You know it’s time to upgrade or add to your collection.
When I started hunting many years ago, I had no idea what I was looking for. To be honest, I barely understood various gauges and only knew a little about the ammunition I would need to hunt pheasant. Luckily, a badass lady gunsmith in South Carolina hooked me up with a Remington 870 - which is one of the most ubiquitous shotguns out there. Since then, I have learned far more than I thought possible. If you’ve recently started hunting, I’d love to compare notes. Here’s what I’ve learned:
If you’re still on your first shotgun, there’s a good chance you’re shooting a 20 gauge especially if you’re most interested in upland birds and small game. A 20 is great for dove, quail, pheasant, grouse, woodcock, rabbits, squirrel, and so on. It can also be a little more friendly on kickback and weight.
That said, if you’ve never regularly shot a 12 gauge, it might be time to make a new purchase. Having a 12 gauge on hand can open new opportunities for you. If you’ve ever considered hunting ducks, geese, turkey, or even deer, a 12 gauge is a wise purchase.
The bottom line is that having a 20 AND a 12 gauge has great advantages and it’s worth it to have both.
Prejudice and pride
There’s nothing like your first gun, especially if you received that shotgun as an adult. I love the 870 I have, but it’s been equally important for me to try other shotguns.
First, it helps you better understand where your current gun lands on a spectrum so you know what fits you. We humans tend to get attached to what we know, but it’s also important to push ourselves to keep learning and trying new things.
Second, putting effort into purchasing a shotgun that suits your personality can be surprisingly motivating. Feeling that you have full ownership of your equipment and seeing it as extension of yourself will make you more excited to practice and get into the field.
Last, aside from exploring new options and being proud of your arms, when you’re really enamored by what your gun, you’re more likely to take care of it. Cleaning and oiling your shotgun is not the most exciting part of hunting, but it’s important to stay on top of those tasks. Your safety depends on it.
Alright, so maybe you don’t need an entirely new shotgun. However, certain adjustments can make all the difference. For example, getting a stock with several adjustments, especially for recoil and stock height, can make a huge difference.
For example, women’s necks tend to be longer than men’s, so if you got your shotgun from a dude, he may have not even mentioned that you can get a taller stock. The advantage is that you’re less likely to scrunch your shoulder or crank your neck to get your cheek to be resting on the stock.
Don’t forget about you
During this time of year, it’s easy to get swept up in everything you’re doing for everyone else. Take a moment to think about what you can do to make it a happy Christmas season for you, too! You deserve some new hunting equipment considering how hard you worked this year.
And keep your shotgun protected with:
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