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Q:
What ever happened to the 16 gauge shotgun? It used to be thought of as a good compromise between the 12 gauge and the 20 gauge for the one-shotgun hunter.

Question by 99explorer. Uploaded on November 27, 2009

Answers (23)

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from Treestand wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

The 16 Gauge was brought over from europe by emigrates in the early 1900's and was ment to be a differents betweem the 12 gauge and the 20 gauge. It became very popular with up land game hunters, and It gave a deligate balance between the 12 and 20 gauge. Around 1969 gun maker found they had a overstock of the 12 and 20 gauge shotguns, so ammo and gun maker stopped making the 16 gauge to help promote the sale of the overstock, to force the market towards the 12 and 20 gauge. About 1997 Remington came out with a 16 gauge pump shotgun, but it has not taken on due to the outstanding performance of the 12 and 20 gauge

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from Skeeb wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

My dad still has an old 16. Every once in a while, I'll take it out so it doesn't lose the taste of blood.

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from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

The 16 gauge is a great upland bird gun, however I think most hunters prefer to have a little more shot in their pattern. Availability of ammo has also dampened support for this great gun.

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from labrador12 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I have a 16 ga Model 12. It is a bodacious duck gun with lead shot. 1 1/8 oz of 4s or 5s in lead for ducks over decoys was just great. There is no 3in mag for the 16 ga. Steel loads for 16s are semi unavailable. I bought 15/16 oz steel shot years ago and couldn't kill anything with them. The 16 ga is a thing of beauty, but in my opinion, the inability to use them as a duck gun, combined with the 3in mag option in the 20 ga is what killed them. If you can only afford one gun, the 16 isn't the one to buy.

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from hengst wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Great ?? I have wanted one for a while for upland birds. The few manufactureres that still make them are out of my price range

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from bigjake wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I own a couple of 16ga...single barrel, double barrels, and pump action models and love them all.I agree with Labrador12 that the introduction of the 3" 20ga ended the 16ga's production.IMO a SxS 16ga stoked with a load of #6's is king in the grouse woods.I too would greatly enjoy to see the 16ga reintroduced with a 3" chamber.Previous to the lead ban I used them for early teal hunts.In the last few years federal has boosted its 16ga ammo production, and lowered ammo prices(from $20 to $9 a box).
Years ago I stumbled across a large ammount of old paper hulled 16 ga ammo at a local show, and I purchased every box they had(a steal at $5 a box).Unfortunately season after season they disappeared.After hearing a few years back how desirable paper ammo in orginal boxes is to collectors,I kick myself for not hanging on to them.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Actually you can blame the biggest blow to the 16 Ga due to the fact that they were not included for recognition by
skeet associations I have taken my .16 out occasionally and shot a round with it and other guys have liked it.

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from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

When I was a kid I hung around a duck club and made a couple bucks cleaning ducks (no machines then).
What seems to me was the manufacturers (bean counters) realizing the 16ga just wasn't cost effective. They did nothing to improve the ammo as they did for the 12 and 20 and never could get on the same page as to how they should stock it. Some used a 12 ga frame and the smarter ones built the 16 on a 20, IMO. I'd love to have a pristine Winchester 'Sweet 16' for sale.

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from Bigeasttx wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I still hunt everything from deer down with the sixteen I have a couple BPS which are better than the old Model 12's

What has happened is the gun manufactures have sold the hunter a bill of goods in you can do it all with a 20 gauge and magnum loads which is a joke.
You are trying to cram 10 pounds of shot out a five pound hole. Very few 20's will handle no 4's or larger shot.
The lack of understanding of shotgun patterns has lead to a lot of this in thinking magnum is better.
Very few American hunters have ever patterned their shotgun with different loads and chokes.
There is no need to shoot over a standard 2 3/4 inch shell properly choked and patterned it is all about pattern as all shells are ballistically equal with speeds of 1200 to 1300 FPS due to physics.

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from Big O wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Killed my first deer/buck with a 16ga Remington.
GOD I miss that ol' gun !
Lost it in a fire.

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from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Love my 16 ga 870.

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from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I too have a 16 gauge Model 12 Win. It was my first gun given to me by my dad and grandad on my 12th birthday. That bore is great for upland hunting (especially when hunting over a good pointer) and pretty good for jump shooting ducks on a winding creek or potholes. Those 15/16 steel shot loads would have been too slow I think. Cut the steel shot weight down to get the speed up and you'll see a big improvement. Also, be cautious about shooting heavier "magnum" loads in old full choke gun barrels with steel shot. They're a waste of money in the first place but could damage the barrel.

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from leecoreb wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I think the 16 was fazed out by manufacturers, maybe b/c it is not used in skeet competition. I love shooting mine. I have my father's and my grandfather's old A-5's, one a standard 16 and the other a sweet 16. They are still terrific on ducks, provided you can afford the non-toxic loads available (I have not tried the steel, but the Kent nontoxic loads, tungsten I think, are great.) I would rather shoot my father's Sweet 16 than any of the other shotguns that I own. Winchester makes some 1 1/8 oz lead loads that are excellent for upland species.

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from kodnocker wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Nothing like the "sweet 16" Browning.

