20 gauge for waterfowl/Turkeys

Thread starter #1
Anyone use a 20 gauge for waterfowl and turkey ?
Been using a 12 all my life but age and injuries have gotten me so that recoil even from dove loads is getting unbearable. Yes I'll eventually get it fixed (AGAIN) but was thinking about maybe shifting to a 20 gauge for less recoil. Anyone have any experiences with it?
FWIW i don't feel under gunned with a 223 for deer with the right bullet and shot conditions so I know it's more of a "pick your shot" with a 20 gauge. I'll probably end up using my wife's 20 gauge pump for turkeys this year as a start.

Thanks
 

Mark K

Senior Member
I don’t think it’s the gauge as much as it is the shell. Turkey and waterfowl loads still kick whether it’s a 12 or 20. Maybe not as much but still a little more than a dove load, especially in a pump.
With turkeys it probably wouldn’t matter much because it’s generally only a one shot deal. Waterfowl you could just try 2.75” loads.
 

WishboneW

Senior Member
Killed my best bird ever with a Stevens 20 ga single shot. 3” Remington copper plated tho, still kicks. Might try a Remington 11-87. My 12 ga with 2.75 copper plated Winchester kicks less than my Stevens
 

hdgapeach

Senior Member
Keep in mind the difference in the weight of a 20 verses a 12. Might not have much difference in recoil between the two. Now, if you have a 20 that weighs the same (or more) than a 12, then you may have something!
 
Have hunted waterfowl extensively as a younger man with the 20 ga 1100 in my avatar. Secret was to call the birds smack into the decoys, shoot them within 20 - 30 yards out. Had several mallard limits, going with my buddy who was a calling genius. Used high brass 6s and 7 1/2s.
If you can get that close to a turkey, then I would not hesitate to use 20 ga on a head shot.
 
Last edited:

turkeykirk

Senior Member
You might want to go with a semi auto for even further recoil reduction.
 

Mark K

Senior Member
Think y’all missed his point...if 12ga dove loads hurt then I don’t care what gauge he shoots for turkey or ducks...it’s still gonna hurt.
I’ve been shooting a 20ga for several years now for turkeys. While the loads aren’t as stout as a 12ga, they are more than dove loads in a 12ga.
Waterfowl loads are the same way.
Think he’d be better off getting his shoulder fixed. Or learn to shoot off the other shoulder.
 

Ruger#3

Senior Member
I’m in the same boat but for a different medical reason. The 12 gauge is problematic. I’ve got a 20 gauge pump and working on .410 O/U setup for turkeys.
 
Thread starter #12
Think y’all missed his point...if 12ga dove loads hurt then I don’t care what gauge he shoots for turkey or ducks...it’s still gonna hurt.
I’ve been shooting a 20ga for several years now for turkeys. While the loads aren’t as stout as a 12ga, they are more than dove loads in a 12ga.
Waterfowl loads are the same way.
Think he’d be better off getting his shoulder fixed. Or learn to shoot off the other shoulder.
I may end up shooting left handed either way
 

LT6767

Senior Member
A 20 ga semi auto wouldn't kick hard.. I've got a few Remington 1100 12ga semi autos that are very pleasant to shoot unless I'm using a 2.75 12 pellet 00 buckshot load.

The fitment of the stock to shoulder has a lot to do with felt recoil as well..
 
Any shot gun is a deadly thing 30 Yards and under. Ive killed enough stuff with a 20 to fill a tractor trailer. I killed a hog last Saturday at 15 yards with a 1oz load of #4's modified choke. As far as waterfowl goes a 20 is deadly even on geese as long as you pay attention to range
 
I have matching Citori’s in 12 and 20 gauge. 3” 20 gauge shell is equivalent to a 2 3/4” 12 gauge high brass load.

In a prior job, I commuted to Dallas from Atlanta. Had an apartment there and had multiple opportunities to hunt birds as I knew some ranch owners. Mostly dove hunting, so my 20 gauge lived in Dallas. Anyway, got to duck and goose hunt and had no problems with the 20. Never shot steel, always tungsten or one of the other exotic shot. If you are going to shoot steel, the 12 has an advantage with the larger pellets.

Never hunted turkey with a 20, but I am sure it would be fine. Maybe 10 yds less range.
 

bany

Senior Member
I concurr with shell size. My first gun and often go to still for any game is an Ithaca super single 20 ga. BIG difference between 3” mags and the lesser loads.
 
Top