The 16 Gauge, an inconvenient truth

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

  1. SB2MAG

    SB2MAG Elite Refuge Member

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    Over the years/decades, I’ve shot hundreds of ducks and geese with factory 12ga 2 3/4” 1 1/8oz steel 2s and factory 20ga 2 3/4” 3/4oz steel 2s. I’ve never shot birds with a 16ga, but I would not hesitate to use factory 16ga 15/16oz steel 2s for ducks or geese.

    I think most of you guys are way over thinking this. It’s very easy to buy ammunition on line. One does not have to start reloading or spend months designing a bismuth load in order to shoot a 16ga.

    If you find a 16ga gun you like, buy it and shoot it.
     
  2. JP

    JP Elite Refuge Member

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    Word.
     
  3. Tuleman

    Tuleman Elite Refuge Member

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    It's easy to buy ammo online. It's not easy to find 16 ga ammo in the loading(s) you want online or anywhere else. That's the problem.
     
  4. JP

    JP Elite Refuge Member

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  5. Tuleman

    Tuleman Elite Refuge Member

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  6. JFG

    JFG Elite Refuge Member

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    Out of curiosity, just what load do you prefer? Guess you’re more concerned about Geese that ducks.
     
  7. Tuleman

    Tuleman Elite Refuge Member

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    Talking about duck loads.
    Those two links amply support my observation on lack of 16ga non-toxic loadings; there were exactly two loads available in one link and zero available in the second link. So, just about any steel load I would prefer would not be available in those links....and those links are pretty much representative of internet 16ga steel ammo availability in general.
     
  8. Old Critter

    Old Critter New Member

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    Ditto on what SB2Mag said. Sometimes people over think what it takes to kill a duck.
     
  9. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Sponsor Flyway Manager

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    Basically steel 2's and 4's are about it for the 16 and the loads offered really aren't high performance by any means think 1350 fps is about it. 20 gauge you can get faster loads anywhere from steel 1's to 7's which is much more of a selection.
    Not trying to beat it to death but another reason many people load their own for the 16, I can make 7/8 oz loads up to 1600 fps in any shot size I desire. Even if the factories did offer more shot size selection for the 16 I seriously doubt they would make steel loads that fast.
     
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  10. Steelshot Scott

    Steelshot Scott Senior Refuge Member

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    Here is my question. Does anyone here actually think that members on the boards of various ammo manufacturers and gun makers sat around and plotted the demise of the 16 ga? They sat around in the board room and discussed how to destroy a potentially huge profit stream because they did not like it? Actually, the 16 ga was promoted as a waterfowlers gauge for decades and it was a favorite among upland game hunters. It was a bird gun. Gun manufacturers pushed the 16 as a waterfowling gun because in a day of fixed chokes, you needed different guns for different applications and promoting a gun just for duck hunting and upland game was a good way to sell a additional gun to the hunter. In my youth, most serious duck hunters used the 16 ga exclusively when hunting duck. They hunted deer with a 12 and squirrel and rabbit with a 20 or a .22 rifle. The 28 ga was a quail gun. Are you saying that the organizers of skeet and trap sat around in their board rooms and plotted to exclude the 16 ga from competition? They wanted to get rid of the 16 ga in order to eliminate it as a caliber in order to achieve their grand design?

    The decline of the 16 ga as a duck hunters gun began in 1991. By 1992, every duck hunter I knew had switched to the 12 ga. Most had to buy new guns anyway, their Belgium made Sweet 16's were full choked and couldn't shoot steel as well as a uncounted number of old double guns, Winchester Model 12's and old model 37's. It was a gun used by a small, but dedicated group of hunters that suddenly found it to be rendered obsolete overnight with the mandate of non-toxic shot. What was a niche gauge had it's target audience eliminated. Much like manufacturers when they quit making arms that shot black powder. As more and more people began to shoot smokeless powder, the manufacturers adjusted production to reflect demand. Now, black powder loadings are reserved for a niche market who want to shoot the old guns. There was no plot to kill black powder, it was rendered obsolete and that is what happens in a free market system.

    As far as it not being promoted as a skeet and trap gun in competition, categories were created for segments that had sufficient interest. They also never promoted the 28 ga and the 410 ga. Why? because there was not enough interest in those gauges. They are not going to spend revenue to create a market for which very few people are showing interest. I own a 16 ga, I know a lot of people who do. I have no interest in shooting it in competition, because I am a hunter, not a competitive shooter. Everyone I know with a 16 ga used to hunt with it. They don't shoot competitively.

    I have a retriever. I am a hunter. I have no interest in Field Trials and I don't run my dog in them. I hunt him. Most people I know who do the field trials have quit hunting to pursue the Trial circuit.

    Hunters and competitors tend to run in different circles. I know I will get a lot of replies from people who say they do both, but as a whole it is a fair statement. The 16 ga was a niche firearm used by dedicated bird hunters that didn't have sufficient interest in competitive shooting to generate a category. When steel shot became mandatory in 1991, it was the death knell for a ga that was used by a dedicated, but highly specialized group of hunters. The ga was not sufficient to do the job with steel(with factory loadings which is what 99% of what hunters use).
     

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