Firearms

Sweet 16: The Unappreciated 16-Gauge Shotgun

Fiocchi 16-Gauge Shotgun

The .662 inch 16-gauge shotgun is among the most underappreciated gauges. As a young shooter, I was impressed that my uncle Arden Williams fields a Browning Sweet 16 shotgun. He felt the balance was ideal.

Arden was, above all else, what he called a “sport,” and believed in fair chase and the challenge of hunting. He never felt under-gunned with the 16-gauge. Some shooters did, however, and felt that the 12-gauge was the ideal bore.

It didn’t help when the rules set down for skeet shooting limited the field to the 12, 20, 28 and .410 shotguns. The 16 hits harder with a better pattern than the 20-gauge, but at the same time, it doesn’t kick as much as the 12-gauge.

Some of the most beautifully balanced shotguns in the world are chambered in the 16-gauge.

16-Gauge Shotgun
This French Fowler makes the author a gentleman at times!

How the 16-Gauge Shotgun Lost Its Appeal

The 12-gauge, it seems, is everyone’s shotgun, while the 16 is a gentleman’s gun. My 12-gauge shotguns outnumber the 16 four to one, so not certain where that leaves me, but I understand the appeal of the 16-gauge.

The 16-gauge is a pretty interesting shotgun and handles light and lovely at six pounds. A 12-gauge at six pounds is just too much.

Part of the reason the 16 lost a lot of appeal was the abandonment of the 16 for skeet. Also, the ammunition companies did not pay attention to the 16-gauge. Powerful 12- and 20-gauge loads were developed, but the 16-gauge was left by the wayside.

Not incidentally, components for loading the 16-gauge were not as good or as available.

16-Gauge Shotgun: shells
Left to right: 12-, 16- and 20-gauge shotgun shells.

Doing a 12-Gauge Impression

The factory actually went a bit backward with the 16-gauge loads (Fiocchi is an exception) and made up powerful loads that performed in 12-gauge territory—with all the recoil. The 16-gauge is a great shooter with 7/8 ounce field loads.

Load much over that and recoil becomes a problem. The 16-gauge isn’t going to be effective against waterfowl because it isn’t stout enough for steel shot. That’s OK because the 16 is an excellent choice for upland birds.

It is for rabbit and squirrel as well. If your Sweet 16 doubles as a home defender or for use against predators on the farm, there is good quality buckshot available.

16-Gauge Shotgun: Fiocchi
Fiocchi offers excellent field and target grade 16-gauge shotgun shells.

Why I’m a Fan of the 16

I have owned and used a beautifully made French double shotgun in 16-gauge. It doesn’t get any better. But one of my favorite 16s is a Remington Model 11.

Complete with a Weaver adjustable choke and cracked stock, the old Model 11 keeps shucking the shells long after its heyday.

16-Gauge Shotgun
This old Remington Model 11 is still functional and works just fine with 16-gauge field loads and buckshot.

That’s fine; the Sweet 16 doesn’t have to be a Browning and these shotguns are light enough, easy to use well, and offer real speed in the field.

That, my friends, is what the Sweet 16 is all about.

Are you a fan of the 16-gauge shotgun? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (77)

  1. The 16ga had to be the best all around small game shotgun I’ve ever owned. I was really hoping to see a gun and an ammunition manufacturer brave enough to explore some new territory with a 3″ version of the 16. I’m a duck hunter and would like nothing more than to have a magnum version of the 16 with me in the blind.

  2. I inherited an Ithica 16 GA Featherweight from my dad. It’s a great shotgun and I wouldn’t shoot any other shotgun on a regular basis

  3. When I was 14, my grandmother took me to Furr’s Family Center to buy me a shotgun. I told the clerk I wanted a 12 gauge, but my grandmother insisted that I get a 20. The clerk disappeared into a back room and returned with a beautiful Ithaca Model 37 in 16 gauge, telling my grandmother that they were all out of 12’s. By the look in his eye, I knew that he was just doing me a favor. I have never shot anything better than I shot that Model 37 as I roamed the fields of East Texas. I later passed it down to my son, but I am thinking about ‘borrowing’ it back!

