A Great Option for any Shotgunner – the 20-Gauge
When it comes to shooting a shotgun for the first time on the range, it can be a bit overwhelming if you haven’t been properly introduced to what size of a shotgun may be best. I have a few suggestions to keep in mind when picking up a shotgun for the first time.
Picking a shotgun that’s comfortable to hold and mount against the shoulder is of the utmost importance. Before buying any shotgun, make sure it fits! This can be done by mounting the shotgun to the face and shoulder. The butt of the gun needs to be in the shoulder pocket and the muzzle is lined up with the shooting eye. A sure fitting shotgun should feel comfortable and allow maximum control. As a rule of thumb, visit your local gun shop and ask to see and hold different models. A gunsmith can also custom fit a shotgun for you if necessary.
Though plenty of over-and-under models are available to choose from, I tend to migrate towards semi-automatics. Some semi-auto can also reduce recoil. Too, there are ample numbers of pump shotguns that are solid options, however, they will take some getting used to as you need to “eject” a spent shell out of the chamber and “pump” a new one back into the chamber after each firing. I do have a few pump shotguns, but always seem to pick my semi-auto whenever I open the gun safe.
Last but not least…a 20-gauge can be up to a pound lighter when compared to its 12-gauge counterpart. So, if you plan on walking a bunch of miles for upland game or have an extra-long walk to the blind for ducks, a 20-gauge is a lighter, more versatile shotgun. Likewise, your shoulder will thank you if you’re doing an all-day clay competition with your friends at the local course. My preferred choice is the Browning 20-gauge Silver.
Regardless if you are male or female, I suggest you try a 20-gauge before jumping immediately into the 12-gauge option. A 12-gauge will deliver a bit more “kick,” and it’s important to get comfortable with your firearm. When practicing before the hunt on the clays course during spring and summer, I typically grab a couple boxes of Browning BPT for target in 20-gauge. They pack a good punch traveling at 1300 feet per second.
Whether you’re a beginner bird-hunter or joining a clay league this summer, a 20-gauge may just be an ideal firearm for anyone starting out. Pair it with Browning’s BPT Performance Target ammo or the BXD hunting ammo line and you will not be disappointed in the results.
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