Need some help from the bird hunters ..12ga.questions

Discussion in 'Varminter & Hunting Forum' started by bobcat93, Apr 1, 2020.

  1. bobcat93

    bobcat93 Silver $$ Contributor

    Jan 15, 2011
    I have owned 1 shot gun in my life..being left handed I choose a browning cornstalker combo was great..but was a toy as I never used it othere then target fun and traded it off back in 2008...yep..I'm a fool..
    I have birds and hairs on my property I want to hunt.
    What the hell shot gun do I get..I'm lost..
    I will use it in the northern woods..and will probably shoot into brush piles..with snow..
    That is what I'm seeing as I walk our property..

    Some say a .20 ga..some say .12 ga and chose the correct to keep price around 600$ or lower..because I dont want to worry about scratching a 3000$ field gun..not for me..I need something that will go bang and I set on the ground and dive in the shit and brush to dig out my food..
    Is a old rem 12ga. 870 all I need..or will that destroy the birds or rabbits please

    If you hunt in the condition I just stated above..what gun would you walk out your door with..and why..
    (Note) due to covid19 quarantine please make your comments as long winded and interesting as possible..
    Perhaps back up your decision that you post with your real life experience and why that is the gun everyone should use...hahaha..thank all..
    I know I could just use a sling shot..but a gun is much more fun
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
  2. WyleWD

    WyleWD Silver $$ Contributor

    Dec 13, 2009
    A used single or double barrel 12guage with a modified choke will probably work just fine. WD
  3. daleboy

    daleboy Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 27, 2017
    Being a lefty...I would suggest a Browning BPS in 20 gauge . Fun to shoot and bottom eject . Ithaca pump guns are bottom eject also .
    AAAOA, mikegaiz, JayHHI6818 and 4 others like this.
  4. Peterson1

    Peterson1 Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 6, 2015
    I like 20 guage
    2 3/4"--#6 for close shots or 3"--#6 for longer shots
    I like the Autos to keep recoil low and quick 2nd or 3rd shots for multiple targets (I'm sure you will never miss)
    I like the synthetic stocks so you don't worry about a scratch/dent on a pretty wood stock.
    The 20 guage will be light to carry, a big asset at the end of the day.
    The above is for a working gun, if you want to impress the boys an over/under with fancy wood would be a great choice.
    I really like the 28 guage but availability of shells and price of shells can pose a problem at times.
    If you will be shooting ducks/geese/coyote/fox you will need a bigger gun!
    In case you want it to double as a personal protection gun one might want a pump gun. There's something about the sound of a pump shotgun cycling that everyone recognizes.
    My thoughts--have fun which ever way you go.
    GotRDid, Daddymac and Treerat-sniper like this.
  5. MrMajestic

    MrMajestic Gold $$ Contributor

    Oct 24, 2010
    As we learn from experience and many rounds fired that it's not how much shot or how fast you throw it it's putting it on the target/game. My choice would be a .410/28/20 gauge, choked correctly for the range you expect, in an O/U with 26" tubes. Light, fast handling and more than enough for birds and bunnies. Shot size would be dependent on the gauge you choose. Just bought a brass framed Henry single shot, super deal I couldn't pass up, and it is a dream to shoot. After this Chine Virus I plan on taking it to the 16 yard trap line. Patterned it with an aftermarket XF choke, I forgot to mention pattern whatever you choose with the ammo you choose, and with AA #9's it looks very promising at 30 yards...
    Jody Simcox likes this.
  6. bobcat93

    bobcat93 Silver $$ Contributor

    Jan 15, 2011
    From what I see hairs would've with in 20 yrd.
    And grouse 15-30yards max..then ther gone in the brush
    So no 12ga...that is what I read in some old F&S article that came up on a Google search.
    A .20 ga pump our semi would be alot of fun..
    My buddy said
    1) if you waist money on a 20ga..your a p@#%y and to pick up a dress....I dont know..
    2) by the time you see it and get a shot off the game will be fare away and you will be shooting through brush and want the extra power..
    I just dont want to get out in the woods and be like..damn it ..i knew i should have got the other gun..
    I worry a .20ga will be under power..
    And a 12ga. I'll be over gunned..I dont see the point of throwing a sledgehammer at a bird..but I hear there a lot tougher then you think..
    See my point..

