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Is a 20 gauge too low of a gauge for duck and/or pheasant hunting?

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  • Is a 20 gauge too low of a gauge for duck and/or pheasant hunting?

    Is a 20 gauge too low of a gauge for duck and/or pheasant hunting?

  • #2
    !JMO~ The 20Ga/3". Is just fine for puddle jumping Ducks & Close-up Ringnecks,It has a long thin Shot Stream, But a 12Ga would you better in the long run with a fatter Shot Stream & Proper Choke setting.

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    • #3

      A little light for ducks but fine for pheasant. JMO.

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      • #4
        I'm want to get a nice 12 gauge but if i don't get one before the season I didn't want to be out there looking like a fool with my rabbit gun. Thanks for the info.

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        • #5
          The 20 gauge is just fine for ducks and pheasants.
          The key to success is knowing and understanding your limitations and operating within those parameters.
          No 50 yard shots etc....!
          I've killed lots of woodies with a 20 ga M12 Win!
          Note: Last time I killed ducks with a 20 bore, lead shot was legal! LOL!

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          • #6
            If you have a good pointing dog and are hunting released pheasants or very early in the season, a twenty gauge will do you fine. But once they get cagey you'll be getting longer shots. Pretty much the same thing holds true with ducks. Early in the season when then decoy easily you'll get some good shots in fairly close at some not-so-tough ducks, but once the big savvy northerns come down it'll be tougher to make anything but a twelve gauge work.

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            • #7
              Nope! Your aim is MUCH more important than whether it is a 20 or a 12. A 3" 20 has plenty of shot. Now if you are attempting to deck honkers with big shot, the 12 will shine. That being said, my buddy started with a 20 gauge and still shoots it after about 50 years of hunting. Among all the shooters who have stood beside him over the years (including me) the only one beating him in duck/goose count is one of my brothers. And that is during spring snow goose season. He uses an extended magazine Benelli Super Black Eagle II in 12 gauge 3 1/2". Its low recoil lets him get on multiple targets quickly and I think he fits a half a box of shells in that magazine. And I would note that the first 2/3s of the tube is full of 2 1/2" shells and the rest are 3". He shoots hundreds of ducks and geese annually and he doesn't like the added recoil of the 3 1/2" shells. Getting on the next goose while it is still in range has proven to be his secret. Don't kid yourself... if you hit a duck or a goose in range with good shot, it will drop. By the way, my buddy with the 20 gauge is a good shot. That is why he outshoots everyone else. I always say that if you are missing the nail, a bigger hammer really doesn't help you.

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              • #8
                If you can afford it shoot as big a gauge as you are accurate and comfortable with. I love my 20 gauge for pushing fields for pheasants all day. The 12 gauge gets you a bit more range and power, but it also puts up a bigger shot pattern meaning you're more likely to hit a bird. The difference between a good shot and a miss is pretty small a couple extra shot can make all the difference in the world. So I prefer my 12 but there's absolutely no reason in the world why the 20 won't do the job.

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                • #9
                  If I were buying a shotgun for ducks and pheasants only, I would get one that pulls up quickly, is very comfortable to carry, lets you get on target FAST and has as low a recoil as possible, allowing you to follow up on misses or get on the next bird quickly. A 20, 16 or 12 gauge all work about the same on these. They all hit or miss depending on your aim. For me, the lighter gauges typically get on target faster, are easier to carry and have lighter recoil, especially the 20 gauge.

                  I personally would not worry too much about the pattern density (that is for clay pigeons and doves). My favorite gauge for these two birds is 16 gauge simply because, for me, the recoil and weight is similar to the 20 but it can carry enough more #4 and #2 shot to make it a little better at longer range.

                  I do use a 12 gauge myself however simply because I shoot it at geese, foxes, coyotes, and deer too. The 12 gauge holds more big shot and the slugs seem to have a little more punch than the 20 gauge slug. Because shotgun shots typically require you to shoulder the gun and get your first shot of very quickly most of the time, I like to use the same shotgun for everything. I like having the muscle memory of everything from the safety operation to the shoulder position perfect and quick.

                  Having walked the pheasant fields of South Dakota for over 60 years, I've often seen locals (who shotgun hunt a LOT) have a couple birds on the ground before "occasional" or novice hunters get off a shot. Often, the more casual hunters were carrying big guns and using 3 1/2" shells. Their guns typically weighed so much or they were so unfamiliar with them that it took them a second or two just to shoulder their guns.

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                  • #10
                    Definitely not, a 20 gauge is my favorite gauge for pheasants and upland birds. Sure you can use it for ducks it's what I used as a youngster. 12 gauge is what I use for ducks and geese now, but I still use the 20 gauge for pheasants and Blue Grouse.

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                    • #11
                      A 20 gauge will serve you well. Whatever gauge you use or choose, practice on clays before you hunt. I agree with DakotaMan; the gauge matters less than how well you point your shotgun.

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                      • #12
                        The key to success is knowing and understanding your limitations and operating within those parameters. Showbox jiofi.local.html tplinklogin
                        Last edited by EVAKATY75; 11-22-2020, 04:47 AM.

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