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Gil Martin 05-22-2004 01:56 PM

16 Gauge for upland game
Years ago, this was a popular choice during small game season where I grew up. I started out with 12 gauge guns and used them for along time. Then I switched to 20 gauges and really liked them, too. I still have my 12s and 20s, but rarely use them anymore. My preference today is for the 16 gauge.

The price of new guns has always been a concern so I shop the used gun racks. I found a like-new Remington 11-48 cheap and used it for a few seasons. A favorite gun shop got a nice Remington 870 16 gauge with some rust on the receiver and sold it cheap. My local gunsmith reblued the receiver and it looks terrific. Today, I picked up what will probably be my last 16 gauge, an Ithaca 37 from the late 1960s. Seems folks around here do not buy many 16 gauges so this one was reasonably priced. Getting ammo is not a problem and I reload for theis gauge. Anyone else use the 16 gauge for small game? All ther best...

alyeska338 05-22-2004 02:33 PM

I really prefer my 16 over my other shotguns. I can't say it is more the chambering than the gun though. This one shoots just as crooked as I see. :D

It's an old Stevens sxs 5100 with double triggers and plastic (made well before synthetics were well known, these are PLASTIC) stock. Workmanship on is pretty rough, none of the internal surfaces were polished or anything. The shotgun's finish has seen better days, all the way around, both the metal and stocks. But it shoots, my how it shoots! The last dove shoot I took it on in Tn, I limited with less than a box of shells. That had never happened before.

I keep threatening to refinish both the metal and put a wood stock on it, but I doubt that I ever will. It is ugly, but gives beautiful performance.

Long live the 16!!!

simmonsguns 05-22-2004 09:48 PM

i finished my project 16 last week,5100 re-color cased the reciever and re-blued everything else,no wood when i bought it so carved and fit some good looking english walnut,went out sat. and smoked the clays,this ones a keeper.16 are still cheaper here also,next project is a model 12,16 ga.

alyeska338 05-22-2004 10:34 PM

Was your 5100 barrels blued originally? Mine appears to have remenants of some type of blackening, most of which has flaked off, except for a small bit under the forearm. Mine still has the faintest touch of what appears to be case colors on the receiver, but is very gray from wear. It does not have a serial number, but has a stamping of a bird dog on one side and a heart symbol underneath.

Without a serial number, I've never put much effort in trying to track down the year it was made, but had assumed it was in the late 40's, early 50's. Any idea?

simmonsguns 05-23-2004 04:47 PM

the barrels were finished with eather bluing or a black paint like stuff,it depended on what level of finish grade of sorts for these,the recievers were color cased,this hardens the surface,they are a cast piece that is kinda soft so the case hardening was a nessary thing,when color case is exposed to sun light it fades to gray which is also known as french gray as some makers case a part and that wire wheel to a gray finish.different pictures were roled on the reciever sides,the hunting dog and the quail are the most common,these were also built for other companies,westernfield was also a different brand,savage,springfield,stevens.given the cost of bluing and color case what it is,i have about $600.00 in metal finishing by it the 5100 or 311 was about $200.00.i think that the painted ones were turned out more,but i am seing a good mix these day's.on a side note,simmons made special 311's that were ribbed and blued with a high polish in the 50's called quails fargo,we churched up about 5,000 of these and last week we had one come in for sale,kinda neat.

m141a 06-02-2004 12:03 PM

I sir, have gone in the direction you have already taken.

I have stored all my 12's in favor of 20's. I have found that the challenge of shot placement and proximity to the game is well worth the hunt . I too, have a fondness for the used gun rack and have found myself a Baikal SxS 20 with 5 choke tubes, and a Browning [belgium] A-5 20magnum in great condition for far less than the cost of new.

I did however, hunt for a bit as a youngin' with my fathers' Mossberg bolt action 16, complete with adjustable "accu-choke", or poly choke. Recoil is on par of a 20, but the reach is just short of a 12. I hope some day to find a nice "sweet sixteen" auto to play with, as I prefer upland to all other forms of hunting in the fall. There is nothing like a November wind-swept day with a steel grey sky, and my trusty but still novice yellow lab.

