20 Gauge HD Shells [Archive] - Glock Talk


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10-18-2011, 11:32
Good day Mas!

I've been thinking about getting some ammo for my 20g shotgun for home defense loads. I've decided I'd rather use the shotgun I have from my youth, a Rem 870 express youth model. I like the choice because a) I already have the gun, might as well give it purpose, b) it has always been reliable to me, c) the youth stock and shorter barrel make it fairly maneuverable. Also my current 12g is an over-under, and I cant seem to get it to hold more than 2 shots at a time. :supergrin:

So two questions:

1. Is the youth model 20g an OK choice in your opinion given my above reasons.

2. What is a good load for the 20g. I can't seem to find any 20g magnum buckshot loads, and going down to the 20g I feel that the extra shot and powder in a 3" shell could have benefits. Additionally, I cant seem to find anything smaller than #4 buck. Your thoughts on my concerns and possible manufacturers for a 0-#1 buck in a 3" 20 gauge would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much.


Mas Ayoob
10-18-2011, 11:51
Standard buckshot load for 20 gauge 2 3/4" shell is #3 buck, and I wouldn't be inclined to go any smaller than that.

#1 buck is now available from NMI Custom Ammunition, LLC, in 20-gauge. For info go to www.custombuckshot.com. I have some waiting to test and regret that I've been too backed up on other work to get that testing done yet. However, a friend whose opinion I highly value is very much impressed by it, and we HAVE tested that company's 20-gauge slugs for accuracy -- results were outstanding.

Hope this helps,

10-18-2011, 11:54
I realize I kind-of wrote that backwards. I was thinking smaller numerically than #4, e.g. bigger pellet size. I haven't found any 20g bigger shot size than a #4 locally. And all in 2-3/4"

#3 sounds OK, but I think I'd like to go bigger to something like 0-#1.

What are your thoughts on 3" vs 2-3/4" in the 20. The 20g magnum still seems to kick significantly less than a 12g standard, and might be prudent to fill the void between 20 and 12.

Mas Ayoob
10-18-2011, 12:46
In #1 buck, each pellet is about .30 caliber. In #3, about .25 caliber, and in #4, about .23 caliber. The smaller the pellets, of course, the more will fit in each shell.

20-gauge Magnum recoil may feel lighter than 12 in a 12-gauge-SIZE shotgun, but in a scaled down, lighter gun engineered to be a 20-gauge, it can get pretty snappy. I'd recommend the standard length shell in a 20, to take more advantage of the gun's lighter recoil.


10-18-2011, 15:30
Thanks Mas. Somewhat against your advice, I found some #2 20g buck in a 3" magnum. 18 pellets in .27 caliber at 1100fps. Found them here locally, and seem like a good fit to me at least on paper. If anyone else is interested they are Federal's Power-Shok line, No: F207 2B.

My wife is terrified of guns, but luckily seems OK with me having them. She won't shoot them though, contrary to my efforts to get her to try / learn. Nobody else lives here, so the gun will be mine alone to operate if ever needed. I've shot plenty of magnums through it and can control them fine, so I'm happy with the extra power these afford.

As an additional question, what choke do you recommend for such a shell? I have everything from skeet to full.

Thanks again.

Mas Ayoob
10-19-2011, 06:32
Whatever works for ya, bro. :supergrin:

In a close range HD gun, while traditional cylinder or improved cylinder is the almost universal choice in a 12 gauge, I've found that for whatever reason 20 gauge buck in the standard shell seems to spread more, and a Modified choke seems to work better. Can't remember the last time I patterned a 3" Magnum 20 with buckshot, though, and honestly can't tell ya.


10-19-2011, 08:40
Sounds good. Thanks. If I go pattern these what is the ideal test? Making up the numbers for this example, I imagine in testing you search for a choke that provides an 8" spread at 15 yards, or is there a different testing method?