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12 Gauge Vs 20 Gauge Shotguns - Basic HuntsmanBasic Huntsman | Grow the Hunt

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20 gauge to hunt turkeys

20 Gauge to Hunt Turkeys

December 29, 2015 Comments (0) Gear Basics, Shotguns

12 Gauge Vs 20 Gauge Shotguns

There are plenty of versatile shotguns on the market for varying price ranges for the beginner. But one question that always comes up is whether a 20 gauge can get the job done. To put it straight a 20 gauge can get the job done from birds to Whitetails- no different than the popular 12 gauge. But here are some major differences.


By default a 20 Gauge will weigh less than a 12 gauge. Particularly when comparing the same brand and model. So what does weight matter when it comes to a shotgun? First off is you will be carrying the gun in the woods. The more gun, the more weight, the more tiring in the field. For the most part you will get used to your own gun. Where weight tends to play a major difference is shooting. Depending on your build and size can matter a lot on how fast you can shoulder and move a gun. In turkey or deer hunting this may not be as relevant. But is such sports as bird hunting, speed can make a huge difference. For that reason 20 gauge is very popular in bird hunting much more so than turkey and deer.


Range can be effected by a few things. The size shot you use, the length of the shell, and the length of your barrel, and with slugs if you are using a rifled barrel or not. In this case we ask the question of what is the difference of effective range between these two gauges. The real science of this tends to agree that the difference appears at about 40 yards with bird shot. We would not suggest shooting a turkey past that range with a 20 gauge.

Slugs tend to not be as clear cut. Although a 20 gauge will not shot as far as 12 gauge it is debated whether these any significant difference.


Both gauges are very popular but without a doubt 12 gauge is the most popular. In some cause 20 gauge can be very difficult to fine, particularly overseas. As long as you have enough ammo set up before a trip you shouldn’t run into an issue and most of the time someone is shooting a 20 gauge in any given hunting camp.


This is one of the most noticeable differences between these two gauges. A 12 gauge has significantly more recoil than a 20 gauge, but what does that mean for shooting? Some hunters prefer a 20 gauge because less recoil can often mean more accuracy from the shooter. For larger built people this might not matter much, but for small framed hunters it is something to consider.

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