Excellent topic !!!!

Marlin480Ruger 06-02-2004 02:27 PM

I love my 16!
I use to have a double barrrel Central Arms shot gun, sold it and put the money down on a Remington 870 Wingmaster 16 gauge

M1894 06-14-2004 10:18 AM


Originally Posted by Marlin480Ruger
I love my 16!
I use to have a double barrrel Central Arms shot gun, sold it and put the money down on a Remington 870 Wingmaster 16 gauge

I think you will love the Wingmaster, the 16 just seems to come to hand better than the 12 guage model for me. I was lucky, while working for the PD I found an old 16 Guage Wingmaster in a pawn shop, and picked it up for $50.00. It had been cut off at 20 inches, so I further reduced it to 18 inches and used it in my patrol car. In the mean time I accuired a spare set of barrels for it (F/C. Mod. and I/C). It's a great upland bird gun, and works well for Skeet. By reloading for it, shooting expense is on par with my 12 Guages. Since retiring, I've re blued it and refinished the wood, now it looks like it did when it came from the factory. Take care of yours and you will enjoy many years of good shooting.

Lee L.

mike 06-14-2004 04:36 PM

I am also a fan of the 16. After many years I finally found my dream gun. It's a A.H. Fox Sterlingworth double made in Philadelphia in 1916. Unlike most 16s of the era, it has 2 and 3/4" chambers. The 26" tubes are bored Modified and Improved Cylinder. This gun compliments my 20 ga. Sterlingworth of the same vintage. Fox guns are light and fast handling, and when you close them they lock up as tight as it gets. I can't wait 'til bird huntin' season.

stanfield 06-30-2004 10:27 AM

I don't think I could live without my 16. Growing up I always loved shooting my dad's 870 in 16, but they quit making them in 1980 I belive. Then a couple of years ago I found out they were coming back out wiht it. I placed an order and waiting longingly for it to arrive. From the day it got here, it has been my favorite shotgun, and my 12ga has only been used twice since then. Both times were to let a friend use when we went out to shoot some clays.

dodge 07-03-2004 06:16 AM

I recently bought a used Bakial 16 gauge S/S with full /modified tubes in it. I have since bought both IC and Skeet tubes for it. I took it the other day to a sporting clays course and shot 24/50 and this was the first time I have ever shot sporting clays. I believe that this will be shotgun that I will use this fall when hunting upland game. I have had a couple of other 16 gauges in the past but let them go for one reason or another. When I came across this one I was looking at another 12 gauge but didn't really want another 12 gauge the clerk brought this one out. I then thought about it for about 2 minutes and boought it. In my opinion the 16 gauge is the best for upland hunting.

Mordo 07-05-2004 07:05 PM

16 gauge and its 1 1/4 ounce load is indeed very nice compromise

between the overly powerful and versatile classic 12 gauge shooting an 1 1/4 ounce duck and pheasant load,

and the underpowered yet very light and handy 20 guage shooting a 3" mag 1 1/4 ounce load.

Good luck !

whiskeysprings 07-09-2004 11:57 AM

In my younger days had a 870 wingmaster in 16ga but foolishly traded it for something bright and shiney - ohwhyohwhy. Use a 20ga for most upland game these days in a Browning bps and Win 1300, with occassional 12ga o/u. I am sure envious of you guys with the wingmasters and Ithacas.

alyeska338 07-09-2004 12:13 PM


Originally Posted by mike
I am also a fan of the 16. After many years I finally found my dream gun. It's a A.H. Fox Sterlingworth double made in Philadelphia in 1916. Unlike most 16s of the era, it has 2 and 3/4" chambers. The 26" tubes are bored Modified and Improved Cylinder.

Hey mike,
Can you post a picture of that 16 gauge Fox? I believe what you have there to be the perfect upland gentleman's bird gun.