    I'm thinking buddy picked up the O/U for 300$ and it's very pretty..he said he was surprised because it pattern so well
    I believe there owed by Beretta and they have a very nice selection..
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
    GotRDid likes this.
  7. Preacher

    Preacher Gold $$ Contributor

    Jun 10, 2005
    Find a old Ithaca 12 gauge and be done with it...
    Lots of light loads for it out there if you feel the need....
    JayHHI6818, GotRDid, WyleWD and 2 others like this.
  8. pdhntr


    Sep 2, 2011
    This is not a rebuttal of Preacher's post above. I whole heartedly agree with him. Just giving my opinion.

    I've worn out 3 black labs hunting grouse and shot more than I care to count, and I still have to decide if I am going to take the 20 gauge or the 12 gauge. Usually it is the old side by side 20.

    For bunnies, the 20 can even be too much, so I am going to focus on the grouse.

    I will give you some choices.

    In my opinion you can't get a finer grouse shotgun, short, light weight, so swings fast, and semi-auto. Excellent quality also. Unfortunately it isn't made anymore and maybe out of your budget.

    The next choice is an older Winchester Model 1300. You would need to find one made before 2006 as that is when Winchester contracted with Turkey to make them. I have three 1300's. Two of the older ones and one of the new ones. I spent hours getting that Turkish POS to even load a shell from the tube. Cheap but totally devoid of quality.

    A lot of the older 1300's had nice short 22 in. barrels and screw in chokes. They are easily disassembled for cleaning and are rock solid. With the shorter barrels they handle very well, and after getting used to shooting them you can work the slide as fast as you want.

    My third choice would be an older side by side. First trigger firing a modified barrel and second trigger firing a full choke barrel.

    For new stuff, I don't know the quality anymore. Savage makes 555 compact over and under. I don't know the quality of it, so you would have to check that out.

  9. AWS


    Apr 2, 2012
    As far as 20ga/12ga, I think it is a wash. You can get 1oz loads in both and the 12 will in theory pattern better. Again as far as weight goes that can be a wash also, I have 12ga sxs's that are under 6 lbs and there are some very light 12ga semis out there. If I were in your situation I'd look seriously at a semi-auto 12ga with a 24" barrel. Handy in the woods, better selection of off the shelf ammo, more versatile if you ever plan to branch out your hunting/shooting interest(easy to find additional longer barrels). Also it would be handy as a home defense weapon.

    A Stoeger 3000 would work, a Franchi AL-48 12ga would be really light.

    Fit is really important, so you would want to handle a number of shotguns and see which feels better to you.

    I shoot a number of shotguns in different gauges. I shoot 1 oz loads in my 20, 16, and 12ga shotguns and see very little difference in how the perform on game.
    DBLNUT, GotRDid and Dub like this.
  10. wedgy

    wedgy Gold $$ Contributor

    Mar 27, 2013
    If the gun doesn't fit your cheek when you pull it up you will never shoot it well because your sight picture will be off. Just like centering your eye to a scope, you must be at the same height to look down the rib on the barrel to the front sight every time you pull up for a shot. What are the odds that one shape stock/comb height will work for everyone ? That's why you need to get a gun that has an adjustable stock for comb height and cast, otherwise you are gambling that it will fit your face. I know all the Italian guns(Benelli, Beratta, Franchi) come with the shim kits that adjust for right/left and up/down. they go in between the stock and the receiver. cast.png shim.png My favorite long walking gun is a Franchi Affinty 20 gauge, a little over 5lbs and takes 3" shells(1.25 oz). I have put nearly a thousand rounds in between cleanings and never had a jam. I could never go back to a 7lb Remington. Just like rifles, hunting guns are lighter and recoil more while comp guns weigh more and recoil less but you aren't lugging them around all day.
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2020
  11. stacy

    stacy 2 TIMOTHY 2 VERSE 15 Silver $$ Contributor

    Jan 6, 2012
  12. mongo chicago

    mongo chicago

    Mar 1, 2016
    As with ALL of these type of questions, it is MOSTLY a personal preference. 12 gauge ammo is generally cheaper and more types are generally available. 410s are not for beginners but are for more accomplished shooters. Chokes won't matter once you learn to use them within their limitations - don't take real close shots with a full choke - . I've done plenty of hunting with a full choked Win 1897 and a cylinder bore Ithaca pump. Also a Krieghoff O/U, Win SX3, Win XP, Browning Citori, among others. In the end it really doesn't matter all that much. For what you stated, a 12 ga. pump Mossberg or Rem. would be fine. But! If you have a personal likes, you won't be happy with anything else.
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  13. KY_Windage


    Jun 28, 2018
    As quickly as you can, go to this GB page and click the "Buy Now" button for $695. (I don't know the seller but he is very highly rated there). These are no longer made but that is not a concern and they were excellent guns. This is a fantastic price for it.

