Caught in a shrinking niche between light 12-gauges and 3-inch 20s, the 16-gauge has been dying a slow death for almost 50 years. Thus, Remington's unveiling of not one, but three, models of the 16-gauge 870 (Wingmaster, Express, and Youth) at the 2002 SHOT Show in Las Vegas proved a very pleasant surprise. At the same time, Ithaca debuted a new Ultra Featherlight Model 37 in 16-gauge, and Merkel introduced its 1620 side-by-side. That's more 16s than a single SHOT Show has seen in many years. Meanwhile, demand for 16-gauge reloading components and specialty ammo is on the upswing. It would appear we have a small 16-gauge revival on our hands. Why A16?
What's fueling the 16's popularity? Nostalgia. A generation of hunters fondly remembers the 16 as their first gun, or as their father's gun. Now they've reached the stage of life where they can afford to buy a 16 for old time's sake.