  4. I lived at one time in an area which had a great many first and second-generation Italians. Nearly all hunted with Browning 16 gauge semi-automatics. A few with factory short-barrel (not NFA) Beretta SxS “lupara” with factory sling mounts, which had a supreme balance, and IC/M chokes.

    One fellow actually apologized… looking shamefaced at having a “Browna-gun” in 12 gauge.
    When you come through the door asking in sing-song Calabrese-inspired English for “slug-eh” for the “Browna-gun” I always handed over 16 gauge Brenneke. Thus the confusion.
    “I’m no can buy the 16 gauge… so I needa the twelve.”

    I’ve shot a dozen makers of 16 gauge shotguns, some after repair, some fitted with scopes or rifle sights for whitetail and black bear. The owners, particularly of a fine shooting slug-gun, were fanatic about both the shotgun and loads.

    Alas, even 3 decades ago, the 16 was becoming a cult gun, not unlike the .410 and 28 gauge.
    Certainly ammunition selection was part of the problem, yet I believe the makers also contributed as why sell you a lone 16, when I can convince you that both a 12 and a 20 are necessary?
    The advent of Sporting Clays, which revived the shotgun market as much as “home defense” did, aided the demise of the 16 gauge.
    Which was too bad. If you could only afford one shotgun… the Sixteen was indeed sweet.

  5. The 16 gauge is a wonderful upland game choice. I have acquired a number of classic 16 gauge shotguns off the used gun racks in the gun shops that I visit. My favorites are the Ithaca Model 37 pump, the Remington Model 11-48 semi-automatic, the Remington Model 870 pump and a Browning Citori over and under. Ammo is not a problem because I reload and have no trouble finding factory ammo. Great article, well done! All the best…
    Gil

  6. I have a Remington “the sportsman” 16 gauge semi auto shotgun I bought in 1974. I was 14. It is absolutely hands down still my favorite shotgun. The paperwork for it is dated October 10th 1946. I bought it used. Less than a box of shells down the barrel. (Paper of course) got the gun and the remaining 7 boxes of shells the old boy had for $117. He purchased it new, went dove hunting one time and then fell and broke a hip. Never hunted or shot the gun again. Still had factory cosmolene on it when I bought it. Just a story I wanted to share! Oh, and I outshoot everyone I hunt with regularly.

  7. I have a 16 and love it! It is a very old over/under sold either at sears or ames. I forget which. Got it from a friend but will never part with it.

  8. My dad loved his Winchester model 12 in 16 gauge. I have it now and it sits in my gun safe. I live in southwest Louisiana where duck and goose hunting is big business. When steel shot became mandatory it was cussed vert much because of erratic patterns and loss of distant kills. Everybody who use to shoot 6 and 7.5 shot had to drop down to 4 shot and even bigger. So to get enough steel, magnums became popular and the 10 gauge was even coming back, but the recoil, ouch. Then the 3.5 inch 12 gauge became the shining star or gold standard.
    The smaller 16 gauge just disappeared from sight at all the hunting clubs. It became a handicap because of volume of proper shot size in the smaller shell.
    But wait, what about the kids. 20 gauge shotguns became the standard for beginners instead of the 410 which I started with.
    When you shoot enough steel shot and get used to how fast it is, you don’t have to lead a duck as far, but you need to be quick getting a bead on it.
    I am back to a 20 gauge and if I could find steel shot in 16 gauge and a current model gun designed for steel shot, I would definitely go back to the beloved “Sweet Sixteen”. Browning?

