Z-axis of shot guns??


Active Member
no worries martyg. i come at this from the perspective of competition shooting where a 'normal' weekend would be 500-1000 rounds. one gets very atuned to fit and reliability over the course of years of doing this sort of shooting. it is my experience that a well balanced 12 is different than a 20 is different than a 28 or the 'experts gun of choice' the 410. finding a light weight 12ga is an open invitation to a punishing piece.

the beretta's are great shotguns IF you have a skinny face. my rounded face would come away black and blue. the old browning belgian made O/U's are still my all time favorites and i wouldn't sell them for anything. they have performed with that sort of competition use for about 20 consecutive years of shooting without a single issue.

don't know about the citori, have shot several, but i am not privy to reliability info. the very best thing you can do is visit a skeet range, not a trap range, where they actually use all 4 gauges. introduce yourself to the range master and get some guidance. chances are very good that on a weekend of shooting, the range master might introduce you to some folks who would be more than happy to let you try some different mfg's products.

all that said, i would still highly recommend the 28ga for upland birding, IC/IC with a 26" barrel. the 20ga, IC/M with 26" barrels makes a great waterfowling gun for early more lightly feathered birds. once the big 'northerns' show up, its time for the 12ga, IC/M, 26" barrels.

having had the opportunity to shoot some fine works of art worth more than my retirement account, i might suggest you check out the various BBs which list guns for sale. if you keep checking, you might just find what you are looking for at a reasonable price.


Active Member
Also the 12ga is completely overrated I've been hunting a 20ga for 18 years and it is more than efficent at knocking down ANY WILD UPLAND BIRD.
I would love to hear more on this...the reasons why...how you concluded this statement...perhaps explain the physics behind it?

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you but more convincing facts are needed before I believe it.

Richard E

Active Member
I'm new to upland hunting and looking to invest in a decent 12 ga. I'm looking for a shotgun that's akin to the Sage Z-axis (or XP) of fly rods. In other words high end main stream, but nothing fancy. Would a Browing Citori 625 Field be akin to the Z-axis? What about the Fausti guns that Cabelas now carries? Your help is much appreciated.
You would be very, very happy with a Citori.

Richard E

Active Member
There are many fine o/u guns. I'm partial to brownings, weatherby makes a fine gun, the italians are sexy too. You'll only be happy with a gun that fits. It's that important. It ain't like a fly rod, it must fit.

I personally think the benelli autoloader is the most versatile, most reliable, and easiest to fit. I sold a nice browning o/u to get it. But I understand.

Get a 12 ga. Again, more versatile than the others.
This is some Sage advice (pun intended). :thumb:

If you think you would like an over-under, you really can't lose with a Browning, Ruger, or Beretta. They will all work well. Someone gave you some great advice of going and getting some 'touch and feel' time with them. The stocks are all differently designed and the shotguns all 'feel' differently, so you should go with what feels best to you. Seriously. From a performance standpoint, they will all work well for you, but if they don't 'feel' or fit you properly, you won't have confidence in your fiream or yourself and it will affect your performance accordingly.

I love over-unders, but autoloaders are extremely versatile. I love the balance and the swing weight of over unders, but there are times when two rounds (the over-under) just isn't quite enough. The Benelli is arguably the best of the autoloaders, though the 11-87 is a darn nice option.

My brother has worked in gun shops for over twenty years, was a gun buyer for Sportsman's Warehouse., blah blah His shotgun that gets the most use? His Benelli 12 ga. autoloader. Sure, he has the 20, the 28, blah blah blah, but 80%+ of his bird hunting is accomplished with the Benelli. My dad, who opened up his gun shop in 1975 and sold it to retire in 2002, is and has been an ardent fan of 870's; five years ago he bought a Benelli autoloader after using my brother's shotgun. To these guys hunting is a serious proposition, and they will buy the best for their purposes. They still love their Remingtons (11-87's and 870's), but they have been relegated to second team status by the Benelli.

To use your Sage analogy, the RPL and other models of Sage rods are great, but the Z-Axis is arguably one of the best, if not the best, trout rod Sage has ever made. So, those other great rods get moved to second team, not because of lack of competence, but because the Z-Axis is that good . . .

IMHO, a 12 gauge is hands down the most versatile gauge. It's like debating the perfect line weight fly rod (3, 4, 5, 6, ?) for trout. However, to me the 12 gauge is the most versatile because you have a much wider range of ammunition. The 12 gauge is kinda like the 5 weight of the trout line weights; it does a lot of things well, and covers a broad range of circumstances. The 12 gauge should be the 'anchor' of your shotgun inventory; fill in the other gauges after you get a feel if upland, waterfowl, clay pigeons, whatever is going to be your sport

Gobs of deer have been harvested for decades with single shot .22 LR firearms; they get the job done, but they aren't the best tool for the job. Guys use 5 weights to catch chums; obviously it can be done, but there are better tools for the job. Similarly, ducks can be popped with 20 gauge and smaller shotguns, but they aren't necessarily the best choice for the job.

If you think you'll be hunting waterfowl, consider this: why are 'duck' versions of shotguns brought out in 12 gauge? Why isn't there a 3 1/2" 20 gauge round option offered? Why do competition trap shooters use 20 (or smaller) gauges? If there were more efficient gauge options or configurations available, I'm guessing they would be offered and/or used . . .

Listen to me now and believe me later. :thumb:
Just a couple of questions here.

