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Buenos Hatches Ese
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started feeling pretty silly last year shooting a 12ga auto at quail and even most of the roosters I shot, so I pledged to pick up a 20ga break gun before this season. I ended up buying the CZ Drake over the weekend. I'm pretty impressed with it so far for an inexpensive O/U. I haven't shot it yet, but the fit and finish is nice, it comes with a full set of chokes, and a nice carrying case to boot. It's no Browning Citori, but it's pretty sweet for $600.

Anyways, I haven't shot a 20ga at birds since I was a little kid shooting my dad's single shot Winchester which was also his first shotgun. So, for those of you who use a 20ga for upland hunting, what choke combinations, shell size, loads, etc. do you prefer? Do you use the same strategy as a bigger bore shotgun or switch it up?

Bad pics, but you get the idea...



 

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First off - congrats! I have 3 CZ shotties (all double-trigger SxS's) - 2 of them in 20 & 28. I have several other CZ firearms & I am impressed with what I purchased and with the way CZ USA supports owners (I had an issue with one I purchased used & CZ fixed it with no quibbling - THAT is fine service!). All are very good shooters & are reliable. Like any other double guns, I keep the barrels & ribs well-oiled & break them down setting them out to dry thoroughly after a wet hunt, and then I oil them again.

I use 2-3/4" shells. Center a bird in the pattern & it WILL go down.
Lead shot: I typically shoot #6 shot. The 20 is choked improved & modified. In the 28 I use skeet & modified.
Steel shot: Again, I use #6 shot. Both are choked skeet & improved for Pheasants. I hunt Quail in a non-tox shot area with the 28 & I choke it skeet & skeet in that case.

During the late season when Pheasants tend to not hold as well & wild birds have toughened-up, I step-up to #5 lead shot in the 20 & choke it modified & full. The 28 stays home. I don't hunt Pheasants in many non-tox areas, but if I do in the late season I prefer to use non-tox NICE shot shells.

Do use a bit of choke lube & check tightness & remove and relube the choke tubes every so often. A guy I know stopped by the other day seeking help in removing a stuck choke tube from his Remington. He had NEVER removed it or lubed it. Unless he buys another barrel, he's stuck with a modified-choke 870 because it is stuck but good.

Enjoy!
 

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born to work, forced to fish
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I'd pick skeet and improved cylinder and #7 shot for a starter. #7 is big enough for 30 yard pheasants and also not too big for quail. It's hard to find #7 unless you are a reloader. My next choice would be IC and Mod for choking.

One thing I would recommend is to shoot your gun on a patterning board at 4o yards and then at 30. It would let you pick your maximum shooting distance. My 20 gauge has "loose chokes" and appears good to about 35 yards. It would change if tighter choke tubes were selected.

I wanted denser patterns, more ammo choices and still have a light weight shotgun. I went with a CZ ultralight upland in 12 gauge. It weighs 6 lbs and has the versatility of 12 gauge loads. I'm currently shooting 3/4 oz reloads at the skeet range and chewing up clay pigeons. I shot 1 oz loads at doves and then had 1 1/4 oz steel for the senior pheasant hunt.
 

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Blind hog fisherman
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CZ makes a good, solid gun and any double is better than any pump or semi-auto especially if it is a 20ga. Welcome to the Dark Side. Take that o/u to a 5-stand field with a half of a dozen boxes of shells and enjoy the hell out of it. I shot a 20 ga on everything until non-toxic shot became the law. It's all I've used on upland game since 1967.

Side note: in traditional Southern quail hunts, sports must shoot double guns and they can't be any larger than 20 ga. And, you only shoot the covey rise, never hunting singles since that is too easy and unfair to the birds. The pointing dogs that you hunt over are just that, pointing, they do not retrieve. A labrador or other retriever, is carried on buggy or truck to find and retrieve lost birds. Just an FYI.

How about a report on shooting your new gun? And the suggestion above about patterning your gun is exactly right. Use different loads with each choke, it can be a real eye opener.
 

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Slainte
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Chokes are like assholes, ...some are tighter than others... :D

In my 20's I carry 7 1/2's in lead 7/8oz. My 870's are all modified and the RBL is IC/Mod most of the time. That's for grouse and quail. For ditch parrots I've been handloading bismuth in #6 at about 1200fps.

Does the CZ have a barrel selector?

Like Bill said above, the proof is in the pattern board. Spend some time with it and get to know your barrels. It's not just pattern but also point of aim vs point of impact.
 

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Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working
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Early season I shoot lead 7's in the IC and 4's in the Modified. Later in the season the 4 migrate to the IC and a 3inch copper plated, buffered 4's show up in the modified.

On release sites 7 in the IC and 4's in the Modified in 3 inch mostly.

Those are in a 20 SKB SXS.
 

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I have the cz ou ultra light in 12. The wood and metal very basic but good utilitarian shotgun and when I fall in the rocks chasing chukar or scratch stock in the bramble s I don't cry

I spent some time patterning it with 7 shot down to 2 shot. Did steel heavy metal bismuth and lead shot.