  9. For upland hunting there is nothing better than a 16 ga.If made on a gauge dedicated frame it’s as light as a 20, patterns better than a 20 hits harder than a 20 carries nicer and is quicker than a 12 and usually are beautifully balanced. Will kill anything that flies. I have a Browning sweet 16, a Citori, a Winchester mod 12 an Ithaca’s 37 a Lefevier sxs and a savage o/u all in 16 gauge. they are my go to guns

  10. My Dad only used a 16 gauge Western Field by Montgomery Wards, and two oldest brothers got 16 gauges to hunt with him, a Sears bolt action and for some reason a single shot. The only shotgun I have now is a Ithaca Mod 37 with a custom black and blue laminate stock on it. I don’t hunt but my Ithaca is a great gun for home defense. I had the barrel trimmed down and found some buckshot loads for it.

  11. I also learned to shoot with the 16. It was a double barrel side by side that my Great-Uncle loaned me every October for bird season. When I returned home from Vietnam, my uncle had passed and all of his guns were gone.
    You never see 16’s at the local gun shows these days.
    Sad

  12. About a year ago I acquired a Winchester Model 12 in 16 ga. It was manufactured in 1936 making it even older than I am. Fortunately, it has a 2-3/4″ chamber and a fixed modified choke, meaning that it can use readily available shells, which are only about a dollar a more a box than 12 ga, and patterns well for upland game. I first used it earlier this year to hunt quail, chukkar, and pheasant in Mississippi, and I recently came back from hunting pheasants in South Dakota. The gun performed superbly, even in very cold (26 degrees F) and windy (25 mph) conditions using Fiocci #5 shot.

    I also saw in a recent Ducks Unlimited magazine, that a couple of manufacturers have produced new 16 ga over and unders I guess 16 ga is making a comeback.

  13. I own a Remington Sportsman 58 in 16 ga. Mt grandfather bought it new, shot it twice to see what it shot like, then put it up. He handed it down to me when i became old enough. Other than being a full choke gun, i wouldn’t change a thing. And yes, ammo is scarce.

  14. I whole heartedly agree. I own 3 16 gauges, a Citori, an A-5 and a Model 12. The Winchester is my hands down favorite and my go to turkey gun. It is full choked with a 28″ bbl.
    I know alot of people would think it’s too long and would be lost without being able to mount some kinda optics on it, but many a Tom has succumbed to it.
    It has a very dense pattern, (as most full choked mod 12’s do), but the thing I like most I like about it is it’s light weight. Most of the 16 ga appeal to me has been the fact that alot of them are built on the 20 gauge frame , as is the Mod 12. This to me is an advantage over say a magnum 20 gauge, for two reasons ; for one, I believe the 16 to be a little lighter overal than the twenty, for the mere fact there is less steel left over after the machining process is done, due to the larger shell size, and secondly I believe it to have a superior pattern to the 20 ga 3″ load. The 16 ga 7/8 oz – 1 1/8 oz load is about as close to a “square” load as you can get.

  15. I have two Remington model 11s from the 1930s, one in 12 gauge and the other in 16. Originally got the 16 for my wife but it quickly became my gun of choice for both field and trap. Lighter than the 12 gauge with much less recoil, yet still powerful enough to take town turkey and pheasant! A real underrated gem in my opinion.

  16. Years ago my spokesman mentor and I shot many a Black duck and Atlantic sea ducks with two black powder 12 ga dbl brl shotguns, he and upon selling firs found 2 used 16 guage full choke a bolt for $10 and a single for 5, I got the single he the bolt both H& R’s, boxes of 16 #4 were over 25- 35 cents a box less than the 12#4 and slugs way less expensive.
    We both never had a problem downing any duck, yes it was lead shot factory but we had poured and damn lead we could find in #4 shot and reloaded 16 short or tall paper hulls with same.
    Of course our birds were mostly close in, we didn’t have but few yahoos blasting away at 60 yes and beyond.
    We also used them on one of hardest birds of all to down, dippy-doodles, wood cocks in Maine’s mixed pine , spruce and hardwoods, which we used #7 or #8 low base.
    Mentor gave me choice of old doubles or the bolt 16, and up till steel shot mandated for ducks they did fine.
    Used my single 16 on Chukars, Blue and ruffled grouse, and wild pigeons of Washington State as upland we could still use lead.
    Neither gun today is worth much above what we paid for them, and like myself they show what life outdoors can do.
    The single is a truck gun today and I fire them both just for old time memories, and guess what, I am saving up for a “Sweet 16” superimposed.
    Yup cost more than many a modern upper price 12, but what is a man who worked all his life to do, just sit and dream of back thentimes, or enjoy life today.

