New Shooter

Discussion in 'Competition Shooting Forum' started by StileGuy, Aug 16, 2005.

  1. StileGuy

    StileGuy New Member

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    Friends, a Question: I'm new to shotguns, and would like to pursue trap shooting as a hobby. I've shot some in the past and really enjoyed it. I've read some material that suggests that a new shooter might want to start out with a .20 gauge shotgun, instead of a .12. I don't know if one can shoot trap effectively with a .20 gauge, as opposed to .12.

    I was in my local Big 5 Sporting Goods store today, and they have a Mossberg "Silver Reserve" O/U in .20 gauge (and .12 gauge) for only $470. 28" barrel, chokes included, etc. Seemed like a nice looking gun and handled well. Of course, I've also seen the $1400 to $4000 guns at my local gun dealer. Can't really justify that kind of expense right now, both financially, and in terms of being new to shotguns.

    Is the Mossberg in a .20 gauge something I should even consider, or am I wasting my time? If I learn to shot on that gun, and want to move up to .12 gauge someday, would it be a worthwhile purchase now that I can pass on to my kids down the line?

    Any opinions, insights, etc. are appreciated.

    StileGuy
  2. Coltonator

    Coltonator New Member

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    In my opinion, if you get used to a 20 guage, you may have trouble if you ever move up to a 12...I started with a 20 and when I first fired a 12, I nearly broke my collar bone...lol :eek:
  3. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    Anytime you go up a gauge you always have to make sure you hold it tight to your collar bone
  4. MarkC

    MarkC New Member

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    My 6-year-old boys shoot standard 20 gauge small game loads at stationary clays. They shoot a Mossberg 500 Bantam. They'll shoot up a box with ease. My wife will bust a couple clays with a Nova, BPS or 11-87 12 guage... manicured nails and all... she's very much of a girly girl.

    I think any man can step right into a 12 guage with ease.

    But then again I am in the process of helping my (first time hunter) buddy, age 35, pick out a hunting rifle. If he's going to get one gun... it's going to be a 7mm or .300 WSM or Win Mag... got to be able to cover WI whitetail and western large game.
  5. Popgunner

    Popgunner New Member

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    Unless you're very small of stature I'd strongly suggest going right to the 12 ga. For trap you'll usualy want to throw 1-1/8 ounce of 7s or 9s wheather you use a 20 or a 12. Recoil will actualy be sharper in the 20 assuming the load is the same & if the 20 weighs less. For trap the 12s will swing smoother because of their mass. 12 guage trap loads are very light.

    Back in the day real men shot 8 guage & 10 guage shotguns. 12 guages were thought of as ladies guns. Nowdays 12s are by far the most versatile.
  6. Enzo_Guy

    Enzo_Guy New Member

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    I have hunted with both 20 and 12. My suggestion is 12, if your state has laws against trap shooting with lead shot then 12 gauge will be able to throw steel farther than 20 and this is important. As to the recoil, it's all what you get used to when you start, so if you start with 12 then no problems should arise.
  7. cdg

    cdg New Member

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    From limited experience, the 12 ga will allow you to be a little lazier with your shots, and generally carries more pellets so as to bust clays more consistantly at longer ranges. The 20 I shot required that you hit the clays much quicker out of the launcher. Of course I only shoot for fun, and observe no particular rules other than the correct handicaps.

    As far as guns are concerned, I shoot for fun with a 12 ga single shot Baikal that I got for less than 90 bucks used (they cost a little over 100 new). A double barrel or semi auto will allow you to be more serious about the hobby, especially as far as shooting doubls is concerned. Within reason though, you can spend about as much or as little as you like on your trap gun.

    If recoil becomes a serious enough problem to you (whatever you may choose), try getting a recoil pad fitted, or buy one of those $15 slip on pads like I did for my Baikal (I've been shooting out a case of 3.5 dram equivalent loads that I have sitting around, and that thin rubber buttplate just wasn't working for me). They can sometimes help with the sharp recoil of a shotgun, although there is no substitute for holding it into your shoulder (not your bicep).

    Overall, trap is relatively cheap, and a lot of fun to shoot with friends! Good luck! :)
  8. I agree with Pop. Go for the 12 unless there is some physical reason that would make it unsually difficult for you, Stile. The 12 will do just about anything you need a shotgun to do with proper load selection.
  9. mark8252

    mark8252 New Member

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    I shoot trap with many varieties of shotgun. 12ga, 20ga, and 410.
    If I had only one choice I would choose the 20.
    Its 95% shooter and 5% shotgun.
    A good shooter will do well with anything is my experience.
  10. Oneida Steve

    Oneida Steve Active Member

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    This is a tough call. If you are concerned about recoil, I'd say buy the 20 gauge. Mark makes a good point about the shooter, not the gun. On the other hand, the 12 gauge isn't punishing with target loads, and any adult man or woman can handle it.

