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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Below is a list I have composed over about 25 years of shotgun hunting. With personal experience, advice for friends, and much reading and research.
Have added and revised over the years.
Ohio was,for years, basically a shotgun and .22 state for hunting.
I have always preferred a 20 gauge for small game, and have learned my 20 gauge shotguns well.
This is not a do as I say 20 gauge set up Bible.
I do not consider myself in now way a shotgun expert.

Just listing what has worked for me, and my friends, over the years, with revisions made after years of research.
Just figure sharing this might help someone starting out shotgunning or switching to a 20 gauge, after years of using a 12 gauge.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
20 GAUGE CHOKE AND SHELL SELECTION
GAME*YARDS*CHOKE*SHOT

COYOTE 1-30 * F, TUR, COY * 2,3,4 BUCK
*** *** ***


**** (NUISANCE REMOVAL) 1-20 * M,IM,F,EF,TUR * 4,5,6 LEAD / 6,7 STEEL
*** *** ***


BIG DUCKS (MALLARD...) 10-20 * IC,M * 1,2,3 STEEL
*** *** ***

SMALLER DUCKS (TEAL,. WOOD DUCK...) 15-30 * IC,M * 3,4,5,6 STEEL
30-50 * IC,M,F * 2,3,4,5 STEEL

DOVE 20-35 * SK,IC,M * 7.5 ,8,9 LEAD / 6,7 STEEL
35-45 * IC,M * 7.5 ,8 LEAD / 7 STEEL

GOOSE 10-25 * M,F * BB,1 STEEL
*** *** ***

GROUSE 20-30 * SK,IC,M * 6,7.5 ,8 LEAD / 5,6,7 STEEL
30-45 * IC,M * 5,6,7.5 LEAD / 4,5 STEEL

PHEASANT 20-30 * IC,M * 5,6,7.5 LEAD / 3,4,5,6 STEEL
*** *** ***

QUAIL 20-30 * SK,IC,M * 7.5 ,8, 9 LEAD / 6,7 STEEL
30-45 * IC,M * 7.5 ,8 LEAD / 5,6 STEEL

RAIL SNIPE
20-30 * SK,IC,M * 7.5 ,8, 9 LEAD
30-45 * IC,M * 7.5 ,8 LEAD / 7 STEEL

RABBIT 10-30 * IC,M * 4,5,6 LEAD / 2,4 STEEL
30-40 * IC,M,F * 4,5,6 LEAD / 2 STEEL

SQUIRREL 10-30 * IC,M * 4,5,6 LEAD / 2,4 STEEL
30-40 * IC,M,F * 4,5,6 LEAD / 2 STEEL

TURKEY 10-30 * F,EF,TUR * 4,5,6, 7.5 LEAD/ 7 STEEL
30-45 * F,EF,TUR * 4,5,6 LEAD / 7 STEEL

WOODCOCK 20-30 * SK,IC,M * 7.5 ,8, 9 LEAD
30-45 * IC,M * 7.5 ,8 LEAD / 7 STEEL
 

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Discussion Starter #4
First time I clicked on your second post was not there. Now I see it visible now. Thanks as I use a 20 a lot also
YE IT DID NOT FORMAT RIGHT WHEN I PASTED:eek:, HAD TO MODIFY AND EDIT A BIT TO GET IT READABLE. TOOK ME A WHILE:cool:
Figured some one may get some use of this, tried to enclose all of the reasonable combinations.
Hope it helps some one at least with a starting point, or some other combos to play with if theirs is not working for them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
I use 5 shot for squirrel or sometimes 4 when no 5 available
I too, prefer #5 for squirrel. I like to use it with a modified choke.
Now for Rabbits, my favorite combo is #4 with an ic choke.
But I have used these vice versa because that was what I had at the moment. . Just have to remember your setup, and how it acts in your gun.;)
 

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I have 2 20ga. shotguns and I'm trying to put the cash together for a third one.

both of the ones I have now have modified chokes in them.
one is a fixed choke, one is removable,, well it was up until about 1998 or so, just about the same time the modified choke got stuck in my 1300 12ga.


I think the chart above is pretty valid, it's not how I do things since I have all kinds of options for speed and shot sizes and such.
if I had to stick to store bought ammo
it would be a pretty good place to start.
 

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My old man started me out on a 20 NEF Pardner. He cut the stock down to fit my 8 yr. old frame and glued a thick recoil pad on the end of it. That break-open single shot had one choke: modified. We would go out in the field and he would give me a pocket full of either Remington or Federal (whichever were cheaper) shells in #6 shot. He believed #6 was the most versatile of all shot sizes.