  17. When I was about 16 years old in 1962 my Uncle gave me a Winchester Model 12 pump (I think) 16 gauge and I could take down about anything. It was a good looking gun, easy to keep clean. I think I sold it down the line when I got hard up for cash. I remember taking down a Jack rabbit as it was disappearing over the top of a hill with # 8 shot which was all I had that day but still wanted to hunt.
    Interesting article as I haven’t kept up with the latest on them.

    Good article,

    Charles

  18. I was 14 years old when I got my first 16 ga. Now I have my Grandfathers and my Fathers 16’s as well as my own. I have 4x more 16’s than 20’s. Great guns!! Shells are more expensive and harder to find.

  19. By good fortune, I wound up with my father’s Winchester model 12 in 16 gauge. I own many other shotguns in every gauge imaginable, but if I want to hit something, I take out dad’s old shotgun. It just works! Somehow, it has survived almost 100 years with both barrels (full and modified) and the cloth case that holds the extra barrel and the wooden cleaning rod set. After several grandsons abused it by using it, not keeping it dry, and not cleaning it, I asked to “borrow” it. I returned it cleaned and refinished in a new case. He wouldn’t take it back. He insisted on me keeping it so he wouldn’t have to loan it out again. I hope someday one of my boys will cherish it as much as I do.

  20. I have a 1949 Browning 16 ga that my mother gave to my father as a Christmas present. It has since be handed down to me. It still shoots as great as it always has. I love this browning. It has taken many a rabbit and pheasant.

  21. I love my Browning Sweet 16 and the problem I encounter is that I have a hard time finding #5 and #4 16-gauge shotshells on the market. I don;t want to use my shotgun only for birds, but for rabbits and other targets. Protection from backyard critters like snakes is another need for the right kind of shotshell. I wish there was a reliable local source of these formerly-abundant shotshells.

  22. the reason i don’t shoot a 16 or a 28 gauge for all the skeet and sporting clays my wife and i shoot,, is pure price shock…. we shoot 12 or 20 gauge because if we go to 16 or 28 (for that matter even .410) the price of shooting goes up from 50 to100 percent…. takes a lot of the fun out of shooting for us…..

  23. Liked the article on the 16 game. I have a SxS and a Mossberg 500 in 16. Have looked for a Rem 1100 but haven’t found one yet.

  24. Love my 16 ga. I have 2 Remington 1100, a Rem. 1147 & a Stevens side by side Both my sons and my Dad have 16 ga. Wear so doves out, sweet to shoot!!!

  25. I grew up in the 50’s & 60’s shooting a model 97 Winchester & Remington Sportsman 58 Both in 16 ga. Hunted all small game including ducks never felt under gunned ! Loaded my own ammo thru the 70’s changed to 12ga when I started Shooting Sporting Clays in mid 80’s as ammo was much easier to find. Still a favorite for small game

  26. i inherited a very nice 16ga auto when my dad passed he wasnt a fan used a moss12ga but he inherited from his mom.. she passed before i was born but she was an avid outdoor woman could out hunt-fish everyone in the family i might have gotten to fire it as a kid maybe.. if not she was the last to pull the trigger. i havent decided what to do with it but if i had gotten to know her i am sure i would fire it in her memory as often as possible

  27. I love my 16 gauge shotgun and it sits in my gun case and hardly if ever use it for one you can’t find any ammunition except on line and most of that is more expensive than 12 gauge shells so there it sits and I use the 12 gauge for all my hunting. When I was 12 or 14 I purchased my 16 gauge modified choke with my paper route money and my Dad wanted me to get a 12 gauge at that time I looked at both for around the same price for Mossberg model 500 the first time my Dad and I took it hunting for the first day of rabbit hunting and the first rabbit I shot I didn’t let it get far enough away and blew it apart with number 6 shot high brass. That was some 50 years ago they were modified, full choke barrels I don’t think they had screw in chokes back than they might have but I don’t remember them. I sure wish the Gun industry and Ammunition industry would have keep the 16 gauge in production and up to date with the other gauges to purchase a new 16 gauge I wouldn’t have any idea where to look but than again it’s so hard to find ammunition for them and I would love to see them available for duck season I think it would give the 12 gauge a run for the money.

