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12 gauge vs 20 gauge

The choice between a 12 gauge and a 20 gauge shotgun depends on several factors, including the intended use, shooter preference, and the physical characteristics of the shooter. Here's a comparison between the two:

  1. Recoil: A 12 gauge shotgun generally produces more recoil than a 20 gauge shotgun due to the larger size and increased powder charge of the 12 gauge shells. The recoil can be mitigated to some extent with proper shotgun technique, such as using proper shooting stance and technique, as well as utilizing recoil-reducing features or accessories. However, the 20 gauge shotgun tends to have noticeably less recoil, which can be more manageable for shooters, especially those who are smaller in stature or have less experience with shotguns.

  2. Payload: The 12 gauge shotgun has a larger payload capacity compared to the 20 gauge shotgun. It can accommodate a greater number of pellets or a larger shot size, which can be advantageous for hunting scenarios that require greater shot density or for shooting at longer ranges. The 20 gauge shotgun, on the other hand, typically has a smaller payload capacity, which may be a consideration for certain hunting applications or target shooting.

  3. Versatility: The 12 gauge shotgun is known for its versatility and wide range of available ammunition options. It can be used for various purposes, including hunting a wide range of game (from small game to large game), sport shooting, and home defense. The 20 gauge shotgun is also versatile but is generally considered more suitable for smaller game hunting, upland bird hunting, and recreational shooting.

  4. Size and Weight: A 20 gauge shotgun is generally lighter and more compact than a 12 gauge shotgun. This can make it easier to carry and handle, particularly for smaller-framed or younger shooters. The reduced weight can be advantageous for those who plan to hike long distances or maneuver through dense cover while hunting.

  5. Ammunition Availability and Cost: The 12 gauge shotgun has a wider range of ammunition options available in terms of shot size, payload, and specialized loads. It is generally more readily available and often has a lower cost compared to the 20 gauge shotgun ammunition.

Ultimately, the choice between a 12 gauge and a 20 gauge shotgun depends on personal preference, intended use, and the shooter's physical capabilities and comfort level with recoil. It's recommended to try out both gauges, ideally by renting or borrowing shotguns, to determine which one feels more comfortable and suits your specific needs.

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