    A 20-ga. shotgun is light and easier to carry than a 12-ga. It's shells are smaller and so weigh less and take up less room in your pouch/pocket than an equivalent number of 12-ga.

    With a breaking gun like this it is easy as pie to check for a barrel obstruction (mud or snow). Here I am flirting with just such a bbl obstruction with my 20-ga O/U. ;)

    This was the first bird this puppy had ever had in his mouth. He pointed it and retrieved it like field trial champ!

    Last edited: Apr 1, 2020
  14. msinc


    May 14, 2011
    I have had a lot of bird dogs and also hunt rabbits with beagles. We don't have snowshoe hare here, but cottontails are a lot of fun. A 20 ga will work fine for rabbits, but make no mistake, if you are serious about hunting then pheasants and grouse are a 12 gauge game. 20 ga guns are fun and light and wispy in your hands. They are also worth the most money if we are talking older collector guns. When someone starts talking about hunting ducks, geese, pheasant and grouse with a 20 ga they are trying to impress or just out to have fun. Again, how serious are you???
    Suggest you buy a 12 gauge 870 express and good ammo. If you are serious about hunting you don't want that $5.00 per box target ammo from has it's place, but it's not a grouse hunt. Look around a little and you might find a left hand 1100.
    300_whisper, DirtySteve and GotRDid like this.
  15. WindSurgeon


    Mar 30, 2011
    I have killed more animals with my 3", 12 gauge, Remington 870 than any other gun. I've shot 35 years worth of pheasants and grouse, as well as rabbits, squirrels, ducks, geese, turkeys, and deer. I also own over unders, autos, and a side by side. None of them feel right or shoot as well compared to the 870 in the field. With all the chokes (and a slug barrel if deer hunting), and an assortment of shell choices, there's nothing you cant hunt. 5 shots in the gun really helps in South Dakota when the shooting is fast and furious on pheasants or geese. I can shoot a pump better than, and as fast as an auto loader. You don't need anything other than you have. If I'd add a shotgun, it would be an 870 Wingmaster in 20 gauge, which I also own and hunt with often for grouse. Lighter gun I like in the grouse woods these days.
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  16. Rsadams


    Sep 5, 2015
    As someone who has shot shotguns for 40 years and by far no expert , the debate between 20/12ga depends alot on the weight of the gun.... In a nice sporting over and under which is what you don't want because of cost , I can't really tell the difference between 12 and 20.... It's because of the weight of the guns.... I have a cheap mosberg 88 with a 18 inch barrel that's one of the most brutal guns I own.... I keep it loaded with 00 buck and it sits behind my bathroom door , but even 1 1/8 ounce of bird shot sucks horrible because well , one ounce of lead is one ounce of lead no matter the shapes.... It sucks because , it doesn't fit well and it's super light , about 6 pounds... I bought it with Xmas gift cards for fun but I assure you it's been no fun.... I shot it yesterday testing some weak 1 ounce reloads for skeet shooting and after ten shots I had had enough..

    On the other hand a 8 pound 12 gauge is nothing in comparison... I have a 8 pound sporting over and under Beretta in 12 ga and it's not that bad BUT what matters in my opinion is once again shot placement so if I was to buy another I would stick with a 20ga especially for hunting and that's what I do use for dove hunting.. You can shoot it all day no problem and alot of guys even on the skeet range are using the 20ga... I need all the pellets I can get so I went with the 12 for competition... So my words of wisdom are do not buy a light weight shotgun in any caliber if you're going to actually shoot it.. And yes believe it or not you need to practice with it because you can miss with a shotgun...

    Here's a list to look at for a hunting gun that's going to be used....

    You pick the caliber , I don't know how recoil will be for you , proper shoulder placement and weight is the key....

