Which Shotgun for 60-Year-Old Aunt: 12ga or 20ga

This is a discussion on Which Shotgun for 60-Year-Old Aunt: 12ga or 20ga within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; My aunt wants to buy a shotgun for home defense - probably either an 870 or 500. She just started shooting a little less than ...

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Thread: Which Shotgun for 60-Year-Old Aunt: 12ga or 20ga

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    Member Array Talking_Monkey's Avatar
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    Which Shotgun for 60-Year-Old Aunt: 12ga or 20ga

    My aunt wants to buy a shotgun for home defense - probably either an 870 or 500. She just started shooting a little less than a year ago and bought a Ruger LCR 38spl. She enjoys shooting and doesn't seem terribly recoil averse, but she hasn't used any type of long gun yet. I can let her try my 500 12ga with target loads, but I don't have access to a range that will allow buckshot and I don't have access to a 20ga for her to try. How should I advise her?

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    I hear there are currently two variants of Remington 870 shotguns, one is suppose to be better than the other. Determine which is the "good" 870 and get one of those. I like the 870 with its steel receiver. I have an older Remington 870 20 gauge Magnum and it's great. It's a hunting shotgun and not set up for home defense. The 20 gauge would be perfectly fine for her.
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    Don't buy anything for her unless she shoots it first. It really doesn't have all that much to do with recoil sensitivity: There is only one shotgun I can use and that is my 410 home defense model. Reasons? Can't focus on both back and front sights on a longer barrel and mostly because I can't hold anything that's heavier up to where it can be shot!

    I was just a few years younger than your aunt when I started shooting seriously.....and really became addicted! But due to the problems with long guns, I had to become very proficient with revolvers and pistols. I did.

    So, somehow or other get her some range time with at least a couple shotguns to see how she does. Then make a decision.
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    VIP Member Array mprp's Avatar
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    I agree with bmc. Nothing wrong at all with a 20 ga. loaded up with what would be considered good defensive loads. My question would be, where would she be able to go for practice if she ended up buying one if you can't find a place to practice with buckshot?
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    VIP Member Array StormRhydr's Avatar
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    Anyone who can shoot a 12 ga well, can shoot a 20 ga better. And 20 ga is plenty big enough to get the job done.

    There are apt to be complications in buying a 20 ga pump, though.

    If you want a ready to go, out of the box, HD shotgun, there are lots that fit the bill in 12 ga. Not so much in 20 ga.

    If that doesnt bother you, and you are good to go with a standard 870 20 ga, then no worries.

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    VIP Member Array maxwell97's Avatar
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    Getting shot with a 20-gauge buckshot round is roughly equivalent to getting shot with all five .38's in that LCR, simultaneously. It's definitely sufficient for home defense.

    Agreed, though, that it might be harder to find a good HD 20-ga, meaning (to me) shorter barrel and open cylinder. But I'm pretty sure they're out there.

    Also agreed that a little range time before buying is a great idea, if it can be arranged.
    "Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of the way... The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way."

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    Senior Member Array patri0t's Avatar
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    We were issued 870s in LE with Cyl Bore, they make many models, I'd go cheap. Military likes Mossberg, I got an 8 shot, pump for $225 a couple years ago.

    My wife is way past 60 and can handle any of my 12 guages with 2 3/4 inch shells, but her tiny wrists give out after about 4 shells of 1 oz shot.

    There is no diff in recoil with 1 oz of birdshot #9 or 1 oz of 0000 Buckshot (home defense) or a 1 oz slug. Many have 7/8 oz load of lead.

    For Self Defense, a lighter load of skeet shells will not pattern at 20 feet (about the maximum range of a 'good' Self-Defense shot); anything beyond 20 feet will probably get a GJ indictment.
    I once answered a '911 shoot call' and saw that a woman had shot her old boyfriend (she had PPO on him) across her bedroom in a trailer house.
    She used an old .410 ss bolt shotgun with Modified choke at ~9 feet. No pellet spread and guy's left arm was hanging by a thread of skin. Dead before I got there, DUH.

    Too many folks think a shotgun, even with a Cyl Bore, is a scatter-gun, at self defense range. It will create a hole about the same size as the bore.
    Thus, it must be aimed almost as carefully as a sidearm.

    However, at 437.5 gr per 1 oz, the shotgun is a formidable weapon at close range.
    Doesn't matter which shot you use for 'self defense', but stay away from steel-shot for the neighbor's sake.

    Skeet loads, "Reduced Recoil", or cheap range ammo, is what I'd get for wife if she ever had a need for a shotgun.
    The shotgun is a very poor choice for answering the door, though.
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    I will be the only one to vote for a pump 410. This little gun has the recoil that is acceptable and is very good at what it does in close proximity. It can be loaded with slugs that are devastating and can be loaded with #2 shot that is a life taker for sure at bedroom range.

    Good for her and you for helping.
    Mossberg® 500 .410 Gauge w/24'' Barrel Shotgun | Bass Pro Shops

    Respectfully,
    Bill

    Patriot I am sorry I was posting as you were I guess we agree on the devestation of a 410 at close range.
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    Quote Originally Posted by manolito View Post
    I will be the only one to vote for a pump 410. This little gun has the recoil that is acceptable and is very good at what it does in close proximity. It can be loaded with slugs that are devastating and can be loaded with #2 shot that is a life taker for sure at bedroom range.

    Good for her and you for helping.
    Mossberg® 500 .410 Gauge w/24'' Barrel Shotgun | Bass Pro Shops

    Respectfully,
    Bill
    You're not the only one. Look up the page a bit I already said that is what I have.
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    Senior Member Array 5lima30ret's Avatar
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    A youth model 20 ga should be easy to handle for most anyone. One other option to consider is a double barrel (Stoeger Coach gun) comes to mind. They are very handy in close quarters have a VERY simple manual of arms! Just my humble opinion! Good luck!
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    I missed you and Patriot so take my candy away.

    Bill

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    Distinguished Member Array Chaplain Scott's Avatar
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    take a look at this: Academy - Mossberg® Youth 500® Bantam™ 20 Gauge Pump-Action Shotgun

    When we moved from Germany to Montana, all of my guns (well, most of them) were in storage a long ways away. I bought one of these for snakes and skunks. It works well, is quick and nimble.
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    Senior Member Array patri0t's Avatar
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    As I stated above, I witnessed what a .410 ga with birdshot does at Self Defense range.
    I have also seen the aftermath of a .410 ga with #9 birdshot, to bottom of chin (suicide), not much head left. (another 911 call where someone thought 1 of 4 depts in the area could get there in time).

    If you prefer a 20 ga, here is a Rem 870 synthetic pump that should last forever:Remington 870 Express Synthetic 20 18 CYL 2RDEXT $366.00 SHIPS FREE
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    I think a 60 year old woman needs to handle any gun before it's bought just to see if she can lift it.


    Also, saying that someone isn't particularly recoil averse and then saying that they've never fired a long gun just doesn't work. Recoil comes from long guns (and a few magnum handguns). You don't know what recoil is until you've fired off two or three twelve gauge slugs.

    I like the idea of a small, short 28 or .410 gauge double barrel.
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    New Member Array RJHOLLA's Avatar
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    She needs to decide on the size and weight of a shotgun she likes. 1oz. Shot from a 20 will have more perceived recoil then the 12 because the 20 usually is lighter. 1 oz SD load lots more recoil than a target load due to the higher velocity. If you can afford and she can handle it a semi auto 12 would be my recomendation.

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