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Old 12-21-2010, 10:32 PM   #1
freediver111
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Default 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I'm having a tough time deciding on a 20 over a 12 gauge for my next upland gun.
I can buy a 20 gauge that shaves a fair amount of weight off, but I'm just not sure of the disadvantages, if any, of the 20 over the 12.
The last thing I care about is recoil, so other than that, am I losing anything going with the 20 over the 12? This is strictly for upland hunting, chukars mostly. I want a really light gun, and the 20 gauge is a little lighter than the 12, which is a big plus.
I have a 12 ga for ducks, so this will be a dedicated chukar/upland gun. I'll only be shooting #6 high brass out of it, 3" shells.
So, as a dedicated upland gun, will I be missing anything by going 20 over the 12?
I'm a reasonable shot, but far from a pro. A proper fit is more critical than the gauge, but I'm really interested in a performance factor between the two gauges.
Can anyone give me a comparison of both if using high brass, 3'', #6's?

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Old 12-21-2010, 10:44 PM   #2
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

If you want a really light gun, the only quasi-affordable 12ga to fill that bill is the Benelli Ultralight, otherwise, there are a bunch of 20ga's to choose from. For a 20ga #6, you'll want to be using 3" #6 11/4oz shot to maximize your long range shot density. The only advantage of the 12ga is the option to up that to any load available in 3". A 3" 11/4oz load out of a 20ga is the same delivery as a 12ga 11/4oz 2 3/4", minus the weight of the shotgun. It also uses less powder if you reload, and is nicer on the ears and arms. Every pheasant I took this season was with handloaded hevishot out of a Benelli 20ga, with two birds taken crossing at 60 yards. If you're going to traipse the hills for chukar, get the 3" 20ga and don't look back.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:48 PM   #3
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I used a 20 o/u for years upland hunting shooting 3" #6's is a fine choice. I use a 12 guage autoloader now and the shells are a little more powerful and with the extra shot i do kill many more birds in a season. only a few triples but i'll often miss the first or second and connect on the others. The autoloader is actually lighter than the 20 O/U because of its single barrell and it has a synthetic stock. but the difference in weight is not much. Either is a fine choice, and if i was to choose a gun for only upland in an o/u it would most likely be a 20. i hate the feeling of emptying my gun and standing there while a sleeper jumps up at my feet.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I use the 20 ga. Benelli ultralight and a 26" bbl Browning BSS with a straight grip for Chukar, quail and everything but waterfowl....they're perfect. There's no reason for more gun weight in the uplands and after a day on the steep talus slopes you'll feel the difference.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:52 PM   #5
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

The gun I'm looking at is a Weatherby SA-08. It's 6 lbs in 20 gauge, synthetic stock version.
If I had the cash, it would be a Benelli ultra light at 5.2 lbs for the 20 gauge....too rich for my blood.
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Old 12-21-2010, 10:56 PM   #6
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

The old Franchi M48 20gauge is still a great chukar gun as well.
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

See if you can get your hands on a used Benelli M1 20. 5.8lbs Shouldn't be more than $650. I've had one and only sold it to move up to the M2 20 in camo for pheasant/duck hunting. I rarely use my 12's anymore except for spooky wild pheasant and geese.
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Old 12-21-2010, 11:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I have a Browning Gold 20 and it's by far my favorite shotgun to shoot. From Honkers to late season roosters & huns if it's a legal bird I have hunted it w/ that 20.

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Old 12-22-2010, 01:46 AM   #9
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I just got a cheap H&R .20g single shot for pheasants and such should be a light easy gun to carry.
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Old 12-22-2010, 05:34 AM   #10
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I don't own a 20 gauge but normally use a 28 or a 2" 12 gauge if I'm hunting over a good pointing dog since if you both do it right your shots will be in the 15-30 yard range. 3/4 -1 ounce is all I've needed for the past 20 years so I can't see any point to carrying a gun that weighs more than 5 1/2# if I'm going to be following a pup around.
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:55 AM   #11
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I have a Browning Gold in 12 gauge and have used it for waterfowl, including big geese, and upland but my first choice is my 20 gauge O/U for upland.

