The 16 Gauge, an inconvenient truth

Discussion in 'Shooting - Reloading Forum' started by JP, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Flyway Manager

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    Big problem is shot size offerings are limited to steel 4's and 2's in the 16 gauge, I've found steel 2's don't have enough pattern density and steel 4's run out of gas with most factory offerings. I use steel 3's in many of my 16 gauge steel loads, they pattern great and kill ducks very well.
     
  2. tubshooter

    tubshooter Elite Refuge Member

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    I have an early 16 gauge Remington 1100. With 1 oz loads its miniscule recoil makes a great early season dove gun. Shoot all day in a T-shirt. Like others have said, I like it because it's different. There are plenty of lead loads available for birds all the way up to the Federal 1 1/4 oz load I use for grouse and pheasant. Once it's duck and goose season however, I clean it and put it away.
     
  3. Steelshot Scott

    Steelshot Scott Refuge Member

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    I had a cousin who swore by the 16 gauge. It was all he used for ducks. The 16 was the gun used by a lot of dedicated waterfowlers. My Uncle John(really my great uncle)started hunting back when there were no regulations to speak of and you could use a live Suzy to call in ducks. He told me why the 16 ga. was the duck hunters gun. It was marketed as hitting like a 12 with the recoil of a twenty(this was not entirely true). It became popular because duck hunters were specifically marketed to and convinced of it's ballistic superiority. This information was not necessarily accurate. In reality, it's recoil was nearly that of a 12 and the impact was only marginally better than a 20. It was almost an answer to a question no one asked. The reason my uncle( and his friends) used the 16 was that it didn't, in his words," tear up the birds like a 12 but hit better than a 20". What killed the 16 was the advent of steel shot. With no 3 inch chamberings available, it was rendered obsolete overnight with the demise of lead waterfowl loads.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017
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  4. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob Elite Refuge Member

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    I have always thought a 3" 16 would have kept the 16 very popular. If there was a 3" offering in 16 it would be the only gauge I owned. IMO 16 and 10 make a better paring than 20 and 12. The larger bores would most likely throw better patterns with the same shot charges.
     
  5. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Flyway Manager

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    Actually a lot of people are misinformed about that, there was a 3" 16 gauge offering years ago Peters Cartridge and Ajax Cartridge made them. L.C. Smith and Winchester made guns chambered for them why it never caught on is beyond me. Speculation on my part is the 3" 16 competed to much with 12 gauge offerings and manufacturers couldn't see a need for both.
     
  6. Billy Bob

    Billy Bob Elite Refuge Member

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    I thought the 3" 16 was only a custom gun offering. Learn something new everyday, thanks for that. Again, IMO the manufacturers went with the wrong gauges.
     
  7. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Flyway Manager

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    The military helped that along, remember that was the era around or just after WWI 12 gauge trench guns were very popular and profitable for manufacturers back then. Money and big Government contracts make the world go round..:sp
     
  8. Native NV Ducker

    Native NV Ducker Mod-Duck Hunters Forum, Classifieds, and 2 others Moderator Flyway Manager

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    Nice little one page article on the last page of American Waterfowler in the demise of the 16 and 10. By demise, we mean popularity. He loves them both.
    One thing I don't remember seeing here was the decision by the National Skeet associations to only hold shoots for the 12,20,28, and .410. That was the death sentence for the 16.
     
  9. 10GAGENUT

    10GAGENUT Elite Refuge Member Flyway Manager

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    That didn't help things for the 16 gauge either. What surprises me is the 16 is still fairly popular with many people, no matter how hard the factories and organizations try to bury it, it still survives. Think that's how this thread got started.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
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  10. Steelshot Scott

    Steelshot Scott Refuge Member

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    When I said no 3 inch chamberings available, I meant at the time of the advent of steel shot. I was aware that they made 3 inch 16 ga's,but they were so rare as to be all but non-existant and the shells were no longer in production by the time of steel. 3 inch 16 ga. M21's are almost priceless. 3 inch 16 gauges are the unicorn of the gun world. You hear about them, but no one ever sees one.

    It would be like the 44 automag. It is true that once they made cartridges for it. What killed the 44 automag was a lack of available ammo. When the 44 automag was being manufactured, a lot of people ran out and bought one along with one box of shells. But since only one manufacturer made ammo at that time, it was expensive. So everyone waited for the price to go down before they would buy more ammo. Since no one was buying ammo, no other manufacturers began to make it. Because no one began to make cheaper ammo, no one shot it. Finally, the only manufacturer of ammo quit making it. A vicious circle.

    I think the reason the 3 inch 16 ga. never caught on was no one saw a need for it. It would negate the reason most people bought the 16 ga. . When I was young, almost no one shot 3 inch shells. I had only one gun chambered for 3 inch shells, a Savage 311. With lead, 2 3/4 shells were sufficient to do the job and the reason most duck hunters used the 16 was to get a gun that would kill ducks without hitting them too hard(and tearing them up). If they were going to shoot a 3 in 16 ga. , it would make more sense to just get a 12 in 2 3/4 and have endless ammo choices.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017

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