Softest recoiling 20 gauge

esshup

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Mar 23, 2008
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N. Central Indiana
However, you are right in stating that the recoil impulses with a 20 gauge has less magnitude that a 12 gauge, less force applied to a smaller object. Simple physics really.
It's a wee bit more complicated than that. If you take a 12 ga., and a 20 ga., and the guns both weight the same, and both have the same amount of powder (FPS of the load is the same in both guns), same wad weight, same pellet weight, and same forcing cone length, then the 12 ga will kick less due to the larger bore size.

Then toss in gun fit. A shotgun with more drop at comb and heel vs. a shotgun with minimal drop at comb and heel will usually have more felt recoil because of it wanting to pivot up and into the shooters face.
 

Greyfox

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Jan 21, 2008
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I had had to reduce recoil recently due to partially detached retina. I do a lot of driven pheasant shoots where there are high angles and very fast and high volume shooting. I agree with a comment about reducing the 12ga load to 1 ounce. A 12ga is generally going to be a heavier shotgun than a 20ga which helps to reduce recoil. Also the shot column is shorter with a 12ga which can give better patterns than the equivalent load in a 20 ga all else being eqaul in terms of the action type. Generally, the gas operated auto loaders like the Remington 11-87 and 1100 give less felt recoil then the inertia type systems. As long as I used good quality shot loads, I saw no difference in killing power or percentage of hits when shooting driven pheasants between the 1 ounce loads and the 1 1/8- 1 1/4oz loads that I was previously using. Recoil effects were substantially reduced. There was also no difference with sporting clay scores. Avoid the cheap promotional loads! The shot pellets can be soft due to lower antimony content and give poor patterns. I should have done this sooner. I would have saved $$$, and had much less physical wear and tear. IMO.
 
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esshup

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I had had to reduce recoil recently due to partially detached retina. I do a lot of driven pheasant shoots where there are high angles and very fast and high volume shooting.
Greyfox, I have been shooting my Browning Citori O/U since the mid 1990's and I did a few things to reduce the recoil.
1) I had the forcing cones lengthened to 4" and polished.
2) I added a TrapDude gummy recoil pad (really, really soft).
3) Sent the stock to Shooters Emporium to have them install their "Soft Touch" recoil reduction system. SoftTouch Custom Stocks - Home of the Soft Touch Recoil Reducer All the things that I listed helped, but the Soft Touch helped the most. I used to shoot a LOT, roughly 25 - 30 thousand rounds a year. Many of those (around 300 shells a week) were when I was playing the shotgun games. 1 3/8 oz at 1380 fps (4 dram load)

The Soft Touch started to lose it's seal around 120,000 rounds, and talked to them at the Grand about it, They had it changed out in less than 20 minutes with a new one, and it was less than $100 (out of warranty).

I have a G-Square Recoil reduction system on my Model 12, and I like the Soft Touch a tad better.

I also had the shotgun fitted to me. While that may not have reduced the recoil much if any (it was pretty close from the factory), it also improved my score.
 

Greyfox

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Jan 21, 2008
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Greyfox, I have been shooting my Browning Citori O/U since the mid 1990's and I did a few things to reduce the recoil.
1) I had the forcing cones lengthened to 4" and polished.
2) I added a TrapDude gummy recoil pad (really, really soft).
3) Sent the stock to Shooters Emporium to have them install their "Soft Touch" recoil reduction system. SoftTouch Custom Stocks - Home of the Soft Touch Recoil Reducer All the things that I listed helped, but the Soft Touch helped the most. I used to shoot a LOT, roughly 25 - 30 thousand rounds a year. Many of those (around 300 shells a week) were when I was playing the shotgun games. 1 3/8 oz at 1380 fps (4 dram load)

The Soft Touch started to lose it's seal around 120,000 rounds, and talked to them at the Grand about it, They had it changed out in less than 20 minutes with a new one, and it was less than $100 (out of warranty).

I have a G-Square Recoil reduction system on my Model 12, and I like the Soft Touch a tad better.

I also had the shotgun fitted to me. While that may not have reduced the recoil much if any (it was pretty close from the factory), it also improved my score.
Thanks for the inputs! I will look into thr G-Squate for my auto loafers which I use primarily for waterfowl. My upland/and driven guns are classic sxs doubles that I are limited to modification that would effect their value. These shotguns are well fittest and chambered but are fairly light. The lighter loads have worked out quite well in reducing recoil with them.
 

esshup

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Greyfox, I hear you on the value. I know it's not an inexpensive alternative, but could you get a new buttstock made for the SxS and swap it out for the driven shoots and keep the orig. stock for resale? BUT, I understand if that's not an option - aesthetics and all.
 

