The mighty 12-gauge will always be the go-to for shotgun shooters.
If you're in the market for a semi auto shotgun, odds are you're looking for a 12 gauge. Even a fancy competition firearm, or an over/under shotgun for skeet and trap, is typically found in 12 gauge, too.
Why is that? Well, because it's the best gauge there is, that's why.
Here are our top five reasons the 12-gauge will remain king for many decades to come.
1. You can buy it just about anywhere.
What gun shop, hunting supply store or even old-school hardware store doesn't have at least a couple boxes of 12-gauge shotgun shells sitting around? What's that? You say there's an ammo shortage? Well in regular times, you'll find it.
2. Hunt big or small game.
Pick a shell and payload size for your game. Small #8 shot is great for pest starlings and pigeons. Load up heavy buckshot or slugs when the game is a little bigger.
There are few things better than using the same camo gun for waterfowl, small game, and even deer by merely changing up your ammo choice. The 12 gauge makes it possible.
3. Police and military use the 12 gauge almost exclusively.
These professionals know what works for their shotgun needs. The 12-gauge certainly boasts the stopping power they look for. With a pistol grip for stability, this pump-action shotgun is one of the ideal defense firearms there is.
4. It can manage a payload for any job.
The 12-gauge will hold a vast volume of really whatever you would like to load in a shotshell. From rock salt to fishing sinkers, if it fits through the barrel and choke tube, it can become a projectile in time of need.
5. For the reloader, components are (usually) easy to find.
Even with specialty wads for nontoxic 12-gauge components can be found anywhere reloading gear is sold.
So, whether you prefer a Remington, Mossberg, Beretta, or Benelli, the 12 gauge ammo you send through it is what we count on as staying atop the list.
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.