The 16 gauge shotgun hangs on despite light popularity.
This unsung hero gauge is really a forgotten gem.
These four reasons help explain why the 16 gauge is still a great pick.
1. Receiver size to payload capability is maximized
Especially with older, vintage 16 shotguns like the beautiful Parker side by side or the Winchester Model 12, they were often built on a smaller 20 gauge frame. This allowed for a smaller, lighter weighing shotgun over the larger, and typically heavier 12 gauge. Even the old single shot 16 gauge shotguns, like the kind you'd find in a hardware store, are a joy to carry afield.
2. 12 Gauge payload in a 16 gauge shell
Though it's not a 3" magnum 12 gauge, 1.25 ounces of lead in the heavy Federal load is certainly impressive. That will get the job done on any upland bird.
3. Choice of many fine European drillings and shotguns
Many high grade German drillings and other wonderful guns were made in Europe specifically for the 16 gauge shotshell. When you're thinking about buying one of these older European weapons, be sure they are chambered for the 2.75" shell, and not the shorter 2.5" shell. Firing the longer shell in a shorter chamber could be quite dangerous.
4. Own a classic
Want to have a different upland gun than the rest of the hunting party? How about packing a classic Browning A5 Sweet Sixteen or an L.C. Smith Shotgun? Well, this classic gauge certainly will add you to the small cult following of a great 16 gauge game gun.
May the mighty 16 gauge live on well into the future!
Do you like articles about the outdoors? Click here to view more articles by Eric Nestor. You can follow him @ericthewoodsman on Twitter, The Classic Woodsman on Facebook, and @theclassicwoodsman on Instagram. You can view more Nestor Photography photos at Nestor Photography.
Enjoy the outdoors?
Sign up for daily stories delivered straight to your inbox.