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Thread: 12 gauge vs 20 gauge for a youth turkey gun...need advice

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
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    12 gauge vs 20 gauge for a youth turkey gun...need advice

    My dad and I are going to buy a lower end Mossberg that he is going to use, and I would like for my nephew who is 13 to be able to shoot as well. They both probably need a gun thats not gonna kill on both ends if you know what I mean. That said, my nephew is a good size kid and is a tough kid that is not too recoil shy. My dilema is this, should I go with a 12 gauge and use 2 3/4 or a 20 and use 3's?? Anyone have experience with the felt recoil and can offer some advice??? I would rather buy a 12 gauge as it will be much easier to find loads, and I can use it as an all purpose gun but my nephew needs to be able to handle it too....'94

    Proud daddy of Kennedy and Cooper!
    Bear Anarchy Shooter


  2. #2
    I would tend to go twelve gauge, but the turkey loads can knock down a small kid. I don't have experience with twenty gauge turkey loads, but I know that I have never seen them in the local sporting goods stores. As long as you aren't shooting 50 yards, I would think that a twenty with 3 inch loads would work, but a twelve with 2 3/4 would probably be a better choice overall, especially since he will probably be able to handle the bigger twelve gauge loads in a few years with no problems.

  3. #3
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    Its only one shot so a 12 guage.

  4. #4
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    May 2008
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    I use right now, a 20 gauge with 3" shells. Still has quite a bit of kick. I'm small for my age, but the 20 seems right about perfect. Last year I was able to harvest my second turkey ever, a jake, at 45 yards with no problem. Just know your distances and both will work with no problem

  5. #5
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    Mar 2003
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    20 gauge

    My dad won a 20 gauge at a NWTF event,it was a mossberg 500 we threw a red dot scope on it and figured my mom could use it put a extra full choke in it and are shooting 3 inch #6 remington heavy shot threw it,the pattern is great to 40 yard.But the gun was so nice that everyone uses it when i call for people i take that gun and they use it, I never would of thought i would put down my Winchester X2 12 gauge for that gun but i have. Its light to carry short barrel to swing and its a killer,that gun has killed 17 turkeys in 3 years by 7 different people from 9 yards out to 52 yards,any state i go to if i'm not bow hunting them that little 20 gauge it in my hands.

  6. #6
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    Nov 2007
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    eastern ohio
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    18

    Wink 20 gauge

    Listen to me when i tell you this .I HAVE 2 NEPHEWS AND 3 KIDS OF MY OWN AND THEY ALL HAVE MOSSBERG 500 YOUTH MODELS AND THEY PUT HOLES WHEREVER YOU AIM.IT IS AVAILABLE IN A COMBO WITH A SLUG BARREL SO HE CAN EVEN USE IT FOR DEER.8 TURKEYS DOWN THE LAST 3 YEARS SO BELIEVE ME ITS OK.I EVEN USE IT SOMETIMES .LIGHT AND EASY FOR THE WHOLE DAY HUNT !!!!

  7. #7
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    I know plenty of adults who turkey hunt with a 20 gauge. I have owned a few 20's, and they all shot sweet. I was about 13 when I got my first 12 gauge. I had just graduated from a 410. My first time shooting the 12 gauge was at doves over a field of sunflowers. I remember the very first shot put me flat on my butt! I was hunting alone, but still very much embarassed. I jumped up looking around to make sure nobody was around to see that. I understood what my grandpa ment when he told me that I was shooting a "man's gun" now.

  8. #8
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    20 gauge will have no problem at all.

  9. #9
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    Hmmm, ya'll have me torn!! I like the 12 gauge but if it will be effective on turkeys to 30-35 I think I'll be plenty happy with it....argg, decisions!! Thanks for all the feedback!! '94
    Proud daddy of Kennedy and Cooper!
    Bear Anarchy Shooter

  10. #10
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    i have a 12 gadge mossburge 500 i use for deer and turkey and it works amazing. now the turkey load is going to kill you ethier way with this gun. but its noth horrible wont even notice it when you shoot at a bird. it has killed every animal i shot at. its deffinatly an amazing deer gun.

    go for the 12.
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  11. #11
    For turkey a 20 gauge with the proper choke and the right 3" load, it's really hard to beat.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by EASTON94 View Post
    My dad and I are going to buy a lower end Mossberg that he is going to use, and I would like for my nephew who is 13 to be able to shoot as well. They both probably need a gun thats not gonna kill on both ends if you know what I mean. That said, my nephew is a good size kid and is a tough kid that is not too recoil shy. My dilema is this, should I go with a 12 gauge and use 2 3/4 or a 20 and use 3's?? Anyone have experience with the felt recoil and can offer some advice??? I would rather buy a 12 gauge as it will be much easier to find loads, and I can use it as an all purpose gun but my nephew needs to be able to handle it too....'94

    Felt recoil is based on several factors. Stock fit, weight of the gun, weight of the load and muzzle velocity.

    The same stock won't properly fit a 13/14 yr old and an average adult. Plus there is no such thing as an "average" adult. You can add cheek pieces and spacers/recoil pad at the butt or buy a second stock.

    Old tyme English gun fitters used to suggest that a gun weigh at least 96 times the weight of the intended shot load but that was with black powder. Dram equivalents should keep the MV equal but with the stronger steels available today, MV are higher.