I should mention, this was in NW Ohio. The game was squirrel, rabbit, or occasionally ground hog/woodchuck. The ranges might reach to 30 yards. We didn't ever really bird hunt until I was a good bit older.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
*disclaimer*This is only my advice from my 25 + years of personal 20 gauge experience. This is my personal preference and not an expert shot gunners must do list.
Just figure someone may receive some benefit from my experiences.
If someone else has some useful info, chime in please, all advice welcome, who knows, I might learn something,It has been known to happen before.:D
As for 20 gauge Chokes
I have been through the mill with super chokes and the like over the years. I have narrowed my selection down to this.
One major word choke buying advice, If it sounds too good to be true it is.
I Have 4 shot shell chokes and have found that with either 2 3/4 or 3 inch factory standard shells following the guidelines above, they do everything I need. As far as shot hunting goes.
The first 3 are stock and came with the gun
  • Improved Cylinder - rated for Steel or lead
  • Modified - rated for Steel or lead
  • Full - rated for Steel or lead
  • #4 is my turkey choke and is the only one I am firm aftermarket specific on for Turkey and Yote. Carlsons Turkey -rated for lead,bismuth,copper,and heavy shot. You may disagree but on this I am firm.(But, then again, I am an old man stuck in my ways:rolleyes::D)
"Oh crap", moment elimination tips.
  1. Buy yourself a basic no frills choke wrench, and use it to snug chokes that are designed to be used with a wrench. Yes a Quarter can work, but they get spent, and might not be there when you need one.
  2. Do not crank the chokes down, just a slight snug after you make sure it is seated is fine.
  3. Never, ever change a choke until you completely unload, put safety on,and check clear!!!!! In fact, I change chokes with the chamber open.
  4. Get yourself a choke case. You can get a cheap one for under $5 on Ebay or Amazon.Use it, and keep it either with the gun or the ammo, but always in the same place.
  5. Always use some kind of heavier than oil lube on choke threads. A light application is good enough. I currently use choke tube grease, or muzzleloader breech plug grease (these are basically the same, so I buy whatever is the cheapest). You do not have to carry and use this in the field, I just wipe down all the threads and put a very light coat on all the chokes, before I put them away. I keep mine in my choke case,along with the choke wrench.
6.Probably the most important "oh crap" proofing rule. Except for not changing a choke in a loaded gun.
Make sure you have the gun secured so you will not bump the end of the barrel while choke is out, and never store without a choke in the barrel. The end of the barrel is very thin on removable choke guns and bends easy.
I have paid a gunsmith to cut 1/8+ inch off my barrel and reseat- rethread the choke chamber.When I dropped a shotgun from the safe.Lost a week of hunting.Plus, I would rather have spent the $ it cost on ammo, and accessories.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
My old man started me out on a 20 NEF Pardner. He cut the stock down to fit my 8 yr. old frame and glued a thick recoil pad on the end of it. That break-open single shot had one choke: modified. We would go out in the field and he would give me a pocket full of either Remington or Federal (whichever were cheaper) shells in #6 shot. He believed #6 was the most versatile of all shot sizes.

I should mention, this was in NW Ohio. The game was squirrel, rabbit, or occasionally ground hog/woodchuck. The ranges might reach to 30 yards. We didn't ever really bird hunt until I was a good bit older.
I know 2 old timers that hunt rabbit, squirrel, turkey, and pheasant with a 20 gauge , #6 lead, and 2 chokes;modified and full. One has a Stoeger 20 gauge double barrel modified in 1 barrel, full in the other.
It works for them so can't knock it.;)
 

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I have to admit, the 20 Gauge is fun to hunt with. I have a vent rib barrel for my Encore that is easy to shoot and fun to carry. Perfect for strolling through the woods. It's one shot only, and it doesn't kick out the empties, but these days I look for the quality instead of the quantity.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Patterning a new gun, choke, shot load is probably one of my lesser skills.I have learned a little about this and do well enough to sight in and patern my own hunting set ups.
However perhaps someone may help on this. Hopefully someone else can put some insights into this.

What is Patterning Or Shotgun POI testing
All shotgun hunters need to pattern their firearms to determine which brands of shells, shot sizes, and loads, chokes perform best and at what range, for them, and for what hunting or target activity they are participating in.
A variation in any of these not only effects spread but can effect accuracy to the point that a change in one variable can throw you off target completely.
Basically patterning is a fancy term for shooting your shot gun at a target to see what it will do.
Proper patterning can mean the difference between taking game and just walking around shooting dirt.
Here is a link to Brownings recommended methods. Personally I can tell you no more than this article states, and have actually learned a little from it.
https://www.browning.com/support/fr...o-i-check-for-poi-and-pattern-my-shotgun.html
 

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Good info, MM.

Going through the patterning process right now. It’s with a 12 gauge and relocated scope, but the theory remains the same.
 

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there is an app out there for your smart phones that you point and click at the pattern.
it will count the holes and give you a pattern percentage in about 2 seconds.

there is also a 13 yard test for POA/POI checks, it doesn't give you any pattern information but it does tell you if the gun is shooting where your looking.
or if you would increase your chances of hitting something [by about 100%] by making some slight changes to your guns stock.

many are surprised to see the hit to shot ratio increase just by shaving a little off the side of the comb and adding 1/4" of height to it, or taking 1/4" off the stock length.
they also wonder where the recoil went when the recoil pad is taken off of a too long shot gun stock.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
there is an app out there for your smart phones that you point and click at the pattern.
it will count the holes and give you a pattern percentage in about 2 seconds.

there is also a 13 yard test for POA/POI checks, it doesn't give you any pattern information but it does tell you if the gun is shooting where your looking.
or if you would increase your chances of hitting something [by about 100%] by making some slight changes to your guns stock.

many are surprised to see the hit to shot ratio increase just by shaving a little off the side of the comb and adding 1/4" of height to it, or taking 1/4" off the stock length.
they also wonder where the recoil went when the recoil pad is taken off of a too long shot gun stock.
Thanks for the info.:usa2:
 

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Home defense. 2 3/4 inch 20 pellet #3 buck!!!! :cool: This the one I use and teach and preach in my armed SD classes!
 
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Discussion Starter #19
Home defense. 2 3/4 inch 20 pellet #3 buck!!!! :cool: This the one I use and teach and preach in my armed SD classes!
Was going to add humans to the list, But since I have had no human hunting experience, with my 20 gauge. I decided to leave it off my list.:D:D:D
Thanks for the input!!!:usa2:
 
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