    Rem. 870 wingmaster pump , good gun , try for the wingmaster not the regular 870 , but with the regular 870 you won't mind if it gets scratched up as much as the wingmaster... And it's cheaper than the wingmaster...

    Rem. 1100 auto , maybe to expensive.?

    Mosberg full length pump , not expensive , but it will run...

    Stoeger pump , not expensive and I haven't ran one...

    Maybe if this fits your bill if you're thinking over/under.. A mosberg silver reserve 2 over/ under , A CZ over/under.. These are not what I would consider sporting guns for high use skeet but damn good for hunting... Believe it or not the yildiz over and under from academy , I know a few guys that have expensive Browning and higher end shotguns that will bring one to the skeet range because they actually enjoy the gun... In the end with high round counts it will chip or break a firing pin as will alot of cheaper over/unders..

    You might look around , with all this crazy going on and half the country unemployed , you might get a real good deal on a nice low round count gun fairly soon... On the high end of over/under you would be in the Browning , Beretta or even Perazzi..

    If it was me looking for a knock around , dragged through the brush , get scratched up and put meat in the freezer , it would be a remington 870 pump in 12ga using 2 3/4 dram one ounce of shot loads with a good recoil pad like airtech or kickez etc... Learning proper form will help alot with recoil... To me the 12ga , shell wise , is just more versatile... With proper shell selection you can kill anything from dove to a bear... Use extream caution with the I tryed to drag it out so you would have something to read as I am board also...
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2020
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  17. snert

    snert Silver $$ Contributor

    Jan 12, 2009
    I started out with a Model 42 410. I have limited on grouse, woodcock, pheasant, squirrel and rabbits with this shotgun. First choice? NO

    12 ga Remington 870 WINGMASTER with a 26 inch Improved barrel. Change SHELLS and SHOT for your intended game/distance.

    A smooth used 870 is fast, simple, points well for the average guy, and isn't too heavy. Unless you are hunting geese, ducks passing or turkey, no need for 3 inch chamber.

    I shot one ounce and one 1/8 loads with various wads, from spreader loads to trap loads and I found the 12 to be very user friendly. I never felt like it was too much gun, and with IC choke it didn't destroy a centered bunny.

    I learned to shoot with that 12, and then took those skills to the 410. When I still had legs and eyes I would relish the squinty looks, rolling eyes I'd get from new guys I hunted with. At the end of the day I was told more than once that the little twig 410 was a bolt of lightning. I just think it requires you to be ON, not near.

    There is no need for fast, powerful 12 ga rounds for small game. I found that lighter loads, short shot columns, and matching the BB to the game made for a pleasant and effective hunting gun.

    So, my vote is a used wingmaster, 12 ga.
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  18. Sniper338


    Aug 14, 2014
    Endless possibilities... you dont even need to spend $600 for what your doing. Rem 870, or beneli nova are all you need. I use a benelli super nova as my duck gun boat paddle.. always goes bang. As far as reliability nothing beats a pump. I wouldnt dip into semi autos when you getting dirt on it.

    If it was me. A 410 and rabbits go together. I really like shooting a 28ga though too.

    20 and 12 are cheapest as easiest to come by. A 12 will do anything the best, but its overkill for a rabbit up close.

    Im strange though so my vote goes to a .22lr with a scope and shooting em in the head. I want a challenge. Shotgun isnt challeging hunting with it. Mini clays flying 100mph, thats challenging with a shotgun.

    Recurve bow would be fun too with flu flus
    GotRDid likes this.
  19. MrMajestic

    MrMajestic Gold $$ Contributor

    Oct 24, 2010
    I have a good looking Spanish 10 ga. O/U choked F&F I would part with. One caveat, I shot 14 rds through it one morning down at the Hackberry Flats and had a headache for two days...that should take care of those waskly wabbits.
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
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  20. Coyotefurharvester


    Aug 11, 2017
    Used to have pheasant hunting buddies want to chase ruffed grouse with me. After missing with their pheasant guns, they would claim grouse and woodcock unhittable. I would breakout my loaner, 12 ga 870 wingmaster, not the express. It started as a 30" full choke, I cut 5" off and put a new bead on the rib. Usually by the end of the day I was getting offers for it. Besides being an excellent brush gun, it shot rem rifled slugs really well inside 50 yards.
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