TLDR: A 20-gauge shotgun is a type of shotgun that shoots smaller shells than a 12-gauge shotgun. It's often used by beginners for target practice and hunting small game.
A 20-gauge shotgun is a type of smooth-bore shotgun that fires shells that are smaller in size compared to a 12-gauge shotgun. The gauge refers to the diameter of the shotgun's bore, or the inside of the barrel. In simple terms, a 20-gauge shotgun shoots smaller bullets than a 12-gauge shotgun.
This type of shotgun is popular among beginners because it has less recoil, meaning it kicks back less when fired. It's also lighter and more compact, making it easier to handle, especially for younger or less experienced shooters. Many people use 20-gauge shotguns for target practice and hunting small game like birds.
The 20-gauge shotgun shells are typically yellow in color, according to industry standards. This helps distinguish them from other gauge/bore shotshell bodies. The color coding is important for safety and consistency in the ammunition industry.
When it comes to performance, 20-gauge shotguns are well-suited for hunting game birds like quail, grouse, and mallards. They are also used for self-defense in close-to-mid range scenarios with buckshot loads. While slug loads (a type of ammunition) may be less accurate than those used in rifles, they can still provide effective ballistics for hunting deer when paired with a rifled barrel.
Compared to larger gauge shotguns, the 20-gauge has less recoil on average, thanks to its lower projectile payload. This makes it more comfortable to use, especially for extended hunting trips or for shooters who may have difficulty handling heavier firearms. However, it's important to note that full-power 20-gauge shells fired from a lightweight gun can still have more felt recoil than reduced-recoil 12-gauge shells fired from a heavier gun.
In summary, a 20-gauge shotgun is a versatile firearm that is popular among beginners and hunters of small game. Its smaller size and lighter weight make it easier to handle, and it offers less recoil compared to larger gauge shotguns. Whether you're practicing your aim or going on a hunting trip, the 20-gauge shotgun can be a reliable choice.