    Comparing two guns with identical stock dimensions and no recoil reducing features -
    1oz shot = 96oz = 6lbs gun
    1-1/8oz (1.125oz) shot = 108oz = 6.75lbs gun
    Both guns should "kick" about the same.

    At 40 yds, a full choke should put 70% of the pellets inside a 30" circle. 70% of a 7/8 oz, 20ga load of #6 shot is about 140 pellets. 70% of a 1-1/8 oz, 12ga load is about 177 pellets.

    The 12 also has the advantage of a shorter shot column. 12ga has an ID of approximately .729" and a 1oz load is approx .690" long. A 20ga has an ID of approx .615" and a 1oz load is approx .968" long. That means that there are more pellets on the outside of the column getting squeezed by the forcing cone and choke lengthening the shot column even more. It also means that the 12 can deliver more pellets in a shorter time frame than the 20 which is important against flying targets. Think paper tuning but the paper is moving from one roll to another at 30mph. The entire 12ga column will pass thru the paper before the 20 using less paper.


  13. #13
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    94, have you thought about maybe picking up a good used auto-loader? The difference in recoil between my Rem. 870 and my 1187 is substantial.......the 1187 with it's 3 1/2" load feels lighter than the 870 shooting a 3" (I'm a big fan of the 12 for hunting anything from the size of a pheasant on up).
    You can probably find a good used 1100 in 2 3/4" for around the same as a new Mossberg and have a pretty mild recoiling turkey gun........
    Last edited by RCL; March 28th, 2009 at 07:42 AM.
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  14. #14
    Go with the 20ga. I'd shy away from a single shot gun. My boys 20ga H&R has more kick then my 12 ga 870.

  15. #15
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    I was a long time 12 gauge carrier, but decided to make a serious effort to turn the 20 gauge 870 Express into a legitimate turkey gun. I picked up a .555 PureGold choke and some Nitro shells. Needless to say, no more 12 gauge for me. Life is good........



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  16. #16
    I know alot of people that hunt turkey with 20 gauge but I got my bow and a Nova with 3.5 in shells that can takem down at 70+ yards so I cant shoot anything else.

    If you are thinking 20 gauge Mossberg 500 I got one with 2 barrels (bird and Rifled slug barrel) my gf bought this gun last year planning to gun hunt and found out she hated gun hunting and is goin to stick to sitting in the tree with the bow. She did shoot 2 shoot goose hunting and took 5 or 6 shots to sight it in. PM me if you got any questions.


    Best thing I can tell you if you go 20 gauges is try a couple chokes and different shoot types and you will find something your happy with.

  17. #17
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    Hmm, thanks everyone for the input....I'm even more torn now I think!!! The one problem with the 20 gauge is the availability of loads, there is a much wider spectrum of available 12 gauge loads....I have not yet looked at used guns but may go do that before making a decision, I'm running out of time though youth season is next weekend!! '94
    Proud daddy of Kennedy and Cooper!
    Bear Anarchy Shooter

  18. #18
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    After always using a 10 and 12 guage for turkeys myself, I had to buy a 20 guage for my boy when he was old enough to hunt. I put on a Kicks Choke tube and after patterning that gun out to 50 yards with #6's, I will never go back to a larger guage. There is no reason to. The 20 is awesome and my boy rolled his bird with it last Fall at 45 yards. The bird never even flopped.
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  19. #19
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    20 ga.

    I have turkey hunted with a 20 for the past 5 years and have killed turkeys out to 45yds with it,a 20 is the only gun I'll ever turkey hunt with,you get you a jellyhead choke tube and some good #6's and it will amaze you what a 20ga. will do.You might even buy one for yourself.
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  20. #20
    Felt recoil is only a factor when sighting in a gun. I shoot 3.5" 12 ga. turkey loads with 2.25 oz. of shot. Supposedly, this kicks more than a .416. When I shoot at anything with it, I don't notice the recoil at all. The other day I was sighting in my red dot scope using 2.75" pheasant loads and I was extremely aware of the recoil. I would opt for the 12 ga. for many reasons. There are many more options and better availability of 12 ga. shells than 3" 20 ga. The difference in kick is minimal. If the shooter is really recoil shy, sight in the gun for him and only let him shoot the gun at a live target. After that, he will probably will become less recoil shy.

  21. #21
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    Jun 2007
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    Go with the 12 gauge. I have a mossberg youth model pump for my 11 year old got it when he was 10. He loves it I started him with a box of low recoil 2 3/4 shells and when that was gone I just kept feeding him shells and told him they where all the same.

    He just keeps shootong it as much as we can go out.

  22. #22
    20..

  23. #23
    A 20 gauge is more than enough for turkey. If you can find a used Rem 1100 you will have one of the least recoil guns around.

    If not I would still go with a 20.

  24. #24
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    Well....I think I may actually go with a 20. Just trying to find one that is synthetic and not too pricey. '94
    Proud daddy of Kennedy and Cooper!
    Bear Anarchy Shooter

  25. #25
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    94 we have 3 mossbergs 2 12s and a 20 go with the 12 much more versitle and felt recoil is actually rougher with the 20 because the loads are actually equal and the gun is lighter

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