Isn't using a semi auto on upland birds the same as using a bait casting reel and eggs on Trout? :rolleyes:

A bit more serious. Using a shottie with fewer pellets causes more wounding. A person can get a long lecture on most fly forums for overplaying a fish on a too light rod. Why wouldn't the same apply to using a too light shottie, or load, for birds? Granted there are a few guys who never miss and always center the bird in the pattern but what about us guys that don't?

A twelve has the option of much more diverse loads, from 2 1/2 to 3" or even 3 1/2". Many British SXS are in the 5 1/2 to 6 lb range and are, much like a quality bamboo rod, much more interesting to own and use.

Don't forget that recoil is a product of weight of gun, weight of charge and velocity. A light 20 trying to be a 12 will recoil much more than a twelve trying to be a 20, and not throw as good a pattern.

For a compromise try a 16. They are becoming increasingly more popular as they are the the perfect in between shottie.

Also, a true gentleman would never shoot an O/U when a SXS is available..

zen leecher aka bill w

born to work, forced to fish
Cabela's down in Lacey has some pretty Spanish AyA side by sides. Kesselring's (where did we hear that before Kaari) up in Burlington has a good selection of shotguns and also carries the CZ line of Huglu's. The CZ's definitely fit your budget as they come in around and under $1K.

I consider the Ruger's clunky and some of the Brownings are also clunky.

A bit of advise. The best looking shotgun that doesn't fit is way worse than an average looking shotgun that shoots where you look. Gun fit is everything.

Even though side by sides look prettier, an over and under will be lots easier to shoot trap and skeet with.

Get screw in chokes.

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
I changed the comb height on my 12g because I was consistently shooting it low after using the 20 gauge for years (which is a bit smaller).

Luckily the Franchi's come with different size/angle factory shims and are easy to change. Instead of changing my natural sight picture I made the gun perform for my pre-existing habits.


Active Member
I would love to hear more on this...the reasons why...how you concluded this statement...perhaps explain the physics behind it?

I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you but more convincing facts are needed before I believe it.[/QUOTE

First off I would have to say that I grew up shooting noting but wild birds untill a fw years ago when I first shot a pen raised bird which I do once or twice a year now only to polish my dogs before the start of the season. I own both a 12ga and a 20ga have hunted both extensivly for Phesants, Grouse, and Quail, approximatly 50 days per season when I was younger. But now with a career and morgage and all that comes with that I have been limited to maybe 15-20 days a year now. Anyways here are a few fact that you may want to think about when someone says a 12ga is superior to a 20ga or that a 20ga in insufficent for hunting upland birds. Also I am not saying that a 12ga does not out perform a 20ga in some situations but in relalance to the start of this thread the gun will primarily be used for clays and upland. Yes there are more options shells with a 12ga particularly speeking of loads for waterfoul. And I beleive that this is the area where the 12ga has the advantage. so here are some of the physics that I have come up with.

A 1200 fps pellet has the same range, the same external ballistics, and the same ability to penetrate regardless of the platform it is launched from. There is no tangible difference in a single pellet whether the "gauge" is a 28 gauge or a 10 gauge: The physics of 1oz of shot fired from either gun at a comparable velocity equals the same knock down power.

Also theory that a gauge alone indicates tangibly more "power" is wishful thinking. An ounce of shot can never be more than an ounce of shot no matter what we do. Quality chokes and quality shells have far, far more to do with pattern quality than a comparison of that ounce of shot out of a 12, 20, or 16 gauge barrel alone. Reduce it to three quarters of an ounce and we have just lost 25% of our effective pattern potential, regardless of gauge

Another thing that I would like to talk about is Velocity of the two gauges and the ammount of recoil the two guns produce. Here are some comparisons of the two.

break down how to read these examples oz shot, velocity in fps, gun wt, ft lbs of recoil
20 gauge, 2.75" (7/8 at 1200) 6.5 16.1
20 gauge, 2.75" (1 at 1220) 6.5 21.0
20 gauge, 2.75" (1 1/8 at 1175) 6.5 25.0
20 gauge, 3" (1 1/4 at 1185) 6.5 31.0
12 gauge, 2.75" (1 at 1180) 7.5 17.3
12 gauge, 2.75" (1 1/8 at 1200) 7.5 23.0
12 gauge, 2.75" (1 1/4 at 1330) 7.5 32.0
12 gauge, 2.75" (1 1/2 at 1260) 7.5 45.0
12 gauge, 3" (1 5/8 at 1280) 7.5 52.0
12 gauge, 3" (1 7/8 at 1210) 8.75 54.0

In closing there is a ton of info on the web for more facts on velocitys patterns etc. So take a look hope this can also help "Seattleangler" in making his decision.
I've owned many shotguns; my favorite was a Winchester o/u pigeon grade with screw in chokes that my wife bought me to gun in bird dog & retriever field trials. I ended up using it for that and for pheasant and ducks.

Two things are key: fit (get someone who knows how to fit you) and an accurate, reliable, adjustable choke.

with 12 vs 20, remember you can always use light loads in a 12. I had a couple of 20 ga doubles (including a citori) that I liked for rabbits and quail, but I like the o/u 12 for pheasant, etc. I actually preferred a heavier gun for pheasant and ducks. My lightest 20 double kicked like a mule.


Active Member
Find a gun that fits your body and isnt too heavy. a 12 or a 20 will do just fine for the uplands. I shoot a 28ga a lot of the time as well. You might look at a 20 over a 12 just for the weight factor.

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