muzzle blast, at home distances it is frighteningly effective and you can be surgical with it if someone practices.

    Ammo selection is not as broad as a shotgun nor as powerful...but with bonded +p ammo you can send some lead with authority at home distances.

    Is it buckshot? No. Slugs? Hell no...but a double tap of 147 grain Ranger Talon bonded or 147 grain Gold Dot WILL ruin someone's day.

    Especially out of a 16 inch barrel.

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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    I agree with Sixto that the differences in felt recoil are minimal, and a 12 gauge is not as bad as every one makes it out to be. You need to teach her proper stance and technique for mounting the gun, and let physics do the rest. 20 will "git r dun", but 12 is so much easier to load up and find good rounds for. If you truly feel comfortable with a 20 as your HD weapon go for it, but dont do it just because of the small amount or possibility she may have to shoot it. If she has to shoot it in a HD/SD situation, she can complain about recoil and the bruise when she is talking to you and filling out the police report...alive.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LanceORYGUN View Post
    Since your girlfriend will also be shooting the gun, you are very wise to get a 20 gauge. 12 gauge buckshot recoil is very brutal in a pump action shotgun. Way too much for you to expect of her, especially if she is petite.
    I'm going to have to respectfully disagree. It is also a very sexist statement which also isn't true. I know any number of small stature women ranging anywhere from 112 lbs. - 125 lbs who are below 5 ft. 5 in. who handle 12 gauge pump just fine. My wife handles 12 gauge fine shooting standard 2 3/4 slugs and 00 buck without getting a bruised shoulder. There's absolutely no need to load up 3 inch magnum loads just to prove a point. Standard 2 3/4 inch rounds are fine, and probably preferred in a home defense situation anyway.

    Choosing Federal Reduced Recoil Self Defense loads will help minimize felt recoil and are pretty prevalent in stores all over the country. Certainly available online if by chance you can't find any in your local gun shop.

    Like I said earlier, if you already own a 20 gauge shotgun, it will certainly get the job done. However, I wouldn't go out and specifically buy a 20 gauge just because one might think a 12 gauge is too brutal for a woman to handle. That is a ridiculous assumption to make.

    I have found one of the most common problems women tend to have with shooting a 12 gauge is technique and having a stock which is too long and not properly fitted to their size. Both problems are easily fixed.
    -Bark'n
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    "The gun is the great equalizer... For it is the gun, that allows the meek to repel the monsters; Whom are bigger, stronger and without conscience, prey on those who without one, would surely perish."

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    Ex Member Array jtmoose's Avatar
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    My wife and I settled on the Mossberg Super Banatam 20ga because she is 5'1" and the length of pull was right for her and I can adapt to a short gun much easier than she can a longer one. She doesn't notice a significant difference in recoil but the smaller gun is easier for her to manipulate . A collapsable stock with pistol grip was the only way she liked a 12ga but we both like a regular stock. I try to buy guns that everyone in the family can shoot because it gives us more options for less money.

    I also think you'd be hard pressed to find a 20ga load that couldn't defend your home. Sure there aren't as many choices as the 12ga, but how many choices do you really need?

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    Member Array wraymusicman's Avatar
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    Remington 870 Express 20ga Youth Model - I sell these all day long for home defense, and is what I bought for my wife loaded with #3 buckshot. God help anyone that steps in front of her with this combo!
    What the **** - How did I end up on this soapbox again?!?!?

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