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Unless you are an expert shot, and don't plan on taking shots on pheasants at more than about 25-30 yards, I'd go with the sweet 16 over the 28.


I love the 28 gauge, especially for skeet.


And no doubt, you can kill pheasants with a 28.


But the 16 is a little more versatile. You can load it heavy for pheasants, or you can put light loads in it for quail.


Your mileage may vary.

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Funny, I have an Ithaca Model 37 in 16 gauge. Great upland gun.


I bought a youth uplander for my daughter about 10 years ago (which was a mistake, but that's a different story.) It seems to be reasonably well made, although its not the prettiest gun. Really hasn't been shot much, so its hard to tell how it will stand the test of time.


I have toyed with getting an uplander in 16 gauge, just to have a 16 gauge SxS.


So I'm not a good source of feedback for the uplander.

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Look at the price and availability of shotgun shells. The 12 and 20 are available anywhere you should go and hunt. The 28 and 16 gauge may be much harder to find and will cost more per box (economies of scale).





+1..... at the end of the day its nice to know that you could stop in some mom and pop shop in a pinch and be able to snag a box or two of these shells..

Edited by hunter2678
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Hello All,

I am looking at buying a Stoeger Uplander for pheasant, quail, partridge, chucker, etc....which gauge is the best? For fun, I don't want a 12 or 20 gauge....I want either a 16ga or 28ga....which one do you perfer?


I’m not sure why you want to avoid 12 and 20 gauge guns since these are excellent loads, and the ammo is readily available in many configurations (i.e., shot loads, dram weight for powder, etc.). With this said, I have no problem with your preference for 16 gauge and 28 gauge as long as you use the right gun and load for your birds.







Pheasants are tough birds. You need the right gauge and load when hunting this bird.

  • If you are walking-up early season birds that you shoot inside 30 yards, anything from a 20 to 12 gauge works well.

  • If you are hunting late season when shots get much longer (often > 40 yards), you will appreciate a 12 gauge, or at least a 16 gauge with the correct load for killing long range flushes. A heavy –load 12 gauge shell is probably better since you get a more optimum pattern.

  • When using a 20 gauge on pheasants at over 30 yards, you need a 3” shell (6 or 4 size shot), and you are pushing a large load through a small bore resulting in a long shot string. Side shots are OK, but you must shoot very accurately for straight-aways or less-angled shots.

  • A 28 gauge gun is not appropriate for pheasants. It kills the close ones, but you will always get longer shots that cripple a bird. You don’t want to do that. Do not use a 28 gauge when hunting pheasants.

Partridge and Chucker

For these birds, choose the gauge that best matches the shot range. If you are shooting inside 30 yards, even a 28 gauge will be fine, especially if you are shooting over a good pointer. If the grouse/partridge are” flushing-wild” (over 30 yard), a 20 gauge will be a better gun. These birds are easily knocked down and do not run like pheasants when wounded, but you need a good dog if you shoot with a small gauge gun.



This bird is really fun to hunt over a good pointing do and a 28 gauge gun. It’s fun shooting this bird with a quality double-barrel gun.



These are my opinions and certainly debatable. Other members here may well have other preferences.


I would mention that 16 and 28 gauge are more rare, so using these requires more effort in locating appropriate shells. A good solution is loading your own shells to get exactly what you want.



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when I was a kid i shot my stepdads Savage side by side sixteen 26 inch and got really good with it , then when he passed away about ten years ago,

I inherited it ,the stock was cracked so i offed it... sure missed it , so about a month ago I bought another side by side sixteen CZ the quality is imaculate !!! took it out the past few weekends and that good old feeling is back, have put six boxes through it and just love it

! just bought a 12 ga Benelli Nova 26 inch 3 1/2 this weekend for geese cant wait to go try it out I really like the sisteen for upland birds bu will use the 12 ga 3 1/2 for geese

Ive had two Stoeger 12 ga coach guns and the firs one was not shooting one side within one box of shells , so I traded up to the Silverado , and couldnt wait to get rid of it within about 5 boxes the quality just isnt there ..........

thats my 2 shots .


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^^ I agree. If you go with a 16 gauge, you should consider purchasing loading equipment so you make exactly what you want. The selection and availability of 16 gauge shells is somewhat limited. You also need to be sure and pack an adequate supply of ammo. I would hate being on a hunting trip in SD or ND and running low on shells if my gun is a 16 gauge.


Benelli/Stoeger is going with a 16 gauge for his side-by-side gun…

Thanks everybody for your opinions, especially Spike. I really appreciate the help. I'm going to go with a 16 gauge side by side so I have power for pretty much any situation from pheasants to quail. Since I don't want another 12 gauge, I think a 16 would be a safe bet for all around use....

…and I believe that is an excellent choice.


A side-by-side 16 gauge will feel and handle similar to a 20 gauge S/S (if built on a 16 gauge frame), but the 16 gauge has close to the “wallop” of a 12 gauge on pheasants without the “wide-feel” of a 12 gauge S/S.


I use both 20 gauge and 12 gauge side-by-sides for pheasants, and prefer the 20 gauge S/S for its handling and feel but realize that stuffing 1 ¼ oz. shot with a 20 gauge 3” shell is definitely a compromise.



Edited by Spike100
To increase type size... It's annoying that the default size is so small !
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