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20 gauge for home use

Discussion in 'Tactical Shotguns' started by Providence, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. Providence


    Feb 5, 2011
    Woodstock, GA
    I've been looking for a 20 gauge shotgun for the home. I have several shotguns that are more for hunting uses. But I want a shotgun that is more adapted to home use, and I want a gun that my wife will feel comfortable shooting. I got the idea from Massad Ayoob.

    Here are my two choices, at least at this point:



    I have visited 5 gun stores to ask questions and handle the guns. I have yet to see the Mossberg, and have only handled the Remington one time. The majority of the store salesmen have recommended the Remington. They say the Mossbergs rattle. That doesn't bother me. I'm not going hunting with it. Both have cheaper aspects about them, but I understand that when I'm looking at a gun for that amount of money. When I look online, I get no opinion about one being better than the other. It looks like I will not get to shoot either of these.

    So... do you guys have an opinion about this?
  2. cyphertext


    Jan 6, 2004
    Ford or Chevy? Pepsi or Coke?

    It will come down to personal preference. The Mossberg, with aluminum receiver, will be a little lighter and has the tang safety, where the Remington has the crossbar safety on the trigger guard. I have some variant of both in my safe. Either one will work fine.

  3. glockingdude


    Aug 4, 2010
  4. cyphertext


    Jan 6, 2004
    That seems to be the easy answer, since he hasn't seen the Mossberg in a store yet. :dunno:
  5. kasper7106


    Dec 10, 2010
    central ohio
    I have that exact same gun and love it, the only thing I dont like about the 20g is that I cant find 00 buck. #2 buck is the best I can find but I am pretty sure that it will do the job
  6. Z71bill


    Feb 19, 2007
    I went through a similar thing a while back -

    I have several 12 gauge pump action shot guns - but wanted something my wife felt comfortable shooting.

    I decided on a Mossberg - SA-20 BANTAM which is a 20 gauge SEMI AUTO.

    I like the 20 gauge because the gun is so light and easy to handle.

    Model 75770

    Buds has them for $407.

    I decided I liked the Mossberg better because all the reviews I read said it would feed any ammo - even the cheapo bird shot from Walmart.

    Some of the reviews on the Remington semi auto said they needed heavy field loads to reliably function.

    I always thought a PUMP ACTION was the best choice for a HD gun.

    But after thinking it through - I changed my mind.

    My thoughts -


    The probability of a semi auto jam VS

    The probability my wife would forget to pump the action - or short stroke it.

    I figured the chance of a JAM was less than the chance of my wife would short stroke (or forget to pump) the action. There is something positive about just needing to point and pull the trigger.


    A semi auto has less recoil than a pump - less recoil means she will shoot it more - like at clay targets. A gun that kicks she will not want to shoot.

    A new shooter needs practice.


    The Bantam gun (also called a youth gun) has a shorter stock - 13 inch LOP - which fit her better than a full size gun. IIRC you can also get a youth model pump.

    After deciding on the Mossberg I couldn't find one for sale - after about 2 months I found an Escort youth model 20 gauge semi auto at Academy sports - it was on sale for $259 so I took a chance. So far it has been a good gun. But if I could have found the Mossberg I would have bought it.
  7. Providence


    Feb 5, 2011
    Woodstock, GA
    Thanks for the replies guys! I appreciate your opinion.

    kasper7106, which gun did you buy?
  8. Bob Hafler

    Bob Hafler

    Sep 13, 2011
    About 16 or so years ago I talked to a GS owner about a Shot gun for home defense. I though for sure he would show me some outragously priced 12 gauge. Instead he reached for a 20 gauge Mossberg crusier. Told me this with #3 buckshot will do the job I need it to do and the wife could also use it with out doing harm to her. It did come with a pistol grip but I removed that and put a pistolgrip rifle stock combo on it. Pistol grips look good but not very practical, as to rack it will take it off target. It's been a great HD weapon, it's small needs next to nothing or very little maintenance. Mine lays under the bed in a unzipped but closed soft case and ready to go 24/7 and has done so for 16 years. Once or twice a year I blow the dust balls out of it shoot the rounds off that are in it and give it a cleaning and a shot of break free. Replace with new rounds and it's back under the bed. I never would have quessed at the time I bought it that the 20 gauge had such a loyal following for HD.
  9. I have a Mossberg 20 ga bantam, have used it for the last five years on our about troops shooting camp outs. We put 1,000-2,000 rounds through the gun in a weekend with no cleaning. Never had a problem with it.