  28. I grew up shooting a Winchester Model 12 in 16 gauge. It helped me bag many a duck back before steel shot came along. If it wasn’t for steel shot, I’d probably still be shooting it.

  29. First shotgun I ever owned was a Winchester Model 12 16ga. Started shooting ity in 1973. Still shooting it today 46 years later. Hardly ever miss. best pump ever.

  30. I have 16 gauge Winchester Model 1912 (built in 1917, according to the serial number.) It’s my all-time favorite shotgun, though it’s not especially fond of plastic shotshells. It also has a cracked stock but still shoots just fine.

  31. Shot a single shot 16 when I was a kid. Liked it alot. When I heard Remington was going to chamber it’s Model 870 in 16 guage back around ’05 or so, I knew that was the shotgun for me. The only thing I hunt with it are dove and it’s a dream to shoot. Dozens of rounds and my shoulder never knows it. I wish more people would learn to enjoy the 16! Would make ammo easier to find. Rio’s are affordable and my gun functions great with them. Quit punishing yourself! Get a 16 guage!

  32. My dad bought all us boys Belgium made browning shotguns when we were little. I got the 16 and still have it. It’s like a ferrari next to my mossberg (which I love) it’s really a beautiful gun.

  33. I own several vintage Winchester Model 12 pump shotguns in 16 gauge. Because of their age I want to select my ammunition carefully. Can you recommend a light load in 16 Gage? I think the article mentioned Fiocchi. Can someone be more specific please?

  34. Memories? I reckon so! I was a kid of around 9-11 years of age (88 now) and lived with my grandparents north of Asheville NC. Grampa had this old single shot 16ga shotgun that had a broken and wired together buttstock at the hand-grip. The sear was either missing or worn out and as Grampa said, “wouldn’t stand fire”. I had an answer for that and using several surplus red rubber canning jar rings, devised a system of connecting the jar rings around the spur of the hammer to the trigger guard to power the hammer. Pulling the hammer back and holding it under my thumb, releasing it when I sighted on a rabbit worked like a charm. I actually provided meat for the table for 2-3 years with that old relic in addition to the hog butchered each early Spring.

  35. It’s rare to read praise for the 16 these days. It’s a great gauge. I have an Iver Johnson side-by-side 16 that dates back to the late 40’s and I love it. I use it to shoot trap, not competitively, just for fun. And the 16 is definitely fun. I also shoot an old (early 50’s) Beretta 12 ga. for the same purpose but prefer the 16. Thanks for bringing up the topic. I couldn’t agree more.

  36. I started duck hunting with an Ithaca bottom eject 16. It is a great fun especially for a southpaw. It doesn’t get used much anymore but is still part of my collection.

  37. Fortunate enough to own an old Browning “Sweet Sixteen” that has much lighter recoil than a 20 gauge single shot. The spring takes the recoil. Great little shotgun.

  38. 18 years ago, my son was 11 years old and small for his age. He had been shooting small bore rifle and hand gun for several year, but had never fired a shotgun. My shotguns were all too big and heavy for him. At a gun show I found a used, very lightweight single shot break open 16 Ga. I bought a clay target trap and a few boxes of shells. Went out to a local “shooting” area. He broke 49 of the 50 birds I threw on the first try. What a perfect gun for for a new shot gunner. used it for everything for years..

