In Need of Twenty Gauge Opinions
Need an opinion of a 20ga.
Read many of your posts and reviews, very thorough and insightful.
Brings me to this junction in my life at 42 that the a400 extreme is becoming more of a safe Queen these days as I don't shoot geese and ducks as often.
I now mainly hunt quail, woodcock, pheasants (Pennsylvania and SD),and grouse.
Narrowed down to 20 ga.
Beretta "Action "20
Benelli M2 20
Browning Silver 20
Benelli Monte 20
Would like a soft shooter. As well more walking as i know you are familiar on these types of birds.
Thank you in advance
Twenty gauge autoloaders are near and dear to my heart, going back to a jam o-matic High Standard Supermatic Trophy of many years ago that I used for practically everything. Aside from a 16 gauge diversion of several years, most of the Illinois doves and pheasants get taken every year with 20 gauges, and I've taken more turkeys with 20 gauges than anything else as well. One of my favorite skeet guns is an alloy Browning B-80. More on my favorite 20 gauges is here: http://www.randywakeman.com/WouldntYouReallyRatherDrivea20Gauge.htm .
There isn't a perfect 20 gauge for everyone, though, so when it comes to things like balance, fit, controls, and so forth, everyone has to decide for themselves what is right. The Browning Silver is still the old Browning Gold action in 20 gauge, and is getting a bit long in the tooth. It weighs 6-1/2 pounds, and need a trigger job, a better recoil pad, and aftermarket choke tubes to be enjoyable. The 6-1/2 lb. 20 gauge gets uncomfortably close to a 6-3/4 lb. Fabarm USA L4S 12 gauge, though, that is good to go out of the box needing no trigger work or aftermarket choke tubes. When the difference is just three or four ounces, it gets to the point where if you load one less shell, they carry the same.
I've used a Benelli M2 Comfortech 24 inch 20 gauge for the last several years. At 6 lbs., it carries effortlessly, it does have a rattly bolt, it is stiff loading, and is a bit overpriced for what you get. It isn't particularly soft shooting, but pheasant hunting isn't high-volume shooting.
For the money in a twenty, the Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe (shown above) with a 26 inch barrel has excellent walnut, a polished blue barrel, weighs 6 lbs. on the nose, and has a better trigger out of the box than either the Browning or the Benelli. It is also is surprisingly soft shooting and doesn't have the stiff loading problem of the Benelli's.
The latest crop of Beretta's are very disappointing, cheaply made heavy-triggered guns at a high price that do not compare well at all to the Beretta 303 or Browning B-80 models, or the Beretta 390 models. For turkey, my favorite is a Browning A-5 Mag 20. The plain rib Belgium models are around 6.5 lbs. and still great guns with 1 oz. or heavier loads.
Right now, today, if I am off for wild pheasants with a 20 gauge, it will be an alloy B-80 26 inch or a Benelli M2 Comfortech 24 inch. The best deal going on a new gun in a 20 gauge is the Weatherby SA-08 Deluxe.
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