Can You Skeet And Trap Shoot With A 20 Gauge?


Trap and Skeet shooting has gained a lot of popularity and continues to gain people into the two sports even in the Olympics. While this sport is for both men and women, there are also children’s leagues that youths can get into from a very early age. One thing that you normally see in competitions is that sport shooters are always using 12 gauge shotguns, and you do not see any other caliber of scatterguns. As more people are getting into the sport, it has sparked a big question of whether or not people can shoot trap or skeet with a 20 gauge shotgun as well. We hope that this article will help answer that question for you and possibly give you some tips as well.

Can you skeet and trap shoot with a 20 gauge? You can absolutely use a 20 gauge when shooting either trap or skeet and is a very good starting gun for youths looking to enter the sport. While men typically start shooting with a 12 gauge, women and children will start with a smaller gauge for their first year or two and gradually go up into a 12 gauge for competition. While a 20 gauge will hit your targets at that range, a 12 gauge will hit clay pigeons harder, and you will find that it will give you more time to react because you have more shot in the shell. Shooting a 12 or 20 gauge really comes down to personal preference and what the person feels more comfortable shooting. While 12 gauge shotguns tend to be the leader in what most sport shooters use, there is no rule against using a 20 gauge in competitions.

Is A 12 Or 20 Gauge More Powerful?

Typically, yes, a 12 gauge is going to be more powerful (which will kick harder in your shoulder), and carry more shot in the round, but it really depends on if you are loading your own, and what type of shot you are using. Most people will use a 7/8 load that shoots 1200 feet per second, but it is up to you. The most important thing is that you are able to break the clay pigeons. If you do decide to go with a 20 gauge, make sure your loads are hot enough to actually get to, and break the pigeon so you can score. When shooting clay pigeons, it comes down to more than just how powerful your gun is, it also comes down to what type of round you are shooting, and if it can even make it to, and break the clay pigeon.

Can I Use A 20 Gauge In Tournaments?

We could not find a rule that says you cannot use a 20 gauge in a tournament, but you will typically not find people using them. People tend to think that you need to have a 12 gauge in order to compete, but there are a lot of folks out there that love their 20 gauge and will use it. We could not find any exclusions in either trap or skeet that say you cannot use a 20 gauge, so if anyone does ask you about it, they will most likely be giving you their opinion and not a fact.

Is Using A 20 Gauge Just For Kids?

20 gauge shooters are not just for kids, and they are good for anyone that likes shooting a 20 gauge. Our recommendation is that you try out all the different gauges and see what you like, and when you find something you want to use, stick with it and get good at it. While it is true that most entry-level shooters, especially kids and women will shoot 20 gauge shotguns, there is no hard-fast rule that says you have to switch up and go with a bigger gauge.

Are 20 Gauge Shells Cheaper?

While you might think that since the 20 gauge is a smaller barrel that the rounds would be cheaper, you might be wrong. Gauge is normally determined by the number of lead balls with the same diameter as the barrel that it would take to weigh one pound. With a bigger barrel, it would take less shot to make a pound. In a smaller barrel, it takes more shot, so you will see that most 20 gauge shells are longer than a normal 12 gauge shell, and can cost more. They also mass-produce 12 gauge shells since they are more popular, so there is a slight decrease in cost because of that. It is also worth noting that all 20 gauge shells are yellow in color by law. This is so that no one tries to load a 20 gauge in a 12 gauge shotgun.

Will My Score Go Down Using A 20 Gauge?

This really depends on how much you practice, but it has been seen that 20 gauge users do have lower scores than those who use 12 gauge shotguns. This is because the spray pattern starts early and fans out quickly in a 20 gauge. In a 12 gauge gun, the pattern at 25 feet will be much smaller than a 20 gauge. While you might think that the bigger pattern will help your score, keep in mind that the bigger that the pattern is the lower the velocity will be and it will not break the pigeons. So for this, you will need to make sure that you are accurate when aiming to break the clays.

Can I Still Reload My Own Shells?

Yes, you can absolutely reload your own 20 gauge shells, and it is actually encouraged if you shoot a lot. Almost all people the shoot competitively will reload their own shells purely for the cost decrease. A lot of people will reload their own shells because they actually like it and it is sort of fun to do as well and ensures you know how your gun works and shoots. You need to make sure that you get the right shells for your 20 gauge and follow different amounts for powder and bb’s, and as long as you do that you should be just fine.

What Type Of 20 Gauge Should I Buy?

The most popular type of shotgun used for competition trap and skeet is an over and under shotgun. This is because it will hold two shells at one time, and the most clays that get shot are two at a time, so you will not have to reload during your round. A semi-automatic is also good for clay pigeons because you can load it up with shells, and just blast away without having to do anything else. The pump is a very common shotgun, especially for hunting, but keep in mind that you will have to “pump” it to eject the shell and load a new one, so you may need to practice a bit to get it right.

Can My Kids Use A 410 For Trap And Skeet?

People are allowed to use 410 guns for skeet and trap shooting, especially if they are beginners, or just like to use that type of gun. Since the 410 is a much smaller shell, you are going to get a lot less kick, so you are going to have a much easier time learning on it. All my kids learned how to shoot on a 410 before moving up to a 20 and then 12 gauge, and they tried shooting skeet and trap with it as well. Keep in mind your aim will have to be much better to break them though.

Final Thoughts

To be completely honest, it really depends on what you like to shoot when you try skeet and trap. If you like to shoot a 20 gauge, there is no reason why you should stop using one just because people will tell you to use a 12. Find what you like and stick with it if you do not like a 12 gauge. We do suggest that you start out shooting a 20 gauge or a 410 if you have children that have never shot before. The kick will be much less, and will not scare them as much.

Terry Minton

I am the owner of Fast Cast Rods. I live in the mountains of Northern California where I love to be outdoors hunting, fishing, camping and hiking with my wife and three awesome kids.

Recent Content