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from dave63go wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Visit www.16g.com; it's the website of the 16 Gauge Society. Some neat information on the history of this fine, fine gauge.

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from dibsandrew wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I think most everything above is true, but you must also consider the main advantage to a 16 is just about the power of a 12 and just a bit more weight than a 20 (and in a SxS they feel a bit slimmer around the barrels than a 12). Since manufacturers are always looking for ways to cut costs and increase profit margins, they started building 16's on 12 gauge frames giving you the power of the 20 with the weight of a 12. therefore, unless they are built on true 16 gauge frames, there is no practical reason to shoot a 16, other than personal taste and nostalgia.

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from jasper5000 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

the 3in 20 ga did the 16ga in when it came out and notox shot killed it all togeather end of story because a 3in 20 ga is just as good if not better then a 16ga in a smaller/lighter gun for upland game

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from AZPaul wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I have a Remington 1200 semi-auto 16ga.
I have not shot it ages but when I did, I had no trouble taking game.
One thing interesting about it is it has a recoiling barrel.

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from 7 and a half wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

I have a old savage automatic that is made on the browning design. It was either made in the late 30s or in the 40s. I can not say enough good things about the gun and the 16 gauge shell. it will outperform a twenty ga easy and I think it patterns better than most 12 gauges. I wished I had started hunting with a 16 a long time ago. I was like a lot of other people I thought you had to have a lot of shot and a lot of powder to kill anything. I was wrong.

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from canislupus16 wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I've never thought of the 16 as a "compromise" between a 12 and 20 gauge. The 16 is the perfect gun and just the best gauge ever invented for hunting upland game. It's a good target gun in my mind as well - I shoot 12, 16, and 20 in trap, skeet, and clays.

I have a Remington Wingmaster 870 and Browning Citori White Lightning in 16. In actuality, Remington blew it with their 16s, especially the 870, putting it on a 12 gauge frame. You carry more weight than you need to. Browning's BPS, o/u's and SxS are superior. And who can forget the A5 in 16 gauge?

I own 12's and 20's also. Each of the 12, 16, and 20 has its applications.

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from Barry Rhodes wrote 51 weeks 3 days ago

I have an Ithaca model 87 16 gauge pump action. great gun for Pheasant and Grouse. It was my fathers first gun, very sentimental to me.

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from jhjimbo wrote 34 weeks 17 hours ago

Are the 16's all but squeezed out by the 20ga?
Is the ammo still available?

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from Anthony J Castl... wrote 16 weeks 5 days ago

Yes

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from bigjake wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I own a couple of 16ga...single barrel, double barrels, and pump action models and love them all.I agree with Labrador12 that the introduction of the 3" 20ga ended the 16ga's production.IMO a SxS 16ga stoked with a load of #6's is king in the grouse woods.I too would greatly enjoy to see the 16ga reintroduced with a 3" chamber.Previous to the lead ban I used them for early teal hunts.In the last few years federal has boosted its 16ga ammo production, and lowered ammo prices(from $20 to $9 a box).
Years ago I stumbled across a large ammount of old paper hulled 16 ga ammo at a local show, and I purchased every box they had(a steal at $5 a box).Unfortunately season after season they disappeared.After hearing a few years back how desirable paper ammo in orginal boxes is to collectors,I kick myself for not hanging on to them.

+7 Good Comment? | | Report
from Treestand wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

The 16 Gauge was brought over from europe by emigrates in the early 1900's and was ment to be a differents betweem the 12 gauge and the 20 gauge. It became very popular with up land game hunters, and It gave a deligate balance between the 12 and 20 gauge. Around 1969 gun maker found they had a overstock of the 12 and 20 gauge shotguns, so ammo and gun maker stopped making the 16 gauge to help promote the sale of the overstock, to force the market towards the 12 and 20 gauge. About 1997 Remington came out with a 16 gauge pump shotgun, but it has not taken on due to the outstanding performance of the 12 and 20 gauge

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from labrador12 wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I have a 16 ga Model 12. It is a bodacious duck gun with lead shot. 1 1/8 oz of 4s or 5s in lead for ducks over decoys was just great. There is no 3in mag for the 16 ga. Steel loads for 16s are semi unavailable. I bought 15/16 oz steel shot years ago and couldn't kill anything with them. The 16 ga is a thing of beauty, but in my opinion, the inability to use them as a duck gun, combined with the 3in mag option in the 20 ga is what killed them. If you can only afford one gun, the 16 isn't the one to buy.