  39. I own a Ithaca model 37 from the 70’s in 16 gauge that I inherited. I can honestly say that I don’t like shooting it. It is a nice and well designed gun, light, and pretty to look at. I also like the bottom ejection design. Unfortunately, the gun has a really long Barrel and doesn’t handle well and is too long for home defense. The worst part is that it kicks slightly more than some 12 ga rifles I have shot. It’s not just me, even my friends don’t enjoy shooting it either. If that wasn’t bad enough, the selection of 16 ga is not good and cost more than 12 ga. I would sell it but not many people want a 16 ga or even heard of one for that matter, and most gun stores won’t give me much for it because of those same reasons. I always hear “if it was chambered in 12 ga I would buy it from you in a heartbeat. So it just sits in my gun safe and is only brought out for friends to try that have never shot a 16 ga or shot gun for that matter.

  40. I shot my first pheasant with a Model 12, 16 gauge, 62 years ago. I still have this firearm as well as an original Sweet 16 and several SS. This gauge has harvested many upland game and waterfowl over the years. My children have all learned hunter safety and hunting skills with a 16er in their hands, and so will my grandkids. I will never be without a 16 gauge in my life.

  41. I have an American made pre-war Browning in 16 ga.

    My Dad wanted a longer range (1950/60’s) for geese and so he got two 12 ga. 2-3/4″ Brownings and he gave one to a gunsmith in exchange for helping him convert to 3″ — my Dad was a Master Tool & Die Maker and the gunsmith would give him the specs for the parts and machining needed and my Dad would make parts and do the machining and the gunsmith would fit, time, etc. — both ended up with Browning 12 ga 3″ magnums that would still shot 2-3/4 before they were commercially available.

    So I got handed down the 16 ga. I have hunted tons of quail, a fair amount of pheasant, rabbit, squirrel, and duck with it — it was the perfect gun for a 14 year old kid that was 6′ tall and weighed all of 117 pounds. Very light recoil, perfect balance and an effective harvester of game.

    I wish the 16 ga. would make a come back it would be a perfect gauge for those who wanted a lighter recoil — like older hunters, young youth hunters and women hunters.

  42. I have a featherweight LC Smith in 16 gauge, its the best field gun I own. it has mild recoil, is deadly accurate and doesn’t blow the birds into a ball of feathers. in my opinion the 16ga is ideal for upland game and is the best of all worlds, I have never liked a 12ga for Pheasants you have to wait too long to shoot to get them far enough away to not have more BBs than meat.

  43. The Ithaca Model 37 in 16 Gauge is my preferred shotgun of choice and is the envy of my fellow co-workers. We live in the Mid-West and enjoy upland bird hunting. Being from NE Penna I have Ithaca Model 37’s in 16 ga. We are all retired Military each having 20 to 30 yrs of service. My Ithaca’s continue to bring down pheasant, quail, and chukar each time we are out hunting. My Father and Grandfather would be proud. Dad was able to see pictures of our hunts and enjoy my Wife’s pheasant dishes.
    To anyone and all who I hunt with & others in our office we talk with I recommend buying a 16 gauge. It gives me the lighter weight of a 20 ga but the hitting power of a 12 ga. I can carry my Ithaca all day while walking the cornfields of Kansas.

  44. My dad gave me a 16 gauge Ithica feather light for my 12th birthday, back when lead shot was legal. It took down a lot of ducks. I still have it, 50 years later.

  45. When I met my wife 49 years ago she had a nice Ithica pump 16 ga shotgun.
    I had it re-blued and the gold inlay redone and it is still a beautiful gun.

  46. I also have a 16 gauge shotgun. This one has been handed down to me and was my grandfather’s then my father’s and now mine. As a teenager i hunted dove and rabbits with it and loved it. The gun is a Winchester pump action Model 1897. Most of the blueing is gone but the stock is still solid and it still shoots just fine and is still a great gun for hunting dove.

  47. I own two Browning Sweet Sixteens. I grew up using the 16 ga for Squirrel, rabbit, birds/turkey and deer. They always performed perfect. The older hunters would say, totes like a 20 ga and kills like a 12 ga. I believe they were and are correct.