I found that the after market Carlson brand extended chokes did a better job of consistent shot pattern vs the factory chokes especially with the steel shot and out past 35 yds with lead and steel heavy shot and bismuth.

The factory chokes shot ok mind you, the Carlson jperformed better.


I like skeet and improved cylinder early season quail

I shot both full for chukar

Pheasant improved mod , mod early

Improved mod full late season
 

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I started feeling pretty silly last year shooting a 12ga auto at quail and even most of the roosters I shot, so I pledged to pick up a 20ga break gun before this season. I ended up buying the CZ Drake over the weekend. I'm pretty impressed with it so far for an inexpensive O/U. I haven't shot it yet, but the fit and finish is nice, it comes with a full set of chokes, and a nice carrying case to boot. It's no Browning Citori, but it's pretty sweet for $600.

Anyways, I haven't shot a 20ga at birds since I was a little kid shooting my dad's single shot Winchester which was also his first shotgun. So, for those of you who use a 20ga for upland hunting, what choke combinations, shell size, loads, etc. do you prefer? Do you use the same strategy as a bigger bore shotgun or switch it up?

Bad pics, but you get the idea...



Good choice. I picked up a used CZ Canvasback (12/26) from Cabela's a few years ago and love it. Having lost out on a Gun Trader bid on one that was near mint and having gorgeous burled wood, I lucked out finding this one. The wood isn't quite as good, but still at the high end. I started looking for the 20 gauge version but then gave up the search... but your post and our recent move to Montana just re-ignited that flame... the search is have the fun.
 

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that's His Lordship, to you.....
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6,159 Posts
I shoot a CZ Ringneck every now and again, in 20. Excellent firearm-well made, handles nicely, great wood, and for the $$, it's very very hard to go wrong!

What I do see, is that there's a fair amount of low price shotguns, and I can't think of one which manifests problems! We also shoot Stoegers, Mossies, Huglu, and I even have a chiappa Double Badger-all what I'd call cheap. And they all shoot very well, they're just not as pretty (well, except for the Mossie Silver Reserve .410-that's my grouse gun right now). What you'll see when you check them out, is that the metalwork isn't fancy, and sometimes requires a tiny amount of filing to get stuff to fit perfectly. But these are shooters, not presentation pieces. They're definitely worth the bucks, especially if you consider the double guns to be "entry level".
 

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Buenos Hatches Ese
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks for all the info guys. This takes a lot of the guess work out of it.

Roper - It does have a barrel selector.

I'm hoping to get the chance to shoot it this weekend, but I might be distracted with the waterfowl opener. If not, I'll be shooting it the following weekend for sure and I'll report back.
 

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Learned skills from George Dickel
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481 Posts
I used to use a 12 ga Lanber [600$], but this year switched to 20 ga Beretta [1800$] for pheasant, quail etc. I choke it with IC on top (1st shot) and Mod on bottom (2nd shot).
I normally use Kent Tungsten Matrix for hunting loads, 3 " or 2 3/4" in #3 shot. I would prefer #5 but can't find any Kent Tungsten available in #5.

Problem is I have the Kent Tungsten for the 12 gauge, but haven't been able to find any in 20 ga, so I switched to Kent Faststeel #5 shot, hopefully temporarily until the Kent Tungsten Matrix is easier to find. I don't want to put too much steel through the barrels.

I really like the Lanber shotgun, and would still be using it as my main gun, except the Beretta weighs about 3 lbs lighter and its easier to carry all day
 

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Blind hog fisherman
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A few years back, this date, Montana, 12 degrees and the wind was blowing. Limit on pheasants and my only double on Huns. Shot gun is an RBL 20 ga., chocked improved and modified. Grits and I were relieved to get back in the truck and get that heater going. Note the reddish tint to my exposed flesh. She is clearly questioning our sanity. The gun is broken open, by the way.
Dog Hunting Sky Camouflage Military camouflage
 

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THAT is a Kodak moment, Karl! And Grits triggered memories of yellow Tana ("Katie's Montana Gold"), God rest her sweet, canine soul. She helped raise 2 kids & we experienced a lot of Montana together. Thanks for posting this wonderful photo.
 

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Blind hog fisherman
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Thanks, Jim. She is the best dog I've ever lost my heart to. She's retired now, going on 11, but in her day she was a terror on upland birds, a sweetheart in the blind and a guided missile on waterfowl over field or in the water. On work days, with the help of Cassie and Sadie, our other Labs, she provided unlimited therapy to combat veterans in my office. A "once in a lifetime" dog.
 

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Good buy-I was looking for a CZ Drake myself but Sportco did not have a 12ga 28" availableso I ended up hitting a local, small, gun dealer and finding a screaming deal on a consignment CZ Wingshooter that looked almost unused.

Have put about 400 rounds of trap through it plus a week of shooting at Montana pheasants and huns. Love the gun, points and swings beautifully.

Great point on the chokes-first time I switched them out after a solid round of trap I found that one of the chokes was pretty darn hard to unthread. Now I make certain to pull them both and give them both a good cleaning and a light coat of Rem Oil on the threads.
 
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