+5 Good Comment? | | Report
from Skeeb wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

My dad still has an old 16. Every once in a while, I'll take it out so it doesn't lose the taste of blood.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

When I was a kid I hung around a duck club and made a couple bucks cleaning ducks (no machines then).
What seems to me was the manufacturers (bean counters) realizing the 16ga just wasn't cost effective. They did nothing to improve the ammo as they did for the 12 and 20 and never could get on the same page as to how they should stock it. Some used a 12 ga frame and the smarter ones built the 16 on a 20, IMO. I'd love to have a pristine Winchester 'Sweet 16' for sale.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bigeasttx wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I still hunt everything from deer down with the sixteen I have a couple BPS which are better than the old Model 12's

What has happened is the gun manufactures have sold the hunter a bill of goods in you can do it all with a 20 gauge and magnum loads which is a joke.
You are trying to cram 10 pounds of shot out a five pound hole. Very few 20's will handle no 4's or larger shot.
The lack of understanding of shotgun patterns has lead to a lot of this in thinking magnum is better.
Very few American hunters have ever patterned their shotgun with different loads and chokes.
There is no need to shoot over a standard 2 3/4 inch shell properly choked and patterned it is all about pattern as all shells are ballistically equal with speeds of 1200 to 1300 FPS due to physics.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from Big O wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Killed my first deer/buck with a 16ga Remington.
GOD I miss that ol' gun !
Lost it in a fire.

+4 Good Comment? | | Report
from DakotaMan wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

The 16 gauge is a great upland bird gun, however I think most hunters prefer to have a little more shot in their pattern. Availability of ammo has also dampened support for this great gun.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from hengst wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Great ?? I have wanted one for a while for upland birds. The few manufactureres that still make them are out of my price range

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Ontario Honker ... wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I too have a 16 gauge Model 12 Win. It was my first gun given to me by my dad and grandad on my 12th birthday. That bore is great for upland hunting (especially when hunting over a good pointer) and pretty good for jump shooting ducks on a winding creek or potholes. Those 15/16 steel shot loads would have been too slow I think. Cut the steel shot weight down to get the speed up and you'll see a big improvement. Also, be cautious about shooting heavier "magnum" loads in old full choke gun barrels with steel shot. They're a waste of money in the first place but could damage the barrel.

+3 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Actually you can blame the biggest blow to the 16 Ga due to the fact that they were not included for recognition by
skeet associations I have taken my .16 out occasionally and shot a round with it and other guys have liked it.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jere Smith wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

Love my 16 ga 870.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from leecoreb wrote 4 years 20 weeks ago

I think the 16 was fazed out by manufacturers, maybe b/c it is not used in skeet competition. I love shooting mine. I have my father's and my grandfather's old A-5's, one a standard 16 and the other a sweet 16. They are still terrific on ducks, provided you can afford the non-toxic loads available (I have not tried the steel, but the Kent nontoxic loads, tungsten I think, are great.) I would rather shoot my father's Sweet 16 than any of the other shotguns that I own. Winchester makes some 1 1/8 oz lead loads that are excellent for upland species.

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from kodnocker wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Nothing like the "sweet 16" Browning.

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from dave63go wrote 4 years 19 weeks ago

Visit www.16g.com; it's the website of the 16 Gauge Society. Some neat information on the history of this fine, fine gauge.

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from dibsandrew wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

I think most everything above is true, but you must also consider the main advantage to a 16 is just about the power of a 12 and just a bit more weight than a 20 (and in a SxS they feel a bit slimmer around the barrels than a 12). Since manufacturers are always looking for ways to cut costs and increase profit margins, they started building 16's on 12 gauge frames giving you the power of the 20 with the weight of a 12. therefore, unless they are built on true 16 gauge frames, there is no practical reason to shoot a 16, other than personal taste and nostalgia.

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from jasper5000 wrote 4 years 18 weeks ago

the 3in 20 ga did the 16ga in when it came out and notox shot killed it all togeather end of story because a 3in 20 ga is just as good if not better then a 16ga in a smaller/lighter gun for upland game

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from AZPaul wrote 4 years 13 weeks ago

I have a Remington 1200 semi-auto 16ga.
I have not shot it ages but when I did, I had no trouble taking game.
One thing interesting about it is it has a recoiling barrel.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from 7 and a half wrote 3 years 23 weeks ago

I have a old savage automatic that is made on the browning design. It was either made in the late 30s or in the 40s. I can not say enough good things about the gun and the 16 gauge shell. it will outperform a twenty ga easy and I think it patterns better than most 12 gauges. I wished I had started hunting with a 16 a long time ago. I was like a lot of other people I thought you had to have a lot of shot and a lot of powder to kill anything. I was wrong.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from canislupus16 wrote 2 years 28 weeks ago

I've never thought of the 16 as a "compromise" between a 12 and 20 gauge. The 16 is the perfect gun and just the best gauge ever invented for hunting upland game. It's a good target gun in my mind as well - I shoot 12, 16, and 20 in trap, skeet, and clays.

I have a Remington Wingmaster 870 and Browning Citori White Lightning in 16. In actuality, Remington blew it with their 16s, especially the 870, putting it on a 12 gauge frame. You carry more weight than you need to. Browning's BPS, o/u's and SxS are superior. And who can forget the A5 in 16 gauge?

I own 12's and 20's also. Each of the 12, 16, and 20 has its applications.

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from Barry Rhodes wrote 51 weeks 3 days ago

I have an Ithaca model 87 16 gauge pump action. great gun for Pheasant and Grouse. It was my fathers first gun, very sentimental to me.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from jhjimbo wrote 34 weeks 17 hours ago

Are the 16's all but squeezed out by the 20ga?
Is the ammo still available?

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from Anthony J Castl... wrote 16 weeks 5 days ago

Yes

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