  48. My Dad was an avid quail hunter owned a Browning Sweet 16 for many years. I shot it and it was marvelous. Unfortunately, it wore out he shot it so much. It would fail to feed and occasionally fire two shells with one press of the trigger. A very skilled gunsmith disassembled it and carefully examined it and showed him the worn parts. He told Dad his best bet was to trade it in. He said the success rate in replacing the worn internals in them had not been that successful.
    Dad wanted a new one but they were no longer made, so he settled for a Browning Light 20 instead.
    The new one was still a great gun, but was not as good as the old Sweet 16.

  49. The first shotgun I ever uses to hunt with was a 16 gauge double loaned to me by my fathers friend. I was a pretty small kid and that 16 was the perfect gun for me to hunt rabbit with. Don’t recall what it was other than a side by side 16, but I’ve been watching for one for a while now. Additionally, I like the 28 gauge for all the same reasons and am planing to buy one for my 12 year old daughter. These calibers fill unique need in the sport with more refinement than just the 12 and 20 in my opinion. Thanks for the article.

  50. Grew up with the sixteen gauge an old wore out gun that was my dad’s cracked stock copper wired and wondered together but was the only shot gun my dad had and used after he passed my brother made it vanish been looking for a double I could afford for a long time found one last year and in pretty good shape all is right with the world now

  51. I inherited a beat up 16 ga Browning A5 2 9/16. It was made in 1926. I haven’t shot it much as load info isn’t readily available and commercial ammo isn’t easy to get. I have cleaned it up, restored the stock somewhat without making it look like a showcase queen. It has an honored place in my meager collection

  52. My dad was a huge fan of 16 gauge shotguns for the reasons cited by the author. There was another as well. As the second oldest brother in a family of 13 brothers and sisters, most that hunted or shot skeet or trap, the younger were constantly “forgetting” shotgun shells at home. Carrying a Sweet 16 meant never having to support the ammo needs of younger siblings that carried 12 or 20 gauge guns

  53. I learned on my fathers marlin bolt action 16 that was my great uncles before him……. i still love it to this day…..although not my go to nowadays it still feels right every time I hold her

  54. I have two 16s. A model 12 winchester that was my dad’s and a Stevens side by side. They have brought home mure game than any other gun I own. Deer, pheasants, grouse, rabbits, squirrels. I wouldn’t trade them for any other shoygun.

  55. My very first shotgun was a Stevens single shot 16 gauge. For several of my youthful years she put many squirrel and rabbit on the table in my home. Now in my late 60’s I find when talking with friends my age many of them started out with the same gun as their first! Stevens must have made hundreds of thousands of those things! My father passed away while I was in my very young 20’s and I would fill in on that front for my younger brother now and then. When he was 16 I gave him his first weapon for Christmas and yes, it was a Stevens single shot 16. One thing is for certain, the single shot helps you become a better shooter because if you miss, you don’t get a second chance on the same animal very often. I agree it is a shame the gauge was abandoned. I hear it is making a small come back but sadly, it’s hay day is gone forever I believe.

  56. Just a few years back, (but I suppose more than I care to remember), the 16 was coming on strong and seemingly passing the 12 in leaps and bound. In that day all you heard about was the Sweet 16…and it was. I never bought into the 16 back then because I was of the 12 gauge culture, and to this day you probably do not have enough money to buy my old faithful Remington 1100 from me! However as I aged, (matured), I took a second look at the 16 and found myself Thirsty for one. I have never regretted buying a used 16 gauge shotgun. They are, in their own way, perfect! They are the best of both worlds. Now back to my newest Love – a beautiful, able-and-willing, lively little 28 gauge…..

  57. My grandpa gave me my first shotgun, revelation pump, a sweet 16. Still have it. Still shoot it. Still love it. AnyTime I see shells, they just jump in the cart. One time at a gun show I found an old Browning 16. I didn’t have enough cash. I gave the vender what I had and said hide it. Was $75 short. Went around to all my buddies and borrowed the coin. They gave up the coin and were curious as to what I found. When I showed them what it was, they all said “I was at his booth after you, I never saw that gun! I would have bought it!” So now I have two sweet 16’s and love them both.

