Reasons To Hunt Quail With A 20-Gauge Shotgun

Posted on: 6 April 2018

When it comes to choosing the right firearm and ammunition to hunt quail, there are a few different schools of thought. You'll often hear experienced hunters extolling the virtues of carrying a 20-gauge shotgun for this type of hunt. If you're a new hunter who has yet to put quail in your crosshairs, you'd be smart to choose this type of firearm for this type of hunt. If you don't own a 20-gauge shotgun, plan to buy one and practice with it at the local shooting range until you're proficient. Then, you can take it on a quail hunt, where you'll appreciate these attributes. 

Smaller Shot Size

The shot that fills 20-gauge shotgun shells is smaller in diameter than the shot in 12-gauge shells. The latter is a common caliber of shotgun, and has many worthwhile applications for the gun owner — but hunting quail isn't generally on this list. When you use smaller shot to hunt quail, there's less trauma to the bird. Quail are less than eight inches long, and larger-diameter shot can tear through the bird and leave you with little in the way of valuable meat. The smaller shot in a 20-gauge shotgun is thus a better choice. 

Lighter To Carry

In part, because they're designed to hold ammunition that is slightly smaller in diameter, 20-gauge shotguns are commonly lighter than their 12-gauge counterparts. (This, incidentally, is one reason that many young gun enthusiasts learn to shoot 20-gauge shotguns before moving up to 12-gauge shotguns.) You'll often do a lot of walking when you're quail hunting, given that you use dogs and follow them as they search for your prey. Whenever you're walking long distances, saving even a few ounces in weight because of a lighter firearm can be advantageous for reducing strain on your body. 

Less Recoil

You'll also appreciate that your 20-gauge shotgun has less recoil than a 12-caliber shotgun. A lighter-recoil firearm is not only easier on your body, but also has direct value for quail hunters. Given the size of your prey, you may need to take several shots to bring down the quail. When the recoil is heavy, you'll need to take a split-second longer to get your sights back on the target, and this can be enough to allow the quail to evade you. Lighter recoil allows you to put more shots on target quickly, which will hopefully allow you to find your mark.

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