    Our council scout camp uses Mossberg 500 20 ga shotguns. They replaced a bunch of nef single shots with them. The beds would break several times a summer. So far two summers with the 500's and not one has broken. Theses guns are being shot five days a week with little to no maintenance.

    Nothing against the 870 they are a great gun too.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  10. Z71bill


    Feb 19, 2007
    Seems like #3 buck shot is by far the most common available for a 20 gauge.

    20 pellets of #3 buck shot = 1.11 ounces = 485 grains traveling at 1,200 FPS

    Not exactly the correct way to look at it

    But that is about the same amount of "power" as 4 shots of 9MM 124 grain +P

    I just bought some reduced recoil 20 gauge #4 buck shot

    24 pellets = 1.14 ounce = 500 grains traveling at 1,100 FPS

    I would have confidence either load will do the HD job.
  11. PlasticGuy


    Jul 10, 2000
    There is nothing wrong with using a 20 gauge as a home defense gun. It's a lot of power from a compact long gun, but with manageable recoil. I bought my wife a Mossberg 500 combat shotgun. It's like the one in your link, but with a breaching attachment at the muzzle. I don't see her breaching anything, but it makes for vicious muzzle strikes.

    As far as a comparison to other 20 gauge combat shotguns, I am happy with my choice. It shoots great. My Beretta 391 and Remington 1100 20 gauges shoot a little softer, but they are both more complicated and the Remington is quite a bit heavier.
  12. RMTactical

    RMTactical CLM

    Oct 7, 2000
    Behind an AR-15
  13. aippi


    Jun 12, 2009
    SZbill - who makes that #4 low recoil for the 20ga? That is of great intrest to me as that would be a serious load and perfect for close range HD use.
  14. kribs51


    May 19, 2009
    You need to take a look at the Remington 870 20ga youth model... already has the shorter barrel and a short stock... I have one and it is very compact and very light. I use it now for HD and I wouldn't hestitate giving it to the wife knowing she could handle the recoil of the 20ga.
  15. Z71bill


    Feb 19, 2007
    Federal Premium Personal Defense Ammunition 20 Gauge 2-3/4" Reduced Recoil #4 Shot 24 Pellets Box of 5

    Sort of expensive - worth it to my wife - and I guess since she is covering my back - worth it to me too!

    I looked all over hell to find a reduced recoil 20 gauge buck shot.

    $7.99 at Midway - $7.08 at Buds - best deal depends on shipping charge -

    EDIT: The picture on the Buds web sight is wrong - it shows a 12 gauge box - I have ordered from both Midway & Buds - it is the exact same - the Midway picture is correct.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011
  16. Z71bill


    Feb 19, 2007

    I have a 20 gauge single shot - my first shotgun.

    It kicks just about as hard as my Remington 870.

    The best reason to get a 20 gauge is because they are lighter - my wife can barely pick up and shoulder my 870 - just too heavy - but has no problem with her 20 gauge semi auto.

    Fully loaded

    My 870 is about 8 pounds - her semi auto 20 gauge less than 6 pounds.

    Some will say - BIG DEAL it is only 2 pounds. But it makes a big difference to a child or smaller woman (or man).

    (BTW -MANY WOMEN can handle the weight of 12 gauge with no problem)

    Felt recoil is a combo of the power of the load, type of gun (semi kicks less than a pump or single shot), weight of gun.

    Guess what I am saying is

    A light weight single shot 20 gauge shooting a full power load of buck shot can have MORE felt recoil than heavy 12 gauge semi auto shooting a reduced recoil load.

    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  17. Aceman


    Nov 30, 2008
    Anyone who says a gun rattles and that's the reason not to get it is an idiot. NEVER buy anything from them.

    Browning HPs can rattle, AK's rattle, I can go on...

    A 20g is cool with me. My ONLY issue is that it would be a pain to get ammo. But via online, it is certainly possible.

    and semi v Pump - I agree, whatever makes her shoot more is more important than the reliability. Semi-reliability is about testing the ammo, pump is about time on the range.

    I have truly never seen someone short-stroke one, especially on adrenaline. I'm more leary of Semi-s, but again, all about testing the ammo.
  18. Providence


    Feb 5, 2011
    Woodstock, GA
    Thanks to everyone for the responses! I really appreciate it! Hadn't made my mind up yet, but I got a lot of information to consider. I have a friend that has both an 870 and a Moss 590, both in 12 gauge. He's going to let me shoot those two. It may tell me something.

    And I really like the low recoil personal defense ammo. Looks good!