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  #1  
Old 09-04-2010, 01:56 PM
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Opinions on 16 Gauge Shotguns?

Basically I'm looking for input on what would be a knockabout bird hunting field gun - not an investment grade "gun safe queen" - for a top price of around $1000 - preferably a S x S or O/U double barrel, choked Modifed and Full if it has old-style fixed chokes, in 16 gauge.

I do have a couple 16 gauge guns back with the family in NC - a Belgian-made Browning A-5 Sweet Sixteen choked Modified, and a Winchester Model 24 S x S 16 gauge 28" barrels choked Modified and Full. But these guns are unique enough (and in the case of the Browning worth enough) that I don't want to risk shipping them to Texas and keeping them in an apartment complex.

I realize that the 16 gauge has become something of the odd man out in the last couple of decades, but to me there's nothing that matches the feel and balance of a true-to-scale-and-proportion 16 gauge - NOT a set of 16 gauge barrels on a 12 gauge frame. With that Winchester double barrel, even though when it was made back in the 40's and 50's it was considered a low-grade "working man's gun", I can be a holy terror on doves like no other shotgun I've tried - I even prefer it over the Browning - it has that inherent build quality and durability you'd expect from American gunsmithing of that era.

Last year when I moved down to Texas, I picked up a Stoeger Uplander S x S in 20 gauge. For the price ($340), I expected it to be nothing more than a working field gun, to run shells thru. But I have to admit, for the price, I was surprised at the quality of the wood and metal work, and at the feel and balance of it - I wouldn't be ashamed to be seen carrying this gun onto the skeet range even.

When I checked their webpage, I was surprised to see Stoger made a 16 gauge version of this gun. But unfortunately for me, it's only available in fixed Improved Cylinder and Modified chokes. I've never had an O/U, but now I'm considering one of their Condor O/U's - available in 16 gauge, with fixed Modified and Full chokes. I've handled a couple used ones at Bass Pro Shop before, and they had a decent feel and balance to them. For $400 new, might be worth considering.

Any opinions or input? For me, it's now off to the Saxet Gun Show for the afternoon, then tomorrow off to a coworker's for some dove shooting.

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  #2  
Old 09-04-2010, 04:39 PM
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You already have a couple of 16 gauge, so ammo isn't an issue. An O/U is a fine shotgun. Good luck and happy hunting.
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:34 PM
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If you go the O\U route and are used to a side by side it takes a few birds to get used to the hold over. At least for me it did.


That being said I have not been bird hunting in a lot of years
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:38 PM
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http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=188312626

1300 though. But full modified,28" barrels best guess 40s vintage.
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Old 09-04-2010, 10:25 PM
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I'm not any kind of shotgun expert but a nice 16 gauge would be nice to have I think. I missed out on an old Husqvarna side by side with external hammers and a neat breaking feature where you pulled a lever under the barrels sideways to release them. It would have been a nice one to have.

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  #6  
Old 09-04-2010, 11:36 PM
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i have a model 12 winchester in a 16 ga and love it.shells are kinda hard to find but still a fun gun to shoot.
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  #7  
Old 09-05-2010, 12:09 AM
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The only drawback to a 16 ga that I am aware of is the availability and price of shells. It is hard enough to get 12 ga in California, and I can hardly recall the last time I saw more than one box of 16 ga on the shelf. I imagine it is different in Texas though.
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  #8  
Old 09-05-2010, 01:13 AM
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May have found another alternative at the gun show. Old gent had a Remington Model 11-48 automatic in 16 gauge, plain barrel, Modified fixed choke.

The 11-48 was the precursor to the 1100 and 11-87. It was the successor to the Model 11, Remington's look-alike version of the Browning A-5. They were made from 1948 until the late 60's. Basically, they were a streamlined/modern looking version of the Model 11/Browning A-5, with the same mechanics and long recoil action inside.

Looking on the shotgun forums, these guns have an excellent rep, extremely reliable, several posters having used the same gun for 40 years or better with nary a problem, noted for having excellent handling. The one I handled at the show had good balance and weight, came right up to my shoulder with a good sight picture.

