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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've always wanted to own a single "break barrel" (not pump) shotgun for a while, and I know there is a lot of inexpensive ones out there under $200.00 USD (which is great). Probably I'll be using it for target shooting, and maybe shooting skeet and small game. As well as 3rd self defense home option (yes I own many handguns).

Maybe some of you guys out there that a "way" more knowledgeable on shotguns can help me.

1) I've been thinking about a .410 for a while, but maybe that would not work for skeet? I like that the recoil does not look like it would be that bad.

2) Some people have said the recoil on 12ga and 20ga shotguns are the same, it is the shotgun shell or load that is being used that matters? Is that true?

3) Are the shells are cheaper to buy in a .410, 12 gauge or 20 gauge?

Thank You, I appreciate your time.
 

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I own and have owned shotguns of all types and gauges. The shells for the 12 gauge can usually be found cheaper. The 20 usually kicks less than 12, recoil is something that is determined by many things, stock design, weight of gun, load, etc. I lean more towards a 12 as a one gun purchase. Prices for single barrel guns new and used vary a lot. I bought an old used 12 ga Stevens for $60 not long ago. Looked rough but in good mechanical shape. Some trap guns can run several times as much. Wal-Mart has a single barrel that was $99.00 this past fall. Shop around
 

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.410 ammo is usually the highest.Don't forget about the 16 ga if you find an older gun in good condition.
 

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I recently sold 2 old break barrel shotguns. One was a 20 and the other was a 16. I finally sold them for $50 each to a friend as there is little demand for them. I've had that type of shotgun for over 50 years until I got a pump. I no longer wanted or needed a single shot shotgun and sold them. I had not shot them much for several years. They never wear out if treated well as mine were from the late 40s and early 50s.
 

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There's been millions of single shot break action shotguns made over the last century and a half or so. Most of them were cheap to buy new and still are. The thing is, they W O R K. If you go down to the Amazon far off places like New Guinea, the little tribesmen living in the jungle are going to be toting single shot shotguns for a reason.

Personally, I'd start haunting the auction sites, local gun shops and pawn shops looking for H&R toppers. Simple, tough, and reliable. They made them for decades and chambered in everything from .410 to 10 gauge 3 1/2". The older ones had different size frames for each gauge (20's were smaller than 16's, which were smaller then 12's), so you don't end up with an overbored, under sized gun that kicks too hard or a gun that's too heavy because they are shooting an undersized bore for the frame.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I own and have owned shotguns of all types and gauges. The shells for the 12 gauge can usually be found cheaper. The 20 usually kicks less than 12, recoil is something that is determined by many things, stock design, weight of gun, load, etc. I lean more towards a 12 as a one gun purchase. Prices for single barrel guns new and used vary a lot. I bought an old used 12 ga Stevens for $60 not long ago. Looked rough but in good mechanical shape. Some trap guns can run several times as much. Wal-Mart has a single barrel that was $99.00 this past fall. Shop around
Thank You.. I know I'll be getting one before the end of the year... maybe sooner once I get past the Wife. :) The break action shotguns that I am looking at have a "fixed modified choke" which I understand is at the end of the barrel.. if that is the case.. can I still shoot slugs? The shotgun take 2.75 to 3 inch shell that I know. Thank You again Sir for our time. Handguns.. I'm ok with, and rifles.. but not shotguns.. so it all very interesting learning for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
.410 ammo is usually the highest.Don't forget about the 16 ga if you find an older gun in good condition.
Thank You.. probably because of the Taurus Judge and self defense loads I take it.. I appreciate your time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I recently sold 2 old break barrel shotguns. One was a 20 and the other was a 16. I finally sold them for $50 each to a friend as there is little demand for them. I've had that type of shotgun for over 50 years until I got a pump. I no longer wanted or needed a single shot shotgun and sold them. I had not shot them much for several years. They never wear out if treated well as mine were from the late 40s and early 50s.
Thank You for your reply and time.. good info to know.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
There's been millions of single shot break action shotguns made over the last century and a half or so. Most of them were cheap to buy new and still are. The thing is, they W O R K. If you go down to the Amazon far off places like New Guinea, the little tribesmen living in the jungle are going to be toting single shot shotguns for a reason.

