Iím a long-time admirer of the 16 gauge, and have owned and hunted with several over the years. Long story short, about 10 years ago I decided to simplify things in terms in terms of all my guns and ammo, and have done most of my shotgunning with a 12 and 20 gauge. I have a Beretta 686 in each gauge and they have served me very well - I use the 12 for prairie pheasants, and the 20 for prairie grouse and quail. The 12 gets a bit heavy during long days of hunting.
I could continue on this way and be reasonably happy except for one thing: my love for and itch for the 16 has never gone away, it has just been suppressed . The good Lord willing I have maybe 10 years of upland hunting left, and Iíd like to be toting a nice light 16. The question is, which 16? Two that appeal to me are the Franchi Instinct SL and the Browning A5 sweet 16. They both seem to have favorable reviews and light weight, which appeals to me more and more. They are both in the price range Iím looking at (~ $1500). Iím leaning toward the Franchi as Iím used to and shoot pretty well with o/uís. Iím open to other suggestions, understanding there are not a lot of choices for 16 o/uís
Full disclosure: I still own two 16ís - a M37 Ithaca and a Husqvarna 310 s/s. I will probably keep both but I see them as bit players and not my go-to guns for all upland hunting. At this point in my life I think Iíd like to find one go-to 16 for all my upland hunting, as noted in the great article below.
First trip to South Dakota this year; I took 3 16 gauges. One SxS Fulton, has one Browning Citori and a new Browning Sweet 16. Love the SxS and carried it most of the time but have to admit, as the days wore on, I did carry the Sweet on the long walks. At 5-13, itís a dream to carry. I will admit a straight stock would make it even better. JM.02$
Joined: 20 Jun 2006
Location: Kelso, Tennessee
Obviously those are two very different guns. I can speak for the A-5. Itís a great carrying piece and with the automatic you can shoot heavy loads and it wonít rattle your teeth- something I may caution you on with the double barrels- go too light of a gun weight and shooting heavy loads can be a bit punishing. Good luck
_________________ i reckon so. I guess we all died a little in that damn war.
I actually have 9 16ís. 3 SxS, 2 semis, 2 pumps, a single shot and a Browning over under. Some new, most old. It is a Gran Lightning with spectacular grade VI wood. It weighs 7-3. I would love to have a a superlight feather with straight grip at a little over 6 lbs but that isnít in the near future. The weight of the Citori is not an issue for most hunting.
I own the Franchi SL in 16 guage and it is nice to carry in the field, nothing fancy but a great hunting gun that handles well. Add a couple of truelock skeet 1 & 2 and it has served me well on prairie grouse and pheasants and quail.
I would take the FAIR over the Franchi, personal preference. I use my Ithaca 37's a lot for grouse hunting also.
But if heaven forbid I was limited to one 16 ga. it would be my A5 Sweet 16, hands down. Mine is heavily modified for grouse. But a factory unmolested new 26" A5 Sweet 16 would handle all upland duties plus clays the best. For me.
Joined: 01 Dec 2008
Location: Topeka, Kansas
Concur with the sentiment I could never live with just one 16, and I have not. I think I am currently at 10 or 11 16ga Guns. Though I use two of them 95% of the time (both 6 lb guns)
At minimum I believe in a battery set of one light 16 (5 1/2 - 5 3/4) two medium weight (6lbs) A primary and back-up (back up is both an extra in case the primary medium weight breaks and possibly a rainy day gone for bad weather. Although the two medium weight could also be a matched pair. Finally. Heavyweight 16 (6 3/4 to 7 lbs) for duck loads and clay target shooting.
All that said if I had to have only one gun it would be a 6-6 1/2 lbs gun with choke tubes. A Citori or Rizzini if O/U, a fox if American boxlock, or a Brit BLE/SLE. I note that if you are really stuck on one gun it is better to buy a more modern gun that will tolerate the heavier modern pressures. Note if going to a single gun a multi barrel set can help expand the base capabilities, I.e. a set of 27in and 30 inch
The only truly Heavyweight Pressure vintage gun I would recommend is a Winchester M21. I have a 21 with straight grip and splinter forend that weighs in under 7lbs though once balance out with some stock drilling it feels lighter than that. Unfortunately it is one of the only 2 12ga guns I own, but in 16 a 6 1/2 to 7 pound 16 capable of handling any modern shell could be found
Ultimately having a primary or single gun battery is possible, but one gun is a compromise at one extreme or the other.
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