For Pheasants, chukars and huns the Fiocci Golden Pheasant 3" 1 1/4 oz nickel plated 6's are hard to beat. Winchester also makes an identical shell but they're very hard to find.

Even if you're hunting where lead is illegal there are some good choices for shells for a 20.

Even if I'm shooting a 12 I use a shell with 1 1/4 oz of 6's. The 20 is a sweet little light weight alternative. I also like the 28 gauge but shells are expensive and sometimes difficult to find. I quit reloading about 12 years ago.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:06 AM   #12
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

Yep...the 28's are fun, but cartridges are double the cost of 20 ga. I like 1 oz. of #6 or #7.5 for most shooting, but occasionally will go to 3" 6# for pheasants. The cheap 7/8oz. load of #8 shot works great for quail.

Also, Ithaca made a Model 37 ultralight pump with a 25" bbl at just over 5lbs that was a decent little chukar popper...used ones are out there.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:28 AM   #13
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I love the 20 Ga. But when you are trying to put meat on the table and not just going out for 100% sport, you can't beat a 12 Ga. Autoloader. Load it up with some hot #4s and it works excellent for Roosters and Chukars.
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:56 AM   #14
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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I love the 20 Ga. But when you are trying to put meat on the table and not just going out for 100% sport, you can't beat a 12 Ga. Autoloader. Load it up with some hot #4s and it works excellent for Roosters and Chukars.
This gets down to the root of my question. Why is the 12 gauge with a hot load of number 4's any better than say a 20 gauge with a hot load and number 4's?
Pellet count? Velocity? Range?
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:27 AM   #15
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

The versatility of the twelve is second to none. That pretty much speaks for it's self. I run everything from 1 oz of 8's for doves to 1 3/8 oz of high speed 4's for pheasants in my A-5 Light Twelve. I want for no other gun.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:46 AM   #16
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

Definitely get a 20. Weatherby SA-08 or Mossberg SA-20. Not sure if they are the same gun or not, but I believe they are both Turkish imports.

The Franchi AL 48 is a touch lighter, a whole lot prettier, and quite a bit more money. But it only chambers 2 3/4".
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:58 AM   #17
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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Definitely get a 20. Weatherby SA-08 or Mossberg SA-20. Not sure if they are the same gun or not, but I believe they are both Turkish imports.

The Franchi AL 48 is a touch lighter, a whole lot prettier, and quite a bit more money. But it only chambers 2 3/4".
The Weatherby is Turkish made, but so far getting good reviews.
The Franchi is about 1/2 lbs lighter...Really nice looking gun too. A little of an issue with the fact it doesn't shoot 3" shells though......
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:10 AM   #18
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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Yep...the 28's are fun, but cartridges are double the cost of 20 ga. I like 1 oz. of #6 or #7.5 for most shooting, but occasionally will go to 3" 6# for pheasants. The cheap 7/8oz. load of #8 shot works great for quail.

Also, Ithaca made a Model 37 ultralight pump with a 25" bbl at just over 5lbs that was a decent little chukar popper...used ones are out there.

I wouldn't know since I always thought it was against the law to shoot ammo you didn't make yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!! And if it isn't it should be.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:11 AM   #19
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

Freediver,

A 1 1/4 oz load of number anything cannot be fired at the same velocity out of a 20ga as it can a 12. So the energy with a 12 is greater at all ranges and yes your effective range is greater. Theoretically pattern distribution is better out of a 12 also.

That being said, I use a 20 for most of my upland work. I prefer 1 1/8 oz of #5 shot but have also had good results with just 1 oz of 5 shot on chukars. 6 shot just does not carry the energy reqiured for chukars at greater ranges. And yes Ive tried it all.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:12 AM   #20
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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This gets down to the root of my question. Why is the 12 gauge with a hot load of number 4's any better than say a 20 gauge with a hot load and number 4's?
Pellet count? Velocity? Range?
The gauge system has a lot of thought behind it and is about 150ys old. Wish I could remember all the details as I had it thoroughly explained when I took hunters safety as a kid.