Rkelley

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Oct 20, 2015
Messages
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I have an old 1100 20 ga on a standard frame it is the softest kicking shotgun I own. They only made them for a few years and are hard to find.

Another option if you load is to load your 12 ga down to 7/8 or even 3/4 oz. You can generally keep your powder at the same charge. It really does reduce the recoil and you can probably get a used loader cheaper than a new gun. I'm not sure how well your gun cycles but I have had good luck on all my autos.
Claybuster makes a 7/8 oz wad for the 12 ga. You can use them or simply put a cheerio on top of the shot and it will crimp well.

I have loaded a 20 ga down to 5/8 oz for my son and daughter when they were really small and had very light shotguns. It works.
 

bbraden

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Oct 19, 2015
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West Texas
I have a standard frame Rem 1100 20 gauge like the one mentioned directly above. I had the stock cut down for smaller statured shooters but decided I didn't like the non-ribbed barrel for beginning shooters. If you're interested in a short LOP (could always add spacers back), non-ribbed barrel and fixed MOD choke, let me know. As mentioned above, the original "standard frame" 20 ga 1100 is very soft recoiling. It's a 12 gauge frame and weight but bolted and barrelled for a 20 gauge.
 

Naka16

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Jul 12, 2014
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Hawaii
The 20 ga remington std weight as stated is probably the softest shooting, but it's old and does have it's downsides. Finding a new condition barrel with a vent rib is near impossible, and not cheap, and you can't always get that barrel threaded for removable choke tubes. A few years back, I purchased the receiver, stock and forend, then the barrel for $700. Had the barrel sent off to one of the more popular gun smiths for threading for choke tubes. He said it wasn't thick enough and sent it back. Now it just sits in my safe for when the kids are big enough to use it.

Stock and forend from the 12 ga 1100's will work, as well as the trigger assembly. the bolt is different obviously and last I checked wasn't easily obtainable. Also, the feed latch will be different and wasn't able to locate even a used one to keep as a spare. If I were to do it again, I would have just bought the newer lt20 1100(which I did after wasting that $700) and be done with it.
 

bbraden

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West Texas
The 20 ga remington std weight as stated is probably the softest shooting, but it's old and does have it's downsides. Finding a new condition barrel with a vent rib is near impossible, and not cheap, and you can't always get that barrel threaded for removable choke tubes. A few years back, I purchased the receiver, stock and forend, then the barrel for $700. Had the barrel sent off to one of the more popular gun smiths for threading for choke tubes. He said it wasn't thick enough and sent it back. Now it just sits in my safe for when the kids are big enough to use it.

Stock and forend from the 12 ga 1100's will work, as well as the trigger assembly. the bolt is different obviously and last I checked wasn't easily obtainable. Also, the feed latch will be different and wasn't able to locate even a used one to keep as a spare. If I were to do it again, I would have just bought the newer lt20 1100(which I did after wasting that $700) and be done with it.
I also looked for a ribbed, removable choke barrel and was unable to find one. As you mentioned that is one of the downsides. Mine also sits in the gun safe waiting for my kids to get a little older.
 

SCdeerhunter

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Jul 5, 2017
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Beaufort, SC
I work at a high end sporting clays gun club and get to clean and shoot most of the higher end guns. Most of them are over/unders but occasionally I'll see a semi. I have not shot a 20ga semi there but out of the 12's I've shot, the benelli and Beretta are the softest recoiling. If it were me I'd go with the Beretta A400. But I may be biased as we deal with more Beretta. The only thing I'll say about the Beretta is you have to make sure you keep the gas port on the bottom of the barrel clean or you'll have cycling issues. But keeping them clean applies to all semis. Just my opinion though.
 

KY_Windage

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Dec 5, 2018
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158
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Alaska
Rem. 1100 20-gauges are soft-shooting because they are heavy. In the A400 Beretta managed to make a soft-shooter even though they are very light (close to 5 lbs). I have used everything imaginable coaching kids, but have settled on either Beretta 391 or A400 20-gauges for the young ones. With the A400's I add weight to the stock and to the mag. tube (front, ahead of the spring) to soak up even more recoil.
 

BountyHunter

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Jun 13, 2007
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Wilmington NC
+1 on a gas operated 20 ga. Also like the man said lengthen the forcing cone. You will surprised how much that helps. That is not hard to do and any competant local smith can do it
 

fmuguira

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Nov 6, 2010
Messages
222
First, a gas operated semi will have softest recoil

Second, heavier the gun the softer recoil

You can shoot lighter payload shells and that will help also.

Good Luck
 

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