On the Range: June 2020

By Chuck Papp,  Contributing Writer

A debate in the shotgun community is which gauge is best for all around use.

The 12 gauge is one of the most popular firearms, however the 20 gauge has certain advantages over the 12.

The 12 ga on the left compared to a 20 ga 3 inch shell on the right.

Shotguns played a greater role in settling the great frontiers than lever action rifles, the Winchester and Henry. The shotgun was more affordable than the rifle so settlers could arm themselves and hunt with a viable firearm. Since then, the 12 gauge is in more deer stands, pheasant fields, rabbit drives, trap and skeet fields, sporting clay courses, police cruisers, and closets of American homeowners than any other firearm.

Both gauges have vast choices of ammunition. From birdshot to slugs and buckshot to specialized loads for turkey and waterfowl, self-defense along with law enforcement applications, there’s no better choice.

The 20 stands out with its size and weight. With a smaller gauge the recoil is extremely manageable. A downside to the 12 is the recoil when you get into those specialized hunting loads. With the 20 you have almost the same size of pattern density, that’s the number of pellets in the center of the pattern, at 25 yards. The 12 shines past 25 yards. For home defense the 20 is ideal with lighter recoil and ease for smaller stature folks to handle.

I went from a 12 gauge to 20 for most of my hunting. The 20 gauge ammo has improved the last 5 years, particularly for turkey hunting, & the 20 is easier to carry on long walks in the woods.

Chuck Papp, Manager

Delray Shooting Center • (561) 265-0700