Basically, apart from the sizing mechanics, all the popular gauges launch payloads at approximately the same velocity and pressure. Each gauge has an optimum shot charge weight per pellet size that gives the best pattern density, for a given range for wing shooting. I don't remember the values, so don't quote me, but I think it is 3/4oz #8 for 28ga, 7/8oz #7 1/2 for 20ga, etc. I have no clue what the optimums are for steel.

If you load over the optimum, you get a shot charge strung out and the extra shot doesn't help you with a passing shot. OK with Turkey, not worth the recoil otherwise.

Now I don't know about whacking a little bird like a chuckar with a #4's - better make sure it is out there a ways or you'll have a lot of daylight showing through the bird. But I'll defer to the experience of the Chukar hunters on this board.

And maybe some of the popgun experts will chime in and correct my mistakes and fill in the rest of the story.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:14 AM   #21
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

A couple years back I purchased a used Remington 1100 20ga specifically for Chukar.

Lighter and easier to pack up and down those hills.

I really like it. Seems to not have as much knock down power once those birds catch the wind heading downhill.

I like to shoot 3" #6 or #4 's through my 20 ga.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:25 AM   #22
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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This gets down to the root of my question. Why is the 12 gauge with a hot load of number 4's any better than say a 20 gauge with a hot load and number 4's?
Pellet count? Velocity? Range?
The 12 guage is capable of far more speed and energy in a 1 1/4 oz load than a 20. Not needed for most upland hunting , other than late season roosters and long shooting for chukars, IMO.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:29 AM   #23
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I always considered the smaller gauges as just a higher challenge in shooting. In other words the smaller the gauge the more expertise it takes to fill your limit. By limiting the shotshell size and the amount of shot fired, the more the challenge of hitting your target. I continually look for a high end .410 to upland hunt with. Maybe some day I will buy one. I say get the 20 gauge and have some fun.
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:30 AM   #24
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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This gets down to the root of my question. Why is the 12 gauge with a hot load of number 4's any better than say a 20 gauge with a hot load and number 4's?
Pellet count? Velocity? Range?
My upland gun is Browning O/U in 20 gauge. I use 2 3/4" shells because they pattern better in my particular gun.

In my opinion, you don't lose a thing by going to the smaller gauge. The 20 is lighter and faster on target and will drop pheasants/chukar cleanly way out there with the correct lead.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:03 AM   #25
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

DLA:

My chukar load is 1 1/8 oz of 7's @ 1535 fps through an improved modified choke. Tried 6's, went back to 7's. I think 6's would work better if I slowed them down a bit.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:15 AM   #26
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I think you answered your own question already. You already own a 12. If your not getting rid of it get the 20. If for some reason you find yourself in a situation where a 12 is needed use the 12 you have. Even with late season birds in KS where I'm from originally I found it rare that I asked myself why I didn't bring a 12.

While there are some nice light 12s on the market today (the SA-08 in 12ga is no pig at 6.5lbs) they still do not have the slim lines and feel of the sub-gauges. I prefer the slimmer feel of a 16 or 20 while carrying a gun for hours on end with the added benefit of the reduced weight.

For an affordable light upland 12ga new as far as I know the SA-08 and the CZ upland Ultralight O/U are about the only game in town while there are plenty of 20ga guns that fall below 6.5lbs.

And if you want to take a chance you can always split the difference and get a 16ga.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:34 AM   #27
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I shoot the Franchi 48AL Field in 20ga. It weighs in at just over 5lbs. Basically like carrying a .410 around. I have never had it fail and would definitely recommend the gun. Franchi does have a slightly different recoil than other shotguns I have had. Not bad, just different. Unfortunately, I will have to say that their customer service really sucks.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:35 AM   #28
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

7/8oz of lead #6 in a 2 3/4" shell kills chukar just fine 1oz of #5-#4 lead is another good 20ga 2 3/4" load If your thinking steel #6 in a 3" hull. Don't. #3 steel is the upland pellet for chukar. I prefer 3 shells in my guns, so i'm using a 20ga BPS. Even got a triple last time out for chukar
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:50 AM   #29
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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And if you want to take a chance you can always split the difference and get a 16ga.
The best chukar gun I own is a 16 gauge Ithaca Featherweight. The best of both worlds and it fits me like a glove. The only problem is that I rarely take it on chukar hunts as it is too much of a family heirloom and I don't want to beat the hell out of it in the rocks. Shells aren't that hard to find, but the selection is more limited.

