20 Gauge Shotgun Shells
History of 20 Gauge Ammunition
The 20 gauge shotgun holds a special place in the hearts of many shotgunners as this was the gauge many took their first shots with. Today, it continues to be the choice of many hunters and competition shooters.
Like most all other firearms, the 20 gauge started off as a 0.615 inch diameter muzzle loader. It evolved along with the 10, 12 and 16 gauges into paper cartridges and then to today's familiar yellow plastic hulls. Interestingly, the color yellow for 20 gauge shells is very intentional, it is used to make sure that shooters of larger bore guns don't accidentally chamber a 20 gauge shell and damage their shotgun and possibly harm themselves.
The 20 gauge is most likely to be found hunting birds, small game and the ever elusive clay pigeon. The most common reason hunters and competitors use the 20 gauge over the more powerful 12 and 16 gauges is recoil. Many shooters will describe the recoil of the 20 gauge to be about half that of the 12 gauge when fired out of the same type of shotgun. Another advantage of the 20 gauge is that the gun itself does not need to be as heavy as the larger shotguns; many 20 gauge shotguns can weigh one, two or even several pounds lighter than a comparable 12 gauge.
Some shooters will argue that the lighter payload and smaller charge will equate to a less effective cartridge. This can be argued with the fact that many successful hunts have been made with the 20 gauge on animals ranging from dove to deer. The 20 gauge slug is a great example of the power contained in this cartridge. A great way to think of it is that a 5/8 ounce slug that has a muzzle velocity of about 1500 feet per second is ballistically speaking, almost identical to the .454 Casull.
Today's shooters can find an incredible variety of ammunition for their 20 gauge shotguns. The shot sizes range from large buckshot to diminutive #8 and #9, suitable for small birds and skeet shooting. Some manufacturers like Federal and Winchester are also recognizing the value of the 20 gauge in home defense and are including it in their personal protection product lines. Whether going afield or never leaving the house, a 20 gauge is a great choice for virtually any application.
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- George said: "Fired 1 box so far from my Mossberg 500. Goes boom, ejects, and cycles as it is supposed. Patterns well at 20' and penetrates thru a Franzi wine box stuffed with wet newspaper. Probably great zombie killing ammo at 7 to 10 yards. "
- Saiga D said: "This is the largest pellet size buckshot I have found for a 20 ga, but its only between #2 and #1 buck. 9 pellets of 00 weighs 1.10 oz and are .330" while these are .290" and weigh .750 oz. I cut one open to check it out. Affordable stuff though and prob great for home defense with little recoil."