    FYI - We don't put a decimal point in front of shotgun gauges. It's 12 and 20 gauge, not .12 and .20 gauge.
  11. Millwright

    Millwright Well-Known Member

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    Breaking in, why limit your fun/choices/resale options ? Go with the 12 ga and buy inserts for 20 ga. >MW
  12. 300 H&H

    300 H&H Active Member

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    Stileguy I would recomend a used Browning BT99. They can be bought at gunshows, or your local trap range perhaps. They are heavy enough not to pound you, have a nice high comb, witch most trap guns have, and no safty to hurt your score and your confidece. A truly great beginners gun, that will also be right at home in the rack with the other trapshooters shotguns. Kirk
  13. The Big Dog

    The Big Dog New Member

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    "I was in my local Big 5 Sporting Goods store today, and they have a Mossberg "Silver Reserve" O/U in .20 gauge (and .12 gauge) for only $470. 28" barrel, chokes included, etc. Seemed like a nice looking gun and handled well. Of course, I've also seen the $1400 to $4000 guns at my local gun dealer. Can't really justify that kind of expense right now, both financially, and in terms of being new to shotguns.

    Is the Mossberg in a .20 gauge something I should even consider, or am I wasting my time? If I learn to shot on that gun, and want to move up to .12 gauge someday, would it be a worthwhile purchase now that I can pass on to my kids down the line?"


    Hi StileGuy,

    RUN, DON"T WALK to the Big 5 sporting goods store and buy that Mossberg Silver Reserve in 12 ga. A friend of mine who has a broken back has the 12ga and loves it. Just shoot the trap loads and you shouldn't have any problems with the recoil. Curt weighs about 150 lbs soaking wet and has to use a walker to get around and he shoots his Mossberg, and loves it. The Mossberg gives you the most bang for the buck for about any trap gun out there. I'm not into shooting shotguns yet but when I do, this is the shotgun I'm going to get.



    Catch you later,

    The Big Dog
  14. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    I would start with the 12, only because I don't really think you NOTICE the "lesser recoil" of the 20 if you START with it, but WILL notice the "More" going the other way...

    And recoil is a matter of perception too, if a 12 fits you and the 20 DOESN'T you will argue that the 20 "kicks" more with similar loads....


    And I used to shoot "informal" trap with reduced 1 oz loads from my 12s and it FELT like a 20, and likewise if you shoot magnum type loads ina 20 you'll swear it kicks like a 12...:p

    Remember in a shotgun, it isn't the SIZE of the bore, it's the weight of the "Ejecta." And "Magnum" in a shotgun doesn't mean powder, power or RANGE so much, as the size of the shot charge going out.

    RANGE in shotguns is also misunderstood, the pellets from a .410 or a 28, are individually hitting with the SAME power as those from a 12 or a 10 at any given range, even out to 50 or 60 yds...

    The DIFFERENCE is the "density of the pattern..." A smaller guage at 40 yds will not have enough shot in it so there will be more "holes" in the pattern a bird or a clay target can "fly through' without getting hit...

    SO while with similar loads/chokes you may hear guys say ".410s are for under 25-30yds, 20s are for 30-35yds, 12s for 35-40, 10s for 40+" all it means that the SHOT PATTERN is "full" with no holes at those ranges... ALL of them would kill or hit at ANY of those ranges if the pellets from it hit it...

    So the MAIN difference in "Recoil,' is SIMPLY the heavier shot charge typical for each guage...

    And because it is easier to load DOWN than UP, I would recommend going for the LARGEST guage first....which most other guys would agree I would think....because MOST shotgun guys consider the SMALLER guages to be the guns for the EXPERT shooters, not the other way around...


    Which always makes me question guys starting their KIDS with a .410?????:confused:

    And makes me understand that my father WASN'T a sadist when he made my brother and I fire our FIRST round from a shotgun, when we were both 10 years old, a SLUG from a 12 ga Single shot Savage!!!:eek: (WHile HE hunted with a 16 ga Remingtom auto:D :D :D )


    But as far as recoil, don't kid yourself, shotguns DO kick. a SLUG from a 20 guage fixed or locked (not an auto) barrel shotgun kicks MORE than a full house .30-06 150 gr from a FIXED barrel rifle, in pure foot/pounds energy....and a SLUG usually weighs LESS than a "typical" shot charge for the same guage.....


    So the IMPORTANCE is FIT. To YOU, not anyone else...shop around until you find one that FITS you, with what you think you will be WEARING when you shoot it! For clay shooters it's easier than hunters, because you can buy your shooting vest or whatever FIRST, then wear it when shopping!:D

    HUNTERS may be wearing MANY different layers of clothing from the early season to Winter, so usually settle for "compromises..."