Personally, I'd start haunting the auction sites, local gun shops and pawn shops looking for H&R toppers. Simple, tough, and reliable. They made them for decades and chambered in everything from .410 to 10 gauge 3 1/2". The older ones had different size frames for each gauge (20's were smaller than 16's, which were smaller then 12's), so you don't end up with an overbored, under sized gun that kicks too hard or a gun that's too heavy because they are shooting an undersized bore for the frame.
Thanks for the info.. I'll have to look around at the pawn shops.. I have a feeling.. at least in my area.. buying new will be cheaper and a better option.. even though I going to the low bottom of the barrel in regards to price.
 

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IMHO, 12 gauge is best, 1st) 3/4 of all commercial domestically produced shotgun shells are 12 gauge, therefore most likely available and generally as cheap or cheaper than 20 gauge. 2) Frames of 20 gauge shotguns are usually smaller than 12, so despite less recoil from a 20 it is transmitted thru less gun mass, most times the felt recoil of a 20 or 12 gun is the same or very similar. 3) you need a repeater or a double barrel (sidexside or over/under) for all skeet and most trap work. Go to a skeet/trap range and see what is commonly used, you will see mostly repeaters 4) Break barrels as you call them are increasingly rare and most major manufacturers don't make them anymore (except maybe for high dollar over/unders) because of the utility and lighter weight (pumps/autos weigh less than a double barrel!!!). This matters greatly for field work, either trap, skeet, or hunting. Less so if you are stationary in a blind (waterfowl) 5) 16 gauge is even worse, ammo hard to find and expensive and the variety of commercial loadings by major ammo makers is slim to none. 6) 28, 32, and the other 'unique' gauges are worse of all for availability and variety of ammo. Be sensible and stay with the common gauges (12, best or 20, if you really must) 7) 410 bore supposedly has its uses but I can always tailor my 12's shell loading and choke to deal with any situation calling for a shotgun. 8) Shotgunning is major fun and I highly recommend it.
 

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One nice thing about break/action shotguns is that they are easy to use with chamber inserts or rifled adapters. In that respect you are better with a 12 gauge (more adapters or rifled insert choices) than a 20 gauge but the recoil is less with a 20 gauge shotgun shell than a 12 gauge shotgun shell.
They are cheap enough that maybe you should get one of each and shoot them both until you decide which you prefer.
 

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If you want to save money 12ga. is the only way to go. $21 buys you 100 rounds of 12 while 25 rounds of 410 is about $15 or 3 times as much per shot.
 
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I own a Springfield SxS 12 gauge that is a bunch of fun to fire. Recoil is substantial, as a SxS is much lighter than a pump action shotgun. It's what you would call a coach gun, the short barreled kind used on stage coaches.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
If you want to save money 12ga. is the only way to go. $21 buys you 100 rounds of 12 while 25 rounds of 410 is about $15 or 3 times as much per shot.
"100 rounds of 12" - Thanks.. but in regards to what kind of load? Can't be slugs... As far as I see it, slugs for 20ga and 12ga is the same for about the same price, about $4.99 for 5 rounds... same as .410.
 

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"100 rounds of 12" - Thanks.. but in regards to what kind of load? Can't be slugs... As far as I see it, slugs for 20ga and 12ga is the same for about the same price, about $4.99 for 5 rounds... same as .410.
You tailor the round to the purpose so it depends on what you are doing with it. Skeet, dove hunting, etc... where you are shooting a LOT means using small shot and low brass loads. Bigger game equals bigger shot.
 

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Buy a used H&R, avoid the Walmart Hatfield. The old H&R quality is better and will last a lifetime. 410 bore is good for pest control and small game. 20ga is good for youth or small framed shooters that need a lighter weight shotgun. 12ga is good for hunting, defense, sport. You'll want to read up on bird shot, buck shot, slugs, rifled slugs, those have their own price groups per round.
 

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A few years back I picked up a H&R 12ga , that was as new at a LGS for $100 OTD .. Couldn't be happier... Its identical to the ones I owned when I was younger ....

I picked up Midland single shot 12ga that sports a 18.5 inch barrel and has a screw in choke !!


Shot review on tbe Midland
 
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