The wood, metal, and blueing on this one was still in good condition. Price tag he had on it said $395, but after talking with him for a while about various gun-related BS, he indicated he would be willing to dicker on the price. Him having a similar liking for 16 gauges, and me having my "Retired Navy" ballcap on seemed to help matters.

And stopping by the closest Walmart tonight, what should I see but several full cases of 16 gauge shells at $79/case.

And strange enough, another gent had a brand-new out of the box Stoeger Condor O/U in 16 gauge 28" barrels - the retail stores that carry Stoegers don't stock 16 gauges - so I was able to get a good look and feel for my original 16 gauge pick. Nice enough gun, especially considering $375 new he was asking, but even with a factory-installed rubber recoil pad, the stock seemed a tad on the short side - half of the times I threw it up to my shoulder, I was way above the rear sight. Plus I don't really care for a single trigger on a double gun - and the forums are full of complaints from people that have had problems with misfires and such on single-trigger Stoegers - that's why I went with the lower-end double trigger version of the Uplander 20 gauge S x S I have.

A couple other items sorely tempted me - like a post-70's (Japanese made) Browning A-5 12 gauge in like-new condition with a full set of chokes for $500, and a Browning Gold Hunter 20 gauge also in like-new condition with a full set of chokes for $500.

But then you also had the typical scam artists - at least 3 dealers had old beat up field grade Browning A-5 16 gauges with plain barrels and no engraving on them, but had a price tag on them claiming they were Sweet Sixteens and asking $800 to $1000. I imagine if they found a sucker to buy those guns, they would have been "sweet" sixteens to them at least! Sorry guys, but I know what a REAL Sweet Sixteen looks like.
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Old 09-05-2010, 08:17 AM
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You can get 16g in Texas, and with a little pre-planning you'll can ensure you always take more than enough shells with you; but that's why I don't own a 16g. There have been several times in the past 20 years where I simply ran out of shells, and I know I can always find/borrow/buy 12g and 20g no matter where I am in Texas. 16g not so much.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retmil46 View Post
May have found another alternative at the gun show. Old gent had a Remington Model 11-48 automatic in 16 gauge, plain barrel, Modified fixed choke.

The 11-48 was the precursor to the 1100 and 11-87. It was the successor to the Model 11, Remington's look-alike version of the Browning A-5. They were made from 1948 until the late 60's. Basically, they were a streamlined/modern looking version of the Model 11/Browning A-5, with the same mechanics and long recoil action inside.

Looking on the shotgun forums, these guns have an excellent rep, extremely reliable, several posters having used the same gun for 40 years or better with nary a problem, noted for having excellent handling. The one I handled at the show had good balance and weight, came right up to my shoulder with a good sight picture.

The wood, metal, and blueing on this one was still in good condition. Price tag he had on it said $395, but after talking with him for a while about various gun-related BS, he indicated he would be willing to dicker on the price. Him having a similar liking for 16 gauges, and me having my "Retired Navy" ballcap on seemed to help matters.

And stopping by the closest Walmart tonight, what should I see but several full cases of 16 gauge shells at $79/case.

And strange enough, another gent had a brand-new out of the box Stoeger Condor O/U in 16 gauge 28" barrels - the retail stores that carry Stoegers don't stock 16 gauges - so I was able to get a good look and feel for my original 16 gauge pick. Nice enough gun, especially considering $375 new he was asking, but even with a factory-installed rubber recoil pad, the stock seemed a tad on the short side - half of the times I threw it up to my shoulder, I was way above the rear sight. Plus I don't really care for a single trigger on a double gun - and the forums are full of complaints from people that have had problems with misfires and such on single-trigger Stoegers - that's why I went with the lower-end double trigger version of the Uplander 20 gauge S x S I have.

A couple other items sorely tempted me - like a post-70's (Japanese made) Browning A-5 12 gauge in like-new condition with a full set of chokes for $500, and a Browning Gold Hunter 20 gauge also in like-new condition with a full set of chokes for $500.