I have both a 20 and a 12 that I use for chukars. I'll always grab the 20 unless the wind is howling, the weather is bad, and the birds are jumpy.

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Old 12-22-2010, 10:59 AM   #30
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

Just me, but I prefer 7/8 or 1 once 2 3/4 inch in the twenty. If you are going to shoot 1 1/4 once you just as well shoot the twelve as good shells are much less expensive than 3 inch 20 gauge. If you shoot a premium copper plated shell like federal premium you will find great killing power and the shot will not pull feathers into the meat like softer cheaper lead will.

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Old 12-22-2010, 11:08 AM   #31
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

The problem with #4 and larger pellets in 20ga is pattern density at long range. Just isn't there enough pellets, for me at least.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:17 AM   #32
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I went thru the same process early this season.
Ended up with Browning Silver Hunter 20ga.
Other than 20ga 1 1/4oz loads being more difficult to find than 12's, I don't see a negative.
It sure is a lot easier to carry for 8 miles than a 12ga 11/87!
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:02 PM   #33
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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This gets down to the root of my question. Why is the 12 gauge with a hot load of number 4's any better than say a 20 gauge with a hot load and number 4's?
Pellet count? Velocity? Range?
The 12 gauge can be loaded heavier than the 20 gauge for let's say Pheasants, where you may find this useful is for late season hunting when the birds are more likely to flush at further distances. The 20 gauge is ideal for doves, quail, chukar, and Pheasant at close range. I own several 20 gauge guns and although they are lightweight and a joy to carry, don't have the killing power of the 12 gauge. It isn't that they have any slower velocity, it is just that the 12 gauge can be loaded up to 1 1/2 oz. in the standard 2 3/4" shell. The 12 bore throws a "denser and better pattern" than a 20 gauge 3" with 1 1/4 oz loads. Normally not neccesary under normal upland hunting, except for late season wary birds. if you are looking for an "Upland Bird Only Gun" I would buy a 20 gauge and run. Just limit your shots on late season wild flushing Pheasant and Chukar.
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Old 12-22-2010, 12:28 PM   #34
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I see no advantage in heavy shot for quail, partridge, grouse etc. as the pattern density just isn't there with larger shot. Also 1.5oz 12 ga. loads are not noticibly better than a good trap load, or the old live pigeon load. I've been in live pigeon shoots many times where you had to kill the bird within the low fenced circle at various yardages from the gun. In the unlimited shoots you could choose any shot charge or weight you wanted. The guys that won (including me on occasion) always shot no more than 1.25oz. of 7 or 7.5 shot. #6 shot would often cut feathers but not kill....even with magnum loads. There's never good reason to go larger that 6 shot for upland game except for pheasant and sage grouse ....Number 7 shot is perfect for huns and chukar but is a bit hard to find. Number 5 steel works very well for chukar.

I also can't figure out the new craze with high velocity steel, as a 350fps increase in muzzle velocity nets you 50fps or less gain out where it would supposedly make a difference at 55-60yds. Who wants a 45-50fps gain on target for a LOT more recoil and generally less dense patterns?
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Old 12-22-2010, 03:30 PM   #35
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I was so happy when I got my 20ga. side by side for upland! Much lighter, easier to carry than the old 12ga workhorse 870.
I used a lot of on-sale (cheap) 2 3/4" in size 71/2 or 6's and 4's.
One vest pocket with the smaller shot, other pocket of 4's.
If I was Hun/chukar hunting and coming up on my dogs point, I would have small shot in the gun and a pair of the larger shot in my off-hand.
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Old 12-22-2010, 06:44 PM   #36
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