    A "Lesser Quality" shotgun that FITS you perfectly will be MUCH easier for you to shoot and score with than a HIGH DOLLAR shotgun that does NOT fit you.....the GOOD news, is that "High Dollar" guns from "High Dollar" stores many times COME with "fitting", or at least they USED to:p

    BUt if you are starting out, maybe a LESSER quality shotgun. with a replacement stock, usually pretty cheap, that you can cut with a bandsaw experimenting with different lengths of pull, is the way to go. You can always put the FACTORY stock back on it for show or resale....

    BTW, this works great for KIDS too, I did it to my son's 20 when he was 9 and we still have it for when HE has kids.....:)

    Take the "new" replacement, unfinished buttstock, and drill two parallell 1/2" holes LENGTHWISE from under buttplate towards the action...no need to be straight or whatever, these are for 1/2" dowel rods you will later use to center the peices as you add them back on later when you fit it to yourself, or as the kid grows, or to fit it to someone else...

    Then with a REALLY fine bladed saw, bandsaws work well, but I have used a hacksaw...starting at the back, cut off 1/2" to 3/4 " "slices" of the stock, 3 or 4, about 2-2 1/2" ought to do it, maybe more for a kid...

    Then using one of those "slip on" rubber recoil pads, try it at the shortest length, if too short, add on the NEXT piece, using a dowel rod in the pre drilled holes to center it, then drill using wood screws to secure it, (you can glue it more securely too, but I never had a problem with just the wood screws, and then it's removable for other adjustments to other people too...)remove the dowels, and try the pad AGAIN, until you get the "perfect" length....


    Then when you get it, mount another recoil pad the same length as the slip on one, and sand and refinish, and 'Voila!" custom fit, and it won't look all THAT bad either!;)

    For a kid, just "tape on" the slip on pad, and you can add length as he or she grows in a couple of minutes...

    Then put away the "original" stock in a safe place, and when you want to trade it, or it finally fits the kid, replace it and nobody will be the wiser!:p


    THAT is why maybe a cheaper or used gun may be better to do this too, something "common" like a Savage or Stevens maybe, ones with replacement stocks plentiful and cheap, I would HATE to do this to a Fox or a Sterling....:p :eek: :D :D
  15. Birdville2011

    Birdville2011 New Member

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    If you're going with an o/u look at academy's yildiz- its really light and somewhat cheap
  16. bluesea112

    bluesea112 Active Member

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    I would not buy anything other than a 12. If recoil is a factor, adjust your load down. It is the most versatile of any shotgun available today.
  17. oneounceload

    oneounceload New Member

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    Before you run out and buy anything, have you tried various brands and types at your local gun club?

    Most shooters will gladly let you try their guns, (pride of ownership). Try as many types and brands as you can, and then decide which one(s) FIT you the best. A proper fitting shotgun will do more to reduce face-slap and other recoil-induced maladies.

    Once your gun has been determined, shoot light target loads. For trap, 1 ounce of #8's will do just fine from the 16 yard line. They'll also work just fine for skeet, 5-stand, and most sporting clay presentations.

    If, in your quest for your gun, you determine that the best choice is one you presently cannot afford, my suggestion is to save for it - you'll only regret not getting it. Buying something cheap that may spend more time at the gunsmith is usually not conducive to having fun.....

    Good luck in your quest
  18. 21bravo

    21bravo New Member

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    stile, i'll start out by saying this... i am an Assistant Scout Master for a local Boy Scout Troop and the Camp that we regularly attend each summer uses Remington 11-87's in 20. they have both a teaching and wobble trap and the 20 guage has never hesitated.. however, i agree with what most before me have said. start out with 12. i think it was tranter who mentioned noticing recoil differences less if you downgrade. as far as which gun to buy...that is solely up to you. in my opinion you cant go wrong with either a Remington 1100, 11-87; Mossberg 500, or a 88 Maverick (which is what i shoot) ... but thats just my $0.02:)
  19. Blackhawk Dave

    Blackhawk Dave New Member

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    Get a 12g and get a lace-up recoil pad. Shop your pawn shops for the shotgun. A lot cheaper than typical gun shops.
  20. bizy

    bizy New Member

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    I am 62 and use a 20 ga mossburg mod 500. When I use my mossburg 12 ga mod 500, it shakes me all over. The people I shoot with are split between the 20 and 12 no matter the maker. Myself, I have a franchi auto and mossburg pump in 20 ga. I use either with good results.
    The only results I get with my 12 ga mossburg pump is a sore shoulder...
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