  58. My favorite upland shotgun by far is my Citori Sweet 16. I love it for quail, grouse and pheasants. The first shotgun that I ever fired was an old bolt-action 16-gauge, and I have had a soft spot for the 16 ever since.

  59. I have my Father’s Sweet Sixteen. Hunted many years with it and loved it. I finally had to give it up because it would not eject a new plastic shell. When the plastic shell would expand it would lodge in the ejection chamber. So I had to shop for the wadding type shell. So I finally gave up.

    Any ideas?

  60. I am the owner of 2 OLD School Sweet 16s. One is a Nobel Pump and the other is a Mossberg Bolt. I have used both to take small game and they worked quite well. I do own 2 20 gauges and 3 12s… One being a Remington 1187 and the oldest an Iver Johnson Single…way older than my 70 yo carcass …. one for most situations and needs. Was going to …at one time, buy a 10 gauge but after using it…thought differently. The 16 is a good round for young as well as old.

  61. I love the 16 gauge I have an Ithaca feather-light 16 gauge pump that I was given from a family member when I was a young man. And I still use it to this day it’s been an amazing gun for me for small game and for deer as well hopefully one day I can pass it down to my children and they’ll get to use it as well.

  62. I grew up using 16 gauge guns. While I use guns in 12, 20, 28, and 410, my first love and go to gun for my pup’s first birds is my 55 year old Browning Sweet Sixteen. Want to hunt pheasants, get a 16 and a happy Springer Spaniel, you can’t have more fun in the field.

  63. In the 1960s there were many 16 gauge selections at Sears and Montgomery Wards, such as the Western Field. My Dad used a bolt-action Western in 16 gauge with a two-round magazine for rabbits and squirrels. It brought home a lot of suppers. I still have it, though it lost its box magazine somewhere. Even in single-shot, it does the job. Wish there were box magazines available.

  64. I can’t say I’m a huge fan but that being said I find myself with a family heirloom double from one side of the family and a large quantity of ammo from the other side. My son picked me up some buckshot loads too. We took it dove hunting and it performs beautifully.

  65. I have aTriStar Hunter I’m taking pheasant hunting today in 16 gauge. The 16 reminds me of tagging along with my dad squirrel hunting with a Sears JC Higgins bolt action 16 with Federal purple shells. I was hooked!

  66. I’ve only had the pleasure of handling and shooting a 16 ga. once, but it left an impression on me. It’s a shame that the gauge has pretty much fallen into near extinction in the US. Once was the only opportunity I had in a cornfield in Kansas hunting pheasant at a college buddy’s parents farm. I took 3 birds that day, and was surprised by the borrowed guns handling, ease of sighting and mild recoil. It was an old Montgomery Wards stamped gun, so long ago now, that I don’t remember which gun maker was turning out Catalog Department Store guns then (I believe Stevens made the gun, but I can’t swear to that as its been too long)
    It’s a shame that the 16 fell in popularity after WW 2. The cost of 16 gauge ammunition, when you can find it, is a deterrant as well.

  67. I love my Steven’s double barrel 16 gauge.
    I’ve always been a 12 gauge fan but a year ago I traded an old 41mag
    Revolver for the 16 gauge. Later we were overrun with several families of rock chucks.
    Through the next month I was able to get rid of 23 chucks out of 24 shots. I missed one but got him with the 24th shell. This little shotgun was magnificent and easy to maneuver quickly. I’m definitely sold on this one.

  68. I collect classic doubles and drillings. My experience is that 16 is the One True Gauge. It can do anything the 20 can, and almost anything the 12 can, and as you note, it balances beautifully.

Leave a Reply to Troy Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit exceeded. Please click the reload button and complete the captcha once again.

Your discussions, feedback and comments are welcome here as long as they are relevant and insightful. Please be respectful of others. We reserve the right to edit as appropriate, delete profane, harassing, abusive and spam comments or posts, and block repeat offenders. All comments are held for moderation and will appear after approval.