The 16 Gauge, an inconvenient truth

Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by JP, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. JP

    JP Elite Refuge Member

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    Much derided by the lamestream gun media, yet it just won't go away. Why?

    Could it be the attempt by Winchester in introducing the 3" magnum 20 gauge ~60 years ago was a marketing effort to give a gauge relevance as it was clearly subordinate to the 16 gauge in the field? Reminds me of the rationale for the 12 gauge in 3 1/2" chambering in the early days of steel cartridges especially as the 10 gauge was making inroads into duck blinds as many waterfowlers were discovering it's superiority over the 3" loads in 12 gauge.

    So, what's the 16 gauge all about?

    It possesses the carrying characteristics of a 20 gauge get out patterns it (as the 10 gauge does the 12 gauge) due to the larger bore size. Also, it will hold service with the 12 gauge as a bird killing machine in the blind.

    The fear of 20 gauge proponents is their flock will try a 16 gauge in the field and then realize firsthand their victimization by the Church of 20 Gaugeology.

    All I will say is if you haven't tried one you are missing out on a well-rounded wing-shooting educational experience. Don't buy into the propaganda apparatus until you have experienced the 16 gauge for yourself.

    For the duckblind, I would suggest a MOD choke and Remington's Nitro Steel in #4's. You will not be disappointed .
     
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  2. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor Flyway Manager

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    Problem is lack of guns, loads and the mainstream not really knowing what the 16 gauge can do. I shoot the tar out of ducks with mine and yes it is a lot of fun.
     
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  3. Tuleman

    Tuleman Elite Refuge Member

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    Yes, the reason the 16 is not popular with waterfowlers really is lack of guns and loads. The reason there are so few new 16 gage guns, or loads, available is that the 16 is not popular. Which came first, the chicken or the egg??
    I'm betting that so few guns and loads are available is because so few people are asking for them; that's how market capitalism works.
    As far as what the 16 can do....well, it will do about what a 3" 20 will do, and not quite as much as a 2 3/4" 12 gage will do (and for the very same reasons you mentioned; the 12 has both a larger bore AND greater payloads). Carry like a 20? Yes, some 16's will carry like a 20, but so will some 12's...there ARE <7 pound twelves out there. But, truthfully, that isn't a factor for waterfowlers. Upland hunters, yes, but not waterfowlers.
    If you like shooting ducks with an unusual gun, the 16 may be what you're looking for. If you like shooting ducks, it's hard to beat the 12.
    And, no, the 16 with commercially available loads, will never be the equal of the 12 with commercially available loadings in equivalent shot material.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2017
  4. Native NV Ducker

    Native NV Ducker Mod-Duck Hunters Forum, Classifieds, and 2 others Moderator Flyway Manager

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    Not sure I get this. 'Experience'?

    Maybe I do, as I shoot a 20. Why? More shells, same space. Lighter gun (than the 12's I own), and knowing I am shooting a 20 keeps my from getting too excited and take shots I shouldn't be taking.

    But, and here is where I think the 16 falls into the same category...I like saying I shoot a 20. Raises some eyebrows. I guess the same could be said for the 16 shooters.
    But, not much else.
     
  5. California Flyway

    California Flyway Elite Refuge Member

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    A gas operated 16 on a true 16 or 20 frame would be a nice all round upland and waterfowl gun.
     
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  6. Sunklands

    Sunklands Elite Refuge Member

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    Jap made Auto 5 With inventor bore, did they make them in 16?
     
  7. billwnr

    billwnr Elite Refuge Member

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    I started hunting in 1960 with a single shot 16 gauge.
     
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  8. spg

    spg Senior Refuge Member

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    I started out with the 16. 55 years later I still use one for ducks. The one I use now I picked up for a whopping $100. I don't use it when the weather is bad but during the early season it's all I use. The little double is well balanced and a dream to carry in the uplands. With 7/8 oz. steel reloads it kills ducks and the ocacasional goose.
     
  9. Dave in AZ

    Dave in AZ Senior Refuge Member

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    Yes.

    Yeah, I started out with a 16ga, Grandpa's old Model 12, and that was pretty much my gun for 21 years until I finally bought a durable camo-finish 12ga for the marsh. Loved it for dove and quail though. But like everyone above has said... the ammo for waterfowling is just not there. 15/16oz of #4s is pretty much it... that won't cut it for me. I have been spending a bit of time working on a 1oz 1500fps steel load for 16ga, actually had good results though 207 psi over SAAMI on a 10 round test... in fact, if I look sideways I can see 20 16ga shells loaded up with steel loads, waiting to be sent off to Precision for pressure testing, for about 9 months sitting there now lol... My problem is that ever since Rotometals started selling decent bismuth at a good price, I've started leaning that way for my 16ga hunting, especially as I'm shooting a 1935 Mod 12.

    Also, although it's a total field beater-gun I've dragged through a zillion miles of brush, I don't want to drag it into the heinous mud and 1-man layout wetness I'm duckhunting in.
     
  10. JP

    JP Elite Refuge Member

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    Native,

    What I meant about the 16 gauge experience is the fact it outperforms the 20 gauge 3" magnum as said suffers from the same deficiencies as the 3 1/2" cartridge in 12 gauge. When you cram a pellet payload designed for a larger bore into a smaller bore expecting identical results, instead yields the same outcome as stuffing 10# in a 5# sack.
     
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