But then you also had the typical scam artists - at least 3 dealers had old beat up field grade Browning A-5 16 gauges with plain barrels and no engraving on them, but had a price tag on them claiming they were Sweet Sixteens and asking $800 to $1000. I imagine if they found a sucker to buy those guns, they would have been "sweet" sixteens to them at least! Sorry guys, but I know what a REAL Sweet Sixteen looks like.
Interesting....I was about to post to say I couldn't offer an opinion on O/U or side by side 16's but tell you how much I love my 40's vintage Remington 11A. My father bought it new. In all it's years, it's only been in the shop twice that I can remember just for a really good disassembly and maintenance. I can't imagine how many thousands of rounds have been thru it. The 11-48 should be a great gun.
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Old 09-05-2010, 10:42 AM
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Old 09-05-2010, 12:34 PM
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Loved the Browning

I loved the Browning 16 ga Auto my Step Dad had when I was young. Best duck gun I even used.

I still would stack it up against any Binelli I have used since. Even with the heavy wooden stock.
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Old 09-05-2010, 04:00 PM
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The Remington Auto uses the Browning design. Binelli? Bling-elli
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  #14  
Old 09-06-2010, 11:29 AM
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Well, I decided to pass on this particular Model 11-48. I went back and took a much closer look at the gun. The forearm wood, where it fit up against the barrel, was twisted and warped - as if it had been left out in the weather - if one side was turned up against the barrel at the muzzle end, on the opposite side at the receiver end you had over a quarter inch gap between the wood and the barrel. And you could easily turn the forearm piece back and forth with very little effort. For my money, a poorly fitting forearm piece is one thing you don't want on a long recoil gun, where the barrel itself is going to be moving back and forth inside it.

Another item - when pointing the gun up and down, as if moving it from the carry position to taking a shot at a bird, you could hear a "clunk-clunk, clunk-clunk" coming from inside the gun - as if something were worn out or broken with the action or recoil mechanism inside the forearm.

At this gun show, the sellers were required to tystrap the actions for safety reasons, but were allowed to remove the tystraps long enough for a potential customer to work the action and check the function of the gun. This gent refused to do so, saying it was too much trouble to snake a new tystrap thru the action. With the other two items I found, this as much told me he had something to hide with this particular gun.

Final nail in the coffin was the price. Asking on some of the Remington shotgun forums, general advice was unless the gun was in PERFECT condition, my top offer shouldn't be more than $250 to $300, if he wanted anything more to turn around and leave. Gent wouldn't come down more than $20 off his initial $395 price.

Bottom line - this guy was asking nearly twice the going price for a worn out gun that was probably in need of serious work just to make it functional - I passed.

On the plus side, I had excellent results yesterday dove hunting for the first time with this Stoeger Uplander 20 gauge S x S. First time hunting with it, box and a half of shells, killed two outright and knocked feathers off of three more - pretty damned good considering my normal shot-to-kill ratio on doves. I had a set of Tru-Lock Extended choke tubes in IC and M - they made the factory-included normal length choke tubes in IC and M look like junk, and even outperformed a set of normal length tubes in M and F (house brand from a certain sporting goods store associated with a particular game fish). Even at $40/each, I'll be ordering another extended M and an extended F from Tru-Lock - my host was using a Model 870 pump 12 gauge with a M factory choke tube, and even he was impressed how that 20 gauge could reach out and hit birds with those chokes, that he was passing on.

One other note - be wary of Remington shells. I'd seen comments on the Stoeger forums that Remington has been using very hard primers the last few years, causing misfires at least with Stoeger shotguns. I had one box of Remington Game Loads, the rest Winchester Game Loads with me. Out of the box of Remingtons, I had 8 misfires out of 3/4 of the box - such that I had to leave the shell in the chamber and strike it a second time to get it to fire. Even the ones that went on the first try, the firing pin was barely making a dent in the primer. I gave up on the Remingtons out of disgust, and switched to the Winchesters - nary a problem after that, the firing pin making a nice big dimple in the primer. Holding two spent shells of each brand side by side, you could easily see the difference in the dents in the primer.
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Old 09-06-2010, 12:25 PM
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