Without writing a huge ballastics post about pattern density,shot energy, penetration, choke, pattern boards etc........
In simple terms your 20 gauge is giving up nothing on the upland field to a 12 gauge. Actually if you patterned your soon to be new 20 gauge shotgun you might find that a 7/8oz or 1oz load of #6 looks alot better on paper then a 3" 1 1/4oz #6 magnum high brass load. Generally speaking the more "square" the load is the better it patterns. I have found 1oz of #6 shot to be deadly coming out of a modified choke this year.
And you can forget about 40 + yd shots at chukars for the most part anyways.....if they are moving and 40yds out your chances of hitting them are relatively slim......unless maybe your Dogzilla,
If you feel the need to go looong range then slap #5 and a full choke and give that a whirl....
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Old 12-22-2010, 07:23 PM   #37
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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Without writing a huge ballastics post about pattern density,shot energy, penetration, choke, pattern boards etc........
In simple terms your 20 gauge is giving up nothing on the upland field to a 12 gauge. Actually if you patterned your soon to be new 20 gauge shotgun you might find that a 7/8oz or 1oz load of #6 looks alot better on paper then a 3" 1 1/4oz #6 magnum high brass load. Generally speaking the more "square" the load is the better it patterns. I have found 1oz of #6 shot to be deadly coming out of a modified choke this year.
And you can forget about 40 + yd shots at chukars for the most part anyways.....if they are moving and 40yds out your chances of hitting them are relatively slim......unless maybe your Dogzilla,
If you feel the need to go looong range then slap #5 and a full choke and give that a whirl....
Alright, 20 it is. I have to admit, my self imposed range on chukars makes the debate seem silly. I might as well save the weight and get the 20.
Thanks guys!
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Old 12-22-2010, 09:32 PM   #38
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

The 20 without question is inferior to the 12 ballistically.

Remingtons posted velocity for 1 1/4 OZ in the 12 is around 1450. The fastest 20 load they list is around 1200.

According to Hogdons info, the best you can do as a handloader is a 200 FPS difference

The 1 1/4 oz load in the 12 is more square than in a 3" 20.

The 12 ga pellets arrive at 60 yards with a bit more than 10% more energy. Not huge, but it is better than the 20.

If someone can show me a 1450 FPS 1 1/4 oz 20 load I would love to see it.


As to never a good reason to use larger than 6?? Well I certainly wont change your mind , but a #5 pellet has about 50% more energy at 60 yards than the #6 at all velocities between 1135 and 1330.

#6 shot puts .39 pellets per sq in in a 30 inch circle. #5 about .30 per square in. In a chukar sized target the #6 will put about 9 pellets in a bird and #5 about 7, but the #5 shot delievers about 10% more total energy. And again , each individual pellet has about 50% more energy.This is strictly a two dimensional calculation. But most of our chukar shots are going away at low angles which eliminates "stringing " issues. On hard crossers, there is still plenty of density to do the job. Put the pattern on the bird and its dead.

Dogzilla,
I did some rough calculations on your 1535 FPS load,I had to use 7.5 shot cause thats the data I had, but your load is losing about 60%(likely more) of its velocity at 60 yards and has roughly 1 ft pound of energy. My 20 ga #5 loads have about 2.3 times the energy and Im only starting them out at about 1250FPS. I know your load is going to be recoil intensive. Seems like a lot of abuse for so little return downrange.

The ballistic data shows that the 20 can be very effective, just not equally effective as a 12.

To paraphrase the lyman reloading manual, their ballsitic data clearly shows that increasing pellet size is preferable to increasing velocity for downrange performance.
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Old 12-22-2010, 10:47 PM   #39
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

Realistically you guy's talking about 40+ yd shots at chukars, wow. Might be with flushing dogs or if birds aren't holding for pointing dogs but what do you do when the birds are getting up at ten or fifteen yds with a 1 1/4 oz load of anything? Shooting at 40+ yds, what choke you using? I'd have a tuff time at 40+ yds even with a full choke. 1 1/4 oz load from a full choke at twenty yards could be awfully hard on the bird! When I shot a 12 for birds, I used 1 1/8 oz of #6 shot at about 1200 fps, mod/full choke. With my 16ga I shot 1 oz #6 shot at about 1200 fps, mod/full. With my 28ga I shoot 3/4 oz shot at about 1200 fps, mod/full. I did shoot a 20 ga a bit but don't recall the load. The 20ga came with a full choke and I had it bored out to imp cyclinder.