NITRO 07-09-2004 03:13 PM

Gage specific 16 ga. frames
In the early 60's I bought a used Model 37 Ithaca Featherlight 16 gage pump in excellend condition. It was made in 1954 and has a 28' ribless barrel with a modified choke. Over the years I have bought and sold several 12 and 20 gage, O/U, auto and double shotguns but kept the Ithaca because it handles and shoots so good. I have 12's and 20's but the 16 is my "go to" shotgun.

I have a question about 16 gage frames. Some 16's are just a 12 with a 16 barrel, like the Remington 870. Some are built on the 20 gage frame, and some are sized for the 16.
Which 16's are built on a 16 or 20 gage frame?


naumann 07-10-2004 03:42 PM

When Ithaca reissued the Mdl. 37 in 16 ga. about 5 years ago I bought on direct from Ithaca on the WWW. Got to choose my own serial # so I picked my son's birthday year. It will be his someday (not soon, I hope).

I don't do lots of shotgunning, a handful of days chasing pheasants, and maybe a time or two for puddle ducks. But the 16 is a sweet gun.

The Ithaca has a receiver scaled to the 16 ga.

m141a 08-16-2004 03:45 PM

guess what I just found myself!!!!! :D

A stevens 530A in 16!!!!!

link to another BTB post on 16's...

backwoodswalker 08-22-2004 06:50 AM

I too am a 16 gauge nut. I own shotguns of all makes and gauges but my "killer" is a well used Browning auto 5 16 with a 30 full choke barrel. This gun is feather light and shoots extremely tight patterns. This was my duck gun for alot of years. Took alot of pheasant too. Best part I found this at a garage sale for 80 dollars about 22 years ago. When i bought it the owner said he expected me to jew him down to 75, So he gave me 5 boxes of birdshot and 3 boxes of slugs with it. I traded for a 311 in 16 gauge a couple years ago. The condition caught my eye firs. Like new. It is bored Improved and modified with 28 inchers. This is a sweet bird and bunny gun. A few years back a little gunshop was going out of businesss and I bought 3 cases of W-W 1 1/8 ounce of 5's for 25 dollars a case. I use these for late season birds or when in brush and for bunnies. Work great in the double. This gun is built on 20 gauge frame. I own a 20 just like it too. I have never had any complaints on 16's. Shells are readily available for it. And it can do anything any 20 can do, but better. As good as a 12 till you get into magnums. Great all around guns

m141a 08-22-2004 08:04 AM

May I ask, what are the going prices for 16 gauge shells gents??

Round here, birdshot is about 10-11 a box. I feel that is high, and I will just have to order thru the net to get shells.

How 'bout by y'all?

ribbonstone 08-22-2004 08:48 AM


Originally Posted by m141a
May I ask, what are the going prices for 16 gauge shells gents??

Round here, birdshot is about 10-11 a box. I feel that is high, and I will just have to order thru the net to get shells.

How 'bout by y'all?

Would have to order a good bit as shipping is a killer.

Still list Super X (the plain-jane game load) and Federal Game-Shok loads at about $5 a box. The High-brass preminum rounds are about $10 a box (ignoring possible pattern differences, that's a lot to pay for 1/8oz more shot and a bit more velocity)...and the steel shot loads are about $15.40 (which you won't be needing).

Think there is a Federal load tossing 1 1/4oz of shot (why I'm not real sure) at the inflated price of about $19 a box...seems kind of excessive with ducks off the menu for lead shot.

If you "just gotta" toss 1 1/8oz of shot, look for a Fiocchi dealer (Graf & Sons has them) in several better prices than the high-vel. US offerings. Have never had a lick of trouble with Fiocchi shells (and burned up a buch of low-recoil 7/8oz 12ga. shells on hand tossed targets).

Proably would buy the cheap 1 oz. loadings (at about $5 per box) the a simple reloader.
There is an old0old Texan press in the reloading room...pretty neglected these days. Set up in 12ga., have the 16ga. dies and such on hand...may be time to look for a nice older 16ga.SXS for myself.

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