16 Gauge Shotgun Shells
History of 16 Gauge Ammunition
Known by many as the "Sweet Sixteen" the 16 gauge shotgun cartridge has a devoted group of followers that greatly enjoy the versatility this gauge offers. Manageable recoil and reasonable payload have made the 16 gauge very appealing when compared to the 12 and 20 gauge shotguns.
When considering the recoil of the 16 gauge, it is important to note that most 16 gauge shotguns tip the scales at about 7 pounds, while most 12 gauge guns start at 7.5 pounds and go up quickly from there. So when one compares the recoil of most bird hunting loads, the difference in recoil is only mildly noticeable. However, after a long trek across fields and fences hunting upland birds, a one or two pound reduction in the weight of the gun will be welcome.
Another important advantage is the performance of the 16 gauge as compared to the 12 gauge. They are very similar, although most 16 gauge loads top out with 1 1/4 ounces of shot, they will generate only about 200 feet per second less in velocity than similar 12 gauge loads. When you consider that the 20 gauge has over one hundred feet per second less velocity with a twenty percent reduction in payload, it is easy to see the advantages offered with the 16 gauge.
While not readily found on the shelves of your average big box store, ammunition can be found relatively easy at a well stocked sporting goods store and through many online retailers. Several American and European manufacturers produce a variety of shells in 16 gauge. Shot sizes commonly range from #2 to #8 with slugs available as well.
The 16 gauge is overlooked by many hunters as it is not as prolific at 12 and 20 gauges, but it is really worth a second look. It is powerful cartridge that can do the work of larger gauges and do it in a lighter gun. That alone makes the 16 gauge worth considering for your next gun purchase.
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