If we go back to the 12ga 1 1/4 oz load, from a full choke it's pretty hard on the birds, from an imp cyclinder, much better. Then if it's 6 shot, that helps keep the shot count down so a bird doesn't get splattered on a closer shot. Each guage can be very usefull. How well they do depends on choke and shot size. At upland normal ranges I doubt velocity really comes into play much. 1200 fps cover's even 60 yds awfull quick. 1200 fps is something like 400 yds per sec!
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:03 PM   #40
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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Originally Posted by llama77 View Post
If someone can show me a 1450 FPS 1 1/4 oz 20 load I would love to see it.
.
I don't understand something: there is absolutely no reason you can't obtain the same velocity with a 20 as with a 12. The only difference is payload.

If you've got a load for a 12 that lobs 1.25oz @1450fps then I'd guess you'd do the same velocity with 7/8oz from the 20.

My point is your statement about "ballistic superiority" is a little misleading. A #6 pellet, launched at the same velocity from either a 12 or a 20 goes exactly the same distance.

The only thing limiting the velocities with the 20 is the effort to work up the loads.
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Old 12-22-2010, 11:18 PM   #41
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

Yup, you are going to shoot a lighter load of shot at the same velocity. I shoot an Ithaca mdl 37 20 for upland birds, most of the time. Public areas and no dogs, I shoot the Rem 1100 12 ga. But is so nice to be not beat up at the end of the day from big recoil and heavy carry weight. the 37 is a pump gun, so if you only like auto's look elsewhere. Plus the 37 ejects straight down, so either a righty or lefty can shoot the weapon. Just do not hunt that much anymore.
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Old 12-23-2010, 07:52 AM   #42
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

If you're only considering what is more lethal between the a 12 and 20 the answer is, the 12 ga. I'm sure someone can bring shot column height, pellet deformation, etc into the discussion to "clarify".

I like my 20 and 28 for a few reasons. They're light, although at the end of the day I don't think 6-10 oz really matters. They don't obliterate quail, ruffed grouse, or preserve birds at close range. Plus, I like shotguns and it would be boring to have a bunch of 12's in the safe.

Most people that miss with a shotgun assume they need a larger shot, more payload or a tighter choke when what they really need to do is center the bird in the shot pattern.

I think you "need" a 20. I will warn you, though. I started out like you with a 12, then a 20 and then got into the doubles.......it's addicting.

Happy Holidays,

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Old 12-23-2010, 08:14 AM   #43
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I have packed several shotguns, and at the end of a long day climbing rims. I kill more birds with a light gun, than a high pellet count gun. Fatigue from the couple extra pounds of gun and extra shell weight, is what makes my shooting worse. Yes a 12ga has better energy and pellet counts. Makes no difference if your to fatigued to put the pattern on the birds.
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:21 AM   #44
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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This gets down to the root of my question. Why is the 12 gauge with a hot load of number 4's any better than say a 20 gauge with a hot load and number 4's?
Pellet count? Velocity? Range?

You've seen me shoot, I can't afford to give up the extra pellets!!
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:22 AM   #45
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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If you're only considering what is more lethal between the a 12 and 20 the answer is, the 12 ga.
Nope.
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:37 AM   #46
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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You've seen me shoot, I can't afford to give up the extra pellets!!
Yeah Glenn, and you've seen me shoot! Now you know why the decision is tough!
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Old 12-23-2010, 08:53 AM   #47
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

If you want to try a 20 before you buy one I have a Remington 58 (their auto before the 1100) with a modified choke you could use for a while to see. Pretty light.
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Old 12-23-2010, 09:00 AM   #48
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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If you want to try a 20 before you buy one I have a Remington 58 (their auto before the 1100) with a modified choke you could use for a while to see. Pretty light.
Well, I've tried 20's before. My wife has a CZ canvasback in 20...although she doesn't like it when I try to take it hunting since it comes back banged up...plus the gun doesn't fit me very well and I shoot it poorly. Fits her like a glove though, so it's staying with her and I'm looking for an xmas present to myself!
I like every aspect of the 20, I was just debating if I was really giving up too much of an advantage by going with it over the old 12 gauge wingmaster....
It's not like I'm the greatest shot in the world, but I think at my effective ranges I wouldn't lose anything with the 20....
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Old 12-23-2010, 09:05 AM   #49
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

Llama: Yea, that small shot doesn't hold it's velocity/energy very well but my major concern was pattern density. I don't think my pattern density is that good at 1535 fps but want to check before reducing speed. I'm not into taking 60 yard shots at chukars but if I spent a lot of time doing load and pattern testing with larger shot, maybe I could. I agree that 6's lack penetration. Combine that with lower pattern density, is one reason I don't shoot them at chukars or pheasants. I'd shoot them in my 28 simply because at the range the 28 is effective, they still retain enough velocity. I probably wouldn't use the 6's unless I ran out of 5's.

Don: I wish I could get chukars to hold till I got within 15 yards. On days I can get reasonably close, I can get a limit with nine or ten shots but those days aren't very common. Usually have to knock down two birds with one shot a time or two for those numbers. I really haven't had a problem with exploding birds due to short range shooting except with pheasants. They'll hold till you're right on top of them or flush at 40 yards. Tought to have a load/choke combination to cover every situation. I miss a lot of those close flushes trying to make head shots and shooting a couple of inches too far ahead. The second shot can ruin a lot of meat if the bird is under 35 yards and the choke is too tight.

Recoil: I'm not bothered by the stuff but those fast loads do pack a punch. I think they probably kick a whole lot less (felt recoil) than a featherweight 20 shooting three inch ammo. Those things gotta be punishing in a pump gun or O/U. You might guess I want nothing to do with super light firearms and you'd be right.
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:00 AM   #50
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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Don: I wish I could get chukars to hold till I got within 15 yards.
You're just scaring 'em off when they see that ugly dog coming!
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:26 AM   #51
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

Guess I need a setter eh?
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Old 12-23-2010, 10:40 AM   #52
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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I don't understand something: there is absolutely no reason you can't obtain the same velocity with a 20 as with a 12. The only difference is payload.

If you've got a load for a 12 that lobs 1.25oz @1450fps then I'd guess you'd do the same velocity with 7/8oz from the 20.

My point is your statement about "ballistic superiority" is a little misleading. A #6 pellet, launched at the same velocity from either a 12 or a 20 goes exactly the same distance.

The only thing limiting the velocities with the 20 is the effort to work up the loads.
It is not just velocity it is "Pattern Density" "Pellet count" and "Payload" The 20 ga. although an excellent bore is not equal to the 12.
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Old 12-23-2010, 12:37 PM   #53
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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It is not just velocity it is "Pattern Density" "Pellet count" and "Payload" The 20 ga. although an excellent bore is not equal to the 12.
Nope again. I sure wish I could find that writeup - sometimes Google lets me down..

You don't understand the gauge system or why bores other than 12 exist.

Here's an analogy: try doing finish nailing with a framing hammer. Not only is it heavy, but it is too big for some spots and a pain to regulate so as not to mar a surface. So is a framing hammer superior to a finish hammer?
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:06 PM   #54
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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Nope again. I sure wish I could find that writeup - sometimes Google lets me down..

You don't understand the gauge system or why bores other than 12 exist.

Here's an analogy: try doing finish nailing with a framing hammer. Not only is it heavy, but it is too big for some spots and a pain to regulate so as not to mar a surface. So is a framing hammer superior to a finish hammer?
If what you "Believe" is true, why don't you forget about the 12 or 20 and buy a 410. Maybe you could handle it.?
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Old 12-23-2010, 02:36 PM   #55
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

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Guess I need a setter eh?
You like retrieving?
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:18 AM   #56
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

DLA,

The reason you cant get the velocity out of the 20 or any of the other smaller bores is the capacity of the case and pressure.

If we compare apples to apples, 1 1/4 oz loads out of each gauge. It requires the same amount of energy to push each load to the same velocity. I havent done the math but its pretty clear the 12 gauge with its larger diameter has more surface area at the base of the wad than the 20.
So if we load each shell so they have the same pressure the 12 ga load receives more PSI per square inch than the 20, so the 12 ga load gets more total pressure applied which pushes it faster than the 20 ga. Your thought is that I can merely increase the pressure until I get the same velocity as the 12. The problem is there is a limit to the amount of pressure the gun can handle without distruction. That limit is reached before the 20 can produce a velocity the same as the 12 ga.

I think if you refer to my previous post I stated that neither Remington loads or Hogdon reloading list a 20 gauge load thats any closer than about 200 fps second of the 12 in an equal load. Im no tcertain, but Im betting that if theyr cant get a 20 ga to match the performance of a 12, I wont be able to either!

So yes a $6 pellet fireed out of a 12 and 20 at the same speed have the same range and energy. But you cant fire that pellet out of a 20 as fast as a 12.

Dla, I get the the nail analogy. But It is not really relevant. I dont have the option of switching to a smaller gauge depending on each situation.(Please tell me you dont have a "gun bearer"!) So it seems to me if I can only have one hammer in the shop I should pick one that can do the greatest variety jobs. If I have to drive a 16P through a big ole knot, that finish hammers a bit useless. But since I only have one hammer, I can drive a finish nail with framing hammer, just have to be careful.
I could have easily killed a lot of chukars over the years with a 410. And I hunt with retrievers (not that it matters what the dog is but thats anothe thread) but I have killed a lot more with the 20 and Im certain would have a few more with the 12.


What I cant do is kill them consistently at greater ranges with the 410.

BuT I will rephrase my statement. The 12 ga is superior to all the smaller gauges when it comes to delievering the highest amd equal amount of energy to the greatest distance.

Now, as to the range of birds. I ve shot a fair number of chukars that get up at my feet. I just give em a bit to get out there aways. Doesnt matter what gun you use, shoot em close they can get shreaded. Because theres always plenty of energy at the shorter ranges. Secondly, the first bird may be a 15 yards or maybe 25 in Dogzillas case, but where are they when the first shot goes off? the second? the third?

I ve learned quite a bit doing this the week or so. Im far less concerned about FPS now as there is a diminishing return. A point where you cant push it any faster an see any siginificant results downrange, increasing pellet size then becomes necessary. But then pellet count drops,OK then we will get a 3" or 3.5" shell, but now the guns heavier,recoils heavier..
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:41 AM   #57
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

I'm shooting a 7/8oz 1490fps 3" 20ga load in ITX #4. So velocity is not an issue in the 20ga with modern reloading components. The 7/8oz 2 3/4" 20ga load is 1350fps. So pellet energy is not a problem. tight patterns are not a problem with the 20ga. pellet counts are the only thing a 12ga shell improves over the 20ga. I can load a 3" 1 1/8oz lead #5 load at 1250fps and get it to pattern great. Not a very good close range chukar load but pheasants it will work.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:48 AM   #58
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

The drink of choice for .12 gauge upland shooters.



Totally tounge in cheek! There are some fine .12 ga upland models available on the market.

Merry Christmas guys!!!





p.s. .20's rule!
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Old 12-24-2010, 10:31 AM   #59
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

maybe the 16 would be a good comprimise
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Old 12-24-2010, 12:04 PM   #60
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Default Re: 12 Ga VS 20 Ga for upland hunting

It sounds like you have made up your mind, but I wanted to add some comments as well.

If you want to cover ALL of your basis with a light gun, go with the 12 gauge Benelli Ultralight. This way you can shoot all upland game and some waterfowl if necessary with the same gun regardless of conditions. I do not see much use for loads greater than 1 3/8 oz for later season pheasants. If you limitted me to 1 1/4 ounce of shot I would have no complaints.

A 20 will do everything a 12 will do if we keep apples to apples (velocity, payload, choke). The argument that a 12 is more powerful is just wrong unless you mean it is more capable because it can handle larger loads. Same thing can be said for a 10 gauge.

Velocity is way overated at most upland distances. Shoot some loads at 1145fps and you won't notice a difference. I killed a lot of pheasants with a 1 1/16 oz english load of #5 (like US #5.5) at various ranges.

Lastly, I shoot 20 for chukar and Huns and they do great. One ounce of #7 followed by #6 is outstanding.

If you want to try a bone crushing load, try to load a 7/8 oz load in #7 in 12 gauge. This loads tends to get there all at once with little shot stringing. A 3 inch 20 gauge loads strings pretty far and I haven't found a good reason for that load yet.

Happy hunting and Merry Christmas.

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