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First off, I am sort of new to hunting. I have had my license for a while but just got into hunting in the past few years. Right

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  • First off, I am sort of new to hunting. I have had my license for a while but just got into hunting in the past few years. Right

    First off, I am sort of new to hunting. I have had my license for a while but just got into hunting in the past few years. Right now, I'm after Canadian geese. I have a 20ga but everyone I know uses 12ga. While getting ammo, I realized that #2 shot was the best I could come up with. While contemplating the situation, someone I knew happened to be in the store and had said he had the same issue when his wife was using a 20ga and switched to the 12. Do I really need to switch? I'm pretty attached to my 20ga. And if It is necessary, what might be the best 12ga for a smaller person? (I'm only about 5'1")

  • #2
    I think you will get a consensus that you really need to invest in a 12 gauge for geese, with steel shot you need the extra FPS of a 3 inch shell. As for guns that is more personal preference and budget, just go with what feels best and do your research. Goodluck!

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    • #3
      Are you having any success with the 20ga? If so you could stay with it but you are handicapped with it as far as what kind of shots you can make and if you wound the bird and fail to bring it down.
      Sounds like you are a female. If you are, stick with a semi-auto 12ga, and shoot 2 3/4 shells, at least at first. The mechanism does absorb some of the recoil. Plus a good recoil pad should allow you to hunt with a 12ga.

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      • #4
        What jhjimbo said.

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        • #5
          I agree with 12 gauge 2¾" steel BB loads for you. You can find these shells at 1550 feet/sec at Walmart with only slightly less shot per shell than 3" at same speed. I'm 6'1" and 185 lbs. My 3" 870 hammers me pretty hard. Wouldn't advise anything like that for a person your size. However, you will need both the size, speed, and pattern of a 12 gauge to do much damage to honkers. By the way, here's a ton of tips I left a few days ago for setting up goose decoys in fields: www.fieldandstream.com/answers/hunting/bird-hunting/hunting-ducks-and-geese/couple-tips-setting-decoys Working VERY well for me, and the geese here right now have been shot up quite a bit over the last month. Nevertheless, I'm having no trouble pulling at least a hundred a day in to my spread of just two dozen decoys.

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          • #6
            A gas-operated auto would be best for reduced recoil. DO NOT select a goose hunting shotgun based on lighter weight. That will only increase the recoil. Goose hunting is almost entirely done from a blind so you're not carrying the gun around. A super lightweight shotgun also doesn't swing as well as one that is heavier.

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            • #7
              Ah wuz bigger'n you when Ah wz 10 years old, and very athletic.

              A 12 ga wz too much, in terms of weight and recoil.

              These days, mah weapon of choice izza 20 ga, although Ah is 6' 4".

              It's just that the Miroku/Daly(/Citori) shoots so well and is fast-handling.

              The biggest differences between the 20 ga 3" and the 12 ga are the number of shot and the length of the shot string.

              Let them git a little closer before shooting with the 20, and you'll not learn to flinch.

              Of course, there are so many geese around here that ye could prolly hunt them successfully with a boomerang!

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              • #8
                I'd recommend using your 20 gauge for a while with 2 3/4 loads as other have suggested above. Three inch loads are better but you need to be comfortable with their greater recoil.

                Long ago, I learned that the trick with Canadian geese is hitting them within proper range. If you do that, they will drop and they don't know a 20 gauge from a 3 1/2" 10 gauge. The bigger, the bore, the more shot you throw. But if you miss, you are sending all that shot into the wilderness. If you aim and hit properly, you are not providing a deader goose with a 10 gauge than with a 20 gauge. The bigger shells have a little larger sweet spot and a little bit more range but if you are a decent shot, you will have just as many geese as your buddies.

                My best friend has used his 20 gauge for ducks and geese since we were very young (50 years ago). He always bagged more birds than we did with our 10 and 12 gauges. That was because he was a better shot than we were. He still is, and he still shoots more birds than anyone with his 20 gauge. With steel BBs, he doesn't seem to give up range either because he still hits them better than we do, even at longer ranges. He knows the limits of his shotgun and he knows how to lead them. You need to learn how to do this too if you want to bag lots of geese. Your shotgun won't do it for you... it is the hunter and the aim that gets geese. You will also find that when you get a nice pile of geese, you won't crack as many teeth with your 20 gauge since they will have fewer BBs in them. Shooting a 12 gauge or 10 gauge for geese is fine if you are comfortable with them but a 20 gauge can work fine.

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                • #9
                  Lots of good advice above. I started my smallish (at the time) son with a Remington 1100 auto 20 gauge for ducks/geese and he did well (one each), but I was very careful(I called the shots) to keep the shooting real close. He is much bigger now and uses a 12. I believe you would find the Rem 1100 12 gauge 2-3/4'' very tolerable to your shoulder and the stock isn't very big.You can find good used 1100's everywhere.

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                  • #10
                    I disagree with Dakota ... sort of. In the right circumstances, yes, a 20 gauge will do okay. Those circumstances would be a layout blind in a good set of decoys in a choice field. I'm pulling in a hundred geese a day, but right now, because the prevailing wind is out of the west and I am by necessity set up west of the decoys, the geese are circling and landing mostly from the opposite side of the decoys. I'm only getting long shots (45-50 yards). I'm connecting well because I can hear the BBs rattling off the birds. But they aren't coming down (also largely due to having to shoot at their backs and sides instead of underbelly). Sorry, but I believe a twenty gauge would be about hopeless in that situation. Earlier this week when the wind was out of east a .410 might have worked. I was even having to off my aim a bit for fear of blowing them to pieces. In most of my hunting situations a 3½" twelve gauge is unnecessary and wasteful. I have done well with just 2¾" shells and may go back to them this week as the shelves are empty of 3".

                    Sounds like stock length is going to be an issue for this person. I'd advise him/her to look for a used gun with wood on it (I second the motion for Remington 1100) and have someone cut the stock down. I haven't tried cutting down plastic stock but I doubt it can be done. Wood will give more weight which would be helpful for a small person. Especially if the stock is cut down. Again, don't be too concerned about the gun being a bit heavy since you will be using it while sitting in one spot. Of course, you don't want something that feels real heavy.

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                    • #11
                      I have used my 20ga to hunt ducks and geese many times. You have a handicap of not being able to shoot as far as other. Though I have always had great success. If you pick your shots carefully you will be just fine.

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                      • #12
                        I agree with OH's idea of getting a Remington 1100 in 12 gauge and cutting it down. I have one and the recoil is quite manageable. Howevery I'm curious what type of 20 ga nicky86 is currently shooting; Autoloader, pump, sxs or o/u?

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                        • #13
                          OH, I always appreciate your perspective and you bring up good points. Let me clarify a little if I could. I myself shoot a 3" 12 gauge for geese but I wouldn't recommend it for a 5'1" person because of recoil liabilities in most shotguns. Many years ago, I carried a 3 1/2" 10 gauge for those longer shots. I sure know what you mean with BBs bouncing off those back feathers.

                          One of my brothers shoots a 3 1/2" Benelli and is our resident goose smasher. His primary advantage though is not so much in the amount of steel he throws but rather his ability to stay on target for follow up shots while the flock is in range. He gets three great shots off quickly because of the light recoil of the Benelli. Although the extra steel is an advantage, his accurate shooting while geese are in range is his primary advantage. I have always thought that this virtue benefited my 20 gauge shooting buddy too. That is why I totally backed off the 10 gauge and why I really don't mind shooting 2 3/4" 12 gauge shells in most cases.

                          It seems that when geese are out of range for steel BBs, they are flat out of range. Sky busters will hit a head or neck or break a wing once in a while but you don't get many 70-80 yard geese anymore (now that we don't use lead). You can shoot all you want, you just rarely get one to drop at long range.

                          Most young shooters I have taken out seem to benefit more from learning to hunt than from overpowered shotguns. They needed to first learn to properly
                          a) stay calm and focused in all the honking and whistling wind! I've seen some fire three shots in the air before aiming because of intense excitement (good times). The anticipation of one of these flocks takes a little getting used to for most of us,
                          b)lead geese! Honkers have what I call the 747 effect... they look like they are hardly moving compared to ducks and upland game because of their size; however, they are usually moving even faster than the smaller birds),
                          c) quickly move from target-to-target while the geese are still in range. They must get off three good shots in the time they normally shoot one.

                          The 20 gauge and the Benelli really help on the last one! I certainly don't disagree with you and others on recommending a 12 gauge for geese. I just think that while Nicky is still quite small of stature, the 20 gauge may actually provide a benefit unless he/she can afford a $1500 Benelli to get started. Planning on a 40 yard maximum range still allows for a lot of good goose shooting and an opportunity to learn numbers one and two without additional investment.

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                          • #14
                            Good points, Dakota. Very good. Only auto shotgun I have ever fired is my 2¾" 12 gauge Browning A-5 and recoil reduction is, I am told, minimal compared to gas operated guns. That thing pops me pretty good in light clothing (but it has no recoil pad either). I think this person, though quite small, could still probably handle a gas operated 12 gauge okay, considering that he/she already has some experience shooting. I wouldn't advise a 3" magnum at this point. Anyway, he/she could give a 2¾" cut down Model 1100 a try and see how it works. If it proves to be too much, he/she could easily pick up full length wood on E-bay and resell the thing. Also, he/she should stick with 28" maximum barrel length. Maybe 26" if one shows up.

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                            • #15
                              My buddy shoots a 20 gauge Model 1100 and it is SWEET. Light, quick to shoulder, fast swing. That thing drives me nuts! He usually had three honkers flattened while I was drawing onto my second goose (often as they reached my range limit). I shot a 12 gauge Model 1100 with 3" chamber for many years. It was very heavy and I finally sold it in favor of a lighter 870. Although the 870 is a pump, I always felt I could shoot it faster and I never have any problems with hot honker reloads. I like the Browning